Adelaide student Ali Wahidi achieves academic success, wins Andrew Knox scholarship

Ali Wahidi smiles

By Simon Royal

PHOTO: Ali Wahidi now plans to study medicine. (ABC News) MAP: Elizabeth 5112

Ali Wahidi arrived in Australia from Afghanistan without a word of English, but at 17 he has graduated from his Adelaide secondary school as dux by winning the academic prizes in each of his subjects.

“I’m pretty happy with how I’ve gone this year,” the Playford College student said modestly, conceding sibling rivalry played a role in his success.

“There are five of us and I am the youngest. I have to beat everyone, that’s like an expectation,” he said.

His older sister, Gulima, took out Playford’s top prize for academic achievement three years ago and is now nearing completion of a law degree at the University of Adelaide.

Playford is a public school in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, a region which has been hit hard by job losses in manufacturing.

Deputy principal Tim Kloeden said in his seven years at the school he had seen a turnaround from an era when students did not contemplate going on to university.

PHOTO: Tim Kloeden has seen a turnaround in students’ attitudes to academic achievement.

“It’s true, university was, not that long ago, a distant dream,” he said.

“Kids are now much more ambitious, they are asking a lot more questions and they are, I guess, really striving for bigger dreams.”

“Last year we had 24 kids get into university, this year 30 have put in their preferences so I expect it to get bigger again.”

Mr Kloeden credited students such as the Wahidi family members with helping change the school’s culture and expectations.

“People like Ali, where they’ve come from a background like Afghanistan, the self-discipline that they bring, I reckon that’s rubbed off on a lot of the kids,” he said.

“They understand how to get to a goal and they understand hard work.”

Scholarship allows medical future

Ali is …read more

From:: Hazara People