Five Greek-Australian students are amongst Victoria’s top-performing VCE students to be honoured with a Premier’s VCE Award. Victorian John Brumby presented Elias Vitsentzatos, 18, formerly of St Kevin’s College and Matthew Zygorodimos, 18, formerly of Mckinnon Secondary College with the prestigious Top-All Round VCE High Achievers Award on Tuesday at an honorary ceremony.

The award, presented to just 28 students across the state was handed to those who scored 46 or higher in at least five VCE subjects in 2008 and 2009. Raphael Papaspyropoulos, 17, of St John’s Greek Orthodox College won the Premier’s VCE Award for achieving the highest individual score in Greek.

Anna Nalpantidis, of Methodist Ladies College and Zoe Papageorgiou, of Sacre Coeur were presented with awards for the highest individual subject scores in drama and literature respectively. Papaspyropoulos, who arrived from Greece only two years ago, admitted that VCE Greek was easy to settle into however acknowledged he had to “improve” his English.

“I was encouraged to do my best because if I continued to study in Greece I wouldn’t have the same job opportunities that I would have had here.” Elias Vitsentzatos, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne said his award was a recognition of the hard work he had put in during the year.

“It was also support from family and friends that saw me through, because if you don’t have that support from your family I don’t think you can achieve anything,’ he said.

Matthew Zygorodimos, who received an ENTER score of 99.85 attributed his success to goal setting and motivation. “Pick subjects that you actually have a passion for you are more likely to do well in subjects that you enjoy,” he advised future VCE students. The 18-year-old is completing his first year of a Science Scholar Program at Monash University.