RISING STAR: It was a pleasantly surprised Blake McDonnell who received news that he was the recipient of the prestigious Premier’s VCE Award.

TWO Mildura students are among the recipients of the Premier’s VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) Awards which were announced recently.

2019 Mildura Senior College VCE students, Georgia Smart, who studied community service and Blake McDonnell, engineering, who are both now studying at university, were delighted to be recognised for their outstanding performance last year.

The clever duo join six other students from across northern Victoria who were also recognised as the State’s best performing VCE students in the Premier’s VCE Awards.

Also from our region, Swan Hill College’s Daniel Hughes, was one of 28 students across Victoria who was recognised as Top All-Round VCE High Achiever.

The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Award is awarded to students who have achieved study scores of 46 or higher in at least five VCE studies. Scored VET studies are included in the count of studies.

Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp, MP, congratulated the high-achieving students, celebrating their outstanding achievements.

“I want to congratulate these students on their fantastic achievements,” he said. “Their success is a credit to not only their hard work and abilities – but also to the support of family, friends and our school community. The Victorian Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every student in the state can get a great education.
It has allocated $624.8million toward delivering 100 new schools across the State over the next eight years, to ensure that every community has access to a great local school.”

It was a pleasantly surprised 18 year-old, Blake McDonnell from Gol Gol, who received a letter advising him of his award.

“I wasn’t really aware of the Premier’s Awards until I received this letter notifying me that I had been given an award − and then my teacher Mr Crowhurst said it was a big honour − so I was pretty chuffed,” he said.

Blake’s VCE VET studies included two mathematics subjects, physics, English and engineering for which he received an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Ranking) of 92.8 achieving a near perfect result in engineering.

“I achieved a score of 49 in engineering, with 50 being the highest,” Blake said.

“This year I’m studying engineering at Flinders University in South Australia. I’m not sure exactly what I would like to do eventually, but it will involve something hands-on where I have to use my brain,” he said.

Blake said his parents were also very pleased with his VCE results and thanked them for their support.

“They were very happy to see me receive the award and were very supportive of me along the way as well,” he said.

“Regardless of what I may have achieved mum and dad would have been proud. I just put my head down and tried as hard as I could and got the ‘chocolates’ at the end of the day!”

Mildura Senior College principal, Belinda Hudak, said the awards were fitting recognition of Georgia’s and Blake’s hard work and dedication to their studies.

“It’s an amazing achievement. Those students have to work very hard to achieve perfect scores in their studies to be recipients of the Premier’s Award,” she said.

“It’s disappointing for them this year, that due to the COVID-19 situation, they weren’t able to attend the usual glamorous event that they would otherwise have participated in, but that couldn’t be helped.

“We’re very proud of them both, and I know their teachers are as well. Mildura Senior College is very fortunate to have had a number of students receive the Premier’s Award, but that doesn’t take away from everyone who is a recipient. For each of them, and their teachers who have supported them to obtain those results, deserve to be acknowledged. But, ultimately, it comes down to the student’s hard work and dedication…going above and beyond their regular classroom practices to achieve those results.”

Ms Hudak said that the process that determines the award recipients is based around the results that students achieve in their VCE.

“The system identifies the highest achievers through the results, purely based on them being the top scorers in that subject in the year, which maybe 50 or 49 – basically a prefect score,” she said.

“All VCE VET (Vocational Education and Training) subjects add an extra element for students because their is a practical component.

“In engineering the students are required to build a specific project that is aligned to that course, and in community service, the students need to complete a community engagement process as well. It isn’t only their in school studies, but they are also doing additional projects as well, which is a lot to juggle and manage when they are doing their studies, so it’s a fantastic achievement.”