17 of the best and brightest students at Coast schools
The Sunshine Coast is packed to the brim with impressive teenagers ready to take the world by storm.
They're the names we'll be seeing in lights, the doctors who will be saving lives and the future business moguls ready to lead the region to economic success.
Here are 17 of the best and brightest students at schools across the Coast:
Belinda Walton, Immanuel Lutheran College
The Year 12 student is just weeks away from embarking on the road to stardom.
Belinda recently joined a management production company to pursue a career in the music industry, with two songs already featured on Spotify and iTunes.
"We have begun a relaunch of my artist branding, so with all music stuff, I'm now under the name of Bella Strong," she said.
"For Strong, we wanted to think of something we could base my career off of, and I think strength is a really important thing in all different forms."
The 17-year-old, who would grab a microphone at any event she could from a young age, hoped her pop rock-inspired music would lead to a sustainable career.
"After school finishes … we decided against a university, just for next year, and I think I'm really going to start focusing on the real world experience in the industry," she said.
"The ultimate goal would be to be a professional recording artist, be on tour with original music. I think that's the big dream for me.
"I'll be working on producing and writing as much quality music as possible to release to the world and see what happens."
Chloe Robinson, Immanuel Lutheran College
Not many young teens can say they've created a successful business before they leave school, but Chloe Robinson can.
The Year 11 student started MyBandz while participating in a teenage business course, selling hair and wrist bands to help raise money for sick children.
"Part of the course was we had to create a business with a charitable arm … and the store that I was buying these hair ties that I really loved from stopped selling them, so I decided to find a supplier and start selling them myself," she said.
Yet Chloe hasn't pigeonholed herself into one future career, having recently returned from a science, technology, engineering and mathematics camp which highlighted high achieving maths and science students in Queensland.
The 2021 college captain said she was looking forward to expanding on those skills.
"I have never really been sure about what I want to do when I finish school, but after doing the camp I did over the holidays … I think it's steered me towards the maths side of things," she said.
Tim Pesu, Suncoast Christian College
The student leadership member has taken every opportunity at Suncoast to let his academic talents shine.
Tim said he often helped organise and run student activities, particularly fundraisers for important causes.
"This year one of our biggest events was Crunch for Kids, so … we got the students to pledge to do a certain amount of crunches everyday, then they tried to raise money from other people to support them and we sent all that money to Redkite," he said.
As a strong academic achiever, the Year 12 student said he hoped to finish his schooling on a high.
"This year I'm interested in getting dux," he said.
"Every year I only just slightly miss out, so it would be nice if this year I could get it and I think I've got a good chance."
Having been raised to "help people out" wherever he could, Tim said a career in medicine was his goal for the future.
"I think medicine is one of the best fits of me," he said.
"I think it's a good way for me to be able to use my personal giftings, as well as feed back into the community."
Zia Husbands, Suncoast Christian College
The Year 10 student has shown strength in the arts and academics.
Zia is currently doing a Certificate III in Dance, which she said was part of her high performance in the subject at school.
"I really love dancing, because like school it's something that you get to invest lots of time in and you can see the achievements and progress that you make," she said.
The dance lover said she often progressed above and beyond her fellow classmates, receiving academic awards each year.
"In lots of classes I've had to be extended, especially during primary school and the start of high school, for maths since the work set for our classes was too easy for me," she said
Although she has two years left in a classroom, Zia said she had her sights set on a future as a performer.
"If things with COVID start to lessen, I would love to move overseas for a little while and dance," she said.
"Ideally I'd like to dance for a little while and then go into university and hopefully study something in medicine."
Louis Prager, Matthew Flinders Anglican College
Between a passion for academics and a keen interest in sport, the Year 10 student has had his hands full this year.
Louis was recently awarded the annual Premier's Anzac Prize as one of eight students in the state to tour Europe's Western Front.
He's represented the country in the Mind Law Olympics competition in Greece, has competed in multiple soccer grand finals and reached a senior ranking belt in Tae-Kwon Do.
The Matthew Flinders student said he was also looking forward to playing a lead role in the school's musical production next year.
"I enjoy representing Flinders and contributing to our community through fundraising, such as for the Mates4Mates charity," he said.
"In the future, I plan to study medicine."
Tate Cassells, Matthew Flinders Anglican College
The Year 12 student has marched to the beat of his own drum through his school experience, with a passion for all things music.
