International Students’ Contribution Celebrated

Yirong (Andrea) Zhao from Burwood Girls High School, Fathimath Aina Ibrahim from Hunters Hill High School, and Trung Hau (Henry) Tran from Canley Vale High, are the winners of the 2019 NSW Department of Education International Student Awards for Academic Excellence, Leadership and School Service respectively. The ceremony celebrating international students’ contribution to NSW government schools was held at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Murat Dizdar Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance, Georgina Harrisson, Deputy Secretary, Educational Services and Chloe Read, Executive Director, Learning and Business Systems, presented the awards and prizes of $1000 to each of the winners.

Andrea’s, Aina’s and Henry’s achievements were recognised as outstanding examples of the contribution international students make to NSW government schools and to their school communities.

Andrea stood out in a very strong field of 45 nominees to win the Academic Achievement Award. International students who sat the 2018 HSC set new records with eight students achieving Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) above 99. These students came from China and Vietnam and attended Burwood Girls High School, Concord High School, Epping Boys High School, Cumberland High School, Strathfield Girls High School, Strathfield South High School, and Killarney Heights High School.  Mr Dizdar said an ATAR of 99.9 was truly remarkable.

Henry Tran won the School Service Award which is given to students who make outstanding contributions to their school and their communities. Henry was a prodigious fundraiser for charities such as White Ribbon Day and World’s Greatest Shave and was actively involved in volunteering for Butterfly Badge Week for deaf awareness, and Kindness Week for mental health awareness.  He also worked with to support the international students at his school.

Aina Ibrahim from Hunters Hill High School received the Leadership Award. Aina was elected as a School Captain and demonstrated commitment and leadership in the role by mentoring other students and assisting with school and community events. She was an excellent leader and ambassador for the school.

Georgina Harrisson congratulated the award nominees and the winners of this year’s awards for their outstanding achievements. She noted the importance of international education to NSW and how international students enrich the social fabric of our communities.

Chloe Read highlighted the success of the international student program in NSW government schools. She acknowledged the work of schools and teachers in helping international and local students to develop skills in global citizenship.

Murat Dizdar thanked the schools and their staff for their quality teaching and support of students to enable them to achieve these outstanding results. He also acknowledged the work done by the team at DE International.

This year award nominees came from 10 countries – Cambodia, China, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam and attended 44 schools.

In 2018, 774 international students attending NSW government schools completed the Higher School Certificate with 190 students listed on the Distinguished Achievers list and five students achieving “Top All Rounder” for scoring 90 or above in a subject.

For further information about the Department’s International Students Program go to

2019 International Student Award winners and officials
Murat Dizdar (Deputy Secretary School Operations and Performance), Sally Webster (Director Learning and Business Systems), Fathimath Aina Ibrahim, Yirong Zhao, Henry Tran, Chloe Read (Executive Director Learning & Business System), Elizabeth Webber (Chief Education Officer).