Empowered and encouraged

Shadlin with Principal Gary Anderson at the 2022 NLSC Valedictory.

Shadlin Sharnazi arrived in Australia in 2019 just before the pandemic and started at North Lake Senior Campus IEC in 2020 when COVID was changing almost everything.

But for Shadlin and her family the move could not have come at a better time. “I was born in Iran into a Bahá’í family. We had to leave – being a Bahá’í in Iran meant no education, no rights, no future.”

She was 12-years-old when the family moved to Turkey in 2015 with the intention of eventually making it to the USA. The family lived in Turkey for almost five years and Shadlin’s education stalled. She even decided not to go to school for a year.

“Applying for the US took so long, so out of necessity and by chance we applied for Australia,” Shadlin said, “Now, after living here for three years, we think we should have applied for Australia in the first place. But at that time we had no idea what it would be like to live here.”

A family member suggested North Lake and Shadlin attended an interview with IEC coordinator Sean Bruce-Cullen before beginning a new chapter in her life.

“The first day walking into the library was the only terrible experience that I had at North Lake but getting to know the kind and selfless staff was a game changer.

“For someone who had recently arrived in a new country, North Lake was the only place where I never felt like an outsider and it was where I truly felt I belonged.”

Shadlin moved into Year 11 in 2021 and experienced great success as a mainstream student. She was awarded a Rotary Club of Booragoon Endeavour Scholarship as a Year 11, was the top ATAR EALD student in Year 12 and won a 2022 School Curriculum and Standards Authority Certificate of Merit.

“The way I was treated as a student at North Lake and the experiences that I had in terms of education will always stay with me as they are valuable to me. Back in my home country I was deprived of  a proper education as I believed in a different religion.

“My experience at NLSC is what has empowered me and encouraged me to pursue higher education. The genuine support of North Lake staff has guided me in the right direction for my academic journey.”

Shadlin’s aspiration is to be a radiographer. She is currently enrolled in Multidisciplinary Science at Curtin University doing certain units as a prerequisite for a Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science.