2013 USC Student Highlights



During January Sean L was invited to attend the National Mathematics Summer School at the Australian National University in Canberra. Students were introduced to a fascinating array of mathematical topics through lectures, tutorials and problem solving. The cerebral challenge was balanced with a variety of cultural visits and social activities over a period of two weeks, which provided many positive experiences and the opportunity for all participants to build new friendships.   


In the 2013 National History Challenge, Chrispha C won the State Award for the category of Australia’s Heritage. Chrispha’s essay on Ned Kelly was declared the best submission in a very impressive field of contenders.


Zoe B was the recipient of the Australian Defence Force Leadership and Teamwork ‘Long Tan’ Award for 2013. Nomination for this award was due to the confident manner in which Zoe conducted herself on campus throughout 2013, adding much to the positive tone of the school community through her demeanour and enthusiasm.

Aileen Z was one of a select group of students in Australia invited to undertake the examination to determine the Australian Mathematical Olympiad team. Aileen was commended for her strong performance in eight solid hours of challenging problem solving over two days.

An International Cultural Engagement (ICE) Program was put into action early in first term. This is a peer mentor program designed to assist new arrivals from overseas adjust to the dramatic change in routine and environment. The program aims to support international students in the Intensive English course to familiarise themselves with Australian culture and their new environs. Local students who volunteer to be an ICE Breaker go through a formal training program to understand better the needs of new arrivals and how best to break down the barriers, to engage and communicate. Towards the end of June a second ICE Breaker Training Program was put into action and 21 local students connected with our mid-year intake of 18 international students. Strong friendships have been created and a heightened awareness of cultural differences on both sides of the fence has gone a long way to strengthen one of our core values – to recognise and value cultural diversity.     


During week six of first term, all Year 11 students engaged in a special program entitled ‘Why Be Positive?’ Over two days students listened to guest speakers and participated in small group workshops to better their understanding of positive thinking strategies, how best to control a digital footprint and ways in which to build positive relationships. Initially students were introduced to the Values In Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths developed by Dr Martin Seligman’s research group at the University of Pennsylvania. It is anticipated that many students will find this free web-based tool very helpful in future years.

Six students, Frank X (Top 10 in SA), Sean L (High Distinction), Hanzi J (Distinction), Tony G (Credit), Lee D (Credit) and Aileen Z (Credit) secured outstanding results in the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) SA Schools Mathematics Competition held in March.

Three students, Joshua A (Biology and Chemistry), Zoe B (History) and Ned P(Japanese) were involved with the Headstart Program delivered by the University of Adelaide. The Headstart program provides an opportunity for a select group of highly motivated students to pursue tertiary studies while completing SACE. These students have demonstrated the capacity to cope with the academic challenge in a fully adult learning environment and have found this pathway to be an invaluable experience.  

The Annual College Formal was held at the Adelaide Hilton Hotel, Victoria Square on Friday, 12 April. Once again all those in attendance had a wonderful evening organised by Lisa Temple and an enthusiastic student committee.

Wenqi Z was a member of a team involved in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. Each team was required to raise funds, design a team brand, and build a robot that could be programmed to throw a Frisbee at a target. In the ultimate challenge the robot was required to pull itself upwards through a pyramid of pipes. The team won the Rookie All Stars Award in Hawaii and was invited to compete in the finals in St Louis in June.

On Tuesday, 25 June, Louise Small arranged our annual ‘Careers Expo Day’ for Year 11 students. Extensive collaboration across faculties within the University provided students with a chance to visit various facilities on campus and speak with academics and graduates about their work and career pathways. A number of USC Alumni and speakers from various professions and industries gave their time during the day to talk with students about employment trends, emerging occupations and future possibilities.

Zoe B was selected to attend the 2013 United Nations Youth National Conference, which was held in Sydney during the July holidays. The conference provided an opportunity for young people from around the world to share their ideas and concerns regarding regional and global issues. To help raise funds for the trip, Zoe held a Bake Sale which sold out in record time, due to the support of Nadia Lovett and many other members of the school community.


In August, 40 students participated in the Australian Mathematics Competition. This is a truly international competition and 400,000 students throughout Australia and SE Asia took part on the day. Sean L was placed in the top 1% of candidates and secured a High Distinction. A further 11 students secured Distinctions and 15 others secured a Credit.


Sarah B (Distinction), Khaj T (Distinction), and Natalie C (Credit) distinguished themselves at the highest level in the 2013 Australian Geography Competition.


