Top scores a bittersweet result for Amber

The Age, News, 19/12/2017, photo by Justin McManus. Amber Truong has become the dux of the disadvantaged Wellington Secondary College, achieving an incredible ATAR of 99.4. But the Vietnamese international student’s VCE journey has not been easy. Her mum died when she was hit by a motorbike in Vietnam. She was travelling to her second job when the fatal accident took place. She held down two jobs so that she could send Amber to an Australian school. Amber had to return to Vietnam to bury her mum.Amber Truong’s world fell apart a few weeks after she arrived in Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

Her mother and father had been involved in a horrific motorbike accident back home in Vietnam.

As they were picking up vegetables for their market stall and wholesale business, a drunk cyclist hurtled into them on the dark road.

They worked long hours – from midnight to midday – so they could send their eldest daughter to Wellington Secondary College in Melbourne’s south-east.

Amber, who was then a year 10 student, caught the next flight home to Vietnam. iFrameResize({checkOrigin:false},’#vce-honour-roll’); var frame = document.getElementById(“vce-honour-roll”);

But by the time she arrived, her mother had passed away in hospital.

“She gave up her entire life to give me and my siblings the best living conditions and a better future,” Amber said.

The teenager made an important promise at her mother’s funeral.

“I promised that I would study hard to make that money worth it,” she said.

“I will become successful one day and take care of my siblings and my dad.”

Amber’s decision to stick by this promise appears to be paying off.

The 18-year-old has been crowned dux of her school with a bitter-sweet ATAR of 99.4.

While the Mulgrave state school is considered disadvantaged, it punches above its weight in academic performance.

This year, 33 students achieved an ATAR of 90 or above, with the majority local students.

“You couldn’t get a prouder school,” principal Hugh Blaikie said.

Amber hopes to study biomedicine, and has received scholarships at Monash and Swinburne universities.

She said the months following her mother’s death were a struggle.

Amber cried a lot. She also worried about money.

Her mother was the main income earner and in order to continue paying the $16,000 international student fees her father had to sell the family car and a block of land.

Her aunt, who she lives with in Waterways, provided emotional and financial support.

“They know how much I wanted to study here so they gave me everything,” she said.

Her mother’s death wasn’t the only hurdle that Amber encountered during her final years of school.

When she arrived in Melbourne in 2014 she hardly spoke a word of English.

“It was really scary,” she says. “I couldn’t understand what people were saying.”

She spent two terms in intensive English language classes at school before moving into mainstream classes.

Easily distracted at home, she maximised her study time at school.

The diligent VCE student stayed back at school until 7 or 8pm every night. Her cue to leave was when the teacher in charge of locking up the school walked towards her classroom, jangling a big bunch of keys.

She woke up every morning at 4am, when the house was quiet, and studied in her bedroom, surrounded by motivational quotes pinned to the walls. ‘Never ever underestimate anything’ one reads.

Amber is among the 14,797 VCE students who received a study score of 40 or above in at least one subject.

She received a 45 in maths methods, 45 in further maths, 44 in English as an additional language, 42 in chemistry and 40 in physics.

Her favourite thing about school was the dedicated teachers.

“All my teachers are very supportive. I came to them every single day at recess and lunchtime and asked questions.”

Early on Friday morning, Amber caught the bus to school so that she could open her VCE results with her maths methods teacher Jan Mann.

“We hugged each other when we saw the score and jumped around,” she said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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