YEAR 12 students from across the district woke to the news of their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) scores on Monday morning.
William Duffus achieved the highest ranking for Terang College at 93.25.
He was the third child in his family to receive the honour along with his sisters Lucy and Hannah.
Mr Duffus said “everyone was pretty emotional” when he announced his score to his family on Monday morning.
“I was happy with it,” he said.
“It was about what I was aiming for.”
Mr Duffus planned to take a year off to work, and possibly travel to England to fund a double degree in commerce and science at Monash University.
However, he said he was unsure which career path he wanted to take after the ‘gap year’.
“I’ve got the ATAR to get in,” Mr Duffus said.
“I don’t really know at the moment.”
The main key towards achieving an exceptional ATAR ranking was to put in a consistent amount of work, according to Mr Duffus.
“I got up at 7.30 every morning,” he said.
“You need every minute you can get.”
Mr Duffus thanked teacher Ben Dennis for supporting him, as well as his friends and other teachers.
“My class group has been really fantastic,” he said.
“They can be more than friends and teachers. They can be mentors.”
Terang College Year 12 co-ordinator Matthew Irving said the Year 12 students’ ATAR rankings consistently reflected the effort the kids applied to their studies.
“Overall, we were really pleased,” he said.
Mr Irving said this year’s group was “really mature” and “well-driven”.
“A lot of them will be looking forward to the next phase,” he said.
“There is a broad spread from medicine to teaching.”
Mortlake College student Breeanna Cummins was pleased to learn she had become the school’s dux after achieving an ATAR ranking of 93.15.
“It was pretty exciting,” she said.
“I just thought about all the work I put in.
“It’s really gratifying to come away with the score.”
Ms Cummins said while she did not need a high ATAR, as she wished to begin an acting course next year, she still strived for the highest score she could achieve.
“It is just a ranking,” she said.
“It’s only a slight indication of what you can achieve.”
Ms Cummins planned to take a year off to find a new perspective before re-auditioning next year, if she was not successful this year.
“I’m waiting for second-round offers,” she said.
The majority of the classes she took involved the arts, including media, theatre studies, drama and literature.
Ms Cummins thanked the teachers of all her artistic subjects.
“There’s definitely a good support network at my school,” she said.
Overall, Ms Cummins said the experience was a positive one, as she learnt to become mentally capable of dealing with the stresses of VCE.
“It’s all about how you carry it,” she said.
“It really shapes you as a person.
“I think it’s advantageous to learn in a rural school, as you always have that one-on-one attention.
“They (the teachers) really care about you as a person.”
Noorat’s Caitlin Williams was the dux for Mercy Regional College (MRC), after receiving an ATAR ranking of 92.75.
She has planned to enter into a medicine course and has applied to almost every tertiary institution across the country except in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
“I have a fairly decent chance,” Ms Williams said.
“I’ve had four interviews so far.”
With particular interests in obstetrics and oncology, Ms Williams knew she needed to excel to reach her goals.
“I know I want to be a doctor,” she said.
For Ms Williams, some of the key reasons she achieved a high ATAR ranking were choosing subjects she enjoyed and completing subjects which scaled up her score, as well as a strong support network.
“They (friends and family) just supported me with my study,” she said.
“My family have been really good. They never really pressured me too much.
“I’d say (to other students) to make sure you know what you want.”
Ms Williams said while she had friends closer to metropolitan areas with better access to educational materials such as revision lectures, the environment in rural schools was more encouraging.
“The support network is much better than it would be in the city,” she said.
Ms Williams thanked MRC chemistry teacher Jenny Phillips, literature teacher Lachie Lee, her family and all of her friends for supporting her throughout the year.