2021 Summer Griffin

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Summer 2021



CREDITS All correspondence and editorial content please address to: Development and Marketing Office Salesian College Chadstone 10 Bosco Street Chadstone, VIC 3148 publicrelations@salesian.vic.edu.au Editor: Suzie McErvale Proofreader: Frank Chamberlin George Ketels Front Cover: Emmanuel Dunand Graphic Design and Printing: DMC Group Editorial Contributions: Mark Ashmore Fr Greg Chambers sdb Noel Kennedy Frank Chamberlin Steven Tran George Ketels Suzie McErvale Frank Davis Justin Sason Cameron Pinto Richard Vom

Photographic Contributions: Emmanuel Dunand Lucas Dawson Clive Rose Dirk Nannes Richard Vom Suzie McErvale


ON THE COVER Featuring former AustralianDutch professional cricketer, skier, commentator and Class of 1991 past student, Dirk Nannes.


We seek out past and present students who inspire and encourage us to strengthen our Salesian community. Whether they have impacted thousands of people or just those nearby, what unites them are their foundations and values. If you have a story to share, or know someone who does, we want to hear from you.


Email publicrelations@salesian.vic.edu.au





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Photographer: Clive Rose



From the Principal Page 6

From the Rector Page 7

From the Business Manager Page 8

Cape York Indigenous Immersion Page 10

2021 Valedictory Speech Steven Tran Page 12

Where Are They Now: Justin Sason (Class of 2013) Page 13

Taking a Major Brand Through COVID Page 14

Maintaining Focus Dirk Nannes (Class of 1991) Page 20

Salesian Boy in a Melbourne Premiership Page 21

Secondary School Experience Day

IN THIS ISSUE As school resumes to a pre-pandemic state, we notice the extraordinary resilience and tenacity our community has employed over the past two years. In this Summer edition of the Griffin, we explore the crucial ingredients for maintaining focus and enriching the student experience. In his first Principal address, Mark Ashmore unpacks the elements of reconnection and belonging. “Each boy is adapting to a changing society whilst navigating who they are, what they are connected to, where they belong, their meaning and purpose, and forming their identity.” In partnership with families, Mark conveys the need to embrace and focus on the gifts of each individual student with heart and mind. Enrichment of student experience continues to be delivered in a myriad of ways at Salesian. In mid-2021 students were given the opportunity to travel to remote Indigenous homelands of the Cape York Peninsula, where they had the rare opportunity to make genuine connections with Indigenous Australians living on their own land who have maintained a deep connection to their culture and history. Learning from Elders and Traditional Owners, students related with young Indigenous children eager for a window to the outside world. Staying in safe areas on privately held Aboriginal land, not accessible outside of this setting, boys learnt, made, gathered, ate, gave, grew and connected with Traditional Owners and Indigenous Australia. As we look to past students within our community who demonstrate the ability to embrace opportunity with challenge, we hear from former Australian-Dutch professional cricketer, skier, commentator and Class of 1991 past student, Dirk Nannes. One of the first freelance cricketers in the world to represent multiple teams on the international stage, Dirk shares how he managed a back-to-back ten-year professional cricket career by day, with a full-time multi-million-dollar business career out of hours. Below the exterior relaxed personality, Dirk is a hard-working, big picture thinker, who learnt right from wrong in his early school days. Connected to individuals, Dirk continues to live out Don Bosco words in action of “doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well”, demonstrating to past and present students the value of a resilient mindset, open to embracing change. Suzie McErvale Head of Development and Marketing

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Where Are They Now: Richard Vom (Class of 2006)


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Community Announcements Reunions Update Hall of Fame Save the Date


FROM THE PRINCIPAL Mark Ashmore Principal

As the incoming Principal of Salesian College Chadstone, I am energised by the Salesian charism of Don Bosco, who lives in the hearts and minds of all in our community. What students and community need in 2021 to remain focussed As we return from a period of uncertainty, Salesian College Chadstone has provided a dynamic, joy-filled community that is endeavouring to reconnect students, staff and parents. In our College motto, Omnia Omnibus – All things to all people – St. Paul teaches us to listen and meet people at their needs, to be humble and kind. Welcoming each boy back to school to foster a sense of belonging for students is a focus for all staff. As a Catholic school, our faith provides hope in that Jesus Christ provides strength and comfort. The College is hopeful that students, staff, parents and past pupils can soon

gather as a community for Eucharist, which is life giving. It is our intent that each boy returning to on campus learning has purpose knowing that he will develop skills for life and positive relationships. The importance of our Oratory for spiritual, social and emotional development is a cental focus returning to school. How does the Don Bosco legacy live on today? Each boy is adapting to a changing society whilst navigating who they are, what they are connected to, where they belong, their meaning and purpose, and forming their identity.

At Salesian College, contemporary learning and boys’ education are underpinned by a Catholic faith community that fosters joy and hope, based on the Good News of Jesus Christ, and the Salesian spirituality and educational principles of founder, St John Bosco. In partnership with families, learning at Salesian College are inclusive and focusses on the gifts of each individual person with heart and mind. A boy will learn best in a home that welcomes, a parish that evangelises, a school that educates for life, and a playground where friends meet and enjoy themselves. St John Bosco’s spirit of leading young people to know that they

PRINCIPAL HISTORY 1957 – PRESENT 1957 - 1958 Fr Thomas Collinson


1959 - 1963 Fr Alan McDonald

1964 Fr Wallace Cornell

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1964 - 1969 Fr Edward Cooper

1970 - 1973 Fr Adrian Wenting

1974 - 1976 Fr Edward Cooper

1977 - 1982 Fr Kevin O’Leary

1983 - 1988 Fr Franci Freeman

1989 - 1995 Fr John Prest

At Salesian College, contemporary learning and boys’ education are underpinned by a Catholic faith community that fosters joy and hope, based on the Good News of Jesus Christ, and the Salesian spirituality and educational principles of founder, St John Bosco.

are loved is lived by teachers in the classroom. Boys’ education and why it is important Salesian College prepares boys for life through the provision of rigorous and purposeful learning and teaching, and the sequenced Oratory Program. Each boy is expected to achieve growth and is encouraged to foster a passion for lifelong learning and a quest for excellence. Project-based and problem-based learning in our Learning Matrix foster collaboration, inquiry, critical thinking, application of learning, and the use of technologies to serve others in

1995 - 2001 Fr Greg Chambers

2002 - 2006 Fr John Prest

2007- 2011 Fr Chris Ford

society. Real life learning and varied pathway options help each Salesian boy leave with hope, optimism, resilience, resourcefulness and adaptability so they can make a difference to others in society. Future Focussed – Strategic Plan and Masterplan The College Board and Leadership Team have begun developing a new Strategic Plan. The plan, to be developed in consultation with students, staff, parents and past pupils, will ensure the College is able to provide educational programs and facilities that will continue to inspire and foster learning for all in the community whilst linking to community partnerships.

