Student highlights in 2015


USC offers students a unique learning experience through the senior secondary years and our transition program provides each individual with the skills, experience and understanding to move on to tertiary studies with confidence. Our capacity to be able to operate within the University of Adelaide precinct continues to add enormous value to a learning pathway guided by an experienced group of highly motivated subject specialist teachers. When you consider the positive characteristics of our student body, drawn to the school because of its university focus and uncompromising academic standards, it is not hard to understand why every member of staff enjoys working with such an eclectic mix of optimistic young people. Teaching at USC is seen as a privilege.

Student highlights in 2015

Isobel Morton is the recipient of the Dr P.D. Goldsworthy Prize for Creative Writing.  Her winning narrative was selected from the work of all Year 12 English Studies students who, as part of their course work, undertook the study of the Memoir genre.


Leah Currie was awarded the Wilberforce Prize for Legal Studies. William Wilberforce, an English parliamentarian, was the leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade in the late 1700s. He was instrumental in the presentation of the first ever petition to the House of Commons and has been described as one of the fathers of modern democracy as enjoyed in Australia today. Leah’s award recognises her outstanding performance throughout the Stage 2 course.


In the study of modern languages Lucy Lu (Stage 2 Chinese), Lilly Deluca (Stage 1 Italian) and Gillian Hagenus (Stage 1 French) each received an Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement presented by the SA School of Languages. Maggie Ao (Stage 2 Chinese) and Jayshen Arudkumar (Stage 2 Indonesian) both received an Award of Merit. Lilly Deluca’s outstanding academic performance in Stage 1 Italian also secured the Casa d’Abruzzo Molise Club Inc Medal and Josephine Ocampo (Stage 2 Japanese) received The Award of Excellence.


During July, 35 USC students participated in the Australian Mathematics Competition. This is a truly international competition and 400,000+ students throughout Australia and SE Asia participated. Nietzsche Sparrow was announced as a Prize Winner placing him in the top 0.1% of candidates. Wencong (Lyman) Lin, Xuxin (Alfred) Chen and Patrick Graham were placed in the top 1% of candidates and each was awarded a High Distinction. A further 8 students secured Distinctions and 15 others secured a Credit. All students are to be congratulated on these outstanding results.


During March, 29 students participated in the Society of Petroleum Engineers SA Schools Mathematics Competition. This is a very demanding competition and we were delighted to learn that Wencong (Lyman) Lin was placed sixth overall and Jiayi (Crystal) Wang ninth in the state. In addition Yingshi (Dori) Qu, Nietzsche Sparrow, Astalor Chen and Ahad Sabab secured High Distinctions.


In the 2015 Australian Geography Competition we were delighted to learn that Patrick Graham secured top position in the state and was the recipient of a trip to the Gold Coast. Michael Brohier, Owen Nicholson, Nathan Swincer and Harry Tuck each secured a High Distinction while Jessica Day, Gillian Hagenus and Lawrence Rigon were awarded a Distinction in the Year 12 division of this national competition.


Jackie Zdanowicz was the recipient of the Australian Defence Force Leadership and Teamwork “Long Tan” Award for 2015. Nomination for this award was due to the manner in which Jackie conducted herself on campus throughout the year. Jackie added greatly to the positive tone of the whole school community through her confident demeanour, enthusiasm, and selfless support of others.


On Tuesday 5 May Hanah Cao, Annika Grenfell, Louisa Turner and Jiayi (Crystal) Wang were selected to attend a full day workshop arranged by the “Women in Mathematics Group” within the University of Adelaide. All four students had the opportunity to interact with a variety of women pursuing careers in mathematics and were inspired by the speakers and the diversity of opportunities highlighted during the workshop.


Twelve teams (36 students) from USC entered the National Titration Competition arranged by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute this year. The first round was conducted during the May Open Day and six of the teams made it through to the state final with three teams successfully reaching the national final. A total of three gold medals and six silver medals were secured in this challenging competition. Our gold medal winning teams comprised Anthony Ciccarello, Galina Murina and Celia Glod; Emma Hamilton, Kira Wysoke and Annika Grenfell (Michael Brohier absent); Christopher Hollow, Andrew Martin and Llewellyn Smith (Amy Martin absent).


