FORMER Monaro High School student Budhima Nanayakkara has taken out top honours at the Australian National University (ANU) and paid tribute to his local teachers for helping him along the way.
Mr Nanayakkara graduated as a medical doctor from the ANU in December and took away a swag of awards including the highest award, the University Medal.
The ANU University Medal was awarded to him for his botany and zoology honours thesis in his first undergraduate degree.
He claimed a second University Medal for his performance in his post graduate degree in medicine and surgery.
The ANU medical school award - the Graham Wilkinson Prize - was also given to him for overall achievement academically and socially.
The Rural Health Prize was awarded to Mr Nanayakkara for his involvement in the Rural Health Club, which included a mentoring program and rural medicine promotion in schools and to other medical students.
The talented medical student also won the Population Health Prize for his work in a new medical journal, the Medical Students Journal of Australia.
Despite all his achievements, Mr Nanayakkara is quite humble and paid tribute to his teachers at Monaro High School and Cooma North Public School.
"Monaro High School is a great school, it is an amazing school," Mr Nanayakkara said.
"The teachers at both schools are amazing. They really foster independent learning and self-directed learning. That really helps at university when you have a lot of freedom.
"My teachers and parents have always motivated and challenged me.
"I don't think we value teachers enough."
When asked the secret of his success, Mr Nanayakkara said he had always worked hard and played hard and it wasn't the marks that motivated him.
"It has been getting an understanding of the fundamental concepts," Mr Nanayakkara said.
"The marks will automatically follow. If you always understand the subject matter, it will show in your answers if you have a grasp of first principals.
"If you set aside the time and really focus, you will get the task done. I would set goals for myself, say to read a chapter and finish it in the time I set."
Mr Nanayakkara was the Monaro High School captain and dux in 2004 and after eight years of university study will begin his medical internship before embarking on a specialisation program, such as general medicine, surgery, anaesthetics or obstetrics.
Mr Nanayakkara said he didn't know what he would to do yet, but wanted to practice in a rural setting.
"I know whatever I do in the future I will always be committed to teaching, which is one of my passions."
But for now Mr Nanayakkara is having a well deserved skiing holiday in Whistler, Canada.