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“Take on every opportunity, because small opportunities turn into big ones.”

That is the advice of departing Greater Shepparton Secondary College Year 12 student, Kesalini Muli.

At our inaugural awards night held last week, Kesalini received several accolades for both her academic achievements and her contributions to the college and broader community. This included The Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award, the Shepparton Festival Senior Instrumental Award and the Ampol Best All Rounder Award.

“I am really proud of my efforts,” Kesalini said.

“This year I was a Vice House Captain and a Music Leader, and I think taking on the leadership roles were what really motivated me.”

Kesalini, who is from a Tongan background, said when she started her secondary school journey and relocated with her family to Shepparton, she never saw it taking her where it has.

“When I came to Shepparton I just felt a sense of community and togetherness and that is probably what inspired me to take the path that I did,” Kesalini said.

“I love being involved in community events such as the Pasifika Festival and performing and taking part in school events like Harmony Day. I’m pretty passionate about music so I’ll help wherever I can.”

Kesalini is hoping to stay local next year to study Business or Commerce at LaTrobe or Deakin Universities. While Kesalini has been thrilled with her achievements this year, she reminded outgoing and incoming year 12s that it is not all about your ATAR and that there is a pathway for everyone.

“The best piece of advice I can give is that it’s OK to be different – just find your own way to shine,” she said.

Fellow Year 12 student Tristan Phipps echoed Kesalini’s advice.

“Just focus on all of your classes, your subjects and do the best that you can do,” he said.

“It’s not all about the ATAR – I did VCAL so I didn’t get an ATAR and I think that’s it’s important to remember that there are different pathways for different people and I think you’ve just got to focus on what’s right for you.”

This year Tristan has completed his Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and a Certificate II in Community Services.

“I enjoy helping the community and giving back,” Tristan said.

“Next year I’m hoping to complete my Certificate IIII in Community Services with a hope of becoming a Youth Worker in the future.

“I’ll stay locally for now and see where it takes me. I’m excited to see what’s next.”

As part of his VCAL studies, Tristan has this year undertaken work experience and placement at WDEA Works, Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project and GMLLEN.

Tristan is now almost month into an administrative role with FamilyCare after securing a traineeship straight out of Year 12.

At the GSSC Awards Night, Tristan was presented the CVGT Employment Award, celebrating excellence in talented apprentices and employers.

“I’m definitely proud – it’s a great way to end Year 12,” Tristan said.

Greater Shepparton Secondary College Executive Principal Barbara O’Brien congratulated Kesalini and Tristan on a fantastic year.

“Tristan and Kesalini have been invaluable members of our college and deserve every success,” Mrs O’Brien said.

“The dedication and passion you have both shown to your studies, your peers and your community will hold you in good stead, whatever the future holds for you and we are so proud to have you among our very first GSSC alumni.”

“I would also like to congratulate all of our Year 12 students for a stellar year – you are all high achievers in your own right and we cannot thank you enough for your contributions to our college."