Describe your feelings in one word on learning of your 99.95 ENTER.
How did you work towards a perfect 50 for English and 48 for English Language? Did you have your moments of doubt?
In whatever I do, I try to do my best, and so it is with doing two English papers. Being consistent and at the same time flexible was something that I maintained throughout the year. Of course, I had doubts about getting 99.95. Also, I did not have tuition in the other subjects – Specialist Maths, Maths Methods, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
What advice would you give students if they want to achieve a perfect 50 for each of the English papers?
Read widely … newspapers, a couple of times a week; I love reading … one novel a week, usually of the inspirational or biographical type. I try to draw links in whatever I am taught … some parts of the English papers do overlap. It is good to be exposed to a variety of English.
Were you not afraid that you would be severely tested for time, not to mention that your energies would be unnecessarily dissipated in attempting two English papers? How did you juggle between the two?
I knew there would always be problems. But I also knew from the start what the challenges were … so I placed myself in the best position to tackle any problem and give of my best.
You came to Tye & English in Term 4, 2005 (Year 9). How did coming to us help you in your English? Can you comment on the courses and the teaching?
Family friends told us about your tutoring school. The staff of Tye & English took their work seriously… they marked well, taught well and provided valuable insights and different perspectives … and importantly, the unique program structure was accommodating and flexible.
Besides attending English classes in Year 11 & 12, you also turned up for Year 11 & 12 English Language classes. How did our English Language classes help you?
I got more ideas, became more familiar with different aspects of English Language, and, of course, gained more exposure to the complexities of the language.
Did you have a fulfilling time in school?
Yes, I was involved in school debates since Y9, and we made it to the Inter-School Finals. I love soccer and cricket and enjoy lawn-bowling, a very technical game.
What is your ambition?
To be a doctor. I want to give something back to society, following a family tragedy. Having seen how doctors and hospital staff work first hand, I know I want to make community service central to my life, and a career in medicine gives me this opportunity. Down the road, I like to be involved with organisations such as Doctors without Borders in Third World countries. Such work makes a very basic difference to people’s life. And participating in the World Vision Global Leadership Convention, door-knocking to raise funds for Amnesty International, serving with St John’s Ambulance as a Senior Cadet have helped to shape my perspective of life, and to give something of myself in future.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF ERIC
Eric is never non-descript by any measure. When I first set eyes on him in Term 4 of 2005, the Year 9 boy carried himself atypically well, exuding quiet determination and a sense of total control. This was complemented by his personable, wholesome, and clean-cut appearance.
Fast forward to December 15, 2008. Would some things change now that Eric has landed his 99.95 cachet? I wondered. The dux of the school is also the top-performing student of Caulfield Grammar. I was far behind in the queue to congratulate him, as I got through to him only after a few days of constantly punching buttons. His home phone, no doubt, had experienced a Chernobyl-like meltdown. So, will the superlative results change Eric? My initial concerns dissipated quickly: he was absolutely charming, polite and humble. “I owe it all to my family and friends, teachers and mentors” was the first thing to trip off his tongue. No, Eric does not put himself first. This is most evident in his community work over the years. Fasting for 40 hours in aid of Africa’s famine victims, serving as a Senior Cadet of St John’s Ambulance at various sports meets, door-knocking to raise funds for Amnesty International and participating in World Vision Leadership Convention – these are perhaps intimations of what is to come: service to others.
From the day he jointed us in Term 4 of 2005, Eric had never missed a lesson or a module for each term. He accepted whatever course that we recommended him. In class, his attention was 110%. Often, his gaze was searching, penetrating and withering, and I often felt that I had to be at my best if I were to command his attention and respect. Indeed, he brought the best out of me as well as our teachers. But in return, he gave of his best to every assignment unfailingly. His progress was palpable – his English was powering ahead. A+ became his trademark. Often, I asked him for permission to share his essays with the class.
The years rolled by. In early 2008, Eric and his Mum called at my office one morning to seek my advice on doing English as well as English Language for his VCE. At first, I had strong misgivings: Wouldn’t his energy and time be divided? How is he going to juggle the SACs? After all, his other subjects are all heavyweights (Specialist Maths, Maths Method, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology). And taking on board an extra English paper makes for seven subjects in total. But my protestations soon gave way to his quiet confidence. Then it dawned on me: Eric was going for broke.
November 2008 came. One Friday afternoon, Eric was late for the first time for his English Language class. Twenty minutes ticked by. Lo and behold! Eric swept in, colourfully attired with his face plastered with golden stars and daubed in bright paint in a Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde transformation – altogether eye-brow raising, to say the least. This was the first time that Eric was not in his immaculate Caulfield Grammar jacket. This was also the first time I noticed that his staid mien had given way to a relaxed easiness.
On looking back, I, finally, twigged. His colourful entrance was, indeed, an omen for his centre stage VCE performance. Of course, that day, Eric was in his get-up to participate in his school’s valedictory dance item. With the dance over, it was straight to Tye & English, stars and paint on his face notwithstanding. But we now know that his school star-spangled performance was only the precursor to his scintillating VCE tour de force.
Still, I like to think that his ENTER is only a pale prelude to the many more encores he will oblige us.
– Kim Tye