My Story: Alissa Abou Eissa
I was born and raised in Damascus, Syria. After the war started in my country in 2011, my family decided to move to Australia for safety and a better future. We arrived in Australia in March 2017 after leaving all our loved ones behind. Moving to Australia without knowing how to speak English was very hard for me especially that I came at the start of VCE which is a challenge to Australian students themselves.
My first day at St Francis Xavier College was in July 2017. At that time I only knew how to say Hi and how are you in English and I still remember how stressful it was to understand and speak Australian English and get adapted to the new environment and make new friends. The college community helped me to stay optimistic towards the future despite the early challenges I was faced with and gave me a sense of belonging the moment I walked into student services on my first day of school.
I used to always get very high grades and was the Dux of my school for every year of my schooling in Syria, and that is what put pressure on me as I wanted to keep that up and wanted to do well at school to make myself, my parents and my school proud. Alongside my determination and willingness to do well and the long hours I spent studying, learning and practicing, my family and my incredible teachers at St Francis Xavier College encouraged me to always do my best and gave me the opportunity to show my strengths.
During my time at St Francis Xavier College, I got multiple awards including, an Academic Endeavour Award from school and the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program for high achieving students from the University of Melbourne only 2 months after I started school at St Francis Xavier College, which allowed me to get to know the university more and proved that all of my hard work is starting to pay off and this encouraged me to never give up and to work even harder in order to overcome the different obstacles . In 2018, I got an Academic Excellence Award for achieving the highest grade in English, Mathematical methods and biology. I was also awarded the Premier’s VCE award for achieving one of top scores in the state, a score of 47 raw, in VCE Arabic in 2018. After around one year of arriving to Australia, I wanted to give back to the Australian community that has given me a lot, so I became a volunteer at Monash Health. Being a part of the Monash community gave me the opportunity to interact with patients and help them which I love doing.
The most challenging yet rewarding stage of my schooling journey which required a lot of hard work and dedication was completing year 12. I studied very hard throughout the year and scored very high in my year 12 subjects which were (English, Mathematical Methods, Specialist Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics) and this allowed me to achieve an ATAR of 97.25 and get into the Bachelor of Biomedicine at the university of my dreams, The University of Melbourne with a flagship scholarship.
I have come pretty far, and I owe it all to the people who never left my side, who believed in me and supported me through it all, to my family, my friends and my amazing teachers at St Francis Xavier College.
Welcome to St Francis Xavier College, a Catholic school serving families from the parishes of Berwick, Iona-Maryknoll, Koo Wee Rup, Narre Warren and Pakenham. We provide Catholic education for the municipalities of Cardinia and Casey.
Our reach is broad. Our mission is clear.
St Iranaeus was a 2nd century Father of the Church. A wise and holy man. He maintained that the glory of God is a person fully formed.
So do we.
As such St Francis Xavier College offers a comprehensive school experience to young people informed by the scriptures, modelled on Christ's love and intent on working in partnership with families. Our aim is to see our students leave us ready to play their part in the world as persons of competence, conscience and compassion formed in the Christian tradition.
We do this by placing our trust in Jesus, our confidence in positive relationships between students and staff, a reliance on a rigorous expectation of personal excellence and a belief that we can all exceed our potential through diligence and courage.
An education St Francis Xavier-style invites our young people to consider others and not just themselves as they strive to understand their responsibility to make the most of their gifts as part of a learning community.
At St Francis Xavier College we acknowledge Australia's democratic values; the principles of freedom of religion, of speech and of association, equal rights for all, the values of openness and tolerance, the rule of the law and respect for elected government.
For in all of these we see the message of the love of God and of neighbour that Jesus taught us.
Via Veritas et Vita -The Way, The Truth and The Life.
Vincent J Feeney - Principal
(as voted by site visitors)