Katie M was selected to attend a full day workshop arranged by the ‘Women in Mathematics Group’. Katie had the opportunity to interact with a variety of women pursuing careers in mathematics and was inspired by the speakers and the diversity of opportunities in this area of study.

Kaiying W, Yinan L and Aileen Z are to be congratulated in making it through to the finals of the National Titration Competition.

Greg Eather, Founder and former Director of the Adelaide Tuition Centre, provided students with some well-tested strategies to maintain motivation and a positive approach to study in an energetic and thoroughly entertaining presentation to the Year 12 cohort on Wednesday, 5 June. Greg’s candid and interesting address highlighted a host of advantages offered through the USC pathway and stressed the value of regular engagement with the experienced subject specialist teachers at USC.

The Year 12 Drama students delivered a daring rendition of William Shakespeare’s final work ‘The Tempest’ in June. A talented cast and crew performed to packed audiences in the Little Theatre over three nights. The performance was used by examiners to benchmark standards across the state and positive comments were made regarding the high quality of the production and of individual performances. Martin Gray is to be congratulated for his professional direction and special thanks go to Meg Worby for her support through each rehearsal and performance.

A number of Alumni returned to the school on several occasions during the year.  Lana Tran (’12), Shayan Afshar (’11) and Michaela Udina (’12) (My experience of Year 12), Charlotte Pascoe-Purvis (’11) (University study) and Krystyan Evele (’12) (My Gap Year and Future Plans) advised students on a range of topics. The candid input from each speaker provided students with insights and options to help in their learning pathways.

Music students presented a vibrant Sunday Concert for parents and friends in Scots Church during August. Geoff Rogers and David Garwood supported the students in the organisation and delivery of a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining afternoon of musical items. Ben A, Hannah C, Colin L, Bethany M, Ben N, Reuben P, Mandy X and Ben B (’12) came together to present a program that showcased a wide variety of music and individual virtuosity.    

Zoe B and Catherine D competed in EVATT SA (H.V.Evatt was a former President of the UN General Assembly). This is South Australia’s round of Australia’s largest schools diplomacy competition that operates under the banner of UN Youth Australia. Budding diplomats debate and negotiate some of the world’s most pressing issues in a format similar to the UN General Assembly. Zoe and Catherine performed admirably in the Grand Final that was held in the Adelaide Town Hall during September, featuring the top 15 teams from around the state.

On Sunday, 15 September, 30 members of the USC community participated in the Sunday Mail City to Bay Fun Run. The competitors were blessed with a cool breeze and brilliant sunshine for their early morning workout and there is no doubt that this will become a regular feature of the school calendar.


The annual USC Art and Design Exhibition was officially opened on Friday, 8 November in the Charles Street Art Studio by well-known artists Anna Platten and Rod Taylor.  Nasrin J was awarded the Barr Smith Library Prize for her delightful lino-cuts. Ellen M, Harriet C and Darcy W had their work chosen for exhibition at the annual SACE Art Show.

During the year a number of staff and students involved themselves in the World Vision 40 Hour Famine to raise funds for poverty stricken villages in Malawi. Traditionally this event has involved participants foregoing food, but an innovative strategy this year encouraged participants to do without the ‘essentials’ of a western lifestyle such as transport and smart phones.


A Quiz Night was held in September to raise funds for Red Cross. Ben P organised the event as a component of his Research Project and followed it through to a successful conclusion by raising $800 towards a very supportive community organisation.


The Annual General Meeting of the USC Old Scholars’ Association was held on Monday, 3 June 2013. Members of the Association expressed their gratitude to Carmen Bishop, USC Development Officer, for the time and energy given to supporting the membership. Elected office bearers Joel Beamish (‘05) Chair, Matthew Moss (‘04) Treasurer and Celia Le (‘06) Secretary & Vice Chair were joined by Josh Gutteridge (‘04), Michael Haydon (‘05), Justin Mencel (‘06) and Michaela Udina (‘12) to form the USCOSA management committee. A series of reunions and social events are planned each year to foster the association and maintain a connection with the USC community. More than 70 graduates from the Class of 2008 came together on Friday, 22 March to refresh memories and reconnect. The school is grateful for the donations from USCOSA to our annual appeal. In particular the provision of two special needs scholarships for students from a disadvantaged background and the support given to refurbishment of the Jordan Laboratories. USC graduates are urged to make contact with the Old Scholars’ Association and engage in a program designed to maintain friendships and build a professional support network.


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