Their eyes went wide: Julina’s magic moment

Blake Douglas and Julina Lim are just two of the HSC 2020 cohort celebrating their results today.

Image: Julina Lim: considering a career change after topping economics.

Cabramatta High School student Julina Lim could not believe her ATAR score when it flashed up on the computer screen – the highest possible 99.95.

Her parents similarly were astonished. “Their eyes went wide and they checked the screen a few times to make sure it didn’t change,” Julina laughed.

Julina was one of 48 students statewide that received the highest possible ATAR. Of these students, 15 were female and 33 were male.

With the highest possible Band in English advanced, Maths extension 1 and 2 and chemistry and first in the State in economics, Julina said she was overwhelmed by her result.

“I really can’t comprehend it right now, I just can’t believe it,” she said moments after reading her score.

“One of the first things my mother said was ‘I can’t even speak English yet but have a daughter able to achieve something so great’.”

Julina’s family moved to Australia from Cambodia in 2009 when she was seven years old and began school with no English in Year 1 at their local public school.

The Cabramatta High School captain said for a year she had set her sights on studying a dual degree at UNSW in chemical and biomechanical engineering.

However after topping the State in economics, Julina said she was wondering whether she should rethink her career choice.

Julina thanked her teachers who she said had “always been there for us”.

“They were such good support, and their selflessness doesn’t go unnoticed – it was lovely to share my news with the people that have been so supportive and loving,” she said.

Cabramatta High School principal Lachlan Erskine said the school was extremely proud of Julina’s achievement.

“Julina is an exemplary student and has been an exceptional leader as school captain. Julina is academically gifted, modest and humble in her achievements, and has a proud record of serving the community."

With 27 Cabramatta High School students receiving 40 awards on the Distinguished Achievers list (students that reach the highest possible band in a subject). Mr Erskine said every student that had completed the HSC should be proud of their effort.

"Cabramatta High School congratulates all our Year 12 graduates. Year 12 has achieved impressive results in a complex and challenging year,” he said.

Image: Blake Douglas: A performer who reached for the stars.

South of Sydney, Bulli High School student Blake Douglas will be literally dancing and singing after receiving his ATAR.

Before learning he had earned a 97.6 score, Blake had already been offered a spot in the prestigious NIDA musical theatre course.

“I am going to spend the next year singing, dancing and acting, doing what I love every day,” he said.

Blake was on the Distinguished Achievers list for five subjects: English advanced, English extension, drama, design and technology and visual arts.

He paid tribute to his teachers, principal, parents and peers for their support across the past 12 months.

“They’ve helped keep me motivated especially during this crazy COVID time,” he said.

Blake said the key to his success was studying subjects he loved.

“You can get any result you want as long as you have passion for the subjects,” he said.

“If you are determined and motivated and love what you are learning it’s inevitable you will get a good mark.”

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