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Wissam’s experiences help her to rise above the challenges

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Determined to remain positive despite major life challenges, Wissam Alfarhan’s resilience helped to keep her focused on her SACE studies.

Cicilia Begbia

Web Content Display (Global)

Pinnacle College student Wissam Alfarhan has forged a strong sense of purpose after a series of challenges, the biggest being the sudden passing of her younger brother earlier this year. 

“It’s because of my brother that I want to achieve as much as I can. I want to make my family to be proud of what I have done.

“At the start of SACE Stage 2 when my brother passed away, it was really difficult. He and I used to help each other out for our SACE, understanding what everything was.

“He taught me to appreciate who I have around me and to be good to everyone because that is the only thing they will remember of you.

“No matter what I go through, there is always a glimpse of hope. It was hard when we moved from Syria to Lebanon because for a couple of years we couldn’t go to school because the government schools didn’t accept refugees.

It is clear where Wissam gets her persistence from, as her mother persevered in finding the right school for Wissam and her five siblings.

“When we moved to Australia, I went to the Adelaide Secondary School of English. This was the most amazing time because of the diversity of students.

“I moved to Pinnacle College and it was so hard to start with. All the teachers and students knew what they were doing, but everything was unfamiliar to me.

“But I don’t mind asking questions and asking for support. If I was giving advice to Year 10s, then I would definitely say, make sure you ask for help.

“My PLP was challenging, it was all about myself, goals, achievements and capabilities. This was my first year at Pinnacle and I wasn’t sure what was going on!

“But I worked hard, my life is always challenging so I kept going. And I got an A minus for the PLP, and I was pretty happy with that.”

After so many major life changes Wissam’s resilience in re-committing to her SACE studies resulted in excellent grades, all the while continuing to excel in her role as school captain. Wissam explored other self-development opportunities outside of school, including leadership conferences. 

The sense of belonging, developed by connecting with both her school and local community, has supported Wissam to thrive on her learning journey.

“Not everything will go to plan in your life, so it is important to always have a backup plan. But even if things don’t go well, I always want to use my experiences to make my brother proud, and to make my family proud.

“I want to put a smile on their face.”