Never give up on your dreams

Farshad on graduation day with past and present North Lake teachers Liz, Esther, Val, Sue and May

When he arrived in Australia from Afghanistan late in 2011 Farshad Baboli felt that he knew nothing. “I didn’t know any letters of the alphabet and the only thing I knew about Australia was the Sydney Opera House,” he recalled.

He spent a couple of weeks in the Intensive English Centre at North Lake Senior Campus and then took on the full two-year IEC course in 2012 and 2013.

As he learned to speak and write in English and became familiar with the Australian way of life Farshad always considered his future.

“The first job I thought about was to be a pilot and my maths teacher May helped me to find out about it,” Farshad said, “After a while I realised it’s actually very hard to become a pilot and then finding a job as a pilot is also very difficult.”

After looking at many job options he began to think about a job offering plenty of variety. “I thought why not be a police officer. It felt like a special job where you would be doing something different every day.”

Year 11 student Farshad in a Science class.

Farshad moved from the IEC to Year 11 at North Lake in 2014 and graduated from Year 12 in 2015. He quickly got a job in the building industry and made his first application to join the WA Police Academy. “I failed to get in and had to wait six months to reapply. My second application also failed and I thought, no worries I’ll apply again.”

Year 12 Valedictory 2015. Photo by former IEC teacher Hannah Bremner who gave Farshad a message on his Police graduation he said he will always cherish.

Farshad’s third application wasn’t successful but it was promising. “I made it to the interview stage but this time had to wait 18 months before I could apply again.” When his fourth application again resulted in an interview Farshad was very confident his time would come. “I had a good feeling but I failed again and started to wonder if I’d ever get in. But I was still determined.”

Throughout the difficult period of failed attempts to get into the Police Academy Farshad received constant support from his family and May Huang from North Lake. It was May who put Farshad in touch with Senior Constable Zen Mohamad Kassim who had spoken to North Lake students about the WA Police Force. 

“After the fourth time Zen told me it was not about whether the Police Force would ever accept me but about whether it was the job I really wanted to do. I decided to apply until I got it. To give up would be letting down all those who were supportive towards my career – family, friends, teachers, lots of people.”

Further help came from an unusual source. Former AFL footballer Liam Anthony, who had close contact with North Lake as the WAFC Community Engagement Coordinator, suggested a fitness program for Farshad.

Despite four failed applications Farshad felt newly motivated, “My deep thoughts were that I really wanted to become a police officer. It was not just a phase I was going through, it was something that was stuck.”

Farshad’s fifth application went through to an interview and success. “It had been such a long process and I’m glad I had support throughout.

“May always supported me, she never said I should be rethinking my dream. She just said don’t give up. My family was with me every day reminding me not to forget my dream. And every time I failed Zen said that if this was the job I really wanted to do I should keep going.”

Farshad graduated as a police officer on Thursday 1 December and his first posting is with Traffic Enforcement Group South. “Our job is to enforce the law on the roads,” he said.

Now fellow Police Officer Zen said: “Farshad updated me on the same day he got the amazing news and I was overjoyed. I always advised Farshad not to be disheartened and never give up. It works.”

The ongoing support from staff at North Lake was on show at the Western Australian Police Force Graduation Ceremony at Joondalup with May Huang, Liz Beerli, Sue Denham, Esther Jevarajah-Palaya and Val Fasciani all in attendance and other past and present staff members sending messages of congratulations to Farshad.

“I think the main thing North Lake gave me was confidence. All the teachers are very supportive and let you know that if you want to do something you can do it.

“I didn’t just learn English and other school subjects but I learned about the Australian lifestyle,” Farshad explained, “At the Academy I learned about Aboriginal culture. For me it felt like a refresher course because of what I’d been taught at North Lake. It’s such an important thing to know about.

“North Lake means a lot to me.”

For information on WA Police Force careers click the link below…