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RGS OP1 students reflect on achievement

15th Dec 2019

RGS Year 12 graduates joined thousands of students across Queensland on Friday night waiting nervously to find out their OP and the resulting study possibilities that lie ahead.
Here are the thoughts of our RGS OP1 students for 2019:


James Vandeleur

RGS Dux of the School James Vandeleur stayed up until midnight with friends to receive the good news he had earned an OP1 score.
“It’s good to get confirmation on that final thing for school,’’ said James, who is hoping to study a Bachelor of Science Degree, Physics major, at the University of Queensland.
James also welcomed the OP success for his fellow RGS students.
“It’s been a pretty solid cohort and it’s great to see other students also achieving an OP1,’’ James said.
“We had a friendly competition throughout secondary school which helped everyone improve together. “It’s been a good environment (at RGS) to have those academic aspirations among the students to want to do well at school.”

Harrison Hooper

“The hard work has paid off,’’ Harrison said.
That hard work included Harrison studying seven subjects in Year 12 as well as playing in about seven school bands.
Harrison tried to get as much work done in class as possible before a hectic end of the day which regularly included band practice at school and then heading home before some quick relaxation, study, eat and sleep.
“A couple of years ago this (an OP1) was a distant dream,’’ Harrison said.
“My friend group has helped me through and I also decided to force myself to take harder subjects.”
While increasing his study challenges, Harrison also made sure there was time to keep enjoying his music.
“Music is really fun and has really helped me through my studies,’’ Harrison said.
Harrison hopes to study a Bachelor of Engineering and Maths at QUT in 2020.
“The STEAM subjects really appealed to me at school and I studied a diverse range of subjects including Music, English Extension, Physics and Maths C,’’ Harrison said.
Harrison also plans to continue playing his music in Brisbane with some friends – including James Vandeleur.

Abhinav Singh

Abhinav Singh was in Brisbane preparing for the Queensland Junior Teams Tennis Carnival in Brisbane when he was “ecstatic” to see his OP1 result at midnight.
“I called my family straight away and they were pretty happy,’’ Abhinav said.
Also celebrating his success were his Central Region team mates who were also waiting to see what he received.
“My tennis team mates were my substitute family,’’ Abhinav said.
Abhinav said it was still surreal (receiving an OP1) and he had to keep double checking the website.
Reaching an OP1 has not been an easy journey for Abhinav. While sitting exams in 2018 he had to deal with the passing of his grandad and again during exams in 2019 he lost a “close mate”.
“My end goal has always been to get into medicine and many people have helped me along with way, with their blessings,’’ Abhinav said.
Abhinav is also grateful to RGS for helping him achieve this goal.
“Everyone has been like my Grammar family. All my teachers helped me get through the tough times and were always there to support me,’’ said Abhinav, who started at RGS in Year 9.
“RGS has also built me as a person. I’m now more confident talking to other people and the School has also helped build my character and resilience. I now have more self-belief.”
Abhinav will now wait on medicine study offers in mid-January, having already had interviews at three universities.
“I’ve always liked the changing nature of medicine and you have the chance to put a smile on someone’s face,’’ Abhinav said.
“I have a motto – You learn from every single person you meet in life.”

Paige Baker

Paige Baker plans to live in Sydney next year, working with a dance company for a year, before hopefully embarking an Arts/Law double major at university.
“I want to keep on with language studies. I’d love to work in an embassy one day,’’ Paige said.
Paige said it was still a bit surreal getting an OP1.
“It’s a pretty thrilling feeling all the hard work has paid off,’’ Paige said.
“It was very surprising. I knew that I did the best I could and put in a lot of work over the year.”
Paige said receiving an OP1 takes a lot of the pressure off.
“A lot of Year 12 is based on uncertainties. You’re making plans on things you’re not sure will happen. It’s a big relief to have something concrete to base the rest of your life off,’’ Paige said.
Paige is grateful to the support she has received from RGS, the support networks she has built, fantastic friends and the teachers who were always there to support the students.
“It’s been a really fantastic year. Hard in a lot of ways but also really rewarding in others.
“It would be a much different experience if you didn’t have those support networks there for you. I have a lot to thank people for.”
Paige’s advice to the next generations of Secondary students at RGS – “Stick with it. It’s hard but it’s worth it in the end.”

Renee Sweeney

Renee Sweeney was not expecting to get an OP1.
“I opened it (the web page) and cried and had to open it again to check. I was ecstatic. It’s incredible,’’ Renee said.
“It’s an honour to be in the top students in the state.”
“All the hard work I’ve done this year, late nights, studying, reviewing subjects, asking questions of teachers. All my hard work has paid off and now I can begin the next part of my life at uni.”
Renee hopes to study Physiotherapy in Brisbane next year.
“It’s (physiotherapy) something I’ve always wanted to do since I was young and I have a real passion for it.”
Renee admits she will miss her family, friends, teachers and the school environment at RGS (which has been her school since Prep) but she was also looking forward to “getting out into the bigger world”.
Renee said the School had definitely helped shape her and she was also grateful to her mum and dad for their ongoing support they provided.
“Just giving me time and space when I needed it and helping me when I needed it through exams and assignments pressure,’’ said Renee, who also encourages future students at RGS to not be scared and not to put too much pressure on themselves.
“Have a good time (at school) but focus on your school work at the same time.”

Will Etherington

Will Etherington was travelling with his parents and brother James (who also received an OP1 in 2015) when his result was released.
“It was a nice surprise. I had my hopes up about it, but I can’t say I quite expected it,’’ Will said.
“It really acts as a jumper for me as the courses I wanted to get into (medicine) are pretty heavily based on me getting an OP1. Hopefully it’s set me up quite nicely for some potential university offers.”
Will said this year he worked hard individually, and the Year 12 group also did as a cohort.
“The key to succeeding is keep working hard and keep studying.”
“All my teachers were a massive influence on how I went but my parents really helped me through it and my brother (James) was a nice inspiration.”
Will said he would miss Year 12 but was also looking forward to moving onto some different pastures

Antonio Vega-Garcia

Antonio studied hard and was hoping for a good OP result.
“It was really exhilarating to find out I had an OP1,’’ Antonio said.
The top result has also created some confusion for Antonio, creating more study options as he weighs up either Medicine or Business studies.
“I’m a bit confused because I don’t know what I want to do but it certainly opens up the pathways to where I want to go.”
“I’ll miss Year 12 but I’m mostly scared looking forward and finding out what job I want to do in the future and what degree I’ll need.”
Antonio was grateful to the support of his parents and his teachers. His advice for other RGS students is to do the best you can and then look at your options.
“Study hard but if you can’t get the grade just focus on trying to enter a degree and do as much as you can to swap over into the course you really want to.”