Noongar Lumen Christi graduate earns top WA academic honour

24 January 2022

CEWA students in the Year 12 class of 2021 earned recognition for outstanding achievement, with over 900 School Curriculum and Standards Authority awards for the year.

Among these students was Flynn Bailey, a young Noongar man and Lumen Christi College graduate, who was awarded the General Exhibition (ATSI), which recognises the highest WACE score achieved by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student.

Flynn shared some reflections of his time at Lumen Christi and his outstanding achievements:

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“My name is Flynn Bailey, and I was a student at Lumen Christi College from 2016 to 2021. My sister also attends Lumen Christi College and seems to be following in my footsteps. We were both sent to Lumen Christi by our lovely Mum, who works full-time so she can provide us with the best opportunities in life – including our education. While at school, in my best attempts to honour my mum for providing me with a good education, I did my absolute best and found I had a passion for the sciences – particularly the math and engineering fields. Hence, I will be pursuing a double degree at UWA this year – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) with Bachelor of Science, majoring in Civil Engineering and Mathematics and Statistics.

I am also still sticking to my footy as it keeps me fit and provided me with some great opportunities in 2021 playing WAFL Colts for East Fremantle and making my WAFL Reserves (seniors) debut aged 17, which is an exciting achievement.

After graduating, looking back at my school life, I consider it to be a largely positive experience. School isn’t necessarily just books, tests and study, but it is also a place where you meet new people and learn new things. I have met some of my closest friends at school and they made it all that little bit less stressful.

While at school, in my best attempts to honour my mum for providing me with a good education, I did my absolute best and found I had a passion for the sciences

School is also not the end-all and be-all. No matter your pathway, ATAR or General, and if you are successful or not, there are always other ways around doing what you desire. Your pathway also doesn’t define you. My biggest highlight from high school is probably walking out of my final WACE exam, knowing that what’s done is done and I no longer have to stress about any more tests or exams. It was up there for one of the most relieving feelings. All my years of school led to that moment, and it was finally over.

A couple of months later I received my results and saw that the hard work and dedication paid off, and my choice of subjects was worth it. The following week I received notice that I had received the General Exhibition (ATSI) and I was overjoyed and pleasantly surprised.”

Flynn Bailey

Flynn Bailey graduated from Lumen Christi College in 2021, and was awarded the School Curriculum and Standards Authority’s General Exhibition (ATSI), which recognises the highest WACE score achieved by an eligible Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Student.

“Before I received this award, I had no idea awards like these existed. I woke up to numerous messages of congratulations from my friends, a phone call from my Nan and a congratulations email from the principal and some teachers, and I honestly had no clue what was going on. I jumped on the SCSA website and read through all the awards and saw my name under the award for the General Exhibition (ATSI), which meant I had received the highest WACE score in WA for an Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander student. This feeling was almost indescribable, and I knew this award was going to be an amazing thing for me. To me it is a sign that hard work and dedication pays off, and I believe it is a valuable asset, especially when applying for scholarships for university this year.

There were some important benefits of a Catholic education for me, that came from my time at Lumen Christi College. Catholic education is extremely inclusive, and students are supported regardless of their age, race, gender or religion. This inclusivity was a major benefit to me as an Indigenous student going through secondary school, as it meant I had equal opportunities to everyone else. Catholic education also abides by morals which created an enjoyable environment that promoted inclusivity, kindness and generosity, which ultimately made school a comfortable place for me.

In terms of studying, the transition personally for me from Year 10 to 11 was drastic. In Year 10 I was a very successful student, and with very minimal study I still got very good grades. Based on this I decided to do 6 ATAR subjects – English, Religion and Life, Physics, Chemistry, Methods Maths and Specialist Maths. In Year 11 I tried the same (not so good) technique I used in year 10. I barely studied, and just scraped through the first semester with a pass in each subject. I was never used to not getting A’s in each subject and this came as a shock to me and many other classmates.

The second semester of year 11, I decided to study a bit more frequently. I’d study normally the night before a test, which involved taking all the necessary notes and doing some practice questions. This did improve my scores slightly, giving me a couple of B’s for my final report and boosting my predicted ATAR. I applied directly at UWA with this predicted ATAR and they gave me an early offer for a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) which I wanted to do at the time.

Year 12 hit and I applied for TISC (Tertiary Institutions Service Centre), setting myself a goal to get an ATAR of higher than 88 so I could do my double degree. I didn’t apply for this as an early offer as I wanted to get it on my own terms so that I was confident I could meet the requirements to receive my dream offer on my own accord, and actually pass it at university.

To me it is a sign that hard work and dedication pays off, and I believe it is a valuable asset, especially when applying for scholarships for university this year.

To me it is a sign that hard work and dedication pays off, and I believe it is a valuable asset, especially when applying for scholarships for university this year.

I started studying more frequently, but found it hard to balance school and footy, as I was playing at a high level. Semester one saw me get worse results than Year 11, so I was very stressed. Footy finished in the middle of semester two, and was the perfect opportunity to boost my scores. Just before exam times, I studied almost every day. My school final exams came back, and I passed them all except Specialist Maths.

I had an almost month-long break between my school exams and WACE exams, and during this time, the best thing I did was do as many practice exams as I could. In this month I did past WACE exams for each subject from 2016 to 2020, which prepared me perfectly for my final WACE exams. It was also very important to stay fit and healthy in this time, as it gave my mind peace and clarity. These practice exams allowed me to predict the types of questions that were going to be in the exams, as well as to identify trends which really helped me in my English and Religion exams. This way of studying allowed me to pass all my exams with flying colours and receive the ATAR I did, and thus the General Exhibition.

I am thinking about what I might do after completing the double degree which I am starting this year; I would love to be an offshore civil engineer and even try out other occupations within engineering and maths fields. I would also love to pursue a masters in secondary education and become a maths and/or engineering teacher at some stage. I am also going to keep up with my footy, and progress as much as I can in my sporting career.

If there was anything else I’d say to students coming up through secondary school, it’s that anything is possible if you put in the hours.”

Take a look at Lumen Christi College

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