There were only 12 students in Lachlan Fisher’s Tumbarumba High School graduating class of 2020. Only two of them studied metal and engineering.
Yesterday the news broke that Lachlan finished first in the state in that subject. Now he’s a local celebrity with well-wishers and family sending a barrage of congratulatory messages to the young student.
Fresh from his ATAR score “which was pretty good” and the news that he’s been accepted to study his course of choice, mechanical engineering, at his university of choice – University of Newcastle – he’s pretty chuffed.
“It’s been a bloody good week,” he says, laughing. “I’m pretty ecstatic to be honest. It’s not every day you get told you’re the best metal and engineering student in the state. It’s a pretty rare thing to hear. It feels very surreal.”
This outcome for farm-raised Lachlan is certainly the silver lining to a dark cloud of a year which started with bushfires that smashed half his district, including his dad’s home, then the isolation of COVID-19, plus his parents splitting up, and him being taken down by a fifth knee operation.
“This time last year I had just finished my first term of year 12 and with the fires there was a lot of uncertainty,” he explains. “But everything seems to be falling into place a bit for me and life seems to make a bit more sense right now.”
At the moment, he’s looking at a future working with cars, which is not surprising because his past has included the restoration of old vehicles.
“Anything to do with cars,” says Lachlan. “Maybe get into racing in some way, shape or form. I’m a big fan of muscle cars; so Chevy Camaro or Mustang, cars like that.”
He has been around cars most of his life. His inspiration, dad James, worked as a mechanic, fitter, machinist, welder, and now runs a mechanic shop in Tumbarumba.
“We always had cars at home,” says Lachlan. “We were always making things and fixing things for as long as I can remember.”
In a year when the world conspired against him, it was his studies that kept him focused.
“If you want to do it, work hard at it,” says Lachlan. “If you work hard at it, you will get there.”
He is currently staying in Bathurst and reckons when he gets home to Tumba, it’ll be time for a big celebration.
“I might head down to the local pub and have a few beers with my mates,” he says.
NSW Department of Education local executive director Dean White applauded Lachlan’s achievement, which he described as “amazing”. He also commended all Riverina students on completing their HSC in a year that has brought a unique set of challenges.
Boorowa Central School, Cootamundra High School, Gundagai High School, Junee High School, Tumbarumba High School, Tumut High School and Young High School were among the 24 Riverina public schools where students earned a top band to make them an HSC Distinguished Achiever.