2012 - 2020 Mr Robert Brennan

We acknowledge the contributions of Fr Greg Chambers sdb over his past three years as our Rector. Fr Chambers was also a past pupil from 1962-1967, Principal from 1995-2001, and the Chair of the board from 2019-2021. We wish you well Fr Greg; the Salesian Community in Auckland are lucky to have you.

Architects have been engaged to create a College Masterplan that will develop facilities to further enhance the spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and physical learning opportunities for boys. We envisage that the Masterplan will create a vibrant learning environment for all community members that develops skills for a changing future. Developing good Christians and honest citizens remains at the heart of our Catholic school, however it is our skills and contemporary pedagogy that will allow our young men to flourish in a world beyond Chadstone.

2021 (Acting Principal) Mr Neil Carter

2021 (Term 4) Mr Mark Ashmore


FROM THE RECTOR Fr Greg Chambers sdb Rector May the words of our Founder, Don Bosco, inspire you always!’ In welcoming Mark Ashmore to Salesian College, I also take this opportunity to introduce him to you as the 11th Principal of the College, which opened its doors at the beginning of the 1957 school year under the direction of Fr Thomas Collinson, the very first Rector and Principal. Following his brief period of leadership which concluded in 1958, Fr Collinson was then succeeded by: My fellow Don Bosco Past Pupils, As College Rector and Chair of the Salesian College Board, it was my great pleasure to welcome Mr Mark Ashmore as the new Principal of Salesian College Chadstone on Monday 4 October 2021, the first day of Term 4, in the following words: ‘Firstly, I welcome Mark on behalf of the Salesian Provincial, Fr William Matthews, the Salesians at Chadstone, and all the Salesians in the Australia - Pacific Province. Secondly, I welcome him on behalf of all the members of our Salesian College community – board members, students, staff members, parents, families, past students, friends and supporters. Thirdly, I welcome him in the living and dynamic spirit of Saint John Bosco, founder of the Salesian Family and the inspiration behind all that we do and achieve here at Chadstone. Finally, I welcome Mark Ashmore in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, who is our ultimate teacher, educator and guide.’ I then concluded by saying: ‘Mark, as you commence as the Principal of Salesian College today, I put before you the very words that Don Bosco once said to the poor young people of Turin, Italy, so many years ago: “For you I study, for you I work, for you I live, for you I am ready even to give my life.”


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Fr Alan McDonald Fr Edward Cooper Fr Adrian Wenting Fr Kevin O’Leary Fr Francis Freeman Fr John Prest Fr Greg Chambers Fr Christopher Ford Mr Robert Brennan

(1959 – 1963) (1964 – 1969; 1974 – 1976) (1970 – 1973) (1977 – 1982) (1983 – 1988) (1989 – 1995; 2002 – 2006) (1995 – 2001) (2007 – 2011) (2012 – 2020)

As the successor of these Principals, Mark brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and energy to his new leadership role at Chadstone. After serving in a variety of educational settings at Xavier College, Gawler; Rostrevor College, Adelaide; St Kevin’s College, Toorak; and Marcellin College, Bulleen, and then carrying out the role of Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching at Whitefriars College, Donvale during the past seven years,

Mark is very much looking forward to the exciting challenge of leading Salesian College Chadstone into the future. And, as he does so, he is very much aware that he leads and ministers in the name of Jesus Christ and according to the charism of Saint John Bosco. As he wrote in his application for the Principal’s position: ‘I am inspired by St John Bosco’s spirit of leading young people to know that they are loved. I have learnt that for boys to reach their full potential as good Christians and honest citizens, they need to be supported in a safe and inclusive learning environment where the dignity of each person is nurtured and respected.’ Very tellingly, he also added that ‘as Principal of Salesian College, I would work with all community members so that they are heard and understood, a key approach to supporting student and staff wellbeing and delivering outcomes for the school.’ In conclusion, as I wish Mark Ashmore a great deal of success and joy in his allimportant role at Salesian College, I also wish to thank and acknowledge Mr Neil Carter for the outstanding role he has undertaken during 2021 in navigating the College through one of its toughest and most demanding years on record. Congratulations, Neil, on your wonderful leadership during what can surely be regarded as ‘your finest hour’ in Catholic and Salesian Education!

FROM THE BUSINESS MANAGER Noel Kennedy Business Manager

Salesian College Chadstone has operated as a company limited by guarantee since 1 January 2021. Under the new model, ownership of the College remains with the Salesians of Don Bosco so that has not changed. However, a new Board is responsible for operations and ensuring the College remains loyal to its Salesian charism. The College has appreciated the efforts of its inaugural Directors who have generously given their time to assist with the transition. The Board established two committees to assist with governance responsibilities. The Finance and Audit Committee regularly meets to monitor financial outcomes whilst the Child Safety, Risk and Compliance Committee ensures the College meets its child safety obligations and oversees policy development in key risk areas. More information about the College’s Board and policies can be found on our website. As was the case in 2020, the College provided additional assistance to

families whose employment situation was impacted on by COVID-19. In preparation for an independent school review in 2022 that will result in a new strategic plan, the College has commenced work on its next facilities masterplan and business plan. Following further consultation and development, it is envisaged that these plans will be completed in 2022. The new facilities Masterplan will guide major developments over the next ten years. However, the College also developed a building asset management plan and finishes schedule to guide its maintenance efforts. The College adopted a strategic marketing plan in 2021 that will guide marketing efforts over the next few years. As part of the plan’s development, student surveys pleasingly identified community, belonging, welcome and respect as core values.



