Near perfect ATAR
Paige Gullifer’s 99.7 tops Cobram results
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.