High Achievers – Class of 2017

Alexander Shearer

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

My inspiration for having worked hard comes down to me wanting to make a meaningful impact on the world, to change it for the better.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

It is important to have a goal in mind that is important to you, something that you really want to achieve. You then need to start working towards it right away. If that dream is to get a high ATAR, remember that the year will pass faster than you expect and that you need to work hard throughout.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

I dealt with hurdles and challenges by remaining calm and focused on the next small step, instead of trying to work out everything at once. I did this by reminding myself that even if I misstep there will still be a route to my dream, that there are so many ways to achieve the same thing. I also did my best to relax and not over stress by talking with my parents and chilling with my friends.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

The greatest inspiration for me at Christ Church were my teachers. My teachers were all very passionate about their subjects and enjoyable people to be taught by. I often found myself admiring qualities they possess and wishing to discover those qualities within myself.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

My intention is to study at UWA and pursue my interest in engineering and computer science. Further in the future I would be very interested in studying abroad, possibly in China. Apart from my tertiary education, I also hope to pursue my hobbies with more vigour now that I have considerably more time and freedom.

Narendra Gammanpila

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

My inspiration for working hard has been the other amazing students around me and I like to think my inherent desire to do well helps too.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

For all incoming students, realise your self-imposed barrier whether that be in academics or sport, and use your energy each day to get through it, because only then you will achieve greatness.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

I like to consider a wall. A wall has many bricks all stacked up and in place that make up a wall. Even if one brick is backwards or slightly out of place, the wall still exists and can still function as a wall. In the same way, having mishaps, bad tests or even bad games is just one bad brick in your wall and once you realise that this bad brick can be overlooked, you can overcome any obstacle faced.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

My teachers and my tutors. Without them I would be nothing and I am eternally grateful for what they have done.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

My plan is to study medicine where ever that may be, and one day become a renowned surgeon. At some point I would also like to set up a homeless shelter and find a way to make a noticeable difference in people’s lives. I hope one day, I can return to Christ Church to tell my story and inspire people to do the same.

Josh Collier

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

My main inspiration for working hard in Year 12 was to get into university and receive a scholarship. This was pushed further with some friendly competition in having to beat your friends on every test.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Don’t get distracted while studying. Something I really struggled with was trying to keep on track with study. So for now, go hard. Don’t take everything to heart: If you get one test where you don’t do well and get way below your average, don’t take it to heart. Each test you do is not the deciding factor of your future. Also, take breaks and get sleep.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

Dealing with six ATAR subjects, non-stop tests and scary looking exam timetables can sometimes impact your mental health. The hardest part of Year 12 is keeping it together. Ensure you take a step back after making a mistake and breathe. Spend some time either hanging out with friends or playing games.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

There have been many teachers who’ve inspired me at Christ Church, from Garth Wynne to my tutor Lia de Sousa. Every teacher inspired me to keep trying and push as hard as I could.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

I am hoping to do a double major at UWA in software engineering and a physics major.

Geoff Sang

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

Christ Church has a long history of high academic performance, so having been here since Year 4 has inspired me to do my best. My parents have also been my inspiration, as they have supported me in every way possible whenever I got stressed and anxious with school work. They both came from backgrounds where education was limited, so I have felt strongly towards making the most of what I have been given.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Year 12 is a stressful year for all, there will be times when you must relax and tell yourself that you did the best you could, and then work harder next time to do better. There will be time to take part in co-curricular activities, so my advice is to not give them up. There’s always time for you to juggle and this time must be managed effectively to balance study and hobbies.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

Whenever I became stressed, I tried to have some downtime playing with my dog, talking to friends and family, and doing things I enjoyed such as watching TV shows and reading books. It’s definitely important to slow down and step back from stresses throughout the year. In Year 12, there were satisfactory results and disappointing results, but it was crucial to keep working on how to improve.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

The vigorous competition among the students is evident as soon as the school year begins, and my peers who demonstrated their academic excellence have been inspirational throughout the year. The teachers at Christ Church are inspirational, in particular, Mr Marshall, who has been my tutor since Year 7, and has always offered help when I needed it. Mr Lim, has helped me so much in many aspects of life. There are so many more teachers at Christ Church for whom I am thankful, and I want to express my appreciation for this wonderful school.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

To attend an overseas or interstate university and study a science-based degree but probably mathematics. Mathematics is a field I’ve always been interested in so I hope to take advantage of this to develop my skills in the area.