CAPE YORK INDIGENOUS IMMERSION From all reports, it seems the Cape York Indigenous Immersion Experience that took place mid-2021 was a brilliant success. At least some of the boys candidly admit they were not that keen before they set forth. “I was urged to go by my parents,” says one of the boys “but I worried that in going to indigenous country, we would be invading the locals.” “But in fact, nothing could have been further from the truth. It was totally a wonderful experience for us. The locals, adults and children, could not have been more welcoming.” Involved in the trip were Mr Chris Seeber and Ms Molly Tilley, joined by a total of 16 boys, 11 from year 10, and 5 from year 11. The trip took place between lockdowns from Sunday the 4th to Tuesday the 13th of July. In collaboration with students from St Bernard’s College Essendon, the Salesian group stayed at Daarba Homeland, an ancient bora site where traditional initiations are performed and the Binthiwarra Homeland, a homeland that was given back to its owners through Native Title. The closest town


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to these sites is Hopevale, population 1,000, about 40kms west of Cooktown. Religion & English teacher, and Social Justice Immersion Leader HOD Years 7-9 Chris Seeber said the immersion program gave the students an opportunity to make meaningful connections with the community and learn from their connection with land,

In the spirit of reconciliation Salesian College acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

history and culture. It is wonderful to see the change in the student group. Now the boys are back at school, they are coming up with ideas

about creating stronger links with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.

should have a list of all the days that are special for the earliest Australians.

community of more than 80 different nationalities.

One idea is that the school community should have more events to celebrate Indigenous culture. Another is beginning assemblies and events with every an Acknowledgement of Country.

As teacher Chris Seeber points out, “as a result of their experience in Cape York, our boys have come back passionate about including Indigenous education in the curriculum and they are clearly committed to make changes in the everyday life of the college. This really is reconciliation in action.

“Seeing the boys from such diverse backgrounds working and cooperating together in countless different ways is just so inspiring,” says Mr Carter.

Further thoughts from student group include the idea of researching all significant dates in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ calendar. After all, we have a list of all the Public Holidays for Melbourne, so now we

The Cape York Indigenous Experience was a first for the College, but already there are plans for it to take place again in 2022.

As pointed out be Acting Principal, Mr Neil Carter, one of the great things about Salesian College is its culturally diverse

“Seeing the boys from such diverse backgrounds working and cooperating together in countless different ways is just so inspiring.”


2021 VALEDICTORY SPEECH Steven Tran 2021 College Captain

Where has time gone? There will come a time where each and every one of us takes a final step outside the gates of our beloved Salesian College. With a bittersweet tinge of relief, fear and excitement, we’ve observed this on an annual basis, but in 2021, it’s my turn and the turn of some 160 boys before me. On February the 1st 2016, just under 200 twelve-year-old boys ventured beyond any zone of comfort, embarking upon the beginning of a six-year journey at Salesian College. To all of our teachers, regardless if I have personally had you as subject teachers, the smiles and greetings that I have received across the years from you all have truly gone a long way towards making me feel at home. Thank you. To Mr Chen and Miss Capomolla, thank you for always being prepared to drop everything just to check up on me and reassure me. I would truly not be here today, had it not been for your guidance. To Miss Tilley, thank you for being such an inspiring presence for my leadership through this year. To Mr Carter, I’m sure this was not how you had envisioned your first year into retirement, but I truly hope we’ve made it an enjoyable one. Your leadership and guidance this year has no doubt, been a source of inspiration for myself and our cohort, and for that, I thank you.


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“Although it wasn’t exactly the fairy-tale ending that we had all hoped for, it was one that we certainly owned. I wish each and every one of you boys, the greatest successes for the future. Take in your stride, all the qualities we have developed together as a group and come into your own; show the world what a Salesian boy of SCC21 is truly capable of.” Finally, to Ms Rabot: thank you for making the final years of high school, while easily the most challenging, also so enjoyable and memorable. Thank you also to the year 12 leadership team, and especially to Robbie and Keelan. Under the most difficult of circumstances, we have been able to forge such a strong bond as leaders and as mates. Though we had not achieved all of the ambitions that we set out to do under the conditions we were met with, I truly hope that the legacy that we have left behind is remembered and built upon. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the greatest inspiration in my life – my family. My parents are quite easily the hardest working individuals I have ever observed. The countless sacrifices and hours of working and driving us to school over the years have not been forgotten, nor have they gone to waste. I think it is only fitting that I say to them now: Con cám ơn bố mẹ cho nhửng gì mẹ và bố đã làm cho con trong

13 năm trời học hành. Con hứa là con sẽ tiếp tục cố gắng học cho mẹ và bố được hãnh diện và cho nhửng gì mẹ và bố đã làm cho con sẽ xứng đáng. To my sister, thank you for all of the help over the years with my studies and my ideas; no doubt I will return the favour – there is a big future ahead for you. To the boys in the junior years, I think the greatest pearl of wisdom I am keen to share, is to absorb everything. Immerse yourself within this school’s rich culture and most importantly, enjoy it and be yourself. I think it’s fitting that I give my last word to my brothers of SCC21. Although it wasn’t exactly the fairy-tale ending that we had all hoped for, it was one that we certainly owned. I wish each and every one of you boys the greatest successes for the future. Take in your stride, all the qualities we have developed together as a group and come into your own; show the world what a Salesian boy of SCC21 is truly capable of.

