Percy Watson Award
Dr Percy Watson was a teacher at our College between 1957 and 1969 who inspired his students so much that they established a scholarship named after him to support our teachers, contributing to their postgraduate study. Our teachers at Waverley College work hard to make sure that their practice is as effective as possible. This includes continuous learning on Professional Learning days and, for many, at university with further study.
The award celebrates the teachers who received the scholarship in 2023 and the winner was presented this week in the High Achievers’ Assembly. It was such a difficult decision for the College to award just one teacher, as they all used their further study to contribute to our teaching and learning, wellbeing and spirituality programs. The recipient of the award for 2023 was Ms Cath Lipman who completed her certificate in Religious Education in 2023. Cath’s study has supported her work with the Stage 4 and 5 social justice programs and Year 10 Service Week.
High Achievers’ Assembly
In this Thursday’s High Achievers’ assembly, our community welcomed back to celebrate the HSC high achievers of the Graduating Class of 2023 and recognise our recipients of the inaugural Old Boys’ Union Award for Academic Integrity and Fortitude. This exciting new award, not only acknowledges academic success, but also qualities of perseverance, dedication, and excellence.
Emphasising the importance of character, one of the six Global Competencies (6 Cs) that our students are learning about in class, we heard the very real stories from the students themselves about their commitment to learning, seeking feedback, and embracing discomfort as essential components of success. In the words of organisational psychologist Adam Grant, “great originals are unafraid to fail,” and our high achievers are living proof of this sentiment.
We commenced our assembly by celebrating our students who achieved the Old Boys’ Union Award for Academic Integrity and Fortitude. We launched this award this year to recognise our students in Years 8-12 who are excellent examples of what it means to have a growth mindset and determination to make a consistent effort. These are attributes that employers and universities want to see in young people as they enter into the world of adulthood.
The Old Boys’ Union Award for Academic Integrity and Fortitude is awarded to students who demonstrated these attributes in a way that can be measured through their GPA improvement from Semester 1 to Semester 2 during the year, and the feedback from teachers about the way these students approached their learning to achieve these gains.
We celebrated the following award winners:
- Year 8 – George Jackson
- Year 9 – Dylan Jones
- Year 10 – Samuel Altree-William
- Year 11 – Harry Crewe
- Year 12 – Aston Owens.
Also in our assembly, it was inspirational to acknowledge the group of Year 11 Accelerated Mathematics students who excelled as recipients of the HSC Distinguished Achiever Awards for Mathematics Advanced – meaning they achieved a Band 6 in this subject at the start of Year 12.
We also celebrated the creativity and artistic achievements of students from the 2023 cohort who were selected and nominated for their Major Works and Performances in Drama, Music, Technologies and Visual Arts.
One of these students, Kit Armstrong, shared the story of his journey and what motivated him to persevere through challenges. He shared many words of wisdom, and one that resonated with many in the audience covered three achievable steps for excellence: “find your passion, pair it with measurable goals, and finally, a lot of hard work. If you do these simple things then your success is guaranteed not only in the HSC, but the rest of your life.”
Kit is certainly speaking from experience, having shared his journey of improving his results from below 50% in Maths and Physics in Year 11 to achieve HSC marks over 90, and a creative arts showcase nomination for Design and Technology with his Dual Eco Power Generator Major Project.
Our community finally celebrated the outstanding achievements of the students who came back to attend the Roll Call of Academic Honour for those achieving an ATAR of 90 and above. These students walked the stage as the embodiment of what it means to demonstrate character: looking for opportunities to learn even when it is challenging; seeking feedback and using it in our learning; learning to live with the feeling of discomfort when things become difficult and knowing that is the time when we are learning the most.
Our highest ATAR recipient, Liam Wood, also shared his story with the community about how he achieved an ATAR of 99.2, the All Rounder Award (10 Units at 90 or above), Distinguished Achiever in all his subjects, and 5th in State for Ancient History out of the 7,000 students who sat the course in New South Wales.
Liam was unable to attend the assembly in person as he had already moved down to Canberra to commence his study at the Australian National University (Canberra). He will be studying a Bachelor of Philosophy with honours in the humanities and social sciences. Despite having to move down to Canberra last week, Liam took the time to record a message to share his blueprint for success.
You can view his inspirational speech below.
You can view the list of award winners HERE.
HSC High Achievers’ Q and A session with Year 12
Following our assembly, our HSC high Achievers’ gave sage advice – or ‘trade secrets’ as they put it – to our current Year 12 students about their strategies and approaches for success in the HSC.
Some top tips that the graduates shared were:
- Start with the toughest subject: begin your study session with the most challenging subject. Tackling difficult topics when your mind is fresh can lead to better understanding and retention.
- Create a study schedule and stick to it: plan your study time effectively by creating a schedule. Allocate specific time slots for each subject, and try to adhere to the plan as much as possible. Consistency is key. Aim for at least two hours per day at the start and build up throughout the year. Use your weekends wisely.
- Be forgiving of missed sessions: it’s normal to occasionally miss a study session due to unforeseen circumstances. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, focus on getting back on track and making up for lost time in subsequent sessions.
- Maintain a balanced lifestyle: remember to strike a balance between study and personal life. Attending important celebrations, such as birthdays, is crucial for your overall wellbeing. Recognise that these moments are valuable and won’t necessarily derail your HSC progress.
- Tap into available resources: utilise the wealth of resources around you. Engage with your teachers for clarification, share notes with classmates to gain diverse perspectives, form focused study groups, and practise with past papers to familiarise yourself with exam patterns.
- Evaluate time usage: reflect on how you spend your time. Ensure that your daily activities align with your priorities. If you find yourself consistently spending too much time on non-essential tasks, reevaluate and adjust accordingly.
- Learn from setbacks: don’t let one disappointing result hold you back. Treat it as a learning opportunity. Analyse what went wrong, adjust your study strategies accordingly, and use the experience to grow. Resilience in the face of setbacks is a valuable skill.
- Beware of social media distractions: be cautious with the time spent on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Consider using them as rewards after completing study sessions. If you catch yourself mindlessly scrolling, redirect that time towards productive studying instead.
- Set realistic goals: establish achievable study goals for each session. Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. Celebrate your accomplishments, and use them as motivation for future sessions.
- Stay organised: keep your study materials and notes organised. Having a structured system can save time and reduce stress when revisiting topics.
Ms Lynsey Porter
Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning