On behalf of our community, I congratulate our 2019 Dux, Joseph Cefai who achieved an ATAR of 98.7; putting him in the top 1.3% of all Year 12 students in the state. Achieving a perfect score of 50 in Environmental Science and a study score of 45 in both Psychology and English, Joseph is set to study a Bachelor of Biomedicine at Melbourne University.
I spoke to Joseph about how he remained focused in the face of challenges throughout Year 12, and the key people in his life who provided him with support and guidance. With an ATAR of 98.7 comes many opportunities; and Joseph shares his plans for the future.
Joseph, your steady commitment to learning and your ability to focus has been outstanding. Explain how you managed this throughout your final year.
With a consistent work ethic. The cliché of Year 12 being a marathon, and not a sprint, really is true. It was important for me to find a level of working that I could maintain throughout the year. That way I could remain ahead of my studies whilst still finding time to live my life outside of school, in order to not burn out from the pressures of Year 12.
Now that results are out, what are your immediate plans?
My immediate plans are to catch up with friends and family as much as possible. I might book a holiday to somewhere in Australia in the new year.
With exceptional results come a broad range of options. Explain to me how these options help you arrive at your overall goal?
Choosing the subjects I enjoyed in high school naturally guided me towards science. This helped me determine the area I wanted to study in university, and from there it was a matter of finding the science course which I thought I would enjoy the most.
What has been your biggest learning through your final year?
That a strong social network is the most valuable form of support you can have throughout school and throughout life. Whether it was joking with friends at school or working through difficult concepts with them, the support of my friends was invaluable.
What role has courage and belief in yourself played to help push forward to achieve your goals?
Courage and belief in my ability allowed me to foster the self-motivation I needed to complete Year 12. These qualities were essentially tenets that allowed me to strive for success, since I knew that with hard work I could achieve my goals.
How important have relationships with others been in Year 12?
My relationships have been the cornerstone of an overall enjoyable and positive experience of Year 12. My parents’ support was immense. They understood the pressure I put on myself and were able to moderate my stress by telling me to simply enjoy the experience of school, regardless of my academic outcome. The relationship I forged with my teachers in Year 12 was a completely new experience, where I felt as though we were striving for the same goal of success in VCE. Strong relationships with my teachers made school feel like a much more personal, individual experience. My teachers were willing to go above and beyond to provide me with everything I needed for a successful year. Arguably, the most important relationships this year were between students in our year level. We developed a culture defined by our overall easy-going natures, with a good mix of healthy competition and banter. This positive culture allowed us all to enjoy the year and bring out the best in each other.
What have these relationships taught you?
That school is more than just a way to complete a formal education. The relationships formed and the memories shared through school are equally important, and undoubtedly will last longer in your memory than your recollection of a book you once studied in English. The relationships I have developed throughout my time at Salesian have made me who I am today, and have taught me a lot about myself and the person I want to be in the future.
What are three points of advice for students that you’d like to share?
Write notes, do the work, and find time for yourself.
On behalf of Salesian College Chadstone, I congratulate Joseph on the commitment and perseverance he has demonstrated over the course of his time at Salesian College Chadstone. We look forward to hearing about all he achieves in the future.