Naracoorte High School student Abby Walker achieves top ATAR

Countless hours of study and hard work in the classroom and at home have paid off for Naracoorte High School’s 2016 Year 12 students.

Many local students received outstanding Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks (ATAR), including Abby Walker, who topped the class with a score of 99.15 including two merits for Biology and Research Project.

Abby’s near perfect result could be the highest score a Year 12 student at Naracoorte High School has ever achieved without bonus points.

“I was really shocked when I got my score – I wasn’t really expecting it," Abby said. “Once it sunk in, I was stoked and so glad that all of my hard work paid off.”

The local teenager took on Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English as her Year 12 subjects, completing her compulsory Research Project in Year 11 (in 2015) to alleviate the workload in her final year of school.

“My Research Project was on poverty in Cambodia and how it affects young children – I’m glad I finished it in Year 11 so I wasn’t as busy in Year 12,” she said. 

With school behind her, Abby said she was looking forward to moving onto a tertiary education.

“I’ve applied for uni next year and I’d like to eventually study medicine but it’s quite competitive,” she said.

“If I don’t get into medicine, I’ll have a gap year and then reapply and start off in a medical science degree and hopefully make my way into medicine.”

Abby said she would like to acknowledge her family, friends and teachers for all of their support during her Year 12 journey.

“I’d especially like to thank Ms Gasparini, my mentor teacher and chemistry teacher, as she was a huge help in Year 12 - I wouldn’t have got through chemistry without her,” she laughed.

“All of the teachers at Naracoorte High School are fantastic – they would do anything to help you.”

Naracoorte High School principal Kym Grant said he was extremely pleased with the Year 12 students' results.

"100 per cent of the eligible students gained their SACE and the number of students within that 90 to 99 bracket increased by 18 per cent," he said.

"These students worked extremely hard and this is justified by the results that they have."

Mr Grant said Abby's ATAR is the highest score a Year 12 student had achieved during his time at Naracoorte High School.

"I think Abby was the second highest in the region behind a student at Mount Gambier High School - she did exceptionally well," he said.

"Four other Naracoorte High School students had scores in the 90s and also did outstandingly well."

Naracoorte High School teacher Michelle Gasparini said she was immensely proud of Abby's hard work over the past year. 

"As both her mentor and teacher, I have seen Abby's dedicated approach towards all of her studies," she said.

"Many hours were spent revising content, completing assignments and answering questions to consolidate her knowledge. 

"Abby also ensured that she asked her teachers questions when clarifying information, which occurred both inside and outside of lesson times. 

"Abby has put many hours into her school work and as a result she deserves every point of her ATAR." 

Ms Gasparini said the SACE and ATAR results are definitely a testament to the dedicated team of Naracoorte High School staff, as well as the determination of the hard-working students.

"Our staff put 110 per cent of their efforts into supporting our students, especially with the accessibility they provide to our students - for example many teachers offer additional times for students to gain help in," she said.

"Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in results for both Stage 1 and Stage 2, which is fantastic to see.

"Naracoorte High School wishes all of the 2016 graduates the best as they enter the workforce full-time or continue with further study. 

"They should all be proud of their efforts in 2016 - Naracoorte High School staff are certainly proud of them."

When it comes to advice for future students going through Year 12, Abby said it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between study and leisure. 

“I did work quite hard but I didn’t study flat out all the time, I took a bit of time to myself every now and then to keep on track,” she explained. “Just remember, it’s not even a year, so you may as well just work hard, knuckle down and put in the time while you can.”

Five other Naracoorte High School Year 12 students also achieved ATAR scores of 88 or better in an outstanding year of results for the school.