Hywel learns the lesson of doing well

KATHRYN VUKOVLJAK meets the former bored young man who was inspired to go back to school and topped his college year

Hywel Davies with partner Candice du Tremolet de Lacheisserie and their 18-month-old son Elliot… “I went in thinking, I might as well do as well as I can, and once I started getting good marks, it was rewarding.” Photo by Andrew Finch

Hywel Davies says that as a bored, distracted 17-year-old he didn’t see the point in studying and dropped out of school in year 11 – but at 31 he decided to get his year 12 certificate and aced the year as dux.

Hywel did his year-long ACT year 12 certificate at the CIT Pathways College in Bruce in 2016, and achieved dux with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 98.5. He has since been accepted to study dentistry at Charles Sturt University in Orange.

Having attended Canberra Grammar School as a teen, Hywel says he was expelled in year 10 for constantly being on detention, and though he went to a different school to finish year 10, he left in year 11.

“I dropped out because I knew it was pointless to be there the way I was doing it,” he says.

“I didn’t have any focus and was more interested in parties. I had no experience in real life and I thought school was unnecessary.

“I started a chef apprenticeship but I didn’t really like the cheffing life, so over the years I worked with builders, did tree surgery, gardening, property maintenance and retail.”

Hywel says he had considered going back to school for a long time, but it was meeting his partner Candice du Tremolet de Lacheisserie and the birth of their son Elliot in 2015, that became the catalyst.

“After Elliot was born I decided I wanted to improve our lot in life, and year 12 was the logical first step,” he says.

“I had no idea I was going to do well. I wanted to do it because it opens up a lot of doors in the public service, defence and the police force. It’s a handy ticket to have.”

Hywel says he was happy to have achieved dux and such a high ATAR.

“I went in thinking, I might as well do as well as I can, and once I started getting good marks, it was rewarding. And the difference was, I was there because I wanted to be there.

“I was told early on that they thought I’d do pretty well, and there was an expectation of around 92 for my ATAR,” he says.

“But my actual result was a surprise to me, and it was a shock to be invited to an awards ceremony.”

As a rebellious 17-year-old, Hywel says he didn’t want to study and felt he was only at school because other people told him it was the thing to do.

“As a teenager you like to be original, although dropping out of school isn’t a very original thing, you don’t see it that way,” he says.

“But once you see how the real world works it’s very different.”

Hywel says he chose dentistry to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“As a kid, I was interested in what he was doing so I’m looking forward to getting started and moving the family to Orange.

“It feels good to have something in front of me. I haven’t felt this optimistic for a long time.”

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