Refugee learns English, named dux at top Aussie school

A SYRIAN refugee who began learning English less than five years ago has graduated as dux at one of Australia's largest Catholic high schools.

Saad Al-Kassab fled the Syrian city of Homs in 2013 with his family as the country was engulfed in a civil war which has killed more than 400,000 people.

This week he was honoured as dux of Melbourne's Catholic Regional College Sydenham, after earning an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 96.65. It equates roughly to an OP 2 in the Queensland system.

"To be honest, I was expecting a high score, but it felt so good to see it," he told ABC News.

"I felt really happy. I was just overwhelmed."

He added that he was "grateful for being given the opportunity to be able to come to Australia and study here".

"Despite all the difficulties, I was given a new life."

"I really wish I can pay it back some day."

While finishing his final year of high school, Saad also worked for the school as a gardner.

Saad and his brother Omar have spoken of leaving Syria and their love of the scouting movement in a TEDx presentation earlier this year.

He has now been offered a scholarships at Monash University where he intends to study biomedicine or medicine.

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