We are so proud of Anna Dau. Not only was she an inspirational leader of our College community as College Captain, her hard work and consistent efforts have paid off and she is our College Dux for 2020. With a phenomenal ATAR of 97.95, she has the world at her feet. Anna plans on studying a Bachelor of Engineering in 2021 at UNSW.

I spoke to some of her teachers to gain more of an insight into Anna and what we can learn from her journey. Her English teacher, Mrs Gee reflected “Anna’s success in Advanced English is attributed to her dedication to her studies and her ability to form strong relationships with her peers. Anna always worked collaboratively in the classroom sharing ideas, knowledge and resources to ensure all students performed to their best potential. Anna read widely, engaging in conversations about prescribed texts and world issues, often expressing compassion and empathy for those in difficult and challenging circumstances. Her positive influence in the classroom was evident in her ability to work with others and her active participation in classroom discussion. Her knowledge, empathy and positive approach to learning is commendable.”

Anna’s Mathematics teacher, Mrs Shipard, also noted Anna’s strong spirit of collaboration: “Anna was a diligent student who was an active participant in each lesson. She involved herself in all class discussions and constantly asked questions to ensure that she fully understood each concept that was covered. Anna completed all questions that she could get her hands on, and if she couldn’t figure out how to answer any of the questions then she made sure to find her teachers to work through the problem. Anna was a very collaborative student who readily worked in small groups to problem solve, happily helping her peers to understand some of the more difficult concepts that we were working on.”

So, before Anna is caught up in the whirlwind of university, I managed to catch up with Anna and ask her these questions:

  1. Thinking about your HSC 2020 success, what are you most proud of?
    With Year 12 already being a difficult year, I am frankly surprised that I and the rest of my cohort accomplished the feat of completing it during a pandemic. Especially with many of our end-of-school milestones not being possible, the acceptance that we had for the unprecedented and difficult circumstances in order to solely focus on succeeding in the HSC is definitely a proud moment. It really demonstrates that we were capable of finding motivation when we really need it.
  2. What do you think was the key to your success?
    I wouldn’t have been able to succeed if I didn’t seek the help of my peers and friends. Seeing the HSC as a collective goal rather than an individual race to the finish line allowed myself to approach any difficulties, whether it be a complex calculus problem or a wordy Shakespeare question in a new way. We all worked together to improve, sharing our notes, ideas and resources in order to teach, learn and consolidate what we knew. So I really owe it to teamwork for achieving what I have achieved.
  3. If you could give a current Year 11 student three pieces of advice, what would they be?
    My advice would be:

      • Consistency – only putting in effort in the final yearly exams will set you up for some difficulty, so always keep up to date with notes and homework as much as they might be a bit of a drag! Recording what you do in each class will really help with exams.
      • Feedback – always ask for feedback from teachers, they will be happy to look at anything and everything. Plus, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends and also help them out because it will all help with learning and remembering.
      • Don’t quit all of your extracurricular – having something other than school work to do keeps life interesting and allows you to take a break when school gets tough. Still going out with friends occasionally is also important because they will be there to support you!
  4. Who or what helped you the most in your HSC?
    The mindset that I had throughout HSC, which was to always focus on small goals rather than worrying about the larger goal was something that helped me cope. To think about the enormous amounts of work required as a whole would’ve stressed myself out and dampened my motivation, but instead I only centered my efforts on what I had to do for that day or for that week. Taking it day-by-day definitely helped me learn skills and remember information more effectively and keep calm when it came to exams.
  5. What are you most excited about for 2021?
    I’m most excited to be busy with uni, since I’ll be able to meet fresh faces and know what it will really be like to be a young adult in the ‘real’ world as they say. Along with having more time to take on fun projects, it will be interesting to see how I’ll use my knowledge from the past 13 years of school outside of the school grounds.
  6. What are your dreams for the future?
    I would like to travel (when that’s possible) and study or work overseas in addition to studying here, since I’d love to see what my opportunities are beyond the Sutherland Shire and venture out of my comfort zone. Hopefully, all the work I have done and plan on doing will culminate into something that will be important to others.