TERANG'S Matthew O'Brien is the literal definition of a high achiever.
Premier Ted Baillieu had to stand on his toes to shake the 196cm 16-year-old's hand when presenting him with an Anzac award .
Matthew, who is in year 11 at Camperdown's Mercy Regional College, was selected as one of 17 regional finalists in the 2011/2012 Spirit of Anzac competition.
Yesterday he set off on his prize an all-expenses-paid study tour to Canberra.
"It's a bit surreal," Matthew told The Standard. "When I got the phone call I really couldn't believe it."
A last-minute decision to enter the competition paid dividends for the teenager, who wrote an essay on the topics: 'What does the spirit of Anzac mean to you?' and 'Are the values displayed by the Anzacs at Gallipoli and the Western Front still relevant today?'
"I wrote what a few critics say about the spirit of Anzac, that some people think (celebrating) it commercialises the meaning," he said. "(But) I think it's great.
"I went to a service in Terang it's a time for remembrance."
The finalists attended a tour briefing at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance before meeting Minister for Veterans' Affairs Hugh Delahunty, Governor of Victoria Alex Chernov and the Premier for lunch at the National Gallery of Victoria.