20 December, 2018 Community

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Jemma Hunter

St Michael’s students have a long history of continuing to tertiary study and into various post school pathways. Following the recent release of VCE results, many of our Class of 2018 have achieved an ATAR that will enable them to take the next step into their chosen field.

But what does the culmination of 13 years of schooling feel like, and how do you cope with the pressures leading up to VCE exams? To give us an insight into what it’s like, we asked some of our students to share their story and tips for future VCE students.


Jemma Hunter (12B)

In Year 12 Jemma was selected for the U19 Australian Lacrosse squad, captained the St Michael’s Senior Girls Football team to the inaugural ACS Girls Football premiership, received a Gold Award for Cross Country (Jemma’s year again won the Girls Year Level Pennant at the ACS Cross Country Carnival), and excelled in the classroom to achieve a remarkable ATAR of 98.20. But how did she manage to stay focused and perform at such a high level in so many activities?

“I focused my attention towards school and I think it really helped me,” said Jemma. “It was great doing sport at school because it was something to take your mind off all the work, but I don’t know if I could have handled VCE, and the Australian team so I decided to put this on hold earlier in the year.”

“Balancing everything was a challenge – school, sport, social life. It sounds funny but it’s really hard to find the right balance.”

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Jemma Hunter

Whilst Year 12 and VCE comes with pressures and challenges unlike other years of school, Jemma found it really brought her year level together.

“The social aspect of Year 12 is one of the highlights. Especially as we had the Year 12 floor (in the Sisters’ Building) and we were all up there,” said Jemma. “Everyone comes together, and you become friends with people you wouldn’t have talked to a few years ago because we are all in the same boat.”

Jemma joined St Michael’s in Year 7, and says she enjoyed the acceptance she felt at the School.

“Looking at our school, I think there’s so much acceptance here. No matter who you are, what you’re like, I just think it’s such an accepting place and no one is scared to be who they are.”

2018 was a big year of sport at St Michael’s. One of the highlights of the year was the inaugural season of ACS Girls Football, which saw the St Michael’s team, captained by Jemma, win the premiership.

“We were all there for fun with no expectations. It was such a mixed group of people, lots of us had never played before,” said Jemma. “My dad played for the Western Bulldogs and my brother plays for them now, so I’ve had a kick with them but I’ve never actually played footy before. For us to win in the first year it was amazing!”

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Jemma Hunter Jemma holding the ACS Senior Girls Football trophy aloft

When asked about what advice she would give to future VCE students, Jemma says that ‘staying in the present’ is the best way to enjoy the year and stay on track. “It can get overwhelming if you think straight to exams and what your ATAR might be, so take it one step at a time and focus on what’s right in front of you.”

“Get involved in Sport or Music or Drama – whatever your passion is – to take the pressure off. You need to find a balance and it can get really overwhelming if you focus all your energy to only the academic part of year.”

“Keeping up your social life is important too.” adds Jemma.

This year, Jemma chose subjects that matched her interests and passions. She excelled in Health and Human Development, achieving a perfect score of 50, and it’s no surprise that she will be following that passion into tertiary study.

“I’m going to work for the first half of next year, and then I’m planning to go travelling for a few months,” says Jemma. “The year after that I’ve applied for Health Science, because I’m not sure what I want to do or be yet, but I know it will be something to do with Health and PE. I think I’ll start broad and see where that goes.”

We congratulate Jemma on a wonderful year and look forward to seeing what she does next. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see her at the Olympics one day …

“My aim is to definitely try for the Australia Lacrosse team the next time around (the team comes out every four years). It’s not yet an Olympic sport but it could be.” says Jemma.