Joeys student, Thomas McGregor achieves the Highest attainable rank.

Posted on December 19, 2017

A balance of study, sport, and leisure time with his friends, was key to Thomas McGregor being only one of 46 students in the state to achieve an ATAR of 99.95 in the Higher School Certificate (HSC) – the highest possible ranking a student can receive.

The St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill boarder, affectionately regarded amongst his peers, says he expected to do well – but not that well.

“It’s a very surreal feeling and certainly not expected,” Thomas says, adding he is both excited and relieved his hard work had paid off. “It’s a strange mix of elation and surprise but I’m definitely very happy.”

Thomas completed English Advanced, Latin Continuous, Latin Extension, Modern History, Physics and Studies of Religion II unit, in which he came second in the state. He sat his Maths and Maths Extension 1 HSC exams in Year 11.

“The Academic and music program is celebrated a lot within the school, just as much as its well-renowned sporting achievements” he says. “Everyone’s given the opportunity to stand up and do what they want to do.”

Thomas says he chose subjects that he enjoyed and believes his teachers played a crucial role in his achievement. His favourite subject was Physics and the fun classroom established by Mr Josh Clark.

“All my teachers were always very supportive and encouraged success, a quality which instilled a drive for success in me and my peers,” he explains, adding his teachers were always willing to mark practice exams and provide feedback, which gave students an incentive to keep working hard.

“I think that Joeys was the reason why I was able to do well, because it helped me get into a comfort zone and challenge myself and enjoy myself,” Thomas says. “That balance helped me to relax a lot, whilst maintaining good study habits.”

As a boarder, Thomas was required to observe study times after dinner, from 6:30 til 8:00pm, and then from 8:30 til 9.45pm. “If I adhered to the allotted time for sport and study and always used my spare time to relax or be with friends, then I never felt tired or burnt out,” he says.

Aside from playing rugby and cricket, being a boarder meant that whenever he had free time, there was always someone to hang out with. “Around the dorms everyone was very social,” he says. “And then, outside of school, a bunch of us had a golf group and we used to play golf all the time, and go and stay at someone’s house, go to the beach, see my family.”

Thomas plans to study Economics and Commerce either at the Australian National University (ANU) or The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and is interested in pursuing a career in investment banking or financial management.