A phenomenal five boys from Melbourne High have received the perfect Australian Tertiary Admission Rank for the first time in the selective-entry school's history. The school's 335 VCE students achieved a median ATAR of 95.45 – the third highest performing cohort in the last decade.
Principal Jeremy Ludowyke said three of the five perfect scorers had also received gold diplomas, which the school awards to students who excel in leadership roles and extracurricular activities as well as academia.
"They are real polymaths – good at a whole range of things," Mr Ludowyke said. "This is very much a reflection of the school's philosophy about well-roundedness. It is also an affirmation for us that families trusted that philosophy rather than pull out of music and sport. They continued with these and really achieved in these areas as well as achieving the perfect score."
Staff and students at the John Monash Science School in Clayton were also celebrating much individual success today.
Fourteen students achieved a rank higher than 99. More than half of the 204 students had an ATAR higher than 90.
But principal Peter Corkill said it takes plenty of co-operation to achieve strong results in year 12. "It's all about team, not competition," he said. "It's a huge group effort by teachers and students and they've all done really well."
This year they became the first VCE students to graduate from the school, which opened in 2010.
They were among almost 47,000 eligible to receive their ATAR rank today. Many students received them via SMS or went online to find their ranks.
John Monash student Samuel Schlegel, 18, achieved an ATAR of 99.4, exceeding his goal of 99. He is yet to decide what to study next year but is considering health sciences or biological sciences.
Mr Schlegel completed a first biology subject at Monash University in addition to his year 12 subjects. He spent up to three hours a day on the train commuting between school and his home in Maryknoll. But he said he loved the close community at John Monash and the opportunity to study at university.
Fellow student Sarah Sims was taken by surprise when she went online to find her ATAR, which was 99.5. "I saw it and I wasn't sure if it was right. I refreshed the page," she said.
She wants to study science at Melbourne University although her rank is high enough to gain entry into several other courses, including biomedicine.
Sarah's parents were also thrilled to see she had achieved such a high rank. "They couldn't believe it either. We were just staring at it for half an hour."
Sunbury VCE graduate Nicole Isles said there was high tension in her house at stressful times during the year as she completed year 12 alongside her twin brother, Nathan.
Both siblings achieved high ranks. Nicole's ATAR was 96.1 while her brother received 99.4. She hopes her ATAR will be enough for an offer from Melbourne University to study biomedicine.
Nicole studied a range of broad subjects, including maths methods, specialist maths, literature, chemistry, biology and psychology.
"I really enjoyed all my subjects," she said. "I just went for what I liked to do and didn't worry that they didn't connect all that much."