Gary Song

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

Realising how lucky I am to attend Christ Church. My parents came from a pretty poor background, they have worked so hard to send me to this great school, in a great country. They have inspired me to work hard and enjoy all the opportunities offered at Christ Church.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

The most important thing is to balance your workload and downtime. Year 12 isn’t just about doing well academically – remember that it’s also your final year so enjoy everything. It might seem tempting to forgo things like co-curricular activities and hobbies and focus on school work, but it’s really important to keep other things going so you don’t burn out from study. My music was a big part in providing a break from the workload, as well as things like Mock Trials, chess and sport.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

It’s pretty clichéd, but the phrase “There’s always light at the end of the tunnel” has helped. After something didn’t go to plan, such as a poor test result, I wouldn’t focus on the negative, and instead have an optimistic outlook – humour helps a lot too! Also, the people around me, such as my tutor, teachers and friends have all provided support during challenging times.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

While this isn’t specifically someone, the culture of friendly competition at Christ Church was something that really inspired me to work hard. My tutor Ms Cornell helped me with her amazing support, encouraging me to try new things and making sure I was not overwhelmed, particularly during Year 12. Finally, the Music Department, in particular Mr Gillam, Mrs Hodgson and Mr Wyatt for fostering my love of music, which is a passion I will definitely continue.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

I hope to obtain direct entry into a med course. Beyond that I’m not too sure, but I do know that I want to travel, do philanthropic work and go on an exchange.

Duncan Grainger

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

An inspiration has definitely been my peers. Seeing everyone work so hard was a large source of my motivation to put in the hours of study and 100% effort. My aspirations to go to Melbourne further enticed me to try and get the best results possible to allow me to study at a prestigious university and to open up as many options as possible.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Put in as much as you can because you will be rewarded and don’t leave it too late to do so, otherwise you will struggle to achieve your goals. Try to minimise stress and workload by organising your time well and keeping a good balance between work, physical activity and your social life. Make sure you are always doing something whether that is seeing friends, playing sport or doing school work, and put all of your focus and attention to when you’re doing it.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

When faced with adversity I have always made sure that the bigger picture is kept in mind. Often I found my peers hung up due to one test and this seriously hurt their motivation going forward. Always know there are ways to make up for it. I found that discussing a problem with a friend or mentor helped me realise a solution.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

I don’t think it was one person but largely the High Achievers of 2016. People such as Leo Li, Tom Robins and James Borshoff who were able to perform so well academically while also being leaders of the School and participating in Firsts teams for sports. Seeing nine people receive general exhibitions and so many get above a 99 ATAR served as the perfect example of what hard work can get you at Christ Church.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

I’m hoping to go to university in Melbourne to study commerce and then law as a post-graduate. I hope that this will allow me to go into a profession relating to commerce but preferably one that also utilises a Juris Doctor after university.

Tom Williams

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

Throughout the year I found that my motivation came from my peers. Having a competitive cohort helped us all push each other further, striving to beat one another and perform our best. This competition, plus personal goals that I had set at the beginning of the year, inspired me to strive for high results.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Forming study groups is an effective way of learning through teaching others and discussion. For me, a study group of around five boys doing similar subjects helped me just as much as my teachers did throughout the year. As a result, all five of us did extremely well academically in our end of year exams. Also, maintain a balanced lifestyle. This concept is constantly reinforced to Year 12 students, but the stress of studies and school life can be so easily balanced out through exercise and socialising. Having a consistent sleep pattern is also crucial. During end of year exams, I found that being in bed by 9.00pm was more important than a last-minute cram session.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

