Canberra College students top the ACT ATAR rankings

It's ironic perhaps that one of Canberra's brightest students, a young woman who is planning a future in science and innovation, spends her weekends surrounded by ancient technology.

Matilda Dowse, who on Tuesday topped the ACT with an ATAR 99.95, works at Video Ezy in Phillip, "the last video hire place in Canberra I think," she says. "I love it."

Ms Dowse, 18, a student at Canberra College, plans to study a double degree in engineering and science or engineering and international relations at either the Australian National University or in Sydney or Melbourne.

"I'd really love to work in policy related to science and development and innovation," she says.

She plans to go straight to university, hopes to pick up a waitressing job to supplement her income over summer and start planning for the Canberra TedX Youth event which she is helping to organise in February.

Ms Dowse and fellow Canberra College student Michael Polkinghorne topped the ACT ATAR scores, both receiving 99.95.


Mr Polkinghorne, 17, wants to study in the STEM field. His school program included a double major in specialist mathematics, majors in information technology, chemistry, physics, a minor in english and an additional minor in astrophysics through the ANU Secondary College.

"I've applied for a few different things but I'll wait to see what happens when our preferences are announced soon and I might have to change things now I know what my ATAR is," he said.

All students will receive their ATAR scores on Friday December 16 via the Universities Admissions Centre website or the My UAC app. Students applying for tertiary study in 2017 have until January 6 to change their course preferences for consideration in the main round of offers on January 18.

Samantha Morris, who attended Melba Copland Secondary School already knows what she wants to study.

She'll be the third generation of women in her family to take up nursing. She plans to study for a degree in nursing and midwifery at the University of Canberra.

"My grandmother Lorraine Miller and my mother Antionette Tulloh are both nurses," Ms Morris said.

"My grandmother was a palliative care nurse and my mother has worked in disability care for 20 years. They were both inspirations for me."

Ms Morris said taking on VET courses during her final years at school opened her eyes to the opportunities available in nursing. She completed Australian School Based Apprenticeships in Aged Care and Ageing Support while working at the Calvary Hayden Retirement Community, where she was recognised with the Mary Potter Award for kindness, generosity and friendliness.

These three students were among  those recognised at the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies Excellence Ceremony on Tuesday.

Chair of the board Rosemary Follett acknowledged all year 12 students for their hard work and dedication to their education in the secondary years.

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of the ACT senior secondary system and we have much to celebrate," Ms Follett said.

"While this is the end of their formal school life, I have no doubt each student graduating year 12 this year will go on to a unique and fulfilling education pathway or career."