IBM EDTECH YOUTH CHALLENGE George Ketels Content Co-ordinator

“This IBM project was a good opportunity for us to implement Project Based Learning on Artificial Intelligence. All three of us learnt lots from the whole experience and we are so pleased we got involved!” Sri Karthikeyan Sri Karthikeyan, Kaushik Vaidya, and Kishore Vaidya from 7B have put their heads together recently for the IBM EdTech Youth Challenge. Their task was to explore, design and build artificial intelligence solutions to improve our communities and world. No small task, Sri, Kaushik and Kishore first had to work out a real-world problem of the right scope for them to tackle. Amazingly, they knew just what to do. After months of work, the three decided their issue to tackle would be food waste, and designed a potential app which would scan shopping receipts, and deliver reminders and notifications through smartphones with tips on minimising food waste. At school, the boys received support from teachers Thomas Andrews and Christina Romano, and as the boys worked on the project out of hours,

Karthik Kameswaran Balaji (father to Sri) was a driving force for the project. We thank him for getting the boys involved, guiding them, and getting them excited about new uses for powerful technology. As Karthik passionately explained, “this is an Artificial Intelligence solution that can influence the behaviour of residents in a range of positive ways to reduce the amount of waste to landfill, by reducing packaged food purchased from the supermarket. The team articulated the problem very well, to reduce Council costs by $6-7 million and to save residents $2K per annum. The boys developed a prototype and learned design thinking and AI skills very quickly. The next step is to be delivered by the end of next year and implemented with Kingston Council.” Please reach out to Karthik Kameswaran from STEM Incubators if you are interested in being part of this exciting community project.

On the 11th of November, our three Salesian boys attended an awards ceremony from IBM, next to some 70 other schools taking part in the competition. A high-level judging panel of six came from organisations like Macquarie University, the Australian Museum, the Digital Australian Museum and AI 4 Diversity. Incredibly, the team was awarded second for their design, and rewarded with a $2,000 cash prize and a selection of AM science books. We are so proud of Sri, Kaushik and Kishore for their ingenuity and dedication.


WHERE ARE THEY NOW? “Take the opportunity when it presents itself and be open to learning and discovering new fields. Don’t be disappointed if you start off in a role that’s not your “ideal”. Many workplace skills are transferable so often it is a matter of time and persistence.” – Justin Sason

JUSTIN SASON Class of 2013 Adviser, COVID-19 Campaigns at Department of Premier and Cabinet (VIC)

What inspired you to pursue a career in Marketing and Communications? It first started in Year 11 Business Management Studies, when I was introduced to the principles of marketing and how organisations use creativity to build brands and deliver marketing offerings that have value for stakeholders. I continued this curiosity through the VCE 3/4 unit in learning more about the operating environment and how marketing contributes to an organisation’s broader objectives. My studies at Salesian motivated me to pursue a degree in marketing with the goal to work in marketing and communications to harness my passion of creativity and help organisations bring their ideas to life. Looking to the challenges of COVID-19, what can young professionals learn from this experience? The challenges of COVID-19 have taught young professionals to be agile and to work differently. It gave us the opportunity to develop valuable ICT skills to navigate through an online environment and become resilient people. The value of people relations also becomes important during these times of remote working. What is most rewarding about your career at Department of Premier and Cabinet (Vic)?


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That I get to play a key role in helping the Victorian Government achieve its strategic objectives and make a difference. I joined DPC in 2018 as an Internal Communications Adviser to help lead a coordinated approach to communication policy across government and drive a high-performing workforce. The past three years have been very rewarding personally and professionally. They have included opportunities to work in department campaigns, assist in major events of state significance and, most recently, provide surge support to the COVID-19 communications team.

What advice do you have for our students, who may be interested in pursuing a career in Marketing and Communications?

How does your Salesian education have an impact on your life today?

You have recently embarked on a 9-month secondment in the COVID-19 Campaigns team. What opportunities are you most looking forward to with this secondment?

My Salesian College education has shaped the person I am today. I am very grateful for the teachers, staff and my cohort for the camaraderie and for instilling a strong sense of belonging in our community and empowering everyone to reach their full potential. Salesian College offered me so many opportunities through its educational offerings, embracing new technology and its extra-curricular activities. I was very fortunate to be involved in the student leadership group and this experience allowed me to develop my leadership, people and communication skills. I thank Salesian College for inspiring me to be a better person and encouraging my selfbelief that anything is possible.

Take the opportunity when it presents itself and be open to learning and discovering new fields. Don’t be disappointed if you start off in a role that’s not your “ideal”. Many workplace skills are transferable so often it is a matter of time and persistence. And remember, there can be real value in networking and taking every opportunity to develop your skills.

I joined the COVID-19 campaigns team in late September, excited to further develop my knowledge in government communications and play a part in the Victorian Government’s continued response to COVID-19. I am looking forward to developing the knowledge and experience I have gained in the past 18 months from supporting the department to deliver consistent and effective COVID-19 communications across all our platforms in the advertising landscape.

TAKING A MAJOR BRAND THROUGH COVID From the Class of 2000, Cameron Pinto tells his story

Running a consumer business in an economic downturn like a pandemic obviously has huge challenges. It was certainly huge challenges that the Chief Operating Officer at Jaggad, Cameron Pinto, had to face when COVID arrived in Australia in the first quarter of 2020. Cameron was a member of the Class of 2000 at Salesian College, who went on to complete a degree in Business and Commerce. He joined Jaggad in early 2017 and has found working with this amazing brand to be exciting and exacting in many different ways. As the Chief Operating Officer, Cameron became aware very early that Jaggad faced great uncertainty about the direction of the business when the impacts of COVID began to hit Australia. “Our major wholesale partners cancelled several months of future orders,” explains Cameron. “We were left to make a decision about how we move that stock.”

retain all of our employees, which was very important to us,” explains Cameron. From his experience at Jaggad, Cameron’s advice to students looking to start their own business is very customer focussed: “there are definitely opportunities that exist for any up-and-coming business owner. The key is to identify a niche in the market and then target the customer for that niche. While the product or service being provided is crucial, going that extra step and making the customer feel valued will give you a competitive advantage.” Going further, Cameron says the standout learnings he has picked up for both business and life is the need to be flexible and nimble in decision making. “This has enabled me to deal with various situations with minimal stress,” he says. And finally, we asked Cameron for his advice for anyone entering the workforce after university.

