Dux tales so different for Holly and Brandon

Non-stop study was Holly Pennington’s recipe for academic success.
Non-stop study was Holly Pennington’s recipe for academic success.

With two different careers in mind, Mindarie Senior College graduate Holly Pennington and Clarkson Community High School’s Brandon Gough had to follow very different pathways.

‘I chose ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) because I wanted to go to university,’ Holly said.

With a rank of 98.65 (just 0.35 off the top 1 per cent in the State) and the Dux award, the Clarkson resident is planning to study physics and genetics at university this year.

Holly said she ‘studied every minute of every day’ to keep up with her chemistry, physics, maths, specialist maths, human biology and english classes.

‘My parents were actually trying to stop me studying; they thought I was doing too much because I was studying really late and then getting up early.’

Although he took the vocational pathway, Brandon’s learning schedule was no less hectic, with two days a week dedicated to work placement at the Joondalup Resort and the other three to school studies.

His exceptional results earned him the VET Dux of his school, a certificate of commendation and a certificate of distinction (VET) in tourism, hospitality and events.

‘I chose to do vocational studies because that was the pathway I needed to take to become a chef and I couldn’t do that the ATAR way,’ Brandon said. ‘I now have a casual job there (the resort) and soon I’ll start an apprenticeship.

‘I thought it would be difficult to keep up with everything (workload), but it was easier than I thought… and nothing was late.’

He said the on-the-job training provided to him was very valuable but that the decision to choose ATAR or vocational training ultimately came down to the individual.

‘Depends on what you want to be, to be honest; you should do whatever will help you achieve your goals.’

Brandon will soon begin a three-year apprenticeship, with aspirations to one day work as a chef in his own business.