FEATURING PAST STUDENT AND SUPERINTENDENT FOR THE AUSTRALIAN BORDER FORCE, GERARD RODRIGUES
Editor: Suzie McErvale
Editorial Contributions: Robert Brennan Fr Greg Chambers sdb Mr Jack Palumbo Suzie McErvale Nikita Rodrigues Bo De Silva Samuel Abernethy Christopher Rendell Raff Ciccone Connor Hodinj
Editorial Coordinator: Nikita Rodrigues
ON THE COVER
All correspondence and editorial content please address to: Marketing and Development Office Salesian College Chadstone 10 Bosco Street Chadstone, VIC 3148 email@example.com
Proofreader: Dr Mavis Ford La Trobe University Front Cover: Rob Lindblade Photography Graphic Design and Printing: DMC Group Photographic Contributions: Rob Lindblade Photography Suzie McErvale AMS Photography Samuel Abernethy Christopher Rendell Florence Rodrigues Lauren Grenfell
Superintendent and National Compliance Operations lead for the Australian Border Force, Class of 1975 past student Gerard Rodrigues
SHARE A STORY
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
IN THIS ISSUE
Taking a leap of faith into the unknown can be confronting. But what can happen when we loosen the grip of what we know and branch into vulnerability can propel us into growth territory that we wouldn’t have ended up in if it weren’t for taking that chance.
From the Principal Page 6
From the Rector Page 7
2019 Building Developments Page 8
2018 VCE Results Page 9
Riding High Page 10
2019 Captain’s Message Page 11
Where Are They Now? Samuel Abernethy and Christopher Rendell Page 12
Where Are They Now? Raff Ciccone
Class of 1975 past student Gerard Rodrigues has rolled the dice a few times in his life. After graduating in Science, majoring in Microbiology, he took a chance on a public service advertisement in The Age in 1983. He listened to his instinct to follow and believe in something bigger. Some 30 years later, he represents national interests on the global stage and is a brains trust to the United Nations and World Customs Organisation, delivering change on a global front. Today, he sits as Superintendent and National Compliance Operations lead for the Australian Border Force (ABF). But his fundamental commitment to the public is more than just boardrooms and strategy. In his own calm and communicative way, Gerry shares insight into some of his most defining moments during his career and personal life that have nothing to do with representing a nation in a room full of powerful people. His most defining moments have been a fusion of his most harrowing moments and times when he has been in the presence of people who live in the most challenging and poor conditions, who taught him to ‘keep life simple and count your blessings, not your sorrows’.
In this edition of the Griffin we celebrate a variety of current and past students who have had the courage to dedicate themselves to their cause and to be open to where opportunity can lead them.
Suzie McErvale Head of Development and Marketing
All Things to All Men A Changing Force Page 20
2019 Hall of Fame
CONNECT WITH US
Community Births & Marriages FACEBOOK.COM/SALESIANCOLLEGE @SALESIANCHAD WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/SALESIANCOLLEGE-CHADSTONE SALESIANCOLLEGECHADSTONE 3
FROM THE PRINCIPAL Rob Brennan Principal
“As educators we have to learn to appreciate our role in society as the sowers of seeds, and not necessarily the harvesters of our work.”
