Talented students are hope of tomorrow
As adults, the challenges of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic have been many and we can certainly spare a thought for the young people who are navigating their final years of schooling in such difficult and uncertain times.
With the official youth unemployment rate in Australia in May sitting above 16 percent, but likely to be far higher given lower participation rates, the spectre of a significant lag in starting a career looms large for school and tertiary students.
For Vanessa Rebgetz, Principal of the Precinct’s only secondary school, the elite Queensland Academy for Health Sciences (QAHS), there is only room for hope, even in the midst of a pandemic.
“Young people fill me with hope,” Principal Rebgetz writes in her School Welcome.
My experience in education has shown me that young people are an inspiration. I believe as Principal of the Queensland Academies Health Sciences Campus, and having the opportunity to work with these students and staff, I have been given the chance to change the world.”
In its 13th year as one of only three specialised academies for high-performing students in Queensland, QAHS offers students in Years 10 to 12 the opportunity to study the world-class International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, and works in close partnership with Griffith University to provide unique opportunities and enrichment activities for students interested in futures in research, science and academia.
State-of-the-art facilities include a fully wireless campus, air-conditioned classrooms, university standard science laboratories, a 500 seat lecture theatre and a gymnasium. While the Health Sciences are a focus area, programs are offered across Languages, the Arts, Social Sciences, Business and the full STEM spectrum, while the unique IB core component ‘Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)’ offers a rich framework for experiential learning.
Student numbers are growing, with almost 430 students enrolled in 2020 and the 2021 cohort expected to number around 470, with a maximum capacity of 500 students.
Student achievements are outstanding by global standards, with the mean QAHS IB Score for 2019 being 35, well above the global mean of 29. Four students achieved IB43 and three earned coveted top IB44 scores, one point shy of the perfect score.
Almost 40 percent of students received an OP 1 or 2 ranking, putting them in the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre’s (QTAC) top band for university admission.
Students also won a string of academic awards in 2019, including earning outstanding results in the CSIRO CREST Research Awards, Australia’s premier research awards in Science, with 3 Gold, 11 Silver and 54 Bronze National Research Awards.
And in the midst of a stressful and disrupted 2020, one of QAHS’s best and brightest, Year 12 student Angie Zhou, has recently earned one of only four spots to represent Australia in the Science Olympiad in Biology, the first Queensland student to win a spot on the team in seven years.
“School during the time of a global pandemic is testing students’ self-efficacy and changing their outlook,” says Principal Rebgetz.
Students have been fast-tracked in their growth as independent learners and the social importance of learning together has been reinvigorated.
Persistence characterises Academy students’ success in the IB generally. Covid-19 may be changing the world around them and it is abundantly serving new ways of navigating through unprecedented conditions. As 21st century future leaders in their fields, the necessary skills of finding the calm, control and continuity amidst the global chaos is the silver lining delivered to Academy students by 2020.”
New scholarships smooth path to Griffith University
Griffith University awards credit into a range of undergraduate degree courses for studies completed in an IB Diploma up to the equivalent of a full-time semester of University study, with the amount of credit based upon the IB subjects studied and the Griffith program the student has been admitted to.
High achieving high school students keen to study at Griffith in 2021 will be eligible for 80 new Sir Samuel Griffith scholarships worth up to $24,000 each, which Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Debra Henly says, are in recognition of the increased pressure on 2020 high school graduates, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From July Griffith will offer 80 Sir Samuel Griffith Scholarships to academically gifted students who demonstrate qualities including leadership, civic responsibility and social awareness,” Professor Henly says.
Griffith has recently moved up 17 spots in the latest edition of the world’s leading university ranking. (QS World Rankings)