When Muhammad ‘Farhan’ Islam started at GVGS in 2012, he could never have predicted the strong relationships he would build with both his teachers and fellow students over the years to come. “I remember coming in for my Year 5 interview with Mr Torriero and being very nervous,” he says. “I look back on that day and it feels so weird because now they’re like an extension of my family.” Reflecting on his time as a new student to the school, he fondly recalls his orientation and the first few weeks. “I was really nervous when I met my buddies, they just seemed like these scary giants,” he says. “Then when I got to know them I just thought they were amazing people…we really bonded because they showed a genuine interest in me as a person.”
From day one, Farhan felt right at home at GVGS. With his dad working as a general practitioner here in Shepparton and his mum as a local accountant, he developed a keen interest in mathematics and science and the support from the school community as a whole empowered him to achieve his best year after year. “The one thing that was really noticeable to me from the beginning was that everyone at the school is focused on you getting a good academic outcome and making sure you succeed,” he says. “When you look at the achievements that happen here at this school it really is remarkable.” Farhan is grateful for the teachers he has had for each of his classes, appreciating the high calibre of teaching staff across the whole school. “You can tell that the teachers are aware of all the different abilities,” he says. “They know how to cater to your needs and that helps us be the best we can be.”
Farhan is equally passionate about his favourite sport, badminton, and was the 2019 Badminton Captain. “I’ve done Friday night badminton every year since I started here, I really love it,” he says. Farhan was also School Community Prefect for 2019. “Being School Community Prefect is all about promoting a healthy and happy environment for all students,” he says. “As well as raising awareness of major issues that affect school-aged kids, such as bullying.” Over the past 12 months in this role, Farhan assisted with the school formal and combined “Pelic-nics” – a venture coined by the School Captains of 2018 where all students are invited to share a picnic lunch with each other on the lawns to raise awareness of bullying among teenagers.
Looking ahead to 2020, Farhan is aiming to study a Bachelor of Science followed by a Master of Engineering (Biomedical) at the University of Melbourne. “Biomedical engineering combines my fascination of the health sciences with problem-solving,” he says. “I’ve always been an academic at heart…I have a real love for learning, especially maths and science.” He says he is keen to mature and grow when he moves south, taking on the adventures that lay ahead with gusto. “I just love expanding my horizons,” he says. “I want to acclimatise to living by myself and being an adult.” Undertaking the notorious quintet of Year 12 subjects – Specialist Maths, Maths Methods, Physics, Chemistry and English – has left Farhan with this advice for future students: “I think in reality it’s about studying smart, not studying hard…you can be so much more productive when you are strategic about how you study.”
At the recent school Presentation Evening, Farhan received numerous awards in recognition of his outstanding community engagement and thirst for learning including:
- Mathematical Methods Units 3&4 Subject Award
- Specialist Mathematics Units 3&4 Subject Award
- Physics Units 3&4 Subject Award
- Australian Mathematics Competition – High Distinction
- UNSW ICAS Mathematics – Distinction
Farhan was also presented with the most respected award of the school, the Senior Citizenship Award for outstanding contribution to the school community. Following the release of the VCE results for 2019 Farhan was also recognised as Dux of the School. He has accepted an offer from the University of Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Biomedicine and a prestigious Melbourne Chancellor’s Scholarship.