'A teenage Syrian refugee who topped one of his HSC courses was told on the morning of his last exam that his uncle had been killed in Aleppo.
For Hicham Jansis, his path to finishing school has been full of jarring contrasts, from fleeing Homs when he was 14, languishing in a refugee camp at 16, to taking out top honours in an HSC subject. But the destruction of his homeland has inspired Hicham, who wants to study medicine after what he witnessed during his family's desperate flight.
"That is why I want to be a doctor. When I was in Jordan and Syria there are a lot of volunteer doctors who helped the injured people, my dad was injured and only had a few minutes to be dead."
"School was for two hours per day," he said of his education in Syria. "You don't think about education, the basic things you think about, food, water, money. It's not normal to have your country at war while you are studying. You can't concentrate when your city is being bombed, when your relatives are killed or being arrested by the regime."
"Today I'm so happy because of this celebration," he said. "Yesterday I was crying because of the field executions that are happening in Aleppo, because of all the bombing, the air strikes."
But even that horror fuels the young man, who can see himself one day helping people going through the same thing he has.
"Maybe one day I will be the one to help the refugees," he said. "To help the people who have no one to help them." '