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Class of 2021 make history with nine ATARs of 99.95

All Duces of Class of 2021
Through two years of schooling punctuated by lockdowns and remote learning, the 2021 Year 12 cohort have been on an extraordinary journey and, despite the challenges, have achieved incredible success. Nine students achieved the highest possible ATAR of 99.95 - the highest number in Wesley College history and also the highest of any school in Victoria in 2021!

Year 12 is always a demanding year for students, as well as parents and teachers. In most years, the pressure of study and exams is balanced with celebrations, milestone markers and events where students come together and share their experiences. But COVID-19 disruptions meant that the Class of 2021 had to find different ways to stay connected and motivated.

With nine students achieving the highest possible ATAR of 99.95 (the highest number in Wesley College history), a median ATAR of 86.85 (combined VCE and IB DP) and 43.5% of students achieving an ATAR of ≥ 90 (placing them in the top 10% in Australia), the Class of 2021 took adversity in their stride.

Their history-making results reflect our students’ strong work ethic and the outstanding quality of teaching and learning at our proudly open-entry school.

As we celebrate the entire Class of 2021’s successes, contributions and achievements, our record-breaking Duces share their experiences, reflections and advice.

Passion and persistence

Olivia Khouw (99.95) says that despite stresses and challenges, Year 12 was incredibly rewarding. Always purpose-driven, Olivia was Publications Prefect and produced the International Women's Day publication in March 2021. Olivia is also a talented violinist, performer and a triple colour recipient. During the pandemic, Olivia felt well supported by her mentors and peers, and the turbulent times helped her learn the importance of ‘maintaining humility and building connection’, as well as focusing on her true passions – in and outside the classroom. ‘My advice to the Class of 2022 is base your decisions on what you’re passionate about, the legacy you want to leave and the change you want to make in the world.’

Harper Elliott (99.95) found remote learning difficult due to the lack of human connection. He tackled his challenges by staying connected to friends whenever possible. ‘Studying in groups and meeting up for bike rides kept me sane during tumultuous times,’ says Harper. ‘I also relied heavily on my teachers’ expertise and support.’ Like Olivia, Harper’s plans for further study in sciences and languages are based on pursuing what he loves. ‘I feel that many people are too focused on chasing careers that are socially associated with success,’ says Harper. ‘I want to pursue what makes me feel inspired.’

Sara Pisacane (99.95) believes that her work ethic was a key factor in her success. ‘Hard work and effort have been instilled in me from a young age,’ she says. ‘No matter the difficult circumstances and struggles, I never lost sight of my goals.’ As well as support from her family and friends, Sara is grateful to the teachers and the entire Wesley community who supported her throughout her often challenging Year 12 journey.

For award-winning trumpet player Thien Pham (99.95), maintaining cocurricular activities, including his musical performances and passions, helped him stay engaged and motivated. Thien – who was named All-State Jazz Championships Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Improviser in 2021 – plans to take his love of music to the next level. As well as continuing to gig with Australia’s jazz greats, Thien hopes to complete a Diploma in Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium while also studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.

Creating home away from home

Two of our 2021 Duces, Johnson Zheng (99.95) and Stephen Zhang (99.95) joined Wesley through the English Language Preparation Program and were awarded the Bilingual IB Diploma. Johnson says that leading the International Relations Club and being involved in the Publications and Service Debating teams helped him meet more people and promote intercultural awareness among his peers.  Stephen believes that setting clear goals early on helped him achieve academic success. 'You have to know what you really want, then find the most effective and efficient way to achieve that,' says Stephen.

VCE Dux Cindy Hua (99.95) is also an international student from China. For Cindy, cocurricular activities such as music and sport were key to staying relaxed and helped her balance schoolwork and life. ‘As an international student, I am especially grateful that I was involved in debating as it improved my confidence in English and public speaking,' says Cindy. Her advice to other international students is to ‘be patient, stay confident and give yourselves time to adjust, explore Wesley and make new friends.’

A journey, not a destination

As Principal Nick Evans says, our 2021 Year 12 graduates are not defined simply by their ATAR scores. He is proud not only of their academic results but also what every one of the 350 graduates learned through their personal journeys of growth and development.

‘As is the case with all Wesley College graduates, our 2021 Year 12 cohort are shaped by their values, their courage, the quality of their relationships and the myriad of experiences at Wesley and beyond,’ says Nick. ‘Their future paths and destinations will be as many and varied as those who have gone before them. I wish them every happiness and success in their future endeavours.’

Congratulations to the history-making Class of 2021, their families and the Wesley teaching staff who nurtured them on their often turbulent journey. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Click here for a full summary of the Class of 2021 results.