Student Awards

2018 Academic Excellence: Schools Awards

High school can be a challenging time for anyone, let alone people who have moved to a new country to study. The 2018 winners in the schools category have worked hard to achieve high academic grades and join in as valued members of their respective school communities. We invited them to share their stories.

Winner: Xinyu (Cindy) Du from China

Studying: South Australian Certificate of Education at Henley High School

Embracing an Aussie life in Adelaide

From following the local footy team to volunteering at the Returned and Services League (RSL) to mastering the perfect, “G’Day mate”, Cindy has embraced an authentic Aussie life in Adelaide. She even loves Vegemite on toast. She has also excelled in her schooling both academically and socially being involved in many clubs and school leadership roles.

Tell us what high school is like in Adelaide.

I love school in Adelaide. When I was first settling in, my grades dropped a little, but our school motto “To strive and not to yield” inspired me. I worked hard, and with my teachers’ help I’ve improved my English and received academic excellence in every subject. Last year I was a member of the student executive, and I’m a school prefect this year. My time attending Henley High School has given me the most memorable and unforgettable school experience.

Tell us about life with your homestay family.

My host mother, Maz has helped me overcome homesickness and made a welcoming home for me. We enjoy many things together like volunteering at the RSL and walking the dogs on the beach. I’ve learnt many things about Australia and many Australian slang words. She’s also introduced me to Australian Football, and we watch the games every weekend. I support the Adelaide Crows and have photos of me with the local footy stars. I’ve had a rich and varied Adelaide experience, which I shared through this digital video story.

What does winning this award mean to you?

I’m so surprised and excited. It’s a wonderful opportunity to attend the ceremony and make more friends. It shows how much the South Australian government cares for international students.

What are your plans when you finish high school?

I want to be an early learning teacher because I’ve seen how much positive influence teachers can have on students. My teachers have shared knowledge, skills and joy with me while helping me grow step-by-step. I volunteer at a local kindergarten, reading to the children and this only furthers my eagerness to be a teacher. I hope to stay in Adelaide to study early childhood education because I love spending time with the kids and contributing to giving them a joyful and meaningful childhood.

Highly Commended: An Nguyen from Vietnam

Studying: South Australian Certificate of Education at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College

An has been studying in Adelaide for nearly four years and is an active member of her school community. She’s strived to achieve high academic marks and was awarded the Vietnamese Friendship Scholarship for her high academic achievement in Year 11.

Aside from study, An has immersed herself in extra-curricular activities including the History Club, Language Club, Fandom Club, Running Club and the SISTER Committee which helps newly arrived international students adapt to their new home and school. An has also participated in many fundraising activities including Walk a Mile in My Boots and Walk for Love.

An says her Adelaide experience has helped her to grow into a person full of ambitions, dreams and goals. She aims to become a psychiatrist in the future and believes studying in Adelaide has made this goal achievable for her.

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