“You need to be willing to take on any challenge or task. Not every job opportunity is going to turn out the way you imagine, but with persistence and with seizing opportunities that present themselves, you can determine what direction your career takes.”

THE JAGGAD STORY With Australian headquarters in Church Street Brighton, Jagged creates stylishly functional sports apparel. It is very much a functional sports performance apparel brand, using the latest technical textiles and construction techniques. The multi-sport performance garments are cut from the best fabrics, created by passionate designers for people who appreciate beauty, simplicity and design.

Very soon, the decisionmakers at Jaggad opted for the radical step of becoming a purely online business. Jaggad was to move away from wholesaling and retail altogether. “In order to be successful in the online space, we had to stand out from our competitors and this was achieved by focusing our efforts on providing our customers with the best buying experience,” says Cameron. Without delay the Jaggad website was reconfigured and the company focused on providing greater value. At the same time there was a range of other changes to ensure that Jaggad not only acquired new customers but retained the existing ones. “The changes saw us grow beyond our expectations and more importantly 13

ALUMNUS Feature Story


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MAINTAINING FOCUS Suzie McErvale Head of Development and Marketing

Former Australian-Dutch professional cricketer, skier, commentator and Class of 1991 past student, Dirk Nannes is not the average professional sporting story. One of the first freelance cricketers in the world to represent multiple teams on the international stage, Dirk shares how he managed a back-to-back ten-year professional cricket career by day, with a full-time multi-million-dollar business career out of hours. With a 145km per hour quick left-arm, Dirk approached each game with tenacity and force as though it was his last game bowling at the pitch. Contrary to most athletes, reflecting on the match after leaving the ground was not a practise he engaged with. Sport was secondary to family and business. Below the exterior relaxed personality, Dirk is a hard-working, big picture thinker, who learnt right from wrong in his early school days. He’s connected to individuals, not groups, and continues to live out Don Bosco words in action of “doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well”. It’s perhaps Dirk’s resilience, mindset and ability to embrace risk and challenge that has served him best throughout the years. “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because what you will learn on that mistake, will probably mean the next one doesn’t fail.” He just happened to also be a talented sportsman who bowled extraordinarily well in first class cricket.

Photographer: Clive Rose


Let’s go back to your early days, when you played cricket with your brother in the backyard. There was a big age difference – he is 6 years older than me. He was in Year 12 and I was in Year 7. Whenever he did anything sport related, he was always way better than me. I imagine that’s why I got pretty good, because he would bat all the time, and I would have to bowl to him. I think my bowling was good because I kept on trying to mimic other bowlers. There must have been fifteen bowlers and bowling actions that I would try and mimic. I got a hang of what worked and what didn’t. I think, mechanically, that was quite good for me.

Born to Dutch-migrant parents in Melbourne in 1976, you were one of four children. At what age did you realise that elite sport was not only a childhood dream but a tangible reality? It actually wasn’t really a dream that I ever thought was achievable. I love sport, but I was never very good. I think my elder brother and sister were better than me at sport. My brother, particularly, was naturally gifted. I must have been, twenty-seven before I actually thought that I might be able to make a career out of cricket. I’d worked all through my teenage years on my skiing, but I felt I was lucky to have made it to World Cup level. I don’t think I could have become a great competitive skier on the word stage. Certainly in Australia I could, but not on the world stage. Cricket on the other hand was something I thought I could actually turn into a job. It was something I couldn’t just participate in and be good at, but excel and make a career. It took me a couple of years after that to actually be doing it for a living. Yours is not the average story, is it? No. Most professional cricketers will play in the under fifteen’s, under seventeen’s, under nineteen’s, etc., and go through the whole feeder system. But I never played a representative game of cricket until my first game for Victoria. Skiing’s good, but it wasn’t a profession. I was working in a bar to pay for my skiing and competing for Australia every year. So, it wasn’t as though anyone paid for it. The part of my story that I appreciate the most, was the skiing aspect, because that was my love, more than cricket. Cricket was something I found out I was good at, quite late.


GRIFFIN Summer 2021

How interesting. After leaving school you set your sights on skiing and music, specifically, the saxophone. You studied saxophone at Melbourne University until you realised it wasn’t your true passion. What does that time look like? Yes, I picked the wrong course [laughs]. The reason I left Salesian College when I did, was that the school didn’t offer Unit 3/4 music at that time. During school, I just wanted to be a muso. At the end of Year 10, going into Year 11, I went to Wesley in Glen Waverley, then went to university. Melbourne University had the Conservatorium of Music, and the College of the Arts. I went to the Conservatorium of Music and I hated it. It wasn’t so much the structure, but the irrelevance of learning when the violin went from Austria to Venice, and the history and theory of it all … it just didn’t interest me. For me, it turned music into a chore. You were always practicing on your own and expected to do it for at least two hours a day. But I wanted to practice with mates and play in bands. That’s where the enjoyment was for me. I hated the practice by myself. It turned into something I didn’t enjoy doing. Once I finished that year I deferred and went travelling around Europe. I came back and did a Computer Science degree. That sounds like quite a different pathway. Yes. Probably the polar opposite, I would’ve thought. Due to travel and sport, that degree took me seven years or so. I’d only do one semester a year because I’d ski at Mt Buller and then travel overseas during the 2nd semester.

