Near per­fect ATAR

Paige Gul­lifer’s 99.7 tops Co­bram re­sults

The Cobram Courier - - FRONT PAGE -

The world be­longs, lit­er­ally, to braini­acs such as Paige Gul­lifer, 18.

The shy Co­bram res­i­dent has just recorded the town’s — and one of Aus­tralia’s — high­est ATAR scores.

Her 99.7 (per­fec­tion is 99.95) would have uni­ver­si­ties queu­ing up at her door with of­fers for any­thing she wanted.

They would be wav­ing med­i­cal school, law school and just about any­thing else she de­sired in a bid to have her en­rol, but they would all be wast­ing their time.

Ms Gul­lifer is a mu­si­cian and all she is in­ter­ested in is a po­si­tion at the Syd­ney Con­ser­va­to­rium where she can spend the next four years get­ting a mu­si­cal de­gree and play­ing her alto sax­o­phone.

That course only re­quired an ATAR about 70.

En­try hinges on au­di­tions and Ms Gul­lifer, nat­u­rally, has al­ready aced that and was ex­pect­ing her of­fer to be con­firmed by Jan­uary 11.

On her way to the au­di­tion, Ms Gul­lifer did his­tory rev­o­lu­tions, English, maths meth­ods and chem­istry (and had fast tracked English lit­er­a­ture in Year 11).

Ms Gul­lifer at­tended Co­bram High School un­til Year 9, be­fore com­plet­ing her fi­nal three years at Goul­burn Val­ley Gram­mar, af­ter re­ceiv­ing an aca­demic schol­ar­ship and be­ing at­tracted by broader mu­si­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties there.

But for some­one who knows so much, the one thing Ms Gul­lifer has no an­swer for is what she will do when she fin­ishes her mu­sic de­gree.

‘‘I’m not 100 per cent sure where it will take me, there is no need for an alto sax in or­ches­tras, so I guess I would be look­ing at a band, or as a soloist, al­though there is a fair bit in clas­sics,’’ Ms Gul­lifer said. ‘‘But even that is very niche,’’. For a girl who de­scribes her­self as shy and in­tro­verted, there must be a fair bit of steely re­solve in there as well.

She checked her ATAR on­line be­fore show­ing her par­ents Si­mon and Sonya and sis­ter Trin­ity, who started at Goul­burn Val­ley Gram­mar last year.

‘‘We were all a bit speech­less,’’ Ms Gul­lifer said.

‘‘I had been do­ing well aca­dem­i­cally but never ex­pected any­thing like this.’’

At which point any par­ent worth their salt would have to ask if their now of­fi­cially su­per-smart child might like to re­con­sider their im­me­di­ate fu­ture.

‘‘No-one dared try that,’’ Ms Gul­lifer said.

‘‘I was pretty de­ter­mined this is what I wanted.’’

As well as mu­sic at school, Ms Gul­lifer prac­ticed un­der the guid­ance of Bendigo’s Michael Lich­novsky, who left teach­ing posts at Mel­bourne and Monash uni­ver­si­ties to head the wood­wind depart­ment at Gir­ton Gram­mar School.

His mu­sic mak­ing is made up of teach­ing, con­duct­ing, per­form­ing, re­search, record­ing and writ­ing.

He has con­ducted choirs, wind bands, or­ches­tras and jazz groups from be­gin­ning mu­si­cians, to fine com­mu­nity en­sem­bles such as Ston­ning­ton Sym­phony, to pro­fes­sional or­ches­tras and cham­ber groups.

Ms Gul­lifer has al­ready been test­ing her progress, com­pet­ing last year in a con­certo com­pe­ti­tion where she reached the semi-fi­nals even though nearly all the other con­tes­tants were univer­sity stu­dents.

When she is not play­ing, prac­tic­ing or pass­ing ex­ams (she men­tions un­der duress she also plays a bit of pi­ano and vi­o­lin) with fly­ing colours, Ms Gul­lifer likes to write, read and, well, plays some more.

As the alto sax is a one size fits all, even Ms Gul­lifer ad­mit­ted she looked pretty funny with her first one when she was in Year 7 — it was al­most as big as her — but the Yamaha she plays to­day looks more in pro­por­tion.

‘‘Yes, for­tu­nately I grew up,’’ she said.

And on the back of what she has al­ready achieved, ev­ery­one ex­pects to see a lot more in the years ahead.

Sound that sax: Co­bram’s Paige Gul­lifer sur­prised even her­self when she scored a near per­fect 99.7 ATAR.

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