LAURENZ TOPS THE CLASS

Laurenz Watters is Dux of Geelong Grammar School's for 2020 having achieved an IB score of 44 when results were released on Sunday 3 January. Laurenz's score converts to an ATAR of 99.75. Julie Yuan is the Proxime Accessit having achieved an IB score of 43, converting to an ATAR of 99.55. Julie and Laurenz are two of 14 students to achieve an IB score of 40 or above in 2020 (up from 12 in 2019) and the School's median score of 35 is one fewer than 2019, however as IB marks can be challenged and subjects re-marked, the results are provisional.

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Laurenz, from Newtown, started his Geelong Grammar School journey all the way back in Prep at Bostock House. Laurenz and twin brother, Florian, followed near-identical paths from Bostock to Highton House in Middle School, slightly deviating at Timbertop - Laurenz was in B Unit, Florian in F Unit - before reuniting in Allen House in Senior School. The decision to study the IB at the end of Year 10 was an easy one, given his family history. "My older siblings did the IB a while ago and they really enjoyed it," he said. Anna Koestenbauer, Laurenz's sister, was Dux of the School in 2006 while brother Jakob achieved an IB score in excess of 40 in 2008. "I also liked the idea of having that broader education, not just focusing on a couple of subjects." He was very engaged in life beyond the classroom, performing at the 2019 Battle of the Bands and the 2019 Leavers' Celebration while also representing the School in both 1st Soccer and 1st Tennis. In Year 12, he received the Cuthbertson, Sanderson and Isabel Henderson Essay Prize, along with the Francis Hope Lascelles and Lady Robinson Prize for Reading.

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(L-to-R) Florian and Laurenz perform at the 2019 Battle of the Bands

After 13 years sporting the light blue, he's ready for the next phase of life. "I really enjoyed my time at the School but now I'm ready to do something different." Not that he'll be moving all that far, Laurenz plans to study Biomedicine at The University of Melbourne. 


Julie rehearsing before the 2020 House Music competition

Julie, from Surrey Hills, joined Garnett House at the beginning of Year 10. "One of the things that attracted me to GGS was the concept of boarding and I knew it would be a great opportunity to not only challenge my independence but also develop many strong friendships," Julie said of her decision to attend GGS. "That, and the fact I could bring my horse to school." A talented artist, Julie was awarded the 2020 Packing Room Prize, chosen by the Visual Arts Department from the works in the annual Coriobald Prize Exhibition, for her oil-on-canvas Portrait of my Mum, which was completed during the first lockdown. "I was happy to be with my mum when I painted her portrait, even though the painting itself was based on a photograph." Art proved to be an invaluable tool for Julie in 2020. "It was a really helpful way for me to relieve stress and take a break from studying." She hopes to study Art in the UK.

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"Portrait of my Mum" - Julie's Packing Room Prize-winning entry to the 2020 Coriobald Prize Exhibition

Looking back on her time at the School, it's the little things she will miss the most. "I think my fondest memories of GGS are the many small moments with my friends and the Garnett girls that really made GGS feel like home to me," Julie said. "House Music, too, is definitely something that I will remember as well after accompanying the House Choir on piano for the past three years." Julie received the Charles Murray Maxwell Prize for Biology, the Ruth White Prize for Art, and the Cuthbertson, Sanderson and Isabel Henderson Essay Prize. She was part of the School's Girls' 1st Badminton team and also represented GGS in Equestrian and Netball.

Laurenz and Florian
(L-to-R) Florian and Laurenz both have eyes for the ball in Year 8 Soccer

Florian Watters was one of a handful of students who attained an IB score of 42 and, like his brother, he hopes to study Biomedicine at The University of Melbourne. Clearly a year working in such close proximity during multiple lockdowns didn't put the brothers off the idea of studying together post-GGS. "It was extremely helpful having Laurenz at home to work together," Florian said. "I don't know about other people but personally I found it hard to concentrate in the Zoom classes. I found myself doing a lot more independent study and having him there made it better because we could do our own thing together."

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Across both the IB and VCE, Allen House - one of two senior Day Boarding houses - produced very strong results. According to Florian, it was the strength of the friendships within the house that carried them through such a tough year. "We had a whole group of people who liked each other a lot, and that just makes it easier for collaborative work and studying together," Florian said. "If I had to attribute the results from Allen to anything it's that we all got along and we're all mates."

Harriet-Furphy-Valedictory

Harriet Furphy also achieved a score of 42, despite being one of a number of GGS students to receive an offer from ANU in August as part of their early offers based off a student's Year 11 results. "It has definitely made me more relaxed about my studies as I now just need to pass IB and pass my maths component which should be fine," Harriet said in August. Not content with simply passing, Harriet's IB score converts to 99.20; she is one of eight GGS students to achieve an ATAR of 99 or higher. "I think I wanted to see what I was capable of, especially in certain subjects, which drove me a bit," Harriet said when asked what motivated her in recent months. "Also, and it sounds funny, but I was really heavily motivated by my teachers because they had done so much for me especially this year that I wanted to make the most of that as well."

Clyde-House-Swimming

Harriet joined the School at Timbertop in Year 9. One of her favourite memories of the Timbertop year was "sitting in the chapel, listening to music or people speak" which is hardly surprising when you consider Harriet went on to appear in a number of GGS musicals and productions, and captained the GGS Debate team in 2020. She was involved in virtually every part of school life; something she says wasn't necessarily a conscious decision, but stemmed from wanting to make the most of the opportunities she had been given. "Coming to GGS from Shepparton, I think I was pretty amazed at the amount of things that you could get involved in and how well run and organised they were that it seemed crazy not to get involved. It was busy but so much fun and I am so glad I did." She will complete a double degree of Engineering and Advanced Computing at ANU.