By Tom McNish

THREE Inverloch friends have received Wonthaggi Secondary College’s three highest ATAR results.

Dimitri Van Oss 97.2, Zali Anderson 95.95 and Holly Hughes 95.5 have all been close friends since primary school at Inverloch Kongwak.

Through the challenging year of remote learning, their friendship group focused on supporting each other.

“A lot of people, when they’re in year 12, they’re in it for themselves,” Zali said.

“We weren’t concerned about being competitive the whole way through; if I had a question, I’d ask Holly,” she said.

Holly agreed they would build each other up rather than focusing on SAC rankings.

“If we had learnt different things from different teachers, we’d share notes and really just focus on working together,” Holly said.

“There were moments that I almost gave up, but keeping going is what matters,” she said.

Vice-principal Phil Hughes said many of the school’s top 20 students were from a similar friendship group.

“The ‘textbook’ thing for students to do is to drop the competitiveness, focus on supporting each other and the value of the outcomes are here,” Hughes said.

He commended the students’ focus through 2020.

“The difference of going to school, moving class each hour and having a social life, to just getting up and sitting in the one room is huge,” Mr Hughes said.

Following on from successful VCE subjects completed in 2018, the students had an understanding of the work required to reach a high study score.

Dimitri has received multiple academic achievements and awards in his six years schooling at WSC.

He said he would often study from 9am to 6pm.

Dimitri has a interest and strengths in mathematics subjects and is embarking on an Engineering (Honours) Degree at Monash University, or possibly Science at Melbourne University.

Zali is pursuing a Physiotherapy (Honours) degree at Monash University.

Holly is pursuing a Nursing (Midwifery) degree at Monash University.

Phil Hughes said the year was challenging, but not without its rewards.

“This has been challenging for all of our students and staff as they adjusted to both periods of remote and flexible learning,” Mr Hughes said.

“The year 12 cohort has displayed resilience and dedication as independent learners in completing their final year of schooling – an admirable feat considering the demands of VCE.

“There were also exceptional study score results amongst our year 11 cohort including a number of 40-plus study scores.

“We wish all of students well as they embark on the exciting next stage in their lives, whether it be in employment, trade apprenticeships or further study,” he said.