I never had the visual cues that kids have now. Today, they set up their own camera and film it. But the first time I ever saw myself bowl was playing for Victoria when the coach took a video. I was never great as a junior. I was just an average cricketer playing up the road. While I was skiing, I would still play cricket with a couple of mates from my primary school up in Vermont. I would play maybe two games in October or November, whenever the season started, and I’d play two games when I came back from overseas. So, I’d never given away cricket completely, but I might have only played six weeks a year. One year when I didn’t go away as much, I might have played nine or ten games in local cricket games and took bundles of wickets; I was hitting people in the head, and in the ribs. It was at that point that someone said, “You should go down to your district side”, which I did, and then near the end of that year, the captain of that side said, “If you hang around for a year, and don’t go overseas, you’ll probably play for Victoria.” So, the next year, that’s what I did. I was twenty-six at the time. And that was my first full season of cricket. I’d stopped competing in skiing, but by that stage I had started running my own ski travel business overseas. I said to Erin, my wife, “you go and run it. I’m going to have a go at this,” and she agreed. So that’s how I fell into it. It was purely that one player saying, “I reckon if you hang around you could play for Victoria. And it worked!” It’s interesting isn’t it, those moments in life, when a suggestion is made that you haven’t considered before and you stop and think, maybe that’s worth contemplating. Yes, true! [nods] If I don’t feel like I’m being valued in a role, or like I’m a

contributor, then I don’t like doing it. So, until someone says, “No, we really need you because you’re the only one who can do that”, or, “We need you because of this”, that’s the sort of thing that makes me take notice, If someone needs me, then I’ll do it. So for me, the moment that made me stop and think was when someone said, “There’s no one else who can do that. You’re bowling 145km/hour with the wrong arm. No one can do that. You’ll play for Victoria.” So I thought “OK … If you put it that way, I’ll give it a go.”. We saw a really interesting graphic when I was playing for Sydney Thunder. The players completed a personality test, which every team did from time to time. However this was the one time when I did one of those tests and thought “Oh Wow! … That’s exactly what I am.”. There were a few cricketers who did the test. Mike Hussey, and a couple of others were like me, internal thinkers who were great contributors to a group once we realised our talents were valued. I don’t know why I feel that way or what it’s down to. It could be my upbringing? I guess it’s just the way I am built. It sounds like you want to contribute. Yes! You want to have an impact, perhaps? Yes. Like I’m not wasting my time. I’m not just doing it for the sake of doing it or going through the motions.

To me, what that reflects, is someone who is open to change. What is your advice to people wanting to make career changes? I’m going through another one now; mypoolinspector.com.au is the new venture. Our bread and butter is normally a hotel business in Japan which evolved, post my skiing time. Once I finished competing in skiing, I started my own business and we became a travel agency. The legacy of that is that I’ve held onto the ski lodges. And that was a great business, but COVID has just shattered it. We were down 98% last year, but it will bounce back as soon as Japanese borders reopen. I spent the first lockdown fixing the house up, but then I ran out of things to do. It became clear that I needed an income. I learnt more about the process of pool inspecting and enrolled in a course, completed the required industry experience, and now I’m a pool inspector. That idea was born out of adversity in COVID after asking myself “what am I going to do now?”. It’s a ripping business. It sounds like you embraced the risk. I’ve still got the other businesses, My Pool Inspector is in addition. Change doesn’t scare me. The only thing that scares me is, I guess, losing the house, or the equivalent, but even that – it’s just a transaction. You sell the house and you buy something smaller. I’ve never feared failure. I’ve never feared

making mistakes, as long as they’re not fatal. Gosh, I must’ve tried eight, nine businesses over my time. Maybe five or six of them have failed, but the rest of them have done well. You could look at that and say that I’ve failed a lot, but I also succeed a lot as well. I see society in general as having a fear of failure that crushes people from doing anything they really want to do. You’re comfortable in your job and you just go about the same thing all the time. That’s just not me at all. I give things a go. If it fails, it fails, you know what, you roll onto the next thing. I’ve been lucky in that regard, because sport allowed me to have the financial backing to be able to make mistakes. And that’s probably a fortunate thing that I have over others in the same position. Retiring from sport can be difficult for athletes given the connection to identity. How was that experience for you? That’s why my sporting career was very different, because I already had a successful business before I got into sport. Everyone else was living and breathing cricket - it was their twentyfour hour a day thing; they identified themselves as a cricketer. I was coming into it with a young child. When I left the MCG for home, Erin and the kids would never know whether I won or lost. It just didn’t matter to me at all. Some people might read that as: Well, you’re not very competitive. That’s not my interpretation. If you get in any game with me, I’m very competitive. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. The Australian batsman Chris Rogers tells a story of coming home from the pub in the middle of a first-class game in Adelaide (a four-day game) and seeing me still up working at 3:00am. I was bowler, so I had to prop my computer up, because otherwise my back would get sore. I always travelled with a keyboard. I’d get the rubbish bin from the hotel, and prop the computer up on the rubbish bin, so my back was very straight. And I would sit there until 3:00am – 4:00am in the morning doing work for my business. And then get up at 7:00am I would go play first class cricket until 7:00pm that day, and then work another job until three in the morning. To him and every other teammate it was bizarre behaviour, but for me, work was the first thing, and sport was incidental to that. Sport was something that was going to end tomorrow. I always felt like every game was my last game, because I always felt like it was a really temporary thing that I was doing. 17

in the World Cup in 2010 in the West Indies. From a professional perspective, 2010 was terrific, but from a personal perspective, the Dutch game was the real highlight. Throughout my career it was playing with friends and meeting so many people around the world that gave me the greatest buzz. Even now, it doesn’t matter whether Australia win or lose, or Holland win or lose, it’s the people in those teams who I support rather than the team itself. What have your most rewarding business moments looked like over the years? The thing I love with businesses (like the process I’m going through at the moment), is starting something new, and coming up with ideas, and turning them into reality. I love picking the brains out of things and trying to work out why something isn’t going to work. And then trying to fix those problems and finding a way that it will work. That’s how it’s gone with the businesses that I’ve worked at well—the restaurant and the two hotels in Japan, the travel agency, and the most recent one, the pool inspection business. Being able to go through that process and starting all these businesses has given me, the time to spend time with my family whenever I want. The financial freedom of it, but also being your own boss, are things I value. How do you maintain focus throughout the season?

