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Academic Curriculum

High Achievers Assembly – Class of 2018

From our Deputy Head of College – Teaching and Learning, Elizabeth Watson

It’s easy to have faith when everything is working out. It’s much harder to have faith when you are facing challenges in your life but that’s exactly when you need to apply it.” Dominic Augoustis – Class of 2018

Inspiration, commitment and hard work was personified on Thursday 14th February as students, staff, parents and members of the Waverley community gathered together to welcome back and celebrate our high achievers from the Class of 2018.

These assemblies set the tone for the Academic year ahead. They inspire hope and propel us to strive toward something better, greater and higher.

Waverley is a diverse learning community and in 2018, 173 boys chose their own path to complete Year 12. Whether our boys selected an ATAR, non ATAR or nationally recognised qualification through Vocational Education, each boy’s journey was unique. Their chosen learning path played to their strengths. It engaged their interest and passion to help them succeed.

A common theme among our Class of 2018 was the resilience and determination shown throughout their learning journey. We commend the grit that many of them drew upon to make significant and impressive progress throughout their time at Waverley College.

We were delighted to hear two of our 2018 Graduates speak at the assembly. Thank you to both Dominic Augoustis and Andre Vumbaca who shed light on their experiences and offered some wonderful words of encouragement and advice to our student body.

Dom spoke passionately about his time at Waverley College, highlighting the importance of setting goals;

My goal was written on my whiteboard for two years. It had a big 90 in the corner representing my ideal ATAR, my university course and the words ENCORE and OnStage.”

Dom contributes his success to the support of his family, friends and teachers, setting goals and keeping faith when things didn’t go to plan. He shared his story of breaking his hand three days before his final HSC guitar performance. He had a choice to not perform and get a substitute mark but he chose to cut off his cast, push through the pain and play with a broken hand. Not only for his performance but for an additional six pieces accompanying his peer’s HSC performances.

Dominic did successfully reach his target ATAR. He was accepted into his University course of choice where he will be studying a double degree in Business and in Innovation and Intelligence at UTS. Dominic also made the SMH Distinguished achiever list for Drama and Music and achieved his ultimate goal of a nomination for Drama OnStage and Music Encore.

It was with great pleasure to award Andre Vumbaca with the plaque of Highest ATAR 2018 (98.85). In addition to that, Andre made the Premiers All Rounder list and SMH Distinguished Achiever in Chemistry, Physics,  Advanced English, Extension 1 Mathematics and Studies of Religion II.

Andre reflected on his time at Waverley highlighting the importance of choosing subjects that you enjoy.

“I remember all the teachers saying “pick subjects that you enjoy”. That was some of the best advice anyone can get about the HSC and life in general…..that was the key to my success; enjoying what I do five days a week.”

Andre commended his peers on the cohort’s collective efforts and hard work, reinforcing the importance of collaboration. He also spoke of the power of determination and persistence. He encouraged the students to never give up and admitted that

“for the first half of Year 12 I was well behind everyone else. It’s never too late to start playing catch up if this does happen along the way.”

We wish Andre every success as he heads to Canberra to embark on a double degree in Business and Science at the Australian National University.  

It is safe to say that the Class of 2018 found their success in very different ways. Whatever path our Year 12 boys chose, it is important to remember that they leave the College with much more than just a number, mark or rank. The journey that brought each student to this point has been far more valuable.

I congratulate the entire HSC Class of 2018 on their fine results and wish them all the best in their future endeavors. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and give thanks to the outstanding commitment of staff and the tireless support of parents during their son’s learning journey.

Extract from the Head of College’s High Achievers Assembly Speech

“On behalf of the College, I would like to congratulate all of our High Achievers on their fine results. I thanked them at last week’s High Achievers Assembly for finding the time to come back. I believe it says a lot about who they are, because I do not believe they came back for themselves. They came back to recognise some of their teachers who helped them along their journey, and they came back to inspire the younger students. This desire to give back, to care for others, give others a helping hand and inspire excellence, is what we want of every graduate that goes through the College.”

Most of the high achievers did a couple of key things that assisted them to achieve.

Firstly, they set themselves some goals for their senior year. However, setting yourself a goal and then setting about achieving it are two different things, but they are interlinked.

A study by the University of California divided participants into five groups.

Group 1 – had to think about their goals, and rate them according to various factors, but not write them down. This group achieved a 43% overall success rate.

Group 2 – did the same, but this group wrote the goals down.

Group 3 – did the same as the second, but also wrote down their action commitments.

Group 4 – did all of that, and also shared their action commitments with a friend.

Group 5 – did everything the others did, but also sent their friends updates. This group had the highest success rate, at 76%.

What we learn from this study is that writing down your goals, and more importantly the actions you are going to take to achieve them, and then sharing these and your progress with a friend, parent, teacher or wellbeing mentor,  gives you the best chance of success.

Every boy from Year 5 to Year 12 should have already done this, or be in the process of filling in their goals for 2019 on page 3 of the College Diary. Copies should go up around your house – fridge, desk, garage etc

The second important element that I believe each of these boys did, was fail at some point. They set a goal and may not have got there on the first attempt. However, they did something in response to this, they failed forward.

I remember watching Michael Jordan growing up and thinking he is the best the world has ever seen. I did not know he has missed 9000 shots, lost 300 games, and on 26 times he was trusted to take the game winning shot, but missed. Jordan was considered the best of the best and yet failure was his constant shadow. Jordan however understood what was the difference between long term success and failure was, it is the reaction to it that counts, he failed forward.

Thomas Edison conducted 1000 failed experiments, but the 1001st experiment was pretty good, the lightbulb, he failed forward.

Novelist Stephen King submitted his first book, Carrie 30 times and it was rejected. On the 31st submission, someone liked it. The rest is history for the world’s most successful horror author, he failed forward.

What is failing forward?  Firstly it is recognising that with every failure, you are one step closer to reaching your goal. Secondly, it is through sheer hard work and perseverance that you achieve your goals. It is not easy, but you have to keep trying and have faith that it will turn your way soon.

Nothing comes easy even for even the world’s best in their respective fields, but if your sons want to ensure they have good options when they leave Waverley, they should:

  • work hard
  • write down their goals
  • write down the actions to achieve their goals
  • share these goals
  • give someone a progress score

And, fail forward like Jordan, Edison, KIng and our Waverley High Achievers and success will come your way.”

2018 High Achievers List

2018 High Achievers List Download