A Syrian refugee who couldn’t speak English two years ago has not only passed his year 12 exams – but earned dux of his school.
Saad Al-Kassab, 19, escaped with his family from Syria in 2013 and just three years later his life has totally transformed.
Saad was just 14 when his country became engulfed in a civil war that has so far killed hundreds of thousands.
Unable to go to school because of heavy shelling and air strikes he was tutored by his mother and attended a make shift school kilometres away in an abandoned cinema.
After being forced to flee across to Lebanon, then Egypt and eventually Australia Saad and his family settled in Melbourne.
Unable to speak a word of English the determined young man and his brother Omar began learning the language by watching Question Time in Parliament and then joining the Scouts to help progress.
Not sure if he could go to school here because of his English Saad got a job at Catholic Regional College Sydenham as a gardener but he was eventually offered a scholarship there by the principle who’d become aware of his situation.
After completing his final two years of high school Saad graduates this year with a Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 96.65 – the highest score in his school. His mark puts him in the top four per cent of the state.
The teenager has already been offered a scholarship at Monash University and hopes to study medicine.
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