Over 30 Chemistry students attended the D.R. Stranks Memorial Lecture presented by Professor Greg Metha (Head of Chemistry, University of Adelaide) during third term. Those who attended were rewarded with an informative and entertaining presentation titled “Light, Life and the Universe – A Chemistry Perspective”.


Mathew Wallace and Tharun Rameshbabu were selected as recipients of the ANZAC Premier’s Spirit Award and joined a delegation of SA students to visit the Gallipoli (Gellibolu) Peninsula. Mathew and Tharun joined with 21 other students and 5 teachers from South Australia in April to attend the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove to commemorate the centenary of Anzac Day.


Claire Faulkner and Mateusz Nowak are to be congratulated upon their selection to attend the National Science Forum during January at the Australian National University in Canberra. The two week program brings together students from around Australia and provides an opportunity to engage in a wide variety of lectures, visits and research activities along with regular conversations with leading scientists and industry leaders. Claire and Mateusz were required to undertake an application process which involved a series of challenging interviews before final selection by the local and state branch of Rotary International.


The International Cultural Engagement (ICE) Program has gone from strength to strength during 2015. The ICE program has a focus on peer mentors and is designed to help our new arrivals adjust to a change in routine and culture. The program aims to support international students enrolled in our Intensive English course, to familiarise themselves with their new environs and adjust to the dramatic change in classroom practice and expectations. Local students who volunteer to become an ICE Breaker undertake a formal training program which allows them to better understand the needs of new arrivals and how best to break down barriers, to engage and communicate. Amongst the graduating class of 2015 a total of 40 Year 12 students were ICE Breakers who enjoyed regular meetings and activities with our new arrivals. The program has been an unmitigated success and grown in popularity to a point where we are oversubscribed with volunteers. This is highly valued program that has allowed many young people from different cultures to form strong friendships through shared experiences.


In third term USC formed a relationship to support the Children’s University, an initiative of Children’s University Trust (UK) and managed in Australia by the University of Adelaide. A number of USC students volunteered to serve as role models and support a wide variety of activities. During October our students participated in a ‘Crime & Forensic Science’ activity arranged by the staff from the Centre for Ancient DNA conducted at the Old Adelaide Gaol. Other activities conducted on campus, organised by the School of Medicine (Neuroscience) and the History Department (Firestories), were well received by the young participants. The programs are designed to excite and inform young children, often from a disadvantaged background, and encourage them to engage in their learning, while our students also benefit from these leadership and mentoring opportunities.


The annual USC Art & Design Exhibition was held on Friday 6 November in the Charles Street Art Studio. The exhibition was officially opened by Kate Power (‘03) who is creating a name for herself as an accomplished sculpture and installation artist. On the night Georgia Mansell was announced as the winner of the Barr Smith Library (BSL) Prize and Wenzhen (Carla) Wang had her work selected for exhibition in the 2016 SACE Art Show.


The Year 12 Drama students delivered a superb performance of “Amadeus” when they entertained audiences in the Little Theatre at the end of second term. There were some outstanding individual performances, but the most impressive aspect of the production was the manner in which the cast and crew came together as a team. Once again, the direction given by Martin Gray was exceptional and he guided the expressive performance of everyone involved to the highest level. We are indebted to Theodora Coghlan, Sarah Jennings and Chris Haynes for their assistance.


Year 11 Drama students delighted audiences in the Little Theatre during October with a well-rehearsed and poignant interpretation of Don Taylor’s play, “The Roses of Eyam”. We were particularly grateful to Lynn Jackson for the support and direction given in bringing the cast and crew together to deliver such an entertaining production.


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. Anthony Ciccarello, Nic Perrotta and Sonia Mohanaraj, came together to present a program that showcased a wide variety of music and individual virtuosity. In addition to our annual concert, USC musicians have performed in a number of Eisteddfods and been actively involved with a number of Music and Performing Arts organisations.