Tate was recently awarded an Associate of Trinity College London Diploma with Distinction, and plays trombone for the Flinders' stage band, college band, symphony orchestra and wind symphony.
Captaining the college band program, Tate also won the Brass and Woodwind Championship and numerous duet titles with his friend, William Lynch, in the Sunshine Coast Junior Music Eisteddfod.
The Flinders music scholar said he planned to stay in tune with his school as he took his next step into adulthood.
"I plan to study a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music," he said.
"I would like to remain connected with Flinders and mentor aspiring music students."
Holly Monroe, Matthew Flinders Anglican College
The college captain has combined the best of academics and sport during her time as a student at Matthew Flinders.
Holly achieved first place in the Sunshine Coast Regional Maths Competition and is a senior prefect at the school.
The Year 12 student enjoys her fair share of sport, having won the third division grand final at the Champion Basketball Schools Queensland competition this month.
Between achieving high results at school and playing in the Queensland Junior Indoor Netball Team, Holly is certainly a busy student.
"Next year, I would like to study a Bachelor of Science, majoring in physics at the University of Queensland, and will continue to play my favourite sports," she said.
Ellia Smith, Sunshine Beach State High School
The 17-year-old has ridden a wave of success this year, with a multitude of surfing titles to her name.
Ellia is the current U19 Queensland School Surfing Champion, having placed first in the U19 girls competition for the 2020 Queensland Secondary Schools State School Titles.
She had the opportunity to represent Australia at the World Championships held at California last year and scored an impressive fifth place.
The Year 12 student also won the 2020 MR Shield Champion award as part of a team at the Queensland Secondary Schools Titles, and placed second in the U19 division for the National Secondary Schools Tournament last year.
Ellia said she was "extremely proud of having the opportunity to travel to other countries" to continue her passion, with the plan to pursue a career as professional athlete.
She hoped to study Sports Management at the University of the Sunshine Coast or University of Queensland next year.
Eden Tregear, Sunshine Beach State High School
Remember this name, because the 16-year-old is well on her way to becoming a star on the big stage.
From winning the Best Female Actress Award at the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival in 2017 and 2019 to playing multiple roles in plays, Eden said she always had a love for performing.
"The whole process of working so hard for months on a production and constantly learning by being surrounded by so much talent and passion is so rewarding once you step off stage knowing that all the work you put in was worth it," she said.
Eden signed with the Little Seed Theatre Company in Year 6 and has since played roles like Olivia in the 2020 performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Ismene in the 2019 modern adaptation of the Greek play Antigone.
Now a Year 11 student, she said she didn't know what she'd be doing if it wasn't for acting.
"I will always continue to be involved in all things theatre, whether that be working behind
the scenes or on stage/screen," she said.
Eden hopes to audition for the top Australian theatre universities, giving her the platform to pursue a career in film or stage acting.
Rory Kelly, Sunshine Beach State High School
With two parents who both have careers in the music industry, Rory was bound to fall in love with the craft.
The Sunshine Coast Youth Orchestra wind symphony and stage band member plays the cello, saxophone and percussion inside and outside of school.
Rory performed at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2017, 2018 and 2019 on numerous stages, including playing in front of about 10,000 people for the opening of the event.
The 17-year-old has made his mark at multiple music festivals, such as the National Folk Festival in Canberra, the Lorient Interceltic Festival in France and the Picton Maritime Festival in New Zealand.
"I am passionate about music because I have always been around it and I am at my happiest
when performing on stage," Rory said.
"It is such a great form of expression and I have made many close friendships through performing and playing in general."
Building on his impressive musical experience, the Year 11 student said he wished to study at the Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane when he finished school.
Nikita Fiederlein, Maroochydore State High School
The vice-captain said she has had "the privilege" of partaking in several opportunities her school has provided.
Nikita spent two weeks in Cambodia last year as part of the school's humanitarian trip, teaching young children how to read and write.
She said the "life-changing" experience also involved building houses for families in poverty.
The Year 12 student will have her hands full in 2021, with a plan to study a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Science dual degree at the University of Queensland.
"Although I don't know what the future holds, I envision myself going to medical school and eventually practising medicine as a doctor," she said.
"I'm incredibly grateful for my time at Maroochydore State High School and can't wait for my life to begin."
Sukwhee Kim, Mountain Creek State High School
Sukwhee's hard work paid off this year after the Year 12 student was crowned as the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority Dux of the Year.
