A visit to Langsford House and meeting with a passionate teacher re-ignited a spark in the WACE 2014 Course Exhibition winner for Materials Design and Technology.
Kathy Hsin's first fashion designs graced her childhood Barbie doll. She didn't imagine then that she would be Western Australia's top student in the course despite fashion running in the family.
Over the Chinese New Year, she says, was amply rewarded by her family for her success.
"They were really happy for me," Kathy said.
"During the Chinese New Year celebrations, apart from lucky money, I received many hugs, especially from my grandma who is an experienced tailor. I guess she was also pretty proud of her good genes."
Materials Design and Technology was not on Kathy's study agenda until she was taken to the textiles room in Langsford House. She says she was impressed by the creativity and the high standard of the designs that were on display, but it was her first impression of Head of Textiles Cheryl Lundy that finally swayed her.
"Passionate and pleasant. My creative mind was ignited and, without hesitation, I changed my subject to Materials Design and Technology, even though it was halfway through the semester," Kathy said.
Mrs Lundy would often find Kathy in the textiles room after school.
"It was a bit of a haven for her," Mrs Lundy said.
"She did love it and her work was great, but being such an intelligent young lady she was ale to assimilate the cognitive skills that were required and be able to write very good answers in the written exams, and she matched that up with a fantastic portfolio.
"She was very passionate about it and just enjoyed being in that space."
The 2014 graduate, originally from China, was worried that she would not do well in her WACE exams as she had been struggling with time management in the lead up to the examinations, and she wasn't sure that her English skills would get her through.
"I kept comforting myself as I knew that I had tried my best. I had no regrets," Kathy said.
"I was very happy with my results and I got into the course that I really wanted to study."
Kathy is now studying Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne, having received an ATAR of 99.2 Along with Materials Design and Technology, she studied Chemistry, English as an Additional Language or Dialect, Human Biological Science, Mathematics, and Mathematics specialist.
"I am actually so glad that I did not drop Materials Design and Technology in Year 12; it has always been one of my favourite subjects. Although it required more time and effort than I had expected, it was totally worth it in the end," Kathy said.
"After completion of my final garment and portfolio, I felt rewarded. It was a sense of achievement that I would not have been able to gain from other subjects." Although hesitant to give out advice to others, Kathy does recommend that students should only do subjects that they like.
"I went on doing six subjects, including the practical subject Material Technology and Design, in Year 12, as I couldn't decide which one to drop. I loved them all," she said.
"There was surely a lot of commitment and struggle, but I truly enjoyed myself in the whole learning process and my interest towards each subject had kept me motivated even through tough times."