Sunny Lee

  • 99.90 ATAR
  • Dux of Meriden
  • 1st in Maths Ext 2 (98)
  • 1st in Maths Ext 1 (99)
  • 1st in Physics (98)
  • 2nd in Chemistry (96)


  • Dux of Meriden 2023
  • 99.90 ATAR
  • Chemistry: 96 (Rank 2nd)
  • Physics: 98 (Rank 1st)
  • Maths Extension 1: 99 (Rank 1st)
  • Maths Extension 2: 98 (Rank 1st)
  • Physics Olympiad Summer School (Top 24 of Australia in Physics)

About Me

It was the exam before trials. The teacher came around, handing back our papers, and I quickly flipped through the pages counting up my marks. Then I flipped through them again, counting them slower this time. Then once more, in utter disbelief.

Did I miss a page? Surely I must’ve counted wrong. There was NO way I got a 79% in Chemistry. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach, and it took all I had to fight back the welling tears.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure you passed at least.”

Passed? I knew my friends who said that had high expectations of me. The teacher had high expectations of me. My parents had high expectations of me. I had high expectations. Passing wasn’t simply enough. My vision blurred with tears the longer I stared at my double digit ranking. How could I even achieve the atar I wanted, the degree I wanted at the university I wanted, with a 79% in Chemistry?

That afternoon I spent hours sobbing into my mother’s arms before I could even find a hint of courage to tell her my score. I was too scared to face the anger and disappointment that would replace the expectant look on her face. 

A subject I loved was soon always accompanied by a growing, gnawing sensation of fear. But that didn’t stop me. The next exam, the trials, I placed 2nd. Although overall, I only placed 4th in Chemistry, I had the highest raw HSC Chemistry score in my school. Sleep-deprived at 5am in Korea, my whole family cheered in celebration. That accomplishment was accompanied by my atar of 99.90, highest in my school, with overall rankings of 1st in both Mathematics Extension 1 and 2, and 2nd in Physics.