When I reflect back on my time at school, like all students, I have mixed emotions. I experienced both the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. I learnt many things, but what I remember most are my teachers. They came in all shapes and sizes, and had different personalities. Some I liked, and some I didn’t. Most I respected, but not all. Regardless of all this, they all impacted on me in some way. I am sure they all had a different understanding of the impact they were having as they went about their unenviable task of educating the students in front of them. I’m sure most of them were hoping to make a difference. Some failed to understand that it was not what they were teaching, but rather how they taught it, that would play the most significant role in the development of their students. Whilst most were successful in imparting the content of their subjects, it was only a special few who made a difference to 4
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
the lives of their students. I am pretty certain that many of them would have been oblivious to the impact they were having in their daily interactions. My decision to become a teacher can be traced back to one teacher in particular. The care and concern he showed for me had a profound impact that has remained with me until this day. I’m sure he didn’t know that he would have such an impact, nor do I think he set out with this intention, but the fact remains that he did. He would have had no idea of what I or any of his students were going to go on to do or achieve, but he did what he did anyway. His actions sowed a seed all those years ago which led to my choice to commit myself to educating kids for the next thirty odd years. Earlier in the year I highlighted in a blog article both the privilege and frustration of being an educator. The privilege is born
out in our witnessing our students grow and mature into fine young people. The frustration most teachers experience stems from the fact that in very few cases we get to see the final outcome for our students. We never get to observe the boys in their careers, appreciate their tenderness as husbands or fathers, or comprehend the work they do in the community, amongst many other great things in their adult lives. As educators we have to learn to appreciate our role in society as the sowers of seeds, and not necessarily the harvesters of our work. This is highlighted in the Gospel reading where it is explained that some are disappointed because their present seed does not appear to produce an immediate crop. In spite of this they continue down their course, mistakenly believing that there will never be a harvest. But unlike the crops of the field, which get harvested at approximately the same time each year, there is no regular timetable for the harvest of life. Some crops we reap quickly, and
“In this edition, as in all editions, we catch a glimpse of what some of our boys go on to achieve.” others take a long time. So we cannot allow ourselves to be disheartened. We must trust in our work and listen to our own advice that we often share with our students, and remember that our season will come, and the fruits of our labour will blossom. It may not be in our time, and we may never witness it, but it will happen. We have to persist, knowing that by going the extra mile now and giving more than is required, we as a community will reap rich dividends later. “For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” What a comforting and reassuring thought to those who faithfully labour under difficult circumstances. Faithfulness in such situations will produce a rich harvest in the future, for our heavenly Father always keeps His promises.
in international relations, Raff Ciccone (Class of 2001) was named a Federal Senator recently, Chris Rendell (Class of 1990) is an internationally renowned chef, and Samuel Abernethy (Class of 2010) is leading a rewarding career in the Royal New Zealand Army. These men are all fine ambassadors of the work we do here at the College, and would compare favourably with others in any community. We are very proud of their achievements. Whilst many of us were not here at the College in their time as students, we can use them as inspiration for what our boys can and will go on to achieve into the future. They act as a reminder to us of the great work we do as teachers, and the significant influence we can have on our boys on a daily basis.
For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ John 4:37
I congratulate all the men acknowledged in this edition of the Griffin, as well as our current and former staff on the work they do in forming all the boys in our care.
In this edition, as in all editions, we catch a glimpse of what some of our boys go on to achieve. Gerard Rodrigues (Class of 1975), a 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, has led a distinguished career
Remember, we reap what we sow.
FROM THE RECTOR Fr Greg Chambers sdb Rector As the new Rector of Salesian College Chadstone following Fr Frank Bertagnolli, I wish to greet you all in the name of Saint John Bosco, the Founder of the Salesian Congregation and one of the major inspirations behind all that we do for young people at the College. It is a real joy and privilege for me to return to Salesian College after some 18 years, having been a past student myself (1962-1967) and a former principal of the school (1995-2001). I also served as a teacher at Chadstone in 1973-1974, as Religious Education Co-ordinator in 1980-1982, and as a football and cricket coach between 1973 and 1982. Though not an overly gifted sportsman, I also enjoyed my time with the Salesian Old Boys’ Cricket Club (lower grades) and the Chadstone Salesian Football Team (seconds). Looking back now, my student years at Salesian College were among the happiest years of my life, which was no doubt a major reason for my joining the Salesians of Don Bosco in 1968. Since my return to ‘Chaddy’ in January this year, I must say that I have been mightily impressed by the obvious progress that has taken place in the past two decades. There is a significant school spirit and enthusiasm for learning among the students; a genuine commitment to the education and welfare of the boys among the Principal, Leadership Team and staff; and strong involvement and support from the network of dedicated parents, families and former students. Whilst academic pursuits are taken very seriously indeed by the whole educative community, I can assure you that other key aspects such as spiritual formation, health and welfare, social development, support for Caritas and the Missions, community engagement, house involvement and sport/physical education are taken very seriously as well.