In Year 12 there are incredible highs and lows, as I’ve experienced some of my hardest life challenges and greatest moments of euphoria in 2017. To deal with these hurdles, your family, teachers and friends are your most important resources. I was never afraid to seek help when required, and more often than not, those people closest to you are able to pull you through any challenging time.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

Christ Church has an excellent pastoral care system, where vertical tutorial groups allow interaction between younger and older boys on a day to day basis. The older boys were often the ones who inspired me to achieve the same as they had done in previous years.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

My plans for the upcoming years are yet to be written. I plan to study law at UWA, however at this stage, anything is possible. Like most young people, I have a lot of big life decisions to make. One plan I am sure of is that I’d like to experience life outside of Perth by travelling in the near future.

Daniel Robbins

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

Aside from trying to get into the university course I wanted, I really enjoyed going up against my mates and pushing each other with friendly competition.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Don’t be disheartened if things don’t go your way early in the year or even in mocks, because there’s plenty of time to bounce back before the WACE exams. Don’t take things too seriously to the point where you’re losing sleep or feeling stressed. Most of all, make sure to have a bit of fun and enjoy your last year at school.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

I found that it was important to have a bit of short term memory loss when it came to assessments. If I had a bad day then I tried to distract myself by moving onto another subject, rather than stewing over what I couldn’t change anymore.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

The main source of inspiration for me were my teachers, and not just those I had in Year 12. Mr Davis was my English teacher in Year 10, and when I really started to enjoy writing. Mr La Galia took Methods in Year 11 which was easily one of the most entertaining classes I’ve been a part of, and we did some maths too. If there was ever any uncertainty about what I was going to do at university, then having Mr Haskett for Economics in Year 12 made sure of it, he took one of the most interesting and engaging classes I had in all my years at school.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

Depending on how my results go, I’m hoping to do direct entry law at UWA with economics as my undergraduate degree, or maybe even do a bachelor of philosophy.

Alex Lindsay

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

A lot of inspiration and motivation came from within. You never want to be disappointed with yourself knowing that you could have put in a bit more effort and got better results. It’s a great feeling knowing you gave something the best shot possible.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Keep things in perspective. Enjoy Year 12, keep a good work/life balance and make sure to touch base often with your mates who are experiencing the same pressures as you. Make sure you get plenty of sleep. I often made the mistake of staying up late studying, leaving me struggling the next day.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

I put myself under a fair bit of pressure at times and was stressed. Not being much of a sportsman, the Physical Education program didn’t really help me relieve stress. When I was stressed about tests or exams I found the best thing to do was study: the more prepared I was, the more my nerves settled. When I got poor marks I just put the assessment in perspective, and reminded myself that one bad result didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

There are plenty of inspirational people at Christ Church, I was most inspired by the other students in my year group. There were a few really hard workers who always amazed me with their tireless dedication to their studies. Being in the same circumstances, those guys demonstrated the effort that I should have been putting in.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

I’d love to study medicine, but so does everybody else and it’s insanely competitive. What’s more likely is that I’ll study something like economics and after that get a 9 to 5 job within the public sector.

Jesse Zhou

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

My main source of inspiration has been the idea of being able to receive a scholarship to study abroad. Working hard came naturally because I knew that getting a scholarship meant achieving the highest grades possible. In the years prior to Year 12, I worked hard to acquire the study techniques and background knowledge to get the best chance of excelling in my final year. In Year 12 particularly, knowing that I was only going to have one shot at getting the ATAR I wanted, I put in even more effort.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Work hard, but more importantly, work smarter. The number of hours you work is important, but as any good economist knows, optimising your output and productivity in the long term can only come through using your resources (time and energy) more efficiently. That means when you’re studying, you have to be 100% focused – listen attentively to your teachers in class, make notes or annotations whilst reading your textbooks and complete your homework to the highest standard. A good idea is to set your goals at the start of the year – write them down on a piece of paper, and continually evaluate progress towards them.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

