Nothing precludes you from achieving your goals – knowledge has no value if it doesn’t translate into energy. For students, succeeding in school is a priority. However, success can’t be maintained without the following key elements: hard work, diligence, follow-up and willingness.

Driven by these elements, 14-year-old Nour Kinan, a Palestine refugee student from Lebanon, achieved an average of 18.643 out of 20 on Lebanon’s official exams for grade 9, the ‘Brevet’, ranking ninth nationally. Nour attends the UNRWA Al-Mazar Prefabricated School in Beddawi camp; the school was originally established to host displaced students from Nahr el-Bared refugee camp.

“We were watching the press conference live on TV, and when the Minister of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon Elias Bou Saab mentioned her name, we all froze in silence for a few moments and looked at each other with amazement, wondering if what we heard was true! Moments later, the house was full of joy and jubilation,” Nour’s mother recalled.

Nour smiled while listening to her mother and said: “I regret that I did not study more to earn a higher ranking. When I experienced the taste of success and happiness, my perspective on life changed. From now on, I will study even more in order to get a higher ranking for the secondary school certificate. In doing so, I would raise high the name of my school, my refugee camp and my people. What an honour it is to hear your name being mentioned by the Minister of Education in Lebanon!”

She adds: “Those who want to achieve success can do it, wherever they are; it is not true what is rumoured about private schools being better than UNRWA schools, and the proof is my success and the success of many of my friends who got good grades as well. UNRWA schools are very good, the same curriculum is being taught as in all other schools, and our teachers are more than fantastic and very distinguished. I personally did not take extra lessons outside my school.”

Nour prefers scientific subjects to literary ones. She loves chemistry and is passionate about physics, in which she scored full marks. Commenting on this, she said: “Through physics, I learn a lot about the earth on which we live. I feel that physics is related to our daily life. I do not like traditional professions, so I will do my best to study engineering or physics. I want to innovate in this field and I feel that I will make remarkable achievements.”

To her fellow students, Nour says: “We should have a dream and a goal in life. Setting the goal is the first step on the road to success, regardless of how difficult the circumstances are. Human will is stronger than anything in this world. Learning is not only a means to get a job. Learning is much more than that – it strengthens our self-confidence and enhances our awareness and culture.”

Nour concluded by saying: “Finally, I would like to share my success and joy with my family, my school teachers, the students and the administration. I am very thankful to all of them.  Without them, I would not have become the excellent distinguished student I am today. Success begins with a thought or a motivational sensation and is maintained through hard work and patience, which should be translated into action on the ground.”

Despite her displacement and a difficult learning environment, Nour is a remarkable example of how such challenges can be overcome to achieve success.