Family's loss pushes Perth siblings to international heights
Meet two of Western Australia's brightest siblings - the
brother-sister duo that has caught the attention of some of the world's
most prestigious universities.
Sister-brother duo, Ben and Annabelle
Fremantle's Christian Brothers' College 2013 graduate Ben Anandappa
finished Year 12 among the state's top 40 students, following in the
footsteps of his older sister Annabelle who achieved the same honour
four years earlier.
But the talented pair say they owe it all to their father Romello,
who has raised them since their mother, Nooshini, passed away 10 years
ago after a long battle with illness.
"I don't know how to say how thankful I am for what he has done,"
Ben, 18, told The Sunday Times, from New York.
"He has sacrificed so much for us. I'm very grateful for the
childhood I had."
And now Ben has been offered a full scholarship to study at exclusive
Harvard University, as his 21-year-old sister prepares to graduate from
New York's Columbia University, also on a full scholarship.
Just 1600 people are offered a place at Harvard each year out of
35,000 applicants, with very few Australians among them. Ben also sat
the American entrance exams to qualify for his place.
Their father, Romello, a former bank manager, said he wanted to
ensure that his children were equipped with all the tools to achieve
"I thought if I'm at home and if I can educate them, then I would
have done something worthwhile with my life - so that's what I did," he
"I stayed at home to look after my wife, but I also made sure that
they did their homework and hit the books.
"I wanted them to realise that when I studied, I studied hard but
unfortunately circumstances were such that I couldn't work.
"I didn't want them to think that was OK for them. I wanted them to
have a life and I wanted them to have the best. I couldn't do that, but
I wanted them to know that if they study, they can get ahead.
"Nobody can put you down because what you learn, nobody can take that
away from you."
Ben, who achieved an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 99.85, has
won a general exhibition award from the School Curriculum and Standards
Authority, after his sister won the same award in 2009.
He hopes to become a Professor of Chemistry and help other students
after receiving so much support from his CBC teachers and the Murdoch
University After School Program.
"He worked so hard," Romello said.
"He's really determined also because Annabelle did well. They are
extremely close - so that is the example he followed.
"Even though my daughter is in New York, we talk every morning and
every evening. The hardships have brought us closer together and we
"They have worked so hard and I think it's really great for them."
Annabelle is set to graduate from a biomedical engineering degree