Did that strategy keep you in the present? Yes, absolutely. And I think that’s why my career was successful, because I essentially treated it like a business. It was like any other job for me, where I would do everything I needed to do, but once you leave you don’t think about it. Once I was in the car on the way home, it didn’t matter. But other players aren’t like that. It can rule them 24/7. Carrying both an Australian and Dutch passport, you represented Australia/ Netherlands at three World Cups for Cricket and five World Cups for skiing. You are one of few players to represent multiple international teams. What have been your standout sporting memories? 18

GRIFFIN Summer 2021

My favourite moment for cricket was playing for Holland. It was my first international game. It was Holland vs England in the 2009 T20 World Cup, in England at Lords. We were complete underdogs and yet, we ended up winning the game in front of a massive, packed crowd. For the whole game it looked like we were going to get beaten, but we won on the last ball of the night and it was just magnificent. I’ve played in a lot of great teams, who were expected to win and they were great. But this was one where we were the underdog and all day we should have lost, yet in the end we won on the last ball of the day. It was a fairy-tale ending. And that was absolutely fantastic. Personally, I was the lead wicket taker

My whole working life has been seasonal. If you’ve got these one-off or seasonal events that happen every year, your entire year is judged on the success of that one month. But if you haven’t lined all your ducks in a row for the other eleven months that precede that, your delivery is going to fall in a screaming heap. Probably the best thing that happened for me, was travelling with cricket. I was one of the first freelance cricketers. I went away from my home cricket team, which was Victoria, and decided to be just a T20 player, traveling the world playing T20 cricket. This sounds great on the surface because you’re just doing back-to-back contracts, earning money across the whole year. But the flipside is you lose all your support—medical support, physiotherapy, the backing of unions—all these sorts of things disappear. As soon as I went freelance, I managed all that myself. Others who were in my position had a

career of one or two years before they floated away and became irrelevant. But, because I did all the small things the whole time, (most importantly, even when no one was watching) I was able to play for ten years in a professional career, from when I was twenty-nine to thirty-nine. Whereas most people retire from cricket by the time they’re thirtytwo. I credit doing all the ‘one-percenters’ while no one was watching to my longevity. Maybe I wasn’t actually that talented, but I was good at knowing what I was good at and playing to those strengths.

times in COVID, when I’ve sat there and thought, “We’re going to lose the house. Where are we going and what are we going to do?”, but we’ve rolled with the punches and after all, it’s just a house. We took steps forward and took the time to see and plan what happened next.

True, yes, you’re right. You plan for a rainy day, but you don’t plan for 720 in a row. It’s been a challenge, but whenever there’s a challenge, I try and see the opportunity that comes with that. Maybe it’s not luck. Maybe it’s a bit of good thinking as well that’s helped me do well.

It’s perhaps a privileged thing to say, but it seemed that a lot of people in COVID interpreted it as this strange uncertain time that we never saw coming. But if we look deeper, none of us ever had any certainty before this. It was just an illusion.

And perhaps a resilient mindset? I think so. It’s been a pleasure, Dirk, thank you for your time.

What were your most significant life lessons that you learnt during your time at Chadstone? I remember Wayne Guilieri (he’s the teacher in my year seven photo). I had him for two years as my home group, or Oratory group, now. I always remember how he would digress. We’d be in the middle of a maths class, and he would somehow turn the maths class into a lesson on ethics and morals. Someone would do something in class and he’d start telling them off. He’d not so much tell them off straight away, but he’d go into a story about what makes something philosophically bad, and in contrast to that, how we should behave. That’s probably the one thing I remember the most, was his digressions where you learnt how to be a decent human being. What advice do you have for students looking to excel in business and sport? Don’t look back. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because what you learn on that mistake will probably mean the next one doesn’t fail. You’ll be at least one step closer to success. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t fear change. It’s ok to not know what you want to do. I’m forty-five and I still don’t know what I want to do, and that’s ok. You can do alright and change career paths ten times in your life, that’s ok. I didn’t know that at school. I finished school not knowing what I wanted to do, fearing making a decision because I might be stuck with it for years, and it just hasn’t been that at all. It’s been far from it. It’s fun to change. What I hear through that comment is resilience. I must admit that there have been

Dirk Nannes and wife Erin Nannes arrive at the 2010 Allan Border Medal at Crown Casino on February 15, 2010. Photographer: Lucas Dawson


MFC 1964 Premiers. Photographer Michael C Willson

SALESIAN BOY IN A MELBOURNE PREMIERSHIP We are all aware that the AFL Premiership was extra special this year. As if playing the Grand Final away from the iconic MCG was not enough to make it unique, the Melbourne Demons won the Cup by a huge margin making it their first premiership since 1964. What some readers may not know is the winning Melbourne team in 1964 featured a Salesian College student from the class of 1957, Frank Davis. With the famous pair of Norm Smith and Ron Barassi as Coach and Captain, Frank Davis lined up on the half back flank against Collingwood for that 1964 showdown. It was in fact his first year as a player, he was a solid back man and forwards always had a serious challenge to get past him. Frank, who is a Salesian College Hall of Fame Inductee, played 168 games with the Demons, ending up as Captain from 1970-72. He started his career with a bang, his first kick being a goal. In 1970, he earned his club’s Best and Fairest award. We were lucky enough to be able to catch up with Frank before the 2021 Grand Final. We asked him for his thoughts on


GRIFFIN Summer 2021

the game and wanted to hear his advice to the players who were about to take on the challenge of winning a premiership after 57 years. “It has been a long time since the Dees have given themselves a chance of winning a premiership. They are certainly good enough to win this year if everyone plays their part.

“It has been a long time since the Dees have given themselves a chance of winning a premiership. They are certainly good enough to win this year if everyone plays their part.”

Unfortunately, Grand Final week is not a normal week with so many media interviews and a range of other functions to be attended to. My advice from my limited experience is not to get caught up in all the hype. As a player, prepare yourself as you normally would. Try not to play the game in your mind or get overawed. Remember it is just another game of football and try to play your best, remembering it is a team game. Go Dees”. No doubt Frank Davis was delighted with the result in 2021, but he would have been well aware it was a very different type of game. When Frank helped his team win all those years ago, the Demons snuck home by just 4 points. This year’s winning margin of 74 points left little doubt about which team deserved the honours in 2021.

