Joseph has low vision in his right eye due to an acute retina detachment and cataracts. In Year 12, eye surgeries took him out of school for more than a term. He and his family knew he needed a little extra support to make up for lost time during his HSC studies, so they reached out to NextSense School Support K-12.
During his HSC Year, Joseph began receiving support from NextSense vision teacher Pam Ayling. ‘Pam helped me access learning materials in different ways that worked better for me with my vision, such as using an iPad instead of the textbook. She also helped me devise various strategies and approaches to study that made it easier for me,’ Joseph says.
‘When it came to my exams, she made sure I had access to the right supports. Small things like exam paper colour, using beige instead of white, for example, can make a big difference—it was much easier for me to see.’
He also says Pam’s help went beyond the academic, providing the emotional support he needed to get back on track after his surgery too. ‘Beyond the study support, Pam was a great emotional support—helping me get back on track and focus on my goals.’
Despite the time away from his studies, Joseph received an impressive ATAR of 81. In recognition of his achievements, he received the 2019 Frederick Gregory-Roberts Prize, awarded at the NextSense AGM to the NextSense School Support student with the most outstanding HSC results.
As part of the award, Joseph received a $1,000 prize. He put this money to good use, covering university expenses for the Bachelor of Medical Science, which he commenced in 2020. And now the ambitious and driven young man has a plan to follow his dreams into a career in Medicine.
‘I want to be a doctor, but my ATAR wasn’t quite enough for a Medicine program. I’m really enjoying the research part of my studies, so my goal is to do honours in Medical Science and go on to do post-graduate Medical qualifications.’
Joseph has a personal interest in dermatology and is considering building his career in this direction. ‘Having experienced bad eczema myself, I’d love to be able to help others with skin conditions to access treatment, so dermatology is definitely something I’m interested in pursuing.’
One thing is clear – when it comes to reaching his goals, Joseph won’t be stopped, and the NextSense community is right behind him – waiting to see what’s next!