Three Trinity College graduates achieve perfect ATAR score

15 February 2022

Trinity College Class of 2021 students, Isaac Pinto, Jonathan Slater and Daniel MacRae were among the top 15 students in the state who achieved the ‘perfect’ ATAR score of 99.95.

Jonathan Slater

Looking back at your schooling now that you have graduated, do you have any reflections on the experience of school overall? Are there any key highlights from schools, primary or secondary, that will stick with you?

When I recall my time at school, what I recall more than anything is a warm sense of community. I couldn’t walk two meters without a hello or a handshake from someone I knew. I loved the academic side of school as well; it was a place I could come and just be fascinated. If I had to pick some highlights then my experiences on a chorale tour to Europe in 2019, in a musical production of The Mikado and even on some retreats would be up there. These were poignant moments mostly consisting of great fun with great people.

Tell us about what Year 11 and 12 were like for you? What were the challenges, and what approaches did you take to achieve your best?

These years were busy but fun, which I think was a good way to go about them. The plan was to involve myself in and care about a range of things. This diversification extended from academics to involvement in chorales, a musical production, sports and acting as a prefect, and spreading my efforts across each ensured disappointments were balanced by satisfactions. My other strategy was writing down extensive lists, not just of what needed to get done but what should get done and just working through them. Having engaging, approachable teachers and a network of mates I could rely on for help was also an advantage. If I had these years again, I would find better ways to unwind, and institute a clearer distinction between work and leisure – this was probably my challenge.

Isaac Pinto

How do you feel having been awarded a General Exhibition for 2021? What is the significance of this recognition for you, and for others in your life?

I think my parents were probably more excited about my results than I was. These sort of results come from a lot of late nights, hours of commitment, and a lot of discipline and sacrifice. It’s sort of a lifestyle you commit to. With academics, you don’t ace a test on the day, you study for hours leading up to the test and then the test just reflects the work you’ve already done. For me, I already knew I worked hard in year 12, so the results didn’t mean a lot to me because they were just affirming what I already knew: that I’d worked really hard. I’m probably more proud of the process that led me to my results than whatever number or award I ended up receiving.

I was blessed that my parents were always supportive of me in big and small ways and that even though I was rarely available to them due to time commitments or emotional exhaustion from study they would always be there for me. I’m glad I was able to succeed for my parents’ sake. My parents have always had a very hands off approach, allowing me to form my own motivation for study. I was never studying because I felt I had to or because I was being told to, but because I wanted to for myself. I credit the development of this internal motivation that has given so much to my life wholly to my parents.

Do you have any thoughts on why a Catholic education is important generally, or what the benefits were for you going to a Catholic college?

I think a Catholic education focusses you to consider mindfulness and spirituality a lot more than an average person would maybe in their whole life, and this introspective thinking is an interesting contrast to the somewhat monotony of academia. Having the chance to consider the importance of religion and spirituality in your life is a very valuable experience to have so young in life. While I personally didn’t connect with Catholicism in an academic sense, taking Religion and Life General instead of RE ATAR, I place great value on the catholic values of service and reflection instilled in me. Some of my best memories come from a spiritual retreat offered at Trinity called ‘KAIROS’, or through Eddie Rice Camps which is a service program I got involved in through Campus Ministry which is a direct result of Trinity’s catholic values of service. To me, even if a lot of students at Catholic schools aren’t extremely devout Catholics, they take on the values preached by Catholicism which are ultimately the values of a selfless and empathetic person, a person I always strive to be.

Daniel MacRae

How do you feel having been awarded a Subject Exhibition for 2021? What is the significance of this recognition for you, and for others in your life?

I feel extremely proud of myself for having achieved a subject exhibition in Mathematics Specialist. The recognition is very significant to me and an awesome outcome reflecting the large amount of work and effort I put into my academics. The award was extremely important to me being a unique achievement after having not received any awards at the school’s awards night. I am glad that it was the Maths Specialist subject exhibition as I genuinely enjoy maths and did extra work outside of school, attended national maths camps, and even taught myself calculus in year 9.

Mum and dad are really proud of my results. Although, they say they are more proud of my effort and persistence and the fact that I continued to put in the hard work rather than just coast.

Tell us about what Year 11 and 12 were like for you? What were the challenges, and what approaches did you take to achieve your best?

I actually started my ATAR journey in year 10 with accelerated Computer Science. This gave me the benefit of having a study period in year 12 and some understanding of what an ATAR workload would look like.

There were three of us in Year 12 who were all very close. It was a friendly rivalry that keep us all focussed on our studies because we knew if we slacked off, the others would step up.

Year 11 and 12 were a real crunch time for me, I cut down on many of my extra curriculars to focus on my studies. However, I maintained my involvement in rowing both at school and at a club (WARC) to keep a balance in my life and not demotivate myself. I did a lot of planning on a white board to work out when I could structure in exercise, rowing, study, assignments, tests, other school and family commitments. It helped to have it visually represented. I did a lot of practice papers and timed myself to help me prepare for the ATAR exams.

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