Sara Al Arnoos is no stranger to academic excellence.
For the second year straight the wannabe politician has been acknowledged at the Proudly Public! Celebrating Excellence in Public Schools awards night.
This year the 19-year-old and Amro Zoabe, also a former Keira High student, received a Friends of Zainab Tertiary Scholarship, awarded to students with a refugee background in Year 12 in 2018 intending to enter university in 2019.
Keira High School principal David Robson said he was delighted that Sara and Amro received scholarships to help them in continuing their studies at the University of Wollongong.
Sara arrived in Australia five years ago. She left war-torn Syria seven years ago and spent two years in Lebanon before the family of eight moved to Wollongong.
When she spoke to the Mercury last year, Sara said she plans on being a strong advocate for the rights of Aboriginals, as well as refugees, if she becomes a federal parliamentarian.
She is well on track to achieving this and is now studying a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Dean’s Scholar) at UOW.
Her fellow scholarship recipient Amro is also in the first year of his Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) – Bachelor of Commerce at UOW.
He said the scholarship was “indeed life-changing”.
“It has helped me greatly to purchase textbooks and other educational tools I need,” he said.
Like Sara, Amro also fled Syria and arrived in Australia in 2016 after spending three years in “extremely inhumane conditions” as a refugee in Jordan.
He completed his Intensive English program in 13 weeks and moved directly to year 11.
In year 12 he ranked top in ESL, Arabic Continuers, Arabic Extension and second in maths. He was also a youth committee member for Wollongong City Council and has volunteered with SCARF and other community organisations.
Sara and Amro were among more than 131 public school students and educators from across NSW to receive scholarships as part of the Public Education Foundation national awards on May 15.