Dapto High School principal praises Curriculum Network Illawarra

UAC will release Main Round offers at 6pm on Wednesday 18 January through My UAC and on UAC’s website. At least 78,939 people have applied for undergraduate study.

While thousands of school-leavers anxiously await the release of main round university offers on Wednesday evening, 18-year-old Sean Hood can breath easy.

The former Dapto High school captain achieved the school’s highest ATAR ever at the completion of the 2016 HSC, with 97.2, and has already gained early entry into the University of Wollongong.

Mr Hood said it was a tough choice between medical radiation physics or a double degree in music and journalism, but his passion won.

“They’re completely opposite paths but music’s my passion and passion often wins out,” said the guitarist and pianist.

“Regardless of background if you put the work in and if you’ve got the teachers there to help you, you can certainly achieve anything.”

Dapto High School principal Andrew FitzSimons said the achievement was very humbling, exciting and encouraging.

“Every school needs heroes to really look up to and to celebrate, and Sean Hood is one of those. We can really feel proud of his effort,” Mr FitzSimons said.

“Our [academic] improvements are across the board. So we’re looking at our performance in comparison across the state; we’ve got lots of improvement to do but we’re certainly encouraged.”

Mr FitzSimons said he’s convinced Dapto teachers can’t do it alone and praised the independent Curriculum Network Illawarra (CNI) for assisting in boosting the school’s academic results for the last three years.

The CNI includes 17 local public high schools from Bulli down to Kiama who regularly meet to share resources and ideas to better educate the region’s youth.

He said some schools share their insights on the best of science and maths, though Dapto’s music department was the strongest and “other schools will be knocking”.

“The better we all do, the better we all do,” Mr FitzSimons said of collaborating rather than competing against other schools.

The network formed after a similar initiative by the state government (the Illawarra South West Region) was dissolved and replaced by a much larger “Wagga Wagga directorate”.