Andre Gregory is no stranger to success, having graduated from Sydney’s Newington College in 2022 with an ATAR score of 99.8.
This week, his outstanding achievement was recognised once again at the NextSense Annual General Meeting, where he took out both of our annual student prizes for academic achievement. The ClearaSound Prize is awarded to a student supported by NextSense School Support (hearing) who has achieved outstanding results in the HSC.
The Garfield & Norma Barwick Prize is awarded to a student assisted by our School Support service who achieved the most outstanding performance in the HSC.
On learning he had won both awards, which included generous cash prizes, Andre said, ‘It was a bit of a surprise. I was coming back from work at my parents’ jewellery business and my parents told me I’d won. It was a big achievement… I’m very happy and honoured to win.’
Andre received support from Years five to 12 from NextSense Special Education Consultant, Halina Ciok, as part of the support service we offer to students with hearing and vision loss attending independent schools. Teachers like Halina work one-on-one with students to support them to thrive.
Andre has hearing loss and wears hearing aids, which can pose challenges in a classroom setting as it takes him a little longer to process sounds. This takes significant concentration.
Initially Halina and Andre met every week to work together on language structure, tone and auditory and memory recall skills. Halina also worked with Andre’s teachers to ensure his environment was suitable, making adjustments such as ensuring captions were used on videos in classrooms, and reducing noise levels.
Andre found technology, such as a personal FM system, was helpful during his earlier school years. This system transmits sound from a microphone directly to a device, reducing background noise.
As he progressed through his later years of high school and decided to sit for the International Baccalaureate, he and Halina met each term to check in on how he was going and discuss strategies to improve his learning further.
Halina found Andre’s determination and hard work stood him in good stead for the more intensive final years of school.
— Halina Ciok, NextSense Special Education Consultant
Andre is exceptional and was a great pleasure to work with over the years. He always managed his learning and academic challenges with independence and a positive mindset. He was consistently very organised, driven and determined, proactively managing his own learning and coming up with strategies to improve his knowledge.
Andre credits the support of his parents, who he considers exceptional role models, and his strong personal motivation, as important contributors to his success.
He is now studying Law at the University of Sydney and is considering a career in Law or Medicine. While his studies remain a key focus, he has also kept his strong passion for football.
What’s one piece of advice that Andre would give to students heading into their final school year?
— Andre Gregory, Student
Keep going. It’s only one year of your life. If you ever lose motivation, just remember why you’re trying so hard… always remember your goal. And talk to people if you need help.
Our thanks to ClearaSound and the Barwick family for their ongoing commitment and support and for making both awards possible.