Top marks for school-leavers' charity plan

AS ANTICIPATION over the release of VCE results on Monday reaches a fever pitch, two students have come up with a novel way to make the final year of school count.

Bentleigh Secondary College student Ariel Zohar and Caulfield Grammar student Daniel Goldberg have founded the campaign DonATAR: Your mark, Your charity, which encourages VCE students to donate the equivalent of their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank to charity.

''I wanted to make my score more meaningful,'' says Ariel, who dreamed up the concept in the shower.

Ariel has been offered a provisional place in advertising at RMIT, a degree where students are selected on the basis of an interview and portfolio. ''The course I want to get into doesn't need an ATAR, so I thought: 'How can I give it a little more significance?'''

Ariel enlisted the help of close friend Daniel, and in the middle of final-year exams the pair set up the DonATAR Facebook page.

''Our goal is to get as many Australian school leavers to donate to charity as possible. Every little bit counts,'' the boys write in their mission statement. ''Please share to as many school leavers as possible :) What better way to make a difference as we finish school forever?''

Students are invited to Take the Pledge: ''How much of your score are you willing to match for charity?''

The Facebook page already has more than 700 likes and more than 80 pledges; the vast majority of students indicating they will donate 100 per cent of their ATAR ''dollar for dollar baby''.

The concept is a popular one: students have posted they will donate to charities including Huntington's Victoria, beyondblue, the Fistula Foundation and Heart of Melbourne Appeal. Ariel, whose grandfather died from Alzheimer's last year, plans to give his donation to Alzheimer's Australia.

There is also plenty of humour.

''If I get 99.95 I'll donate my house,'' quips Daniel Schmiedl.

''But I'll only get 5 cents back from a $100 note?'' laments Colby Paulding. Ariel and Daniel hope to make the campaign an annual event. ''We want to spread the idea,'' Ariel says.

Students who have registered to receive their VCE results via SMS will receive a text from 7am on Monday. Students can also gain access to their results at or wait for snail mail to arrive on Tuesday, December 18.

VTAC and the VCAA provide a joint inquiry service for students who wish to find out more about their results. Call 03 9651 4640 or 1800 653 080 or email

The service will be open from Monday, December 17 to Wednesday, December 19.

To make a pledge to donate your ATAR to charity go to

The story Top marks for school-leavers' charity plan first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide