Classmates of Vanisre Rajasegaran have joined the push to keep her family who face deportation to Singapore in Warrnambool.
Brauer College VCE students are rallying around their much-loved and admired colleague, who on Monday started a petition calling on the federal government to let her and family remain in Australia after her father did not pass a medical examination.
Hudson Buckle has been friends with Vani since she started at Brauer College.
"I think for a family who contributes so much to our community, Vani's mum who aids kids from their first stages in life and her dad who helps people find comfort in their last days, we as a country need to show them compassion for everything they do," he said
Zoe Edwards said she couldn't imagine Vani not being around.
"I think the petition is a great initiative but I'm outraged at the situation. It's just not right," she said.
Vani, a Brauer school captain, often leads the college's choir in the national anthem, something the 18-year-old describes as "ironic" given her plight.
Vani, who is completing year 12, may be forced to leave her friends and dreams of chasing a medical career behind and re-start her final two years of study in Singapore.
"At first I was not coping well," the 18-year-old said.
"It's been a very stressful time and I tried to put it all out of my head. But I have this support and I'm in control of my future. I keep remembering what my Dad has always told me, to persevere despite the odds."
She said she couldn't sit idle after five months of contemplating her family's future, which had been thrown up in the air after her father Rajasegaran Manikam was diagnosed with a kidney illness during a medical examination as part of their permanent residency application. Mr Manikam has vowed not to seek medical treatment or a transplant because he does not want to burden Australia's health system.
Vani said she was surprised with the response to her petition she started at change.org. The petition has more than 10,000 virtual signatures. "I knew I had some support from my community, but I'm overwhelmed," she said. "No one knew about what my family was going through and I had to put my word out.
"It's amazing to see how far it's reached."
Her father is humbled with the support.
"Vani was complaining when we first moved here that she didn't have any friends," Mr Manikam said.
"Now, to see all these young people coming to support her, is amazing."
Vani is grateful for the support she and her family has received and hopes a submission to Immigration Minister David Coleman will keep them in Australia.
"I'm so grateful to everyone who took the time to spread our message," she said.
"We are all together in this. We are one and we are many."
You can sign the petition here.
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