Schools Finalists

Duy Quang Mai (Vietnam)
Homebush Boys High School, Sydney

In the two years since coming to Sydney from Hanoi, Vietnam, Duy Quang has become a highly respected leader in the local community. An avid volunteer, the 16-year-old student has earned praise for his compassionate and giving nature, and become an exceptional role model. Duy Quang teaches English to younger students, assists Year 7 students via the Peer Support Program, and has been instrumental in the recently formed Social Justice Club, which sees students advocate for issues such as gender equality and refugee rights. The broader community has benefitted from Duy Quang’s participation in the NSW State Conference for UN Youth Australia, his volunteer work at the local Salvos Store, and his work with the Interact Club, a school-based Rotary club. In his spare time, the Year 10 student loves to practice his art and photography. ‘I think every small moment in life is captivating, and I want to capture them,’ he says.

Helga Björg Óladóttir (Iceland)
Willyama High School, Broken Hill

Hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, Helga strives to be able to, ‘change important things for the better’. Since arriving in Broken Hill in February 2018, the Year 11 Willyama High School student—one of only a few international students in the NSW far west—has impressed with her enthusiasm, generosity and resilience, showing significant personal growth as she has adjusted to life in the outback. Now a valued member of the Broken Hill community, Helga combatted ‘culture shock’ and feelings of homesickness by seeking out opportunities to get involved. She volunteers at the Broken Hill Base Hospital kiosk, where she uses her skills as a barista to train others, and—despite having never seen, let alone played Australian football—signed up to her local AFL club. Described as a, ‘lovely, friendly and outgoing young woman’, the 17-year-old’s openness and global perspective have helped Willyama students gain a greater insight into themselves, the community and the world at large.

Nabiha Rafi (Pakistan)
Chester Hill High School, Sydney

Bright, friendly and confident, Nabiha is a respected member of the Chester Hill High School community, and recognised by students and staff as someone with great community spirit and a willingness to help. The 18-year-old from Karachi, Pakistan, is the only international student on the school’s Student Representative Council, a position she campaigned for with enthusiasm and humility, and the first to raise her hand to help with fundraising campaigns such as Refugee Week, Harmony Day and International Women’s Day. She volunteers her personal time to help students at Chester Hill’s Intensive English Centre —which caters to newly arrived refugee and international students in Years 7-10—to improve their literacy and confidence. Nabiha was also an integral member of the small team of staff and students who spent a Saturday packing kits to assist women birth more safely in developing countries—a social issue she has continued to highlight at school.

View all finalists for the 2018 NSW International Student Awards across five categories

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