Ben’s science award
Finley High School has again produced a recipient of the prestigious Victor Chang Science Award.
Ben Ashley-Cooper, one of the school’s top science students, has been announced as an award recipient.
The Victor Chang Science Award is presented each year in November to Year 11 students who demonstrate the highest level of educational achievement, innovation, creativity, and hard work in their science class.
It is aimed at encouraging students to pursue a career in science, and includes the chance to attend and learn more about the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney.
This is the fourth consecutive year a Finley High School student has received the Victor Chang Science Award, with Jerilderie’s Stephanie Harris the 2017 recipient.
Ben said he was surprised to receive the award.
‘‘I was quite honoured. I didn’t know much about it but when I look into it I found it’s interesting and prestigious,’’ he said.
‘‘It would be good to go to Sydney, but I’m just looking into options at the moment.
‘‘I enjoy the practical side of physics, but it and biology have good content and I enjoy learning about what things are and how they work.’’
Finley High’s head of science Michael O’Leary said he nominated Ben for his achievements in both of his science subjects.
‘‘He has a desire to head toward the science field when he reaches tertiary education,’’ Mr O’Leary said.
‘‘It’s a significant award and it’s been going for quite a few years.
‘‘Normally the kids are invited to go to an award ceremony in Junee where they’re addressed by a number of dignitaries before choosing whether to go to the Victor Chang Institute and have a look at real world research.
‘‘We’ve had a few recipients in the last few years and it makes me feel proud of what the department can achieve.
‘‘Last year was the first year I taught Ben, but I keep up with what he’d previously been doing and he’s excelled through junior school and into senior school; with the pressure up he’s still performing.”
The award was named after cardiothoracic surgeon Victor Chang, who was responsible for developing Australia’s National Heart Transplant Program and, at the time of his death in 1991, was working on the development of an artificial heart valve which would be used to support seriously ill patients who were awaiting heart transplants.
Principal Jeff Ward said Ben’s honour is a ‘‘huge deal’’ for both Ben and the school.
‘‘Based on the achievements of Victor Chang as a pioneer in cardiac research and the part he played in science, Ben should be proud to be recognised for an award under his name,’’ Mr Ward said.
‘‘It’s prestigious for our school and great honour for Ben.’’
Ben Ashley-Cooper is congratulated by Finley High School science teacher Michael O’Leary on receiving the Victor Chang Science Award.