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
Another area of real improvement that stands out like a shining light has been the building, refurbishment and expansion of College facilities since 2000. For example, the chapel, library, science facilities, arts precinct, VCAL area, Year 7 classrooms, oval and recreational areas on the main Bosco Campus have all undergone an impressive facelift, whilst the buildings and playing fields of the Year 9 Mannix Campus look spectacular as one gazes across the Monash Freeway. However, perhaps the clearest indicator of Salesian College’s educational momentum has been the completion of its new Reception, Administration and Student Services Building at the beginning of Term 2 this year, with the administration section being named after Fr Edward (Ted) Cooper, who was a very innovative College Rector from 1964-1969 and again from 1974-1976. Not only does this most attractive building provide the College with an excellent public frontage, but it also gives clear priority to its 1,070 pupils by providing state-of-the-art facilities for Student Services, Student Welfare and Learning Support. This is very much as it should be in any school, but particularly in a Salesian school which prides itself on its care and nurturing of its students, and on their growth and advancement as generous and compassionate human beings and responsible, upright citizens of their nation and their world. As a Salesian school, our sacred task and mandate is not just to produce fine and well-rounded young men who have ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’, but to foster the development of ‘everyday
heroes’ who rightfully take their place as valued pillars of society, and of ‘neighbourhood saints’ who stand tall as ‘their own men’ and motivate their fellow human beings to embrace lives that are more open, merciful and loving. Perhaps Pope Francis said it best in his 2018 Exhortation, ‘Rejoice and Exult’, when he encouraged us all in the following words: ‘The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts, rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.’ My fellow past students, as I conclude this article for the ‘Griffin’, I am extremely proud to be a former student of Salesian College. I say this because, at 62 years of age, the College is still very much a vibrant and authentic School of Don Bosco which is going stronger than ever as it moves into a most promising and exciting future. I sincerely hope that you feel the same as I do!
2019 BUILDING DEVELOPMENTS Jack Palumbo Business Manager
Our focus for the first term of 2019 was firmly set on ensuring that our new Fr Edward Cooper Building and recommissioned Fr Wallace Cornell Building were finished in time for the start of Term Two. Due to delays caused by the age and construction quality of the original building, we were unsure if we would make the deadline. Thankfully, however, we were issued our Occupancy Certificate on Easter Thursday, allowing staff to move into their new offices at the beginning of Term Two. With everyone settling into the Fr Edward Cooper Building reasonably quickly, it has become apparent that our original hopes for this building have come to fruition. With working groups in close proximity to each other and ample meeting rooms for these groups to meet, I have noticed things starting to work more efficiently and productively. Additionally, having purpose-built areas for functional spaces like sick bay, reception and the staff room, has allowed these areas to operate much more effectively. With the function of the building working as well as could be expected, the entrance to the school has been transformed into a beautiful and inviting space. The design philosophy for the building stems from Don Bosco’s idea of the ‘Oratory’ as a home that welcomes. Don Bosco and Mamma Margaret created a sense of
warmth and homeliness for those who visited the Oratory, evoked in our new building through the use of a simple material palette consisting of light coloured brickwork, stone and, most importantly, timber. Inspiration for our design philosophy was taken from early historical photographs that show timber beams exposed throughout the original Oratory. Our architects, Williams Ross, used this concept through some of our key spaces, including meeting rooms and public foyers, encouraging conversation and gathering to take place in a comfortable setting. Don Bosco’s early life as a blacksmith and carpenter inspired the folded metal elements we incorporated in the building, such as the internal stair balustrade, signage and the main Crucifix, where attention to detail and craftsmanship can be appreciated. We can be proud of what we have achieved in this building project. The Fr Edward Cooper Building welcomes both our current school community and prospective families in a manner that demonstrates that we are proud of who we are, and where we are going.
with City of Monash Mayor Cr Shane McCluskey, Steve Dimopoulos MP, Will Fowles MP and Class of 2003 past student and member of The Ten Tenors, Mr Adrian Li Donni performing. The ceremony was a joyous occasion for our school community, with a real sense of optimism for the future. We now focus on our next batch of facility upgrades, which will include four additional classrooms and classroom upgrades to the Murdoch building, which will be completed at the end of 2019. These upgrades will allow more effective implementation of our new Learning Matrix. We will also commence feasibility studies and planning for a new Sports Hall on the Mannix campus, to be commenced as soon as practically possible. The Sports Hall is planned to be a double basketball court hall, with staff offices, change rooms and other spaces for table tennis and circuit training. This Sports Hall will be the biggest single building development in our history, which will enhance the students’ enjoyment of sport here at the college. I look forward to a busy and productive new year.
