Twins brothers who had matching ATAR scores of 99.6 spent Year 12 grappling with the shock death of father, but their sibling rivalry kept them focused.
When Connor Ibbotson got his exam results on Wednesday morning, he bolted into his twin brother Luke’s room in Warragul, south east of Melbourne, to wake him up.
‘I just wanted to sleep,’ Luke laughed.
‘We plugged the marks into an ATAR calculator to see what we might get, and the results were spot on – we got the same thing,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
The 18-year-old’s said the results were a ‘complete shock’ during a tough year for people in Victoria in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But for Connor and Luke, 2020 had even more challenges.
Pictured: Connor (right) and Luke holding awards from their school valedictory dinner and awards ceremony
Pictured, left to right: Their mother Debbie; Luke, their father Brian who suddenly died of a heart attack, and Connor age 12
It was the year they would sit the most important exams of their lives to date, and the first year they would not have their loving father Brian by their side.
‘He died of a heart attack,’ Luke said.
‘It was a struggle, but Mum has been a really strong motivator and encouraged and helped us so much.’
He said there were many times he wished his dad was there, partly because he was a TAFE teacher with a gift for physics and mathematics – the boys’ favourite subjects.
‘He would be proud, if he were here,’ Luke said.
‘His death affected us both, but the support of our mum and teachers helped us through the hard times and achieve outstanding results.’
Pictured, left to right: Connor, Debbie and Luke at age 12. Their mother kept them motivated after their father died
Pictured: Luke (left) and Connor on a trip to Adelaide near Mt Isa. The boys are very competitive with each other
Despite dealing with loss and being separated from their friends at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School during lockdown, Connor and Luke leaned on each other for company and support.
‘A lot of people lost motivation because they didn’t have anyone to talk to, but we were able to physically talk about our school work and exam questions in a way others couldn’t – being on a video call isn’t the same,’ Connor said.
But the brothers also said they were each motivated to beat the other twin.
‘If I didn’t feel like doing a practice exam but Connor said he was going to do one, I would have to do it as well because he was doing it,’ Luke said.
Pictured: Luke (left), their friend Lachlan and Connor on their Year 12 muck-up day. The twins dressed as Donald Trump and Joe Biden
Pictured: Luke and Connor with their school principal Cameron Herbert in Victoria
When asked if there would have been jealousy if one twin had received a higher score, they both agreed it was likely
When asked if there would have been jealousy if one twin had received a higher score, they both agreed it was likely.
‘I thought Connor would beat me,’ Luke laughed. ‘I had a month after the exams to come to terms with it so it was okay.’
Connor got higher marks in physics, specialist mathematics, biology, and chemistry, but there was one point between the two for English – the one subject the boys agreed was their weakest.
Luke got 40 out of 50 and Connor got 39. The average mark for the subject across Victoria is 30.
Despite the grade differences, their ATAR scores were the same because higher English marks pushes the overall score up.
Pictured: Luke and Connor (left and right) with their debutante ball partners in Year 11, Phoebe, Sage and Sophie
Pictured: Luke and Connor starting Year 12 in early 2020. They each topped their school in their final exams
‘Sometimes I think I could have studied for an extra 20 minutes here and there,’ said Luke.
‘You’re always looking back and thinking about what you could have done better – maybe I could have beat him.’
When asked how they achieved such good results and were both crowned dux of their school, the pair said they chose subjects they were passionate about.
‘Our teachers were excellent. Even during lockdown the made the Zoom classes really fun and as practical as possible so ti was really engaging. We really enjoy learning,’ Luke said.
If they don’t get in to the medicine degree at Monash University, Connor would do engineering and Luke would do bio-medicine.