Erika Danielle Genota from the Victorian School of Languages (VSL)- Dandenong proudly accepted the Victorian Premier’s Award on 28 April at the Crown Palladium. This prestigious award for students scoring 46 or above in their chosen areas of VCE study is now in its 22nd year acknowledging and rewarding students’ commitment to achieving excellence in their academic endeavors.
When Erika decided to study the language Filipino as a VCE subject she thought it was convenient to do so as it was her mother tongue and the VSL was “closest from my home”. Little did she know that these factors would not only contribute to her achieving highly but at the same time would lead to winning the 2016 Premier’s Award. While Erika was the top scorer in her subject Filipino, she also enjoyed the company of over 200 other high achievers on the awards night. (As reported by VSL Southeast Area Manager Dr Holger Nord who also attended the night with Erika’s Year 12 Filipino instructor Mrs Perez and proud parents Alexander and Geraldine Genota.)
However, it must also be noted that the VSL has topped this event for the second year in a row with 15 award recipients this year and 14 awardees previously. On a separate ceremony on 7 March, Erika was also invited with three other VSL Filipino students (Janelle Hernandez, Bianca Hipolito and Bono Baluyot) to the “Top Scorers Evening” at the Copland Theatre, Melbourne University.
The VSL, in its 80th year, is the largest single provider of languages in Victoria. It has prided itself as an inclusive educational institution teaching over 40 community languages statewide on a face-to-face or distance education mode, and employs qualified, dedicated and enthusiastic language professionals from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
As for Erika who has also been active volunteering for the International Children’s Festival, the VSL hopes that this award will be a great motivation to succeed in her further VCE studies as well as on her path toward a degree in Bachelor of Science or Nursing. She is ready to share the benefits she has derived from studying her native language and culture as she joyfully proclaims: “I am hoping that I can inspire others … so that our language does not die!”
Indeed, learning a language has so many benefits including the enhancement of creativity, problem-solving ability, literacy skills and the maintenance of cultural identity. Victorian students also receive a bonus mark towards their ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) score in recognition of the importance of studying a language. To earn recognition and win a Premier’s Award for an outstanding language study performance is indeed a great bonus.
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