MELBOURNE, — A Syrian refugee who only began learning English in 2014 after escaping his war-torn country has graduated as the top student at one of Australia’s largest secondary Catholic schools, reports China’s Xinhua news agency.

Saad Al-Kassab has been celebrated as dux (top student) of Catholic Regional College Sydenham, in Melbourne, after earning an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 96.65.

Yet he and his family only arrived in Australia in 2013 after fleeing the brutal civil war in Syria which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

At the outset, he said he struggled to learn English and was originally offered a job as a gardener at the Sydenham high school before the principal intervened and presented him with a scholarship.

Barely three years on, Saad has emerged as one of the success stories of the Victorian education system which, this week, handed down final examination results to its Year 12 students.

“I felt really happy. I was just overwhelmed,” he told ABC News Australia on Tuesday.

Before departing Syria, Saad studied at home with his mother while sheltering from mortars and airstrikes in their home city of Homs.

With no schools in the region available, he had to travel for hours through the desert to makeshift exam centers on run-down sporting fields.

Saad began studying English after arriving in Australia two years ago, watching Question Time in Parliament with his brother Omar, and joining the Scouts to develop his comprehension.

He has already been offered a scholarship at Monash University in Melbourne, and hopes to study biomedicine or medicine.

His lack of English skills initially made it difficult for him to enrol in a school in Australia but he persisted with the language and, after four months, began to steadily improve.

An inspiration to those among his family back home in Syria, Saad is relishing the opportunity to thrive in Australia and hopes to impart his knowledge back in his homeland one day.

“I’m really grateful for being given the opportunity to be able to come to Australia and study here. Despite all the difficulties, I was given a new life,” he said.

“I really wish I can pay it back one day.”

Saad, who has also been working at his school as a gardener to earn money, was this week one of 49,765 students across Victoria to receive their Year 12 Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in 2016.-

Source: Nam News Network

syrianewsgazette.comGeneral
MELBOURNE, -- A Syrian refugee who only began learning English in 2014 after escaping his war-torn country has graduated as the top student at one of Australia's largest secondary Catholic schools, reports China's Xinhua news agency. Saad Al-Kassab has been celebrated as dux (top student) of Catholic Regional College...