Ben’s science award

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

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.

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