MYAREE Catholic Ben Anandappa says he’s both excited and nervous as he prepares to move to the United States to study chemistry at Harvard University next month.
Ben graduated from Christian Brothers’ College (CBC) in Fremantle last year with an incredible Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 99.85.
In April, Ben was notified of his acceptance into Harvard on a full scholarship, making him one of just a handful of Australian students at the prestigious university.
He told The Record he has had a passion for chemistry since he first studied the subject in Year 8, and he plans to turn that passion into a career.
“I hope to go into academia, so maybe become a professor in chemistry, and also to be involved in youth science initiatives because they were really helpful in inspiring me to do science in high school,” he said.
Ben’s older sister, Annabelle, also excelled in Year 12, obtaining an ATAR of 99.90 and going on to study and graduate from a biomedical engineering degree at Columbia University in New York.
She will also study at Harvard this year, as she commences a post-graduate course.
Ben and Annabelle’s father Romello Anandappa said he was pleased that Ben had excelled in his studies and would be joining his sister in the United States.
“I didn’t think that he would do so well but, because of his sister, he got encouragement and her example helped him,” Mr Anandappa told The Record.
During his children’s early years at school, Mr Anandappa, who was caring for his sick wife, supplemented their studies when they were at home, often teaching them material from a higher grade.
“Although they went to school, I taught them virtually everything at home,” he said. “It gave them a good foundation and it gave them the right skills to be able to concentrate and study.
“[Ben and Annabelle] like to do their best, they’re not happy with just doing it for the sake of doing it, whatever they want to do they’ll do it to the best of their ability.”
Ben said his father had played an important role in the pair’s academic achievements.
“Without him we wouldn’t have been able to do it,” he said. “He’s been educating us since a young age and helping us to go beyond the school curriculum.”
The 18-year-old said the education he and Annabelle received at home inspired them both to continue pursuing their studies.
“Dad taught us to enjoy studying rather than think of it as a chore, and eventually we did it because we wanted to, rather than because our dad was making us,” he said.
The family have been actively involved at Myaree parish since their arrival in Australia in 1997.