International Students' Contribution Celebrated

1 March 2017


Date: 01 March 2017

Dang Phuong Anh (Abby) Cao from Rosebay Secondary College, Weihan (Brian) Wang from Kogarah High School and Saophoan Sieng from James Busby High School, are the winners of this year’s 2017 NSW Department of Education International Student Awards for Academic Excellence, Leadership and School Service.

The ceremony celebrating international students’ contribution to NSW government schools was held at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Peter Mackey, Director StudyNSW, Cheryl Best, Executive Director Learning and Business, and Andrew Fielding, Director Business Systems, presented the prizes of $1000 to each of the winners. Abby, Brian and Saophoan’s achievements were recognised as wonderful examples of the contribution international students make to NSW government schools and to their school communities.

Peter Mackey congratulated the award nominees and the winners of this year’s awards for their outstanding achievements. He noted their success equipped them to face the challenges ahead in future studies, their careers and personal lives. Cheryl Best thanked the schools and their staff for their quality teaching and support of students to enable them to achieve these results.

Abby from Vietnam stood out in a strong field for the Academic Achievement Award by attaining an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 99.60. Brian from China received the Leadership Award. In his role as School Vice-Captain, he was an outstanding role model for other students and assisted his school’s international student coordinator in supporting other international students. Saophoan from Cambodia received the School Service Award. She supported charity groups, such as the Heart Foundation, The Starlight Foundation and Cancer Council by organising fundraising activities.

This year 40 students were nominated in the Academic Achievement category, 20 students were nominated in the Leadership category, and 20 students in the School Service category. Award finalists came from eleven countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Columbia, Iran, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

In 2016, 655 international students attending NSW government schools completed the Higher School Certificate with 165 students listed on the Distinguished Achievers list.

For further information about the Department’s International Students Program visit