VCE Awards videos

The Premier's VCE Awards demonstrated the diversity of study and career paths available to Victorian students, and the talent and ambition among this year’s award recipients; including a young farmer, an aspiring lawyer and a professional dancer, all featured in videos at the ceremony.

James White

James White received a Premier’s VCE Award for Agricultural and Horticultural Studies. He is currently completing year 12 at Rutherglen High School and hopes one day to run his family’s farm and help build a sustainable agriculture industry. James was one of 290 students to be awarded a Premier’s VCE Award for outstanding achievement in VCE in 2018.

 
Audio transcript

[James White] The thing that’s great about being on a farm is just being outdoors. I just love the connection with nature, working with animals, growing crops that kind of stuff.

Our family farm has been established since 1869. And I’ll be the sixth generation to farm it.

The thing about farming is it’s kind of a special job to me, like you’re feeding the nation in a way.

I think it’s one of the most important jobs and it often gets overlooked I suppose.

Here at school I learn, well a lot of the science stuff around agriculture actually 'cos I find that interesting and we've got the resources here to learn it.

But I’m also involved out in the farm when we’re practicing leading so we’ll be doing that soon in the next couple of months.

Well, learning different things in agricultural science is important for the sustainability of agriculture I think. You can’t keep doing things the same way.

But it’s also important to acknowledge traditions that you’ve done and why you did them. Particularly in the agronomy side of things, looking into more natural fertilizers and that sort of stuff is quite handy going into the future in sustainable agriculture.

[Ron Webb - VCE Agriculture and Horticulture Teacher, Rutherglen High School] The reality is we need people who are going to be good at research and development. And that is an area I think James may end up in.

So research and development is important so that we can actually assist those people on the ground to actually be able to produce with less and do it better.

So that’s why I think James is, yeah why people like him are really important to have in the industry.

[James White] When I first got my score, I was thinking “oh I didn’t quite get my 50 I was aiming for” which that’s what I suppose you aim for, everyone tries.

But yeah, when I found out I actually got a Premier’s Award, I was like “wow, maybe I did do pretty well and my work paid off”. So I was pretty happy. Yeah.

In ten years’ time I’d like to be running my own farm, living the dream, and actually seeing some good profits from it and developing the family farm a bit more, and being part of the new sustainable agriculture sector I suppose, just leading a bit of change in the industry. Yeah.

Maryam Ahmed

Maryam Ahmed received a Premier’s VCE Award for Psychology. She completed VCE at Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School and is now studying Commerce/Law at Monash University. Maryam was one of 290 students to be awarded a Premier’s VCE Award for outstanding achievement in VCE in 2018.

 
Audio transcript

[Maryam Ahmed] Learning about things like how the brain works and just how people think and how we behave as a result of that is very interesting.

And it’s something that you can apply in all facets of life, I think.

So yeah that’s kind of the main reason why I chose to do psychology and really enjoyed it throughout the two years I did it.

My relationship with my psychology teacher was pretty strong and she got to know me very well and I made it clear that I want to do the best I possibly can in her class and she was very supportive.

She was willing to help me do the best I can, which I really appreciate.

[Sarah Woodhouse - VCE Psychology Teacher, Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School] With Maryam, she’s one of the most amazing students that I have taught.

The thing I admired about her the most was how hard she was willing to work.

And then I thought well you know my role then is to support her as much as I can with that.

And find her as many resources as I can and just support her on that journey of her wanting to do really well.

[Maryam Ahmed] The Premier’s VCE Awards are not just a reflection of our own achievements as students.

A lot of credit goes to our teachers and our family who have supported us through that and I personally really think that this award reflects them, not just me.

[Sarah Woodhouse] I suppose I just don’t see it as a teaching role, it’s a support role.

You’re someone that they can come and talk to and it might not be about the work, it might be about how to study and what the best things they can put in place.

And I suppose be not only a teacher but a friend and someone that they can rely on.

[Maryam Ahmed] So, obviously having finished VCE I am heading into a new chapter in my life, which I’m really excited about.

And whilst it might be a bit nerve-racking on the side as well. I think as long as you’re pursuing your passion then you’re going down the right track.

Nathan Pavey

Nathan Pavey received a Premier’s VCE Award for Dance (VCE VET). Nathan completed his studies at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and soon after made his professional performance debut in the Australian and International musical production of Westside Story. Nathan was one of 290 students to be awarded a Premier’s VCE Award for outstanding achievement in VCE in 2018.

 
Audio description

Like, I couldn’t imagine not doing dancing. People say 'why do you love dancing?' and I couldn’t imagine my life without it and that’s literally it. I think it’s something that’s come really naturally.

Yeah, it just feels right I guess and I think my parents saw that. I know my dance teacher definitely saw that pretty much straight away I think. I think she tried to warn my parents that “He’s going to go somewhere one day so start saving your money now”.

So, I’m currently playing Snowboy in the Australian and international tour of Westside Story. It's very much a singing, dancing, acting extravaganza, I guess you could call it. It’s such an iconic piece of theatre and to be part of it is amazing.

I guess I needed to do well because this is such an amazing opportunity and I want to make the teachers proud. I want to make everyone proud back home.

I will always be a country boy at heart. Moving here to Melbourne. That was huge. Yeah it was definitely a culture shock and I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without having to go through that because it was very hard. I’ve definitely grown accustomed to the city life which I quite enjoy now.

At VCASS it’s half-days. So, half-day dance, then you do half-day academic, and then you might do rehearsals later on in the afternoon. It's a lot, I mean it was very difficult but it teaches you how to work hard and the results pay off.

You can sometimes feel like it’s not worth it but for people to see that it is worth it and that rewards do come. It just takes time and patience. I think if you’re very passionate about something you’re going to find a way no matter what.

I still pinch myself! Originally from Corowa, NSW. A country kid at heart. Ready to take on the world!