Syrian Refugee Who Only Learned English 2 Years Ago Picks Up ATAR Of 96.65

After last week’s kerfuffle that saw scores of Year 12 students sent their (correct) ATAR scores a few days ahead of schedule, today marks the *official* release of Year 12 results for young folk across the nation.
With every year there’s the yarns of perfect scores – that mythical mark of 99.95 – and this year is certainly no different in that regard; in Victoria, 35 students managed to achieve the dizzying feat.
But inarguably the most remarkable story of all comes from the Catholic Regional College Sydenham in Melbourne’s north-west.
The school’s Dux of Year 12 Saad Al-Kassab scored an ATAR result of a more-than-impressive 96.65.
But it gets outrageously impressive when you consider the fact that Saad, a Syrian refugee, fled his war-torn country in 2013, and only began learning English in 2014. As in TWO YEARS AGO.
Saad missed two full years of school when, at the age of 14, the horrific Syrian Civil War broke out. His older brother Omar, who was 17 when fighting began. In April of 2013, after participating in protests for peace and democracy in Syria, but armed forces captured, arrested, shot, and tortured him.
The following year, both Saad and a freed Omar managed to flee the region, successfully crossing over to Australia.
Saad, like the rest of his family, began learning English in 2014 via his father’s treasured and much-read English-Arabic dictionary. And these were language skills he further honed by watching ‘Question Time‘ from Federal Parliament with his older brother.
Today, Omar is studying a Bachelor of Business, and the young Saad has officially completed Year 12 as the dux of his school with a hefty ATAR of 96.65.
CRC Sydenham principal Brendan Watson praised the achievements of Saad today, in particular paying tribute to his remarkable story.

“All our students are different. Whether their journey is VCE, VCAL or VET, their teachers are proud to support their achievements. But few have the impact that Saad — and Omar — have had in a such a short time, since their arrival in Australia in June 2014.”

No stranger to the public eye, both Omar and Saad appeared in Canberra a mere handful of weeks ago, giving a TEDx talk on their life, upbringing, and remarkable journey from Syria to Australia in an honest, frank, at times hilarious, but often harrowing story.

No matter which way you spin it, that’s a hell of an achievement from an apparently very smart young bloke.
Here’s to you, Saad, and to many years of learning whatever it is you set your mind to.
Unreal effort, and a devastatingly real story.

Source: Herald Sun.
Photo: CRC Sydenham/Facebook.