Saad Al-Kassab, take a bow – you little bloody Aussie legend.
This might just be one of the most inspiring stories to come out of this horrible, no-good year.
Before 2014, Saad hadn’t been to school in two years.
Why? Not because he was a truant, but because his home country of Syria was plunged into a bloody civil war.
His older brother, Omar (17 years old), was shot, captured and tortured by armed forces during protests for peace and democracy.
After being freed, Omar, Saad and his family pulled off a miracle – successfully fleeing the country and arriving in Australia in 2014.
Only then did he start learning English, by taking classes and watching live feeds of Question Time in parliament.
“The way they speak, they speak proper English. They speak slowly, so you can catch words,” Saad said.
After initially finding it very difficult to enrol in a school due to his English skills, he eventually got into Catholic Regional College Sydenham in Melbourne.
Two years later, he was Dux of Year 12 and today he received a stunning, and frankly completely unbelievable ATAR of 96.65.
Monash University has offered him a scholarship and he hopes to study biomedicine or medicine.
He’s not short on confidence either, the whiz-kid telling the media,
“To be honest, I was expecting a high score, but it felt so good to see it,” he said.
“I felt really happy. I was just overwhelmed.”
While our politicians seem hell-bent on constructing a xenophobic narrative demonising refugees, Saad is a shining example of just how wrong they are.
This country was built on the contributions of immigrants like Saad, and to turn our backs on these people would not only be heartless, but we as a country would be worse off for it.
“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,” Saad said.
“I really wish I can pay it back one day.”
Mate, you already have.
(OH AND ALSO HE’S DONE A TEDx TALK BECAUSE OF COURSE HE HAS)