More than scores: Year 12 students share highlights from their time at MLC

More than scores: Year 12 students share highlights from their time at MLC

December 13th, 2023

As the echoes of VCE results reverberate across the state, it is important that we celebrate the achievements of students both inside and outside the classroom.  

Empowered by the unwavering support from their teachers, families and friends, the 2023 VCE cohort at MLC have balanced rigorous studies with the cultivation of their unique talents and passions. Here, we uncover five stories of passion, resilience and personal growth, a snapshot of the valued diversity and unique individual journeys of our Year 12 students. 

From delving into the realms of STEM and mathematics to competitive swimming and orchestra performances, these students have not only embraced but immersed themselves in a diverse curriculum and co-curricular activities.  In doing so, they have emerged as exemplars of independence and self-confidence. 

Sienna Wang 

Sienna immersed herself in a diverse range of co-curricular activities, from mathematics competitions and international chemistry quizzes to orchestras and drama productions. She left no stone unturned!  

“I see all these co-curricular activities as additives to our studies,” she reflects. “I like challenging myself and I think that these activities help develop creativity, problem solving and critical thinking skills.” 

This year, after encouragement from her teachers, Sienna partook in a challenging yet rewarding experience at the Australian National University’s intensive two-week chemistry camp as part of the Australian Science Olympiads. Engaging in the program allowed her to develop practical skills within renowned chemistry labs and deepened her understanding for STEM.  

Now, Sienna plans to continue fostering her love for the sciences by embarking on a tertiary education in STEM, “I’m drawn to the field of medicine because it brings together caregiving and the exciting opportunities of STEM.” she says.  

Charlie Millard  

Demonstrating exceptional resilience and commitment, Charlie spent her VCE years balancing a demanding study load and a vigorous training schedule. Early mornings were dedicated to swim training and late nights saw her coaching young swimmers at MLC Aquatic, with the club ranked second in the state. Despite the challenges, she fit this into the fabric of her class schedule, working towards the best outcome.  

After hearing stories of MLC Alumnae who studied abroad, Charlie set her sights on a global journey that would combine academics and her prowess in competitive swimming. In July of this year, she received an exciting early offer from the University of Arizona, United States.  

Charlie’s aspirations remain steadfast even as she considers a life beyond competitive swimming, “In terms of a career choice, I want to be a paramedic or go into teaching.” 

Hayley Barkley 

Hayley joined Tiddeman Boarding House with dreams of immersing herself in MLC’s renowned swimming program. There, she discovered a home away from home, surrounded by supportive teachers and friends that would last a lifetime.  

“I can’t talk highly enough about the community and the support we have received,” she says. “We all bring each other up, if the teachers notice that you’re struggling, they will create study groups to help get you back on track. It’s really amazing.” 

While pursuing her swimming ambitions, Hayley also embraced the opportunity to tailor her subjects at MLC to align with her passion for health and sport, building a pathway beyond exams.  

Reflecting on her experience at MLC, Hayley enthuses, “There are so many pathways to help you get into what you want to get into. I got to pick subjects based on what I wanted to do after life at MLC, which is major in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. I am hoping to travel abroad and attend either Arizona State University or Pennsylvania State University.” 

Elizabeth Phan 

A harmoniser of diverse interests, Elizabeth blended her love for music with her STEM aspirations. Between the demands of intensive studies, she found calmness in learning her favourite songs on the Ukulele.  

Although music remains her favourite past time, strengthened through her time at school, Elizabeth’s gaze is fixed on a future in the medical field. “My dad is a GP but he’s also my hero. I remember that he would always come home with stories about his day and how he helped people that day. I think I just want to be part of that and help people as well, that's what inspired me to follow a similar pathway.”   

Her experience over the last year has armed Elizabeth with valuable insights to share with future VCE students: "It is a unique experience for every person; my best advice would be not to have any expectations of what you are meant to do. It is a journey and a long process, depending on who you are."  

Jess McGregor 

Jess is a standout snowboarder – her journey through VCE was lead by her love for competitive snowboarding and sport, even competing in the FIS Park and Pipe Junior World Championships in 2023. In her final years at MLC, Jess chose to study a vocational subject, VCE VET Sport & Recreation, alongside VCE Physical Education and Health and Human Development. Through this, she now only deepened her sports knowledge, but also earned a certificate in her passion field through the VCE VET pathway.  

Juggling training and study is never easy, but Jess reflects on the support she had along the way: “Training is very intense and can last up to 8 hours a day, and when you mix this with schoolwork it can be quite difficult at times. But my teachers have been so supportive, and I can’t thank them enough. They’ve been there for me since day one and have been really understanding in helping me focus my career on my one true passion in life.”