After a year of hard work and sacrifices, Manjimup Senior High School student Brendan Walsh has found himself with the top ATAR in the South West with an incredible 99.85. Brendan, 18, said his first reaction was shock and although he was confident he would do well, he said he did not think he would get anywhere near the score he did. “I was very shocked, I was not expecting to get that high,” he said. “I felt I was alright to definitely get into my uni course but I didn’t think I would get anywhere near that high.” Brendan studied physics, chemistry, mathematics specialist, mathematics methods and English, with his favourite subjects being physics and chemistry. He said he picked those subjects to help him get ready for studying engineering at Curtin University, which he starts in February. “I have always had an interest in computers and IT and stuff,” he said. “(Engineering) is a degree which hopefully gets me into some higher ranking jobs in that field.” Brendan said the major piece of advice he would give to the next crop of Year 12 students would be to continually work throughout the year. “It is definitely a lot of work and you do need to make sacrifices but as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort it is not too bad,” he said. “Keep going throughout the year, there is no point slacking off at the start and then trying to go hard hog at the end and yeah just try to keep a balance so you don’t drive yourself insane.” Brendan said he was able to do so well last year because of the support network he had at school at at home. “I’d thank the teachers at Manji high it’s really a great school and I hope they continue to pride themselves on their ATAR achievements,” he said. “Yeah, my parents were constantly giving me support at home and the motivation to go and try my best.” The other top students from the South West included Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School student Tara Anderson on 99.7 and Busselton Senior High School’s Joshua Snow on 99.55.