In Education

Western Australia Minister for Education Elizabeth Constable

Applications Sought For Program Which Helps Gifted Students Reach Potential

Victor P Taffa

Parents of exceptional children are urged to apply for a Program for gifted students which last year helped a significant number of Western Australia’s highest-achieving Public School students reach their Potential.

Applications for the Gifted and Talented Program are being sought from Parents of children who will start year eight in 2013, and there are also limited places available for students going into years eight, nine, 10 and 11 in 2012.

Education Minister Liz Constable said the Gifted and Talented Program in WA Public Schools continued to deliver exceptional results.

“Students in these schools continue to achieve highly, and include 2010 WACE Beazley Medal Winner Michael Taran, Hollywood movie star Sam Worthington and Oscar-winning author and illustrator Shaun Tan.” Dr. Constable said.

Of the 100 Public School Students who achieved an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank of 99 or more in 2010, more than 80 % attended Schools with a Gifted and Talented Program.

“The Gifted and Talented Program provides students with specialist teachers trained to meet their students’ unique learning needs.” the Minister said.

“Students learn with like-minded peers and each Gifted and Talented Program has access and links with universities and industry which helps enrich their learning experience.”

“Entry is very competitive so interested families should not delay in applying.” Dr. Constable said.

All applicants must sit the Academic Selective Entrance Test.

WACE Academic Beazley Medal Winner in 2010 Michael Taran, who qualified for medicine at The University of Western Australia, said the Gifted and Talented Program at Perth Modern School gave him the opportunity to extend himself.

“I was challenged more than I had been previously and was able to participate in enrichment classes. When I was in Year 10, I was given the opportunity to learn advanced logarithms and calculus and this really helped me in Year 11.” Mr. Taran said.

“Learning with like-minded students was beneficial because we could collaborate and we helped each other learn.”

“Each of us had strengths in a particular area, so we could explain concepts we understood and learn concepts we didn’t understand and I found I learnt a lot from explaining things to my friends.” Mr. Taran said.

“I would absolutely recommend the Gifted and Talented Program – it is a brilliant experience.”

Applications close at noon on Monday, March 21, 2011.  For further information, visit or telephone 9264 4307.

Families are invited to apply for a place for their child in these programs at 16 Public Secondary Schools in WA, with online participation and boarding options available for students in the country.

The Students detailed below from Gifted and Talented Program Schools are available for Interviews and Photos:

Applecross Senior High School                                                                                        

Arts – Visual Arts
Kimberley Wynhorst – This Year 9 student has a vivid imagination and is inspired by a large range of Visual Art disciplines at practical workshops conducted on Saturday mornings. Kimberley enjoys the opportunity to work with specialist tutors from the local art community, and loves drawing and ceramics.  In addition to her outstanding artistic talent, Kimberley provides an excellent example of how a talented student can obtain high-level achievements across learning areas. She is the top student in her year in English, French, maths, music, science, society and the environment.  She still finds time to play hockey and was chosen to play in the Allstars Football team.  Kimberley has served on the Student Council for two years. She hopes to travel extensively and study Journalism or Biological Sciences at university.

Balcatta Senior High School                                                                                                     

Arts – Visual Arts
Madeline Palmer
– The Year 10 student has always loved art and believes the Gifted and Talented program has given her opportunities to explore her craft.  Madeline says she believes the ‘tutors are really cool because they help you find your own style and improve it’. Madeline, who also studies photography at the school’s Saturday morning workshops, has won numerous awards and prizes in the past two years and has sold a number of works to private collections.  Her painting ‘City Scape’ was shown in the ‘2010 Young Originals Exhibition’ at Edith Cowan University and was purchased by Balcatta Senior High School as part of their annual Beven Hill Acquisition Prize. This work will now be part of the school’s extensive permanent collection, which includes work by Sidney Nolan, Margaret Olley and Arthur Boyd. Balcatta Senior High School’s Gifted and Talented program director Nathan Setzinger said Madeline is a very dedicated student who showed an artistic maturity beyond her years. Madeline hopes to one day work as an artistic director or graphic designer for a magazine.

Churchlands Senior High School                                                                                            

Arts – Music
Jarrad Innes Linke
– The Year 10 student plays the clarinet and believes the Gifted and Talented music program is great. Jarrad says all the teachers are amazing and music is definitely ‘my favourite and most passionate subject’. Jarrad plans to study music at the WA Academy of Performing Arts and would like to go into instrumental teaching and performing around the world.


Comet Bay College                                                                                                                                  

Maths, Science and Humanities
Sally Jerram
– 2011 is set to be an exciting and rewarding year for this highly talented Year 12 student, who has just been elected as the school’s Head Girl. As a founding Gifted and Talented student who aspires to study medicine and become a surgeon, Sally loves being part of the program because she thrives on the constant challenges. With a passion for solving the problems that exist in nature, Sally’s favourite subjects are chemistry and mathematics. Sally, who also plays netball, attributes her success in the Gifted and Talented program to her dedicated teachers who always encourage her to be an ‘individual’ and inspire her to be the best she can be.  


Duncraig Senior High School                                                                                               

Maths, Science and Humanities
Jen-Mei Ang
– The Year 8 student began high school a year ahead of schedule after scoring in the top one per cent of testing last year. The 12-year-old took part in the school’s orientation program last year and believes this gave her the opportunity to get to know people better and learn more about the Program. “So far the Gifted and Talented program has given me opportunities to strive even further for excellence, along with others in the class. The teachers go out of their way to help you and make sure you are engaged.” Ms. Ang said. 

