Skyler Waring (Yr12 A) is the School’s top VCE performer for 2021, achieving an ATAR score of 99.6 when results were released on Thursday 16 December. The median ATAR for this year’s VCE cohort is 75.9 – the School’s highest median ATAR since 2015 and up from 72.75 in 2020 – while 29 students (21.2% of this year’s VCE cohort) received an ATAR score of 90 or higher.

Frankie Jackson (Yr12 EM), Iris Jeffrey (Yr12 Fr), Olivia Shergold (Yr12 Cl) and Ned Worboys (Yr12 A) rounded-out the School’s top five VCE performers, each with scores in excess of 97. Iris also achieved a perfect study score of 50 in Legal Studies.

143 students completed the VCE in 2021, with 57 students undertaking the IB Diploma. IB results will be released on Monday 3 January. 

Skyler, from Lara, joined the School in Year 7 and spent Senior School in Allen. “I was really lucky to be in a really close year level in Allen for the past three years. It’s always nice to just hang around the people in your house,” Skyler said. Speaking at this year’s Leavers’ Celebration, she reflected on what has been two years full of interruptions and setbacks, while commending the class of 2021 for continuing to do their best even when they felt like closing their books/ laptops and giving up. “Towards the end it was a grind – working non-stop – I just had to keep in mind that it goes really quickly and it’s only one year of your life. If you are able to push through, you get to the end and you can really see the results of all your hard work.”

For Skyler, the relationships built and friendships formed over the past six years are an enduring legacy of her time at the School. “Middle School was all about making new friends at a new school. And I’m lucky enough that I’ve kept a lot of those friends over the past couple of years. At Timbertop, I enjoyed the times when the unit was all together; unit celebrations; finishing runs and going to see your friends after, and everyone would have this great sense of achievement. It did make all the running seem worth it.”

Beyond GGS, Skyler hopes to study osteopathy. “That’s probably been my top preference for most of the year,” she said. “I would really love to study in the health/ science sector, so osteopathy while maybe specialising in sports medicine, or even just overall wellbeing.”

Frankie Jackson (Yr12 EM), from Federal in NSW’s Byron Shire, received her ATAR of 98.1 on what felt like Christmas morning. “My body clock decided to wake me up really early so I could open my presents,” she said. “When I opened the email from VCAA I didn’t immediately see my ATAR but I saw all my study scores and I was just so proud of my English and my Lit scores, in particular. I was just blown away. I didn’t expect it at all.” 

After finishing exams and returning home for the first time since June due to border closures, Frankie was able to switch off and “forget about the whole ATAR thing” until Wednesday night, enjoying some much-needed time with family and friends. “From June ’til November (when I finished exams), I was either staying in EM or going to friends’ houses when all the lockdowns were happening. Looking back, it was so crazy and turbulent but, looking at my ATAR now, I’m like ‘it’s okay’, you can go through that kind of thing and maybe come out stronger on the other side.”

The Hawker Library has been revitalised in 2021 as a quiet place for Senior School students to study, and Frankie certainly utilised the space. “The library was like my little home – my bubble from COVID – where I felt like I could forget everything that was happening in the world and just delve into school work,” she continued. “The support from EM, and the School, was invaluable. In EM there were so many girls from interstate. It was terrible that none of us could go home but it was also something that made it a lot easier as we were all in a similar boat; we could be upset together and we could be happy together, which was really comforting.”

Frankie hopes to study something in the media and communications field, with a focus on literature/ film. “My score has opened up even more pathways for me that I can now consider before I need to finalise my preferences.”

Ned Worboys (Yr12 A), from Newtown in Geelong’s west, achieved an ATAR of 97.3 and, like both Skyler and Frankie, joined the School in Year 7. Ned’s ATAR is all the more impressive given that he discovered fairly early on that his style of learning didn’t lend itself to remote learning. “The key ingredient to my style of working is pressure and, with a timetable with a max of four periods a day, there was very little of this ingredient,” Ned explained. “When faced with a time period of more than an hour to study whatever I wanted, very little was achieved, but given a single free day before my hardest exam, English, I thrived.” By acknowledging this early on, Ned felt that he came back stronger whenever face-to-face learning returned and was able to better utilise those around him. “In Allen, we focused on collaborative working, sometimes having a large group all working to complete a SAC due the next day. With this collaboration, I found that helping others allowed me to better understand things that I thought I knew, or even remind me of things I should have known.”

Beyond the classroom, Ned represented the School in soccer and tennis. In addition, Ned and Frazer McDonald (Yr12 A) made their mark on the Eton Fives court, winning the past two national championships (Geelong Grammar School has the only Eton Fives court in Australia.) “Frazer had had enough after the first win and took a lot of convincing to come back for the second title,” Ned said. As it stands, with the annual Arthur Angliss Challenge Cup only open to current students, Ned’s chances of claiming a third national title appear slim. “But if Beavis (Mx Beaver) ever needs someone to come and coach Eton Fives I would be happy to help.”

Ned hopes to study Biomedical Engineering at UNSW next year.