Student outcomes ‘remarkable’ during COVID

Williamstown High School’s 2020 award-winning students Grace Budich, Max Buchholz and Ella Day. (Damjan Janevski)

Adam Potter, Campus Principal of Williamstown High School’s Pasco campus, is incredibly proud of their 2020 year 12 cohort, not least because the students achieved a 72.31 ATAR average – the highest ever for the school.

The campus, with about 750 students in years 10-12, boasts impressive achievements from the year 12 group, made even more notable due to the pandemic lockdown challenges.

“We had 93 per cent of our students receive an offer from a university, with 71 per cent of those students getting a first-round offer,” Mr Potter says.

“Beyond that, however, is how the students and teachers rose to the challenges presented by remote learning.

“Once remote learning was announced, we focused on combining effective technology and communication with our students and parents. Our teachers took a dedicated approach to enabling every student to stay on track to achieve their goals. And the outcomes achieved are nothing short of remarkable.”

Star Weekly spoke with three high-achieving students to gauge their approach to study, their personal goals, and how they navigated lockdown ‘dramas’.

Meet Grace Budich, Max Buchholz
and Ella Day

What was your ATAR score?
Grace: 99.6
Max: 99.05
Ella: 99.05

What subjects did you study?
Grace: Biology, maths methods, English, chemistry, media, and Indonesian.
Max: German, visual communication and design, legal, business management, English, and maths methods.
Ella: English, biology, maths methods, chemistry, legal, and global politics.

Which uni will you attend?
Grace: I’ve been offered a place at Melbourne University, aiming for a bachelor of science, and doctor of optometry graduate degree.
Max: I’ve been offered a place at Melbourne Uni, aiming for a bachelor of commerce degree – but I’ve also applied to join Victoria Police, with the goal of a consultancy career.
Ella: Monash University in Clayton has offered me a place to achieve a double degree in law and global studies. I’m hoping to pursue a career in international law.

What did you find hardest about studying from home, and what helped?
Grace: Creating balance was hard at the start, particularly when I was studying in the same room as I slept and ate in. I focused on keeping in touch with my friends – bouncing ideas off them. I also made set times for study and learnt to turn off after school.
Max: I was also working a job at the same time, so creating a balance and catching up on my studies after work took some time to adjust to. What helped was that I knew what teachers were asking of me, and wasn’t afraid to ask for information.
Ella: Learning to help younger siblings was sometimes hard when combined with my focus on study. However, I adapted, and frequently asked questions of teachers. I also kept to school hours.

Did any teacher(s) stand out for you?
Grace: I found all my teachers were always there for questions; they helped to create an awesome environment for discussion. Ms Bermingham, my media teacher, made the subject fantastic with her videos and content.
Max: The school was very flexible. Because I was also working, I was able to do my schoolwork by watching pre-recorded videos.
Ella: The constant support from the school was amazing. Willi High gives you the freedom to explore and the teachers are as good as you’ll get! Mr Hume, legal and business, deserves a special mention.

Williamstown High School Pasco Campus, 76 Pasco Street, Williamstown. Inquiries: 9397 1899 or