  • Tiensa Tran, who already holds A.Mus.A. Diplomas in both violin and piano has continued in her third year with the Adelaide Youth Orchestra (AYO) as a violinist.
  • Kai Gerbi recently passed AMEB Grade 8 Violin with Honours and is a member of the AYO as 1st
  • Annika Grenfell is a member of the AYO (Cello) and has been also been performing with the Suzuki Senior Strings and the Therese O’Brien Cello Trio.
  • Nic Perrotta (Vocalist) took a lead as Florian in the Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of “Princess Ida”.
  • Sonia Mohanaraj (Vocalist) performed as a soloist in three divisions of the Balaklava Eisteddfod and won the major award, the 2015 Vocal Scholarship, given by the Adelaide Plains Male Voice Choir.


During week six of first term, all Year 11 students participated in a special program entitled “Why Be Positive?”. Students engaged with guest speakers and took part 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.


On Tuesday 23 June, Louise Small co-ordinated our annual “Careers 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 old scholars 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.


The Annual College Formal was held at the Adelaide Hilton Hotel, Victoria Square on Friday 10 April. Once again all those in attendance had a wonderful evening organised by an enthusiastic student committee under the direction of Lisa Temple and Mishka Ammann.


During November Rob Lee a political adviser with the United States Embassy in Canberra, visited USC and addressed our Politics students. He was very generous with his time and gave students many insights into American Foreign Policy in the Asia Pacific region.




  • In May, several students and staff raised a total of $1604 for the Oaktree Foundation’s annual Live Below the Line campaign. The money raised is used to provide education and training of local teachers and young people in Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.
  • The Intensive English class raised over $400 through the sale of flower bulbs during first semester. A donation was given to the Sight For All Foundation to help train specialist eye doctors to work amongst the most needy in South East Asia.
  • Sophie Rava, along with the support of many of her peers, conducted a Bake sale in Hub Central to support the Nepal Disaster Region Appeal. More than $800 was raised and given to the Red Cross.
  • A cake stall organised by Kristina Bogatic raised $370 to support the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.
  • In August a number of students and staff dressed in denim to raise money for the Jeans for Genes Campaign. Over $200 was raised for the Children’s Medical Research Institute.
  • A total of 15 students became regular blood donors at the local Blood Bank in Regent Arcade. This is an important community service and those who volunteered are to be commended.
  • Twelve USC students volunteered to collect donations for the Cancer Council on Daffodil Day. The students were able to provide support in a number of locations around the CBD.
  • USC students formed a Syrian Refugee Support Group and meet each Monday to discuss the situation, how it affects them and what positive things can be done to make a difference. Fundraising, raising awareness and collecting non-perishable food for the Welcome Centre in Bowden and the Australian Refugee Association in Torrensville are a few of the initiatives set in motion this year.
  • USC became a VISION 1000 Member of the Sight For All Foundation. This is a commitment to raise a minimum of $1000 each year and donate to this charitable organisation founded by Dr James Muecke.


Throughout the year, subject groups have engaged in a series of special activities, workshops and presentations on and around the university campus. The following list is not exhaustive but it does provide a snapshot of the diversity and quality of these activities:


  • Accounting During May staff and students were invited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants to attend a formal dinner presentation “Food for Thought”, at the Adelaide Oval. Various speakers from the profession gave an insight into a wide variety of career options.


  • Ancient Studies Students studied the Greco-Roman classical architecture along the North Terrace Boulevard and much time was given during the year to research resources in the vast Barr Smith Library collection.


  • Art Students had an opportunity to be part of the Art Gallery’s “Dark Heart” experience in March and were invited to join a workshop with textile artist Julia Robinson. A highlight of the workshop was the behind the scenes tour arranged by curator Lisa Slade.


  • Biology Students participated in a series of microscopy workshops and regular visits to the Botanical Gardens and the Royal Adelaide Zoo.


  • Chemistry Matthew Bull, Technical Officer at the University of Adelaide’s Johnson Laboratories conducted a tour for all Year 12 Chemistry students and demonstrated a variety of analytical techniques including spectroscopy and gas chromatography.


