Birthday at school the icing on the cake

3 May 2018
Jessica and Majd. Image: Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.

The simple things in life make you realise how good we have it here in Australia.

Xavier College, Llandilo Year 10 student Majd recently surprised his younger sister Jessica in Year 7 with a birthday cake and visit from their parents at school.

Celebrating a birthday at school is an ordinary part of growing up in Australia. Yet for Jessica and Majd, who grew up in war-torn Syria, the chance to welcome their parents to school and share this special day together means so much.

Jessica and Majd arrived in Australia just 18 months ago in search of safety and a better life.

Their cousin Alex Hazeem, a former vice-captain at Xavier College, Llandilo was instrumental in supporting the family to seek refuge in Australia.

Xavier College Principal Michael Pate said the humble celebration was a “moment of grace” for the school community.

Jessica said that going to school in Australia is very different to attending school in Syria because she feels safer here and receives a lot of care and encouragement from her teachers.

“Everyday teachers ask about how I am going, which is really nice,’’ she said.

Majd, who wants to be a surgeon, said it is an amazing opportunity he and his family have been given to live in Australia.

“I get to play the music I like and read poetry and books which I like to read, and learn about another culture and language,’’ he said.

“We still have a lot of family and friends in Syria, who I worry about, but I like the opportunity and support we get everyday from our school community,’’ Majd said.

Mr Pate also said both students are doing exceptionally well at school.

“When you meet Majd and Jess, you can’t help but notice how appreciative they are of everything Xavier has to offer them,’’ Mr Pate said.

“I am very excited for them to see what the future holds – perhaps we may have a school captain amongst them!”


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