Farah Babaa has just completed year 12 having achieved a raw ATAR score of 98.15 that together with additional subjects bonus points will translate into a final ATAR of 99.95. 

She attended the Islamic college of South Australia and her year 12 subjects included Chemistry, Biology, Arabic, English, Religious studies, Information processing and publishing and a research project. She is interested to pursue her university education in the medical field.   

Farah belongs to a highly educated family of Palestinian origin sentenced to a life of perpetual migration having moved from Palestine to Kuwait, then to Jordan and finally to Australia. 

Her parents are active members of the South Australian Muslim community. Her father Dr Akram Babaa is a medical doctor and businessman while her mother is Luma Al Hammouri is a lawyer specializing in family dispute resolution and currently the President of the Islamic Council of South Australia (ICSA).  

This is her story in her own words. 

I thank Allah and my parents for my good upbringing.  

Being raised by well-educated parents, I was taught since my first day of schooling the importance and significance of knowledge and education. The proverb “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity”, by Aristotle had been strongly entrenched in my ideologies ever since I had blinked open my eyes to consciousness. 

Education and seeking knowledge as taught by the Prophet of Islam (peace upon him) had been greatly valued in my family. My grandmother, was expressively passionate about raising advocacy in regard to the education of girls, and was the woman who had opened the first ever girls school in the UAE in 1952. My father undoubtedly fell into her foot steps and rose in education to become a medical doctor.

My mother, on the other hand, had decided to take the law field. She was also similarly fervent about education and had always been persistent to extend her reach. Hence, she was able to achieve two further master degrees in law and another in education.

Farah Babaa with her parents, Dr Akhram Babaa and Luma Al Hammouri.

Farah Babaa with her parents, Dr Akhram Babaa and Luma Al Hammouri.

My life had revolved around education; it was and still is the main priority for my parents and myself, and is the sole purpose behind our immigration to Australia. The Prophet of Islam, peace upon him, said, “Go to China, if you have to, to get knowledge.

My parents always sought to provide for their children better educational opportunities. However, the switch between two very diverse educational systems at a high school level was relatively challenging in the beginning.

Going from a solely exam based learning to research and assignment based methodologies was certainly a shock. Nevertheless, and with the undeniable assistance from my teachers and parents I was able to fuse into the system and overcome this obstacle. Soon after, and with determination to excel I was able to top my class relatively quickly.  I have always aimed to constantly push myself beyond my limits. I believed in my abilities but I also believed that there is always a room for improvement.

Year 12 was relatively challenging to start with, specifically with the greater work load requirement in comparison with previous years. However, and as many might agree, what is most challenging at this stage is the idea that had been planted in the minds of the students that: “year 12 is a do or die” and the subsequent anxiety that results from such perception.

While many might believe that fear might push student to do better, it in reality hinders and makes them prone to procrastination and overthinking and hence wasting precious study time.  To overcome this fear, and to prevent myself from getting affected, I considered year 12 as any other school year, definitely with a little extra effort, but the same approach nevertheless. I gave it my all and prayed for the best.

Nevertheless, year 12 for me was not all about studying. Along school I had made sure to enjoy quality time away from the books. I had made sure to attend and participate in several social and cultural events, including the Palestinian day when I had joined the cultural group in organizing the event.

My parents had managed to make sure that I had regular breaks and had my fair share of amusement. I had come to realize that a balance is the secret behind any success. Studying 24/7 can most definitely become daunting and any individual ,no matter how bright he/she might be, would eventually lose concentration. Hence, regular time out can help to refresh and motivate one to study harder with a more optimistic outlook.

I wish to send my sincere thanks to every individual that had been there and assisted me throughout my schooling journey: My parents and family who stood by my side every step of the way, my teachers who assisted me in reaching my goals, and my school representatives, the Principal, the College Board and the Chairman, Br Farouk Khan, who gave the green light to the principal and teachers to spare no efforts and resources for the College students, especially year 12.

However, and most importantly, I bow and prostrate to Allah for He is the Most Generous, Most Merciful.

My family background

My family had directly originated from Palestine. Both sets of my grandparents were born in the historical cities of Palestine. However, and due to the atrocities that had faced our holy land they had been forced to flee the country and migrate to several other regions of the world before they had settled in Australia.

My paternal grandfather, migrated initially to the United States in the early 1940s in order to study a master degree in political science. Soon after he moved to Kuwait where he got married and stayed for the next 40 years of his life.

Meanwhile, my paternal grandmother migrated from Palestine to the UAE where she  was the first to introduce

the education system to women and hence was accordingly honoured by having herself on a postal stamp. Later on she moved to Kuwait where she worked as a principal for a period of 40 years during which she met my grandfather and got married.

After the gulf war broke in the 1990s my father’s family decided to move to Jordan and it is where they lived until my father and our family moved to Australia.

On the other hand, my grandparents from my mother side had both migrated from Palestine in 1961 to Kuwait where they grew and finished their higher education in mechanical engineering in the case of my grandfather whom soon after was able to construct a steel structure factory and a degree of teaching for my grandmother whom had a 20 years of work experience. Similar to my paternal family, my mother’s family was formed and lived in Kuwait for a long period of time until they decided to migrate to Jordan in 1986.

My parents met in Jordan, lived and progressed there and then migrated to Australia in 2009 where my maternal family currently reside. During his time living in Australia my maternal grandfather had prospered in his business to become one of the largest exporter of halal meat to the Middle East.

My family tale is the typical story of any Palestinian family whom had their land stripped off them and were sentenced for a life as immigrants. Nevertheless, they had always made sure to leave a print every where they go