In its very first year of existence, Our Lady of Mercy College in Australind has ranked No.1 in regional WA, according to the median ATAR results achieved in 2020. The school operated for five years as a sister campus to Bunbury Catholic College, before branching away and last year becoming its own entity. Principal Rob Crothers said he was thrilled with the results and credited the teachers and students for their hard work. He said the school community embraced change throughout 2020 due to the rebranding of the school and challenges associated with COVID-19. “At the start of the year we went through a series of changes to find our own identity,” Mr Crothers said. “Like a teenager ready to leave home, we were ready to be ourselves.” The college got a new name, uniform and leadership model. Then several months later, students were forced to adapt again as the COVID crisis broke in WA. “No one really knew what to expect, there were talks of a Year 13, no ATAR exams and a lot of uncertainty,” Mr Crothers said. “The students embraced change once again and showed resilience as they moved to studying online. “We just kept telling the students that we would get through this together.” Mr Crothers said when the students returned, the staff put a big emphasis on pastoral care and rebuilding connections. “The teachers and students really did have a great mutual respect for each other,” he said. The college recorded a median ATAR of 85.2, with almost a quarter of students achieving above 90. It was ranked No.27 in Statewide ATAR rankings.