Governor Stirling Senior High School                                                                      

Maths, Science and Humanities
Tiani Kitson
– The talented creative writer comes from a family of Gifted and Talented children. The Year 10 student won a Department of Health sponsored creative writing prize last year by responding to a theme about body image and hopes to become a journalist. She is also a keen debater and has participated in the WA Debating League competition for two years.  In her spare time, she plays classical guitar and participates in the school’s Dance Program.


Hampton Senior High School                                                                                                   

Arts – Dance
Jade Marchesani – The Year 8 student loves being part of the Gifted and Talented program at Hampton Senior High School because she gets to do what she loves everyday.  Dancing has been her passion since she was two and the Gifted and Talented program allows her to explore new choreography, learn new styles and teaches creative dance composition, while making new friends and having fun.  Jade hopes to have a career in dance and believes that the Gifted and Talented program will help her achieve that goal.

John Curtin College of the Arts

Selective Arts School – Dance

Selective Arts School – Drama

Selective Arts School – Music

Selective Arts School – Visual Arts

Selective Arts School – Artsmedia

Selective Arts School – Music Theatre

Craig Hyde-Smith – The Gifted and Talented program drama student developed his love for drama when he was three through involvement in musical theatre productions. Craig successfully auditioned to play the boy in ‘Waiting for Godot’ with Sir Ian McKellen, which played to sell-out audiences at His Majesty’s Theatre. The Year 10 student has also been nominated for a WA Screen award for best actor for a performance in a short film.  He wants to be an actor, director or a doctor.   


Kalamunda Senior High School                                                                                              

Arts – Visual Arts
Georgia Varnavides – The Year 10 student enjoys learning a large variety of art processes and experiencing many different art forms offered by the Gifted and Talented program.  She loves combining creativity with disciplined design and she hopes to be an architect.  Georgia enjoys the Saturday morning extension program where she learns from art and design specialists. Georgia would like to study landscape design, following in the footsteps of her favourite tutor.

Kelmscott Senior High School                                                                                              

Maths, Science and Humanities

Nathan Pedrotti – The Gifted and Talented student loves and excels at maths and English. Nathan enjoys the challenge the program provides and this ensures he is never bored.  The Year 9 believes the program has shown him what careers will suit his talents and he hopes his mathematical abilities will help him become a mechanical engineer. He would eventually like to own his own super car company.


Melville Senior High School                                                                                                 

Maths, Science and Humanities
Casey Fitzpatrick
– Casey Fitzpatrick is among the first group of gifted and talented students to begin Year 11 at Melville Senior High School.  Casey studied Year 11 courses in Year 10 which, he says, ensured he chose the subjects that were ‘right’ for him in Year 11.  He says the challenging and engaging nature of the tasks that he undertook has allowed him to be “more knowledgeable, confident and prepared for the challenges of senior school courses.”


Mount Lawley Senior High School


Lily Shilkin – The Year 9 student wants to speak a second language fluently and the

Mount Lawley Senior High School Gifted and Talented program is helping her to do that. Lily is learning Italian and to help with her written skills, she maintains a blog written entirely in Italian.  Lily looks forward to travelling to Italy next year as part of the program.  Being in the program also gives her access to informative excursions and incursions; she particularly enjoyed when a cook visited and taught them how to cook traditional Italian dishes.


Perth Modern School                                                                                                        

Selective Academic School

Ariel Mroz – Ariel says she has found learning among like-minded students not only a great challenge, but also extremely important. The Year 10 student says her teachers have been her greatest inspiration, mostly because of the way they are able to cater for the individual needs of the each student.  Ariel’s favourite subjects are music and English. She is looking forward to taking part in the 2011 European Music Tour. The 19-day tour will travel to Hungary, England, Belgium and France.  Ariel, who plays horn, will also play at Westminster Abbey for the official ANZAC day service.  She hopes to study international relations at university.

Rossmoyne Senior High School

Alexander Yap
– The multi-talented Year 9 student is in the Gifted and Talented program for languages studying Japanese.  Alexander is also in the school’s classical music program playing clarinet and sings in the choir. He is also in the school’s specialist volleyball program and has a passion for art and drawing. His teachers describe him as a delightful, self-effacing high achieving student.


Shenton College                                                                                                                     

Maths, Science and Humanities

Kieran Jiwa – The entrepreneurial Gifted and Talented student was inspired by Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Ideas Worth Spreading talks, organised by Shenton College, and decided he would like to be involved in the TEDxYouthday. The TEDxYouthday is a series of independently organised events designed to empower and inspire young people. The Year 11 student organised for inspirational speakers to give talks to his peers at Shenton College.  Kieran planned the entire event which included liaising with guest speakers, organising invitations, updating and developing a website, co-ordinate filming of the event, signage, tickets, catering and leading a team of event volunteers.

Willetton Senior High School                                                                                               

Maths, Science and Humanities

Pratul Awasthi – Being in the Gifted and Talented program at Willetton Senior High School has been a great experience for the Year 11 student.  Pratul enjoys the encouragement and support which is provided by the school and loves to participate in competitions, especially the Solar Car Challenge. The ability to work at his own pace and learning with like-minded students has benefited Pratul greatly and he aims to study medicine or engineering at university.


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