The awards again recognised all-round primary and secondary school performance as well as the individual efforts of top-flight student. But it was dux award winner Thomas Fairleigh who paid homage to the Catholic system.
Thomas attested to the advantage of his Catholic school education, having attended St Mary’s Primary School, Warner’s Bay and St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul.
“After moving into the Catholic education system mid-primary school, almost instantly the environment allowed for me to pursue the things I enjoyed,” Thomas said. “At both St Paul’s and St Mary’s the teachers, and the schools as a whole, provided an environment that I looked forward to going to each day. I can truly say that my experience in Catholic schools has defined me as a person today.”
And now he’s defined as Diocesan Dux.
“I did not expect it at all,” he said of his outstanding academic achievement. “I thought I would be far from it. While I made sure I was as prepared as I could be for my exams, some of them had me a bit stumped. When I saw the news after our ATARs were released I was ecstatic and so happy that all the long nights had paid off.”
The Diocese has not only recognised Thomas’s efforts through naming him dux, it has also offered him a job when he completes his studies. He will continue his interest in STEM, studying for a Bachelor of Education (Mathematics major) at the University of Newcastle.
“It’s a four-year program that I’m really looking forward to,” he said. “I was lucky enough also to be offered a permanent job in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese as a Maths teacher when I graduate.”
Director of Catholic Schools, Gerard Mowbray, said Thomas combined his natural aptitude with absolute consistency and working closely with his HSC teachers to understand the particular challenges of each subject.
“Thomas is, also, an outstanding Mathematician and has accepted a scholarship with Catholic Schools to teach in our system of schools following the completion of his studies. While completing his combined degrees in education and mathematics, Thomas will provide quality tuition to our aspiring mathematicians. We wish him every success in his university studies,” Mr Mowbray said.
And what of advice for the current Year 12 cohort?
“Success is a personal endeavour,” Thomas said. “You define what success is for you. The key to success for me is to be organised and have a routine. With a routine, you develop a habit, and what may have taken three hours to study, may only take one hour.
“If you stay organised, utilise your study periods, and most importantly create personal goals then you will have succeeded. In the end, if you challenged yourself and did your best, then that’s all that matters. One bit of advice that I wish I had known in Year 12 is that when your ATAR is released the only person who knows what it is, is you. Not even your teachers know. So, when you leave school, remember that in terms of what result you received, the world is free of judgment.”
Other awards announced were for Religious Literacy & Studies of Religion. For Religious Literacy Year 6, Equal First Place in Diocese was to Annie Eggleton from St Therese’s Primary School, New Lambton, and Lucinda Paff from St Therese’s Primary School, New Lambton.
Most Outstanding All Round Primary School was awarded to St James’ Primary School, Kotara South.
First Place in the Diocese for Religious Literacy went to Charlotte Dever from St Pius X High School, Adamstown. Most Outstanding All Round Secondary School Performance was awarded to St Pius X High School, Adamstown.
In Studies of Religion 1 Unit, the Diocesan Equal First in Course Higher School Certificate 2019 went to Jessica Pelley from St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton and Tristan Antonini from St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton.
In Studies of Religion 2 Unit, the Diocesan Equal First in Course Higher School Certificate 2019 went to Thomas Fairleigh from St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul and Gemma Hancock from All Saints’ College, Maitland.
These students were recognised as the most Outstanding Academic Achievers in NSW for the Higher School Certificate 2019. Stephanie Kelly, St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton, attained 10th Place in the state for Business Services Exam; Jessica Pelley, St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton, attained 10th Place in the state for Studies of Religion I.
Diocesan HSC Awards recognise the most Outstanding Academic Achievers in the MN Diocese for 2019 Higher School Certificate. Those recognised were: Gemma Hancock from All Saints’ College, Maitland, with an ATAR of 97.70; Roisin Browne from St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton with an ATAR of 97.85; and Diocesan Dux Thomas Fairleigh from St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul, with an ATAR of 98.25.