HORSHAM College dux Taha Mollah set himself a goal: to achieve an ATAR score of 98.
With a score of 98.1, the 17-year-old hopes to follow family tradition and study medicine.
Specialist mathematics teacher Nick Rigas said he feared Taha’s academic success would be compromised after he showed up late to his exam.
“He was about 16 minutes late,” Mr Rigas said.
A timetabling misunderstanding meant Taha was at home at 9am on the day of the exam, instead of picking up his pen.
“I got a call telling me the exam had started and I had better get to school pretty quickly,” he said.
Taha refrained from panicking, focusing his thoughts on the task ahead.
“He even finished about 10 minutes early,” Mr Rigas said.
Specialist mathematics turned out to be one of Taha’s strongest subjects.
He credited commitment to his studies for his result, along with the support of his peers.
About 20 per cent of the year level received ATAR scores above 80.
But outgoing college principal Frank Spiel said the most remarkable thing about the students was their sense of community.
“They have been a very harmonious and supportive group,” he said.
The school will celebrate all students whose ATAR scores reflected a ‘personal best’.
Among those was Laura Dixon, 17, with an ATAR score of 97.4.
“Just put in the hard work. It pays off,” she said.
She was on a run when she received a message with her score.
Her twin sister was waiting to compare scores when she got home.
Laura hopes to study commerce, before one day leading a large company.