On Friday 17 May the opening ceremony was officiated by the Provincial of the Salesians, Fr Will Matthews SDB, 7
Dux, Anthony Sirait with Principal, Mr Rob Brennan
2018 College Captain Mark Linden and Vice Captains Adrian Nadonza and Jamie Phung (ATARs of 96.55, 95 and 94.05 respectively)
2018 VCE RESULTS CONGRATULATIONS, CLASS OF 2018 Salesian College Chadstone congratulates 2018 Dux Anthony Sirait, who achieved a perfect study score of 50 in Legal Studies, Dux of three additional subjects and an ATAR of 99.6, putting him in the top 0.4% of all Year 12 students in the state. As a Year 11 student in 2017, Anthony also achieved a perfect score of 50 in Business Management. Anthony is on track to follow his passion of Commerce/ Law at Monash University in 2019. The College also acknowledges 2018 College Captain Mark Linden and Vice-Captains Adrian Nadonza and Jamie Phung, who excelled beyond their student leadership roles, achieving ATARs of 96.55, 95 and 94.05 respectively.
RILEY COLLIER-DAWKINS While completing Year 12, Class of 2018 student Riley Collier-Dawkins was picked by Richmond in the 2018 AFL draft. Riley reflects, “I have appreciated having teachers who are able to assist me in maintaining a balance between football and other parts of my life.” We wish Riley good luck with his next big step with Richmond. SHENETH FERNANDO Channelling the spirit of Don Bosco in devoting his time to those less fortunate, Sheneth Fernando (Class of 2018) volunteered with the Oakleigh Connections Program for the entire six years of his education at Salesian College. NAME
Every Friday at lunchtime, Sheneth welcomed Oakleigh Connections visitors with intellectual disabilities to our school. “As a student with a disability myself, I feel a connection with our visitors. I return every Friday to show compassion and loyalty to them”, reflects Sheneth. BILLY DRAKOPOULOS Billy Drakopoulos is another student of the Class of 2018 who challenged himself beyond the classroom, achieving an ATAR score of 92.5 and Dux of Psychology while undertaking an extension program at Monash University. While completing this extension program, Billy was also a key contributor to the 2018 College Production.
Commerce/Law (Monash University)
Biomedicine (University Of Melbourne)
2018 Dux: Anthony Sirait achieved an ATAR of 99.6 and a perfect score of 50
Computer Science Advanced (Hons) (Monash University)
Science/Engineering (University Of Melbourne)
Engineering (Hons - Masters Accelerated Pathway) (Monash University)
Median Score: 31 ATAR exceeding 90: 13% ATAR exceeding 80: 35% ATAR exceeding 70: 57% VCE Completion rate: 100% VCAL Completion: 99%
Engineering (Hons)/Commerce (Monash University)
Commerce/Arts (Monash University)
Science (University Of Melbourne)
Biomedicine (University Of Melbourne)
Engineering (Hons) (Monash University)
6.4% of students who studied a Unit 3/4 subject received a subject score of 40 or more
10 students were awarded the VCE Baccalaureate, which has been developed by VCAA to recognise students who undertake an English, a higher level mathematics and a language within their VCE program of study.
Biomedicine/Engineering (University Of Melbourne) Science Advanced -Research (Hons) (Monash University)
Commerce/Biomedical Science (Monash University)
Commerce/Computer Science (Monash University)
Laws (Honours)/Commerce (Monash University)
Engineering (Hons)/Business (Swinburne University of Technology)
Science/Music (Monash University)
Carl Daniel Calaoagan
Science (University Of Melbourne)
Science (University Of Melbourne)
The Salesian College Chadstone community commends all students from the Class of 2018