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New Syrian Arrival Is a Smashing Success With 9 A* GCSEs

A 16-year-old who lost two years of education during his upbringing in war torn Syria has gone on to achieve nine A* grades at GCSE.

Picture Credit: Suleman Nagdi

Adnan Hannah Khoraki was just two years old when the war started in his home country of Syria. Following this, his childhood was set against a backdrop of conflict and turmoil. He lost two years of education and miraculously fought death many times before managing to escape to Lebanon.

Whilst studying in Lebanon, he was bullied and discriminated against for being a refugee; a difficult experience he says instilled him with inner strength and resilience. Adnan also attended a public school where the education was very poor but this meant he began to develop as an independent learner as he studied at home after school with the goal of trying to catch up with the education he had missed. 

After 5 years, his family and he sought refuge in the UK with no prior knowledge of English. Despite this, he managed to achieve a grade 6 in English just three years later. He attended Crown Hills Community College and his only hope in life became to make his family’s life better. He was determined to do what it takes for as long as it takes, in order to achieve the highest grades. He believed that this would open a field of opportunities for him and will enable him to make a difference to others in the future.

Mathematics  is a particular strength of Adnan and has intrigued him for many years; he has never met a problem and left it without a solution. In year 10, he completed the UKMT Maths challenge and managed to get a bronze medal. In addition to this, in year 9, he represented his school Crown Hills in the Rotary challenge for design, where he competed with 12 other schools in Leicester, and achieved third place. When asked why he likes Mathematics, he realised that it is all down to his personality as he enjoys the challenge of questions with unequivocal answers.

Adnan’s hobbies include watching courses about programming. Therefore, he has been able to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, C#, Python and has touched upon many others. As well as this, he has created several websites and software, which demonstrates his innate unique ability to learn. Moreover, he has also completed a few electronics projects, such as creating a RFID door lock and a home automation system.

In year 9, he achieved a grade 9 in Arabic. In addition to that he has already learnt most of the basics of calculus and developed a wide range of knowledge about the things he is taught about in college. Although he isn’t certain of the career he’ll go on to choose, he is interested in Computer Science, and is confident that his experience in Electronics, Physics and Further Maths will help determine his future. He also believes that studying at  college will equip him with even greater skills and knowledge.

Adnan was recently in attendance at a meal hosted by the Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) to welcome the Afghan community to Leicester hosted at Madani Schools. During the event, he met Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Suleman Nagdi MBE who was inspired by the schoolboy’s story.

On the encounter, Suleman said: “This young 16-year-old boy is a lesson to us that we have to encounter problems in the course of our existence and the challenge for us is to deal with the problems and to develop our resilience.

“Regardless of our faith colour, creed or any other beliefs be they political or personal, this boy’s journey is evidence that in any situation with hope, sincerity and hard work we can overcome adversity as individuals and as humanity”.

By Gita Sarasia