Rockhampton boy crowned the state’s smartest student
THE Rockhampton Grammar School's James Vandeleur has been crowned the state's smartest student, beating more than 37,000 Queensland students to the top.
The 17-year-old received the state's top award for academic prowess, Outstanding Academic Achiever, at the QCE Achievement Awards on Saturday with the highest results in eight subjects.
James, who graduated from high school last year with an OP 1, said he was surprised when he heard his named called out as the winner of the prestigious award.
"They were reading through these names and Timothy Weber (Brisbane Grammar School) was awarded for the highest result on the Queensland core skills test. I thought surely he would get it," he said.
"But to my surprise it turned out to be me and it was quite the thrill. It was a really good feeling.
"It's a good certificate to have and good launch pad moving forward."
James also received the Distinguished Academic Achievers award, along with $5000 for the Outstanding Academic Achiever award.
Now living in Brisbane, he said he hoped to become a research scientist in space exploration and is set to study a Bachelor of Advanced Science, majoring in physics, at The University of Queensland starting next week.
"It's less about physically going into space but more doing some of the fun mental physics stuff," he said.
"They are looking at quantum technologies and long-distance communication - the things you could do with that I think is really interesting. Australia is leading the quantum field - it's looking really good.
"After I finish at The University of Queensland, I would like to go overseas to do a postgraduate (degree) and eventually work in some of the bigger names in science."
James said the key to succeeding in Year 12 was to enjoy the subjects you were doing.
"That's what helped me because I found a lot of enjoyment in particularly the maths and science subjects," he said.
"It makes it seem a whole lot less like work and more just something you do out of interest.
"It takes pressure off too because the result becomes less important in a way. It's still nice to get a good result but it's primarily about learning the subject and enjoying doing that and whatever falls naturally because of that is a bonus really."
The Rockhampton Grammar School headmaster Dr Phillip Moulds said he was proud of James' huge accomplishment.
"He has worked very hard over a long period of time," Dr Moulds said.
"The other thing we are really proud of is he is a really great person. It's not just about academic achievement for us, it's about having a person of great character and James is that person.
"It's also a great testament to all the hard work the teachers do and it's a great testament to his family who have been really supportive over many years.
"He has a very bright future ahead."
The awards were held at the State Library of Queensland where 34 graduates received prizes in six categories.