Year 12 is a tough and turbulent year, and there are many periods of time where your results and the outlook for your objectives may seem bleak. It is important to remember your long and short term goals – which will give you a sense of optimism and something to strive towards.  During the tough times I would focus on short term objectives – the little steps I needed to take in order to achieve my macro-objectives.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

Past students such as Leo Li who seemed to have it in aces in terms of achievements across all domains inspired me to strive during my time at Christ Church. Many of my peers were also sources of inspiration – the achievements of the cohort, from the victory at the PSA swimming competition to the WADL debating grand final in 2017. Of course, neither my own nor the cohort’s achievements would’ve been possible without the network of staff who ensure the School continues to be one of the best.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

I would like to study at the University of Sydney or Melbourne, pursuing a science undergraduate degree in either mathematics or physics. If I get into UWA, I’ll hopefully study philosophy. At university, I plan to replicate the experiences I’ve had at Christ Church by participating in as many co-curricular activities as I can and just enjoying my time at which ever University I end up in. After university, I hope to work in the fields of either academia or finance.

Alex Frost

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

Knowing that if I keep this level of work up, I’ll be able to eventually relax and actually feel like I deserve it. I knew that at the end of the year I’d be finished with Year 12 regardless of my performance and feeling like I’d gone through the year putting in minimal effort would make this big break seem undeserving.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Make sure that you’ve got more than a desired mark to validate your choice of subjects. Enjoying all your subjects is honestly not that hard and it makes your school life less tedious and tiring. Also, try to establish a good balance between what’s going on in your life. It’s unrealistic to sustain a study regime of six-hour days, six-days a week.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

In relation to poor results, the leverage that your WACE exams have on your final mark helped me out a lot. Knowing that scoring sub-par in a test meant so little when I could bring it all back with mock and actual exams.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

My classmates were certainly an inspiration. Seeing the amazing work ethic that everyone had throughout Years 11 and 12 was a big wake up call as I’d been fairly dormant for the majority of Year 10. Teachers who clearly love their jobs really gave me that extra push to keep working hard. One person was my Year 12 English teacher, Mr Neil Walker. Feeling the aura of joy and excitement ever-present in his class and his character gave me immense inspiration in English and made it a lot easier for me to express my creativity.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

To do so much with all this (hopefully) new free time. In terms of hobbies, I’m really looking forward to ramping up my music production and hopefully gaining some sort of recognition from it. I’m hoping to get into philosophy at UWA and my postgrad is still something to be decided.

Gilbert Porter

What has been your inspiration for working hard?

My parents’ endless belief in me and encouragement they provided every step of the way was invaluable in motivating me to work hard. The high academic standards set by predecessors, specifically the 2016 cohort. My aspiration to achieve my full potential with a long-term goal of studying overseas enabled me to maintain focus throughout the year, particularly during exam time.

What advice do you have for incoming Year 12 students?

Find out what works for you. I found that finding a quiet place to study, away from distractions, was the best way to study. During WACE exam period I found that studying at the local library was incredibly helpful as being surrounded by other motivated students helped me to maintain focus. Some people may find that studying in groups or even pairs works better for them.

How have you dealt with hurdles and challenges?

Hurdles and challenges appeared throughout Year 12 both personally and at school. Being able to talk to people at Christ Church, psychologists, my tutor and Head of House helped me deal with challenges. I was able to seek different perspectives on personal challenges, allowing me to deal with them in a more constructive manner. I also channelled my efforts into study when times were tough.

Who inspired you at Christ Church?

The hard work and determination of fellow students who I saw daily. The ethos of Christ Church is the collaboration and camaraderie that exists between boys at the School. Being able to learn in an environment where collaborative learning is not only accepted but encouraged.

What is your plan for 2018 and beyond?

I have applied for direct entry into medicine and law at UWA as well as other interstate universities. I am very grateful for my education at Christ Church, for the opportunities it has provided me throughout my schooling and for what I have achieved as a result of attending this school.