He also received a high distinction in the Australian Mathematics Competition, a result Sukwhee said was a "great privilege".
"Although 2020 has been a horrible year due to the pandemic and my study was disrupted, I tried my best to understand every topic we learn in each subject," he said.
As an international student from South Korea, Sukwhee said he was proud to finish all his assessments successfully despite the language barrier.
"I think getting those awards is a result of my effort during this unprecedented time, and this is why I am so proud of my achievement," he said.
Sukwhee plans to continue his academic streak, having applied to study a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Australian Catholic University or a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science at Griffith University.
"I am more interested in medical laboratory science as my dream is becoming a medical researcher who studies and discovers new treatment methods for various diseases including COVID-19," he said.
"Based on my future career, my final goal is working at a global organisation such as World Health Organisation to help people around the world."
Hope Ahcheen, Mountain Creek State High School
The Year 12 student could become the next name to watch in the art industry after her impressive experience.
As part of the IB Diploma Programme, Hope spent two years creating an extensive portfolio for the visual art exhibition in September.
She said the "long journey" gave her a deeper appreciation for art in all its forms, having loved the craft for as long as she could remember.
"I've come to not only define my own personal style but also explore a range of different media types and concepts," she said.
"The exhibition, therefore, was another challenge which allowed me to further refine my skills and understanding of curatorial practices."
Hope also started her own online business selling her artworks, giving her an insight into the possibility of merging her passion with business.
"Studying the Business Management course in the IB Programme over the last three years, I have learnt so much and have come to realise the value in having a knowledge of business and business practices," she said.
"Hence, next year I intend to study a Bachelor of Business at QUT to further follow this pursuit and keep many doors open in the future."
Thomas Rankin, Mountain Creek State High School
With his sights set on the future, Thomas is sure to become a leading voice for the younger generation.
The Year 12 student said he was passionate about environmental sciences and history.
"These subjects have seriously changed my world view and allowed me to develop a valuable critical perspective on current political events and the climate crisis, which will inevitably become the key global issue faced by my generation," he said.
With the end of school in sight, Thomas said he planned to go to Melbourne University and study an arts degree, with the goal of becoming an author.
"I hope only to be able to change someone's world view or paradigms in the way that these subjects have changed mine and draw attention to the issues that my generation faces," he said.
Emily Dunn, Mountain Creek State High School
Dedication to her work when things got hard was how Emily has maintained success through her schooling.
The Year 12 student said she was proud of her efforts in the music space, studying for the Australian Music Examinations Board and Trinity exams.
Passionate about music for as long as she could remember, Emily said her achievements in academics and the arts wouldn't be possible without her drive to work at the best of her ability.
Although she wasn't 100 per cent sure about her path for future, the teen said she wanted to "spend (her) life helping those around (her)".
"I have been accepted into the Bachelor of Nursing Science program at the University of the Sunshine Coast via early offer, and am excited to see how it goes," she said.
Eloise Lawrie, Sunshine Coast Grammar School
The Year 11 student will try her hand at leadership in 2021 as she captains the major school.
Academics is also one of Eloise's strong points, having received the top student of the academic year for the past two years.
She said winning the USC Debating Competition and placing fourth in the Queensland Junior Beach Volleyball Tour were also highlights during her time at school.
"I applied for school captain as I love my school, enjoy leadership and public speaking and I thought that it would be a great way to serve my school community," she said.
"I am passionate about my studies and believe that through hard work and persistence I can achieve my goals."
Eloise's coming year will be busy as she hopes to study medicine and become a doctor in the future.
Harry Pettett, Sunshine Coast Grammar School
The Year 11 student paddled his way to success this year after being selected for the U19 Queensland Pathways Squad for rowing.
While the competition was cancelled due to COVID-19, Harry said he was proud of his hard work paying off.
"I am most passionate about rowing because I believe in a boat you cannot hide," he said.
"You either work hard or don't row.
"I love rowing because it teaches life lessons and to be satisfied everything has to be perfect."
Harry said the qualities he learned from rowing also blended into his achievements at school, with a passion to maintain high grades.
"I especially love to learn as it helps to explain how things work whilst opening up new opportunities to life," he said.
"I do not know exactly what I would like to do once I am finished school, but I am definitely leaning more towards health and medicine.
"Currently, my focus is on achieving the best results so that I have the ability to pursue whatever I would like."