Hard work puts Vincent ahead in the classroom
WHEN Vincent Doan first sat in a Rockhampton High School classroom, the only way he could communicate was by passing a note to the teacher.
Vincent had only just moved to the Beef Capital from Vietnam and hardly knew a word of English.
Five years later and Vincent has been named the school's dux and is eyeing off a career as a genetic engineer.
Vincent, 17, has come a long way.
The Rockhampton State High School student, who has a straight A average, couldn't understand anything his teachers said just five years ago.
Vincent said he and his teachers exchanged notes for the first couple of months so he could understand what they were talking about.
"I remember we had to read a novel for our first assignment in Year 8 but I couldn't get through the first sentence," he said.
"That's when I knew I couldn't sit and do nothing because that's not me."
With the help and support of his teachers, Vincent learnt how to speak in sentences within three months.
He said English wasn't his favourite subject but he had to try to like it.
"My teacher made the lessons really enjoyable but my favourite subjects are still maths and physics," Vincent said.
"The only reason I have gotten to where I am today is the teachers who helped me."
Vincent said he always had the motivation to study but his last year of school was stressful.
"I tried to be social but I also tried to distance myself so I could study," he said.
"I would get home from school, watch a movie then I would study until I went to sleep… I usually stayed up to three of four in the morning."
The 17-year-old said the effort he put in was hard but well worth it in the end.
"I want to be a genetic engineer or something to do with genetics which focuses on HIV and cancers," he said.
"I would like to study in Canberra, I love the cold."
Vincent said he hoped to receive an OP one but wouldn't find out until December 19.
"I think my parents are pretty proud of what I have done," he said.
"Five years ago I didn't have enough confidence to put a sentence together and this year I got high marks for English."
Vincent said what he had done was not him alone but the school as well.
"My achievement is not something magical, it's not something only I do, many people can do it if they have the motivation to," he said.
"Sometimes it got really hard with stress from friends and family and sometimes my only motivation was to not disappoint my teachers.
"I never would have thought I would be where I am today, five years ago."