Francesca Smith said she originally wanted to learn to speak Italian so she could talk to her Italian relatives.
The year 11 Wade High student now has the opportunity of a lifetime - an all expenses paid trip to Rome for a six-week intensive language course.
Francesca, who has an Italian background, was only one of two students' statewide to be awarded the Mamma Lina and Dino Gustin Foundation Scholarship, set up to encourage students to learn Italian.
She was flown to Sydney last week to be a part of the Public Education Foundation Awards night at the city's town hall where students from throughout NSW and the ACT were recognised for their high academic achievement.
Francesca's Italian teacher Katrina Wolfenden admits to being a little bit jealous of her student's incredible opportunity.
"It was open for people in all NSW and ACT who were going to study Italian in year 11 and Francesca was good enough to beat all of them," she said. "It's so good that Francesca was able to win it from a country public high school."
To win the award, Francesca not only had to achieve good report cards, but also make a significant contribution to the life of the school and participate in extra curricular activities.
She was also required to demonstrate a strong interest in the language and culture of Italy and prove she was keen to study Italian in the HSC and possibly beyond.
"I wrote a recommendation as well and chatted to other teachers to see if they would support that and the Principal had to write a support statement too," Ms Wolfenden said.
Along with the scholarship, Francesca receives a range of Italian textbooks and a Lenovo laptop.
Francesca couldn't hold back her excitement about the trip, which starts in December.
"I can't wait to see how different things are; it's my first trip overseas so I'm looking forward to learning about the culture," she said.
Francesca will stay with a host family for the duration of her time in Italy and will also have the opportunity for some sightseeing on the weekends.
The other scholarship recipient, who will accompany Francesca to italy, is from Prairiewood High School in Sydney.
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