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New culture and language no barrier for Sunnybank captain

​Sunnybank High school captain Maram Muhmed with school principal Tracey Cook

​​​Newly arrived in Australia and with minimal English, Maram Muhmed’s path to school captain wasn't immediately clear.

Arriving from Libya, North Africa in 2012 to a new home, Maram had only a basic grasp of English.

"Coming to Australia was such a cultural shock for me as the houses were different, the food was different....even the people were different," Maram said.

"Never in my young life had I seen such a variety of races and cultures but because I was ecstatic about moving to Brisbane, adjusting to it wasn't that hard.

"I gained almost all of my English knowledge from ESL classes in Year 7 at Robertson State School and after about six months had proper control of the language."

Being different was difficult but determination and ambition saw Maram through the struggle for acceptance at high school, and balancing contrasting cultural environments at school and home.

"Last year, after experiencing some personal issues, my perspective on life changed. I decided to change myself as a person, because if you want to change something in your life, you must be willing to change along with it" Maram said.

"I learned not to care about what others said or thought about me. I kept the good people in my life and held them close, while distancing myself from those who would distract me from my goals and vision.

"I simply trusted in myself and did the best that I could do in everything I did."

Maram's confidence and leadership potential grew. "Being an ambassador within our school and across the community is something I value. I have volunteered at countless fundraisers," Maram said.

"Becoming Sunnybank State High School Captain this year was simply the golden moment of my life. Something that I thought I would never be able to achieve, but did anyway. I had started from the absolute bottom of the ladder and painfully climbed up to reach my goals one by one.

"At first it was learning English, then getting A's in my subjects, then becoming a school leader. Seeing the proud faces of my family, friends and teachers at the ceremony made it even more memorable."

Maram's commitment to never stop dreaming and always aim for the best also saw her become the 2018 Lions Club Youth of the Year Public Speaking Winner.​

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
17 September 2018