  • Design Students attended a number of exhibitions during the year including The Waterhouse Exhibition (SA Museum), the 2015 SACE Art Show, Jam Factory Exhibitions and especially the “Glass, Art, Design and Architecture” exhibition which showcased a number of outstanding creative projects by contemporary Australian professionals.


  • Drama Year 11 Drama students attended the Therry Dramatic Society’s production of “Summer of the Seventeenth Doll” as part of their coursework requirement.


  • English USC was the venue for a professional development workshop for teachers when esteemed photographer, film-make and director Alex Fraye detailed his latest book “Adelaide Noir” (Wakefield Press, 2015). Participants were reminded of the value of a broadly rich Bachelor of Arts Degree as a pathway into many fulfilling careers.
  • Economics Through the generosity of Dr Michael O’Neale (Director of SA Centre for Economics Studies), several of our Year 12 students were invited to attend an economic briefing for political and senior business leaders over lunch at the Crowne Plaza. Guest speaker for the day was Professor Ian Harper who spoke about Australia’s competition policy and took time after his presentation to informally engage with students.  USC students new to Economics are able to access microfilmed copies of historical documents held by the State Library to enable data collection and comparative studies back to the 1850’s. Our Year 12 Economics students attended one of the regular lectures delivered by the University of Adelaide to gain some insights into what lies ahead.
  • Geography Research visits were conducted at the Museum and Mawson collections. Students also engaged in a variety of field activities in the immediate vicinity of the school including mapping and orienteering exercises in the River Torrens and Rymill Park precincts, visits to the Bicentennial Conservatory, Botanical Gardens and the State Library.


  • History Students were required to research the North Terrace commemorative plaques historic walk and Adelaide’s historic monuments.


  • Legal Studies During second term students visited the Adelaide Magistrates Court and were provided with a comprehensive tour of the facilities and given details of court procedures by the education officer. Year 12 students performed extremely well in the Law Society of SA Mock Trial Competition. USC completed the initial rounds at the top of the leader board and were unlucky to lose the semi-final in what was a very close and high quality contest.


  • Mathematics During August our Mathematical Applications students received a Financial Literacy presentation from Emily Pearce, a facilitator with the StartSmart program promoted by the Commonwealth Bank.


  • Politics Dr Dean Jaensch gave time to speak with students about the Australian Federal System and Mark Parnell MLC covered the impact of minor parties on our system of governance. Visits were also arranged to Parliament House and the Migration Museum as a formal part of the course work.


  • Physics Students visited the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and gained many insights into fibre optics research and the future potential of this material.


  • Psychology Organisational Psychologists from BDO (Binder, Dijker, Otte) administered a psychological instrument called the MBTI (Myer-Briggs Type Indicator) to our Year 12 students. This allows students to learn something about their own personalities as they explore eight different personality differences. This always proves to be a very popular exercise as individuals learn something about themselves in a very practical and interactive way.


Members of the University Senior College Old Scholars’ Association (USCOSA) have continued their support for both current and future students, in addition to growing the professional network of USC alumni. During 2015 USCOSA provided a number of needs based scholarships to help deserving students to attend the college. USCOSA has certainly delivered on their commitment to help a growing number of disadvantaged students to experience the USC pathway and realise their potential. Members of the USCOSA committee often comment that they volunteer their time and support in appreciation of the opportunities that were made available during their own pathway through the senior secondary years. The USCOSA committee includes Rachael Ingleton, Chair (‘13), Joshua Gutteridge Vice Chair (‘04), Olga Pandos Secretary (‘13), Adam Dixon Treasurer (‘06), Leigh Gembus (‘04), Celia Le (‘06) and Marielle Smith (‘04). Carmen Bishop (Director of Marketing and Community Relations) and Murray Thompson (Deputy Principal) continue to serve as ex-officio members of the USCOSA committee.


Every student who graduates from USC becomes a life member of USCOSA and each year the management committee arrange a number of functions for alumni. An event for new graduates in February, a five year reunion in March, Quiz Night in July and a ten year reunion in September are annual events. Keep up to date

Class of 2015 SACE Results 


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