Perfect Score for St Catherine’s School Dux
Congratulations to St Catherine’s School’s 2022 Dux, Angela Yu, who achieved the highest score possible, a remarkable perfect ATAR of 99.95.
Along with outstanding results across her VCE subjects, including a perfect Study Score in English, Angela was School Co-Captain and Co-Editor of the student-led newspaper, as well as participating in a wide range of co-curricular activities across her Senior School years including Debating and Public Speaking, Music, Writers’ Club, Outdoor Education, Human Rights Club, Cultural Diversity Club, GSA and GSV Sport.
Angela’s perfect ATAR is a direct result of her mature and proactive approach to learning and involvement in School life. Angela flourished in her role as School Co-Captain, leading the School admirably with her approachable and inclusive nature. This year Angela was also accepted into the Yale Young Global Scholars Program. The highly respected Program involves a two-week intensive seminar course, collaboration and networking opportunities and a real-world simulation under the guidance of Yale scholars.
Angela shares her joy at receiving her ATAR results below.
How does it feel to be a Dux of St Catherine’s School?
I’ve always looked up to the past duces of the school, and wondered at how they achieved it, so it feels very surreal for me at the moment. I think that’s what people usually say, but it’s true. I had to check that it wasn’t a dream. I still don’t really know how I got here!
What were your expectations/goals for your ATAR?
I certainly thought about getting a 99.95 – it was the ultimate goal. However, when I was predicting my ATAR, I liked to put in the worst-case scenarios so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I can’t say the worst-case scenarios were very low either, so overall I did have very high expectations.
What do you believe were the key ingredients that led to achieving a perfect score?
Enjoying your subjects is definitely the most important thing for me. I couldn’t dedicate time to something if I was hating it. Building a solid foundation from previous years was vital for me because Year 12 was tiring; what saved me was the reliability of the skills I already had.
For the Languages subjects, reading was a key part of my studying. I actually wish I had read or watched more. Moreover, I have to thank my parents for keeping the house really calm during exams, which was a bit difficult because I was stressed out!
Now that Year 12 has ended with the release of ATAR results, can you reflect on your biggest strengths as a student and your biggest challenges?
I think that it’s a huge benefit, especially for the subjects that I chose, if you have good writing skills. In essays and conversations, you’re mostly conveying the same ideas as everyone else, but the way you say it can make you stand out. That is why I think my eagerness to explore each subject, kind of ‘beyond the course,’ helped me to make my answers sound more sophisticated.
How did your VCE subject teachers support you?
All my teachers were very, very supportive. They would go out of their way to make time to see me, answer my questions, and give life advice on the way. There was a good combination of friendly motivation and harsh wake-up calls, which I eventually appreciated. It is clear that every teacher I had loved the subject that they were teaching, which made it very easy for me to enjoy studying them.
St Catherine’s School’s 2022 Year 12 Cohort have achieved outstanding academic results across a broad range of subjects. The Median ATAR for the School is an exemplary 92.35 with a Median Study Score of 37, for a second consecutive year and over a third of the students (33%) achieving a Study Score above 40. These results replicate the outstanding achievements of the 2021 Cohort.
Hear more about Angela’s life at St Catherine’s and plans for her future in her extended interview below.
What have been the highlights of your time at St Catherine’s?
A lot of activities and experiences have been highlights. However, consistent highlights throughout my time at St Catherine’s are the moments in classes when everyone is laughing together because someone, a teacher, or a student, has said something funny. These have brought my classes closer together because no matter how stressed or ambitious we are for academic results, the fact that we’re able to enjoy a laugh together reminds us that we’re in it together.
What co-curricular activities were you involved in?
Over my time in the Senior School, I’ve tried a range of different activities, from GSV Sport and Drama to Rowing, Music, Debating and Public Speaking. I have also been part of several clubs, including Writers’ Club, Cultural Diversity Club, Outdoor Ed Club, GSA, and Human Rights Club. Contributing to The Stentorian student newspaper this year has also been a highlight amongst my co-curricular activities.
What were your favourite subjects?
It is very difficult to pick one! For all my subjects, there were times when I loved them and hated them, but in the end, I’ve enjoyed studying them all, even the compulsory ones.
This year, I studied English, French, Literature and Specialist Mathematics. I think each of them have their specialties, and I was lucky to be part of quite close-knit and congenial classes. I also have to mention Latin, which I studied last year, because it has helped me form more solid ideas about what I want to pursue in the future.
What do you plan to study post School?
Classics, as part of an Arts degree.
What led you to selecting this career pathway?
I still haven’t decided on a career per se. I am lucky that I don’t have to make the decision yet. To be honest, no career particularly interests me yet, so I’ve looked back on my academic journey and pinpointed what I enjoyed most, which was Languages, as well as History, Literature, and Philosophy. Classics seemed like the right fit since it encompasses all these areas!
How has St Catherine’s assisted you in making your study and career choices?
Throughout my Senior School years, I’ve always felt supported by the Careers Office, especially when it came to subject selections each year. I remember that in the first year when I had to do subject selections, our Careers Practitioner was very patient in explaining the entire process from Year 9 through to VCE to my mum and me. I think that this attention to clarifying each step of the way has continued from then on, so that I’ve had the freedom and confidence to pursue what I wanted to do.
Where do you hope to study?
I am hoping to go overseas, or to the University of Melbourne.
What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
I will probably still be studying… I’m excited to do deeper research into the Classics.
How do you believe St Catherine’s and your teachers have helped you reach your goals?
In terms of my studying and participation in co-curricular activities, I don’t think anyone has ever given me a definite ‘no,’ or completely dismissed my ideas.
No matter how ambitious or perhaps idealistic I was, I’ve always been encouraged to believe that there is a way to the goals I set for myself.
In this way, I’ve been able to chase after my ambitions and reach some of them, because St Catherine’s has always endorsed the ‘can-do’ attitude and stretches me outside of my comfort zone.
In 2022, the Year 12 theme was Emerge. What does this mean to you?
For me, Emerge was very much an optimistic reaction to the life events that we had lived through together as a Year level.
Emerging out of the lockdowns at the end of last year, I felt hesitant going to School every day and getting back into the rhythm of life in person.
So, in my mind, Emerge has become a sound of strength and determination – to keep your head up, in a way, and to do what needs to be done, or even to aspire beyond the sometimes tediousness of human life.
What advice would you provide to future Year 12 students?
Get into a good schedule from the beginning. I know that for Mathematics, doing a bit of practice a day is crucial. I wish I had done the same more consistently for all my subjects.
There will be times when everyone falls into a slump, and no one has motivation. I don’t really have a cure for that, but that’s what surprised me the most, because I had always thought that I would be able to focus all my energy on Year 12 for the whole year. I guess just recognise it and try to get yourself out of it as soon as possible, but also don’t overwhelm yourself with guilt because that did not make me feel any better.