Matthew Flinders Anglican College graduate Zennjo Searle has been recognised as one of the state’s brightest young minds from the Class of 2019.
Zennjo was among 34 graduates who received awards at the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) Achievement Awards, held last weekend at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane.
The awards were presented by Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace to the 34 graduates who received prizes in six categories.
Zennjo, who was one of the 11 Flinders students to achieve an OP1 in 2019, accepted the ‘Distinguished Academic Achiever’ award at the ceremony, with his family in attendance as support.
Principal Stuart Meade also attended the ceremony and congratulated Zennjo for his outstanding results, which have seen him accepted into a Provisional Medicine degree at the University of Queensland.
“As a College community, we are thrilled to see Zennjo recognised for his hard work, determination and passion for learning,” Mr Meade said.
“We wish him well for his future, which will be bright and will no doubt see him help others.”
Zennjo has been part of the College community for the past 10 years, joining Flinders in the Primary years in Year 3.
He credits his academic achievement, in part, to the team of friends, teachers and family who have supported him along the way.
Asked what he will miss the most about Flinders, Zennjo said, “I have been lucky to have had incredible teachers who have inspired and encouraged me to pursue my love of learning.
“I’ve also had friends who follow their passions without compromise,” he said. “Having friends to study with is one of the best things you can do.”
His advice for Year 12 students is to “help each other and do things that you love”.
Parents Greg and Keiko Searle credit Zennjo’s success to the many habits and values he has learned over the years.
“His good work habits, developed from a young age, provided Zennjo with a solid foundation in Maths and the understanding that you have to practise problem solving in order to solve problems - this came from Mum,” Greg said.
“I hope that I have taught him that you can never assume, and that you must always ask why or how when you don't understand.”
Asked whether they are proud of their son’s academic success, Greg says, “I think ‘happy’, rather than ‘proud’, is closer to how Keiko and I feel.
“We have wanted to give our children a belief that hard work is rewarded,” he said.
“Sometimes things don't work out and you don't get the reward; this is when it gets hard and you have to pick yourself up and work at it again.
“The knowledge that Zen seems to have worked this out at his young age makes us fulfilled as parents.”
Greg thanked the College for supporting Zennjo during his many years at Flinders. Zennjo's brother is in his final years of schooling at the College.
“We couldn't have asked for more from Flinders,” Greg said.
“Wise, experienced, caring and challenging teachers and support staff, and College grounds and facilities that cater to all interests.
“This may not be specifically written in the College manual but we believe there is an intent or culture in the school that compels students to be the best they can be at whatever it is that excites them.
“For example, if a student wanted to excel at stamp collecting then I believe this would be encouraged and explored, and the lessons learned from this pursuit would then be applied to the broader task of completing High School to the best of their ability.”
IMAGE caption: Flinders graduate Zennjo Searle with Flinders Principal Stuart Meade at the QCE Awards, Brisbane.