1969 Frank Davis

SECONDARY SCHOOL EXPERIENCE DAY Primary students get a taste of what lies ahead The primary schools involved in the program are:

The Secondary School Experience Day is a unique initiative with a group of local schools cooperating together for the benefit of young students. The day is designed to give primary students a taste of secondary school life. As far as possible, we want to ensure those who arrive in Year 7 are not too stressed by their new environment. The reality is that secondary school can be a huge milestone for any child. At the best of times, they’ll probably feel anxious about meeting new teachers, new friends and finding their way around a new campus. There is plenty of research highlighting that learning is more likely to take place if stress is eliminated. That’s why our Secondary School Experience Day aims to welcome primary children and make them feel at ease in the secondary environment.

St Mary Magdalen’s, Chadstone PS

St Michael’s, Ashburton PS

Holy Family, Mount Waverley PS

Christ Out Holy Redeemer, Oakleigh PS.

The Secondary School Experience Day is an effective way to introduce Secondary Schooling to kids at the end of their Primary School years, giving a practical and exciting preview of what they can expect to come.

We run our Secondary School Experience Day in partnership with Avila College in Mount Waverley. Activities include: • • • •

A science class in a cutting-edge 21st Century laboratory A technology class where students make their own custom hydrodipped fidget spinners Recess with Year 8 and Year 10 Tour Guides Sport on the Covered Courts

Activities at Avila include: • • • • •

Exploring classrooms, home rooms and co-curricular classes A performing arts showcase featuring music, dance and drama Conducting a forensic experiment in the science labs Designing and making a custom keyring in the art studio A co-curriculum, interactive miniexpo presented by student leaders..



RICHARD VOM Class of 2006 Videographer

In 2018 you quit your job as an electrician in the mines and began a new career as a videographer. You were determined to find a career that was you. How did this moment live out? It was attractive working as a Power Station Operator in Onslow WA. My job was to maintain the generators that powered a 7,000-man camp. It was truly a unique experience and one I’m grateful for. But deep down I knew that being an electrician couldn’t be it for me. It was definitely great money, but I didn’t love being at work. A sign of that is when you keep checking your watch for home time and I did that a lot. For more than six months I pondered what I would do once I finally left the mines. I trawled through books, audio tapes and YouTube to find my calling until one day I heard a line that made me go, that’s it! “If you find something you like and you’re somewhat good at it, go for it”. It was simple but clear and what I needed to hear to make me push aside all the fears of why pursuing a hobby like creating videos could never work for an electrician.


GRIFFIN Summer 2021

What sparked your interest in videography? I remember my first solo holiday, a Contiki in New Zealand. I was equipped with some new toys, a GoPro and a drone. I loved being able to capture a time in place, a special moment, the amazing people I met and the beautiful scenery. Having creative freedom to piece that into a story, I could barely sit still while watching the final edit. I must have watched the same video on repeat a hundred times. Looking back on your time at Salesian, what are your standout memories? I recall learning how to write strong essays. I was pretty bad at them, but I remember my English teacher, Ms. Keogh, encouraging me to keep trying. I must have written the essay five times before she said I was catching on and getting good. It was one of my earliest moments that I realised, if I put in enough effort into anything, I can do it.

What is most rewarding about running your own business and finding your passion? One of my biggest goals is to live life on my own terms, so having a business means I can work when I want to work. Funny thing is I used to work 70 hours a week in the mines but after having my own business, I found myself working even more. Nights I couldn’t sleep, I was straight on the computer editing videos. The major difference is it doesn’t feel like work. I think what I do is pretty damn cool, and I love it. What advice do you have for students, keen to follow their calling? If you want something, don’t keep it a secret. Put it out there. Talk about it, google it, tell your friends, tell strangers. The more it becomes infused in your life, the more action you will take towards it.


Teacher Samantha Carey and husband Nicholas Hernandez welcomed their son,

Hugo Alexander (4.3kg) into the world on Monday 12 July, 2021






Teacher Sara Roberts and husband Matt

welcomed their second child, Jacob Daniel George Robert on 23 August 2021 Teacher Mark Wang and wife Michelle Huang have welcomed their second son,

Patrick Yize Wang into the world on Sunday 21 November, 2021. 4.

Salesian College Chadstone was saddened to learn of the passing of Class of 1969 past student David James Dixon on 30th October, 2020 after a short illness; he was 69 years old. David was a loving husband of 47 years to wife Jill Dixon, father of 4 and grandfather of 9. David was the owner and Director of Photoscope (Vic) Pty Ltd, a wholesale photographic business in Mount Waverley for 50 years. Over the last 7 years he became a carer for the Department of Health and Human Services looking after intellectually disabled adults where he was greatly appreciated and loved by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with David’s wife Jill and adored family.


We pay tribute to Class of 1976 past student John Anthony Pattison, who passed away


on 20 June, 2021 after a long illness. John attended Salesian between 1971 and 1976. He survived by his elder brothers Peter and Paul and sons Andrew and Lachlan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his brothers and sons during this difficult time.


REUNIONS UPDATE Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reunions were affected in 2020 and 2021. Join us next year as we combine 2020, 2021 and 2022 graduating year reunions. Is your graduating year celebrating: 5 years Class of 2015, 2016, 2017? 10 years Class of 2010, 2011 and 2012? 20 years Class of 2000, 2001 and 2002? 40 years Class of 1980, 1981 and 1982

Join us on: Past Pupil Reunion Day: Saturday 6 August 2022 5 years – Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 10 years – Class of 2010, 2011 and 2012 Book via, www.trybooking.com/BVZAH Past Pupil Reunion Day: Saturday 20 August 2022 20 years – Class of 2000, 2001 and 2002 40 years – Class of 1980, 1981 and 1982

HALL OF FAME SAVE THE DATE On Friday May 27 2022 we will formally recognise and celebrate the contributions of Saleisan College Chadstone alumni who have achieved significant success in their chosen fields of service, and who act as positive role models for current and future students. Book via, trybooking.com/BWAMJ

Book via, trybooking.com/BVZAF


10 Bosco Street Chadstone Victoria Australia 3148 T +61 3 9807 2644 ABN 74 645 109 208 www.salesian.vic.edu.au

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