In love with science


Ruqia, a student in Belinda’s Year 11 Integrated Science class, received good news this week. She has been accepted to study at UWA. 

Ruqia was born in Afghanistan but her family left their home country to escape the Taliban when she was just six-months-old. She spent the next 19 years in Pakistan where she received little education. 

“My father left on a journey on his own to try to get to Australia,” Ruqia said, “He was held by the United Nations in Jakarta until he finally got a visa to go to Australia.” It was four years before Ruqia’s father was able to visit his family again. “I had almost forgotten his face,” she recalled. “He came to see us in December 2015, when he hugged me it was a very exciting time.

“Luckily my mum was with us and looked after us all the time but I always hoped that one day we would get to Australia and I would be able to go to school like any student and make my future.”

In 2017 Ruqia’s father called the family with the news that they would be able to make Australia their home. “That call meant that we could have a new life, new success and go on a new journey – it was even more exciting than the recent news that I had been accepted into university.”

A case worker got Ruqia in touch with the IEC at North Lake and she began her new life as a student in November 2017. “I found great teachers at North Lake. The first was Terri who helped us all improve our English. I had a lot of help with my literacy from Jane in the Transition class.”

In July 2018 Ruqia transitioned from the IEC into mainstream Year 11 classes and her interest in science grew. “I enjoyed the science subjects with Belinda especially our SUBS in Schools project.”

As a 21-year-old Ruqia felt ready for university and with the help of settlement officer Karen began the process of making applications. The offer from UWA came as a great surprise.

Ruqia working with Tracey to press the acceptance button on the email that UWA sent her. Eventually we moved to a computer and pressed the accept button!

“It’s hard to explain the feeling. I thought, I don’t know where I am, in the sky or on earth. My parents were very happy and everyone was hugging me.

“I am in love with science and feel that this is the start of my career.”

To celebrate Ruqia held a morning tea in the library inviting Mary, the North Lake principal, and other students and staff. University starts in 2019 and Ruqia will be missed.

Ruqia cutting the celebratory cake with Belinda, Mary & Karen.

“I’m very glad I came to this school. North Lake showed me the way to go towards success.”

Ruqia was team leader of the SUBS in Schools team that conducted the best sea trial at the recent technology challenge organised by the School Pathways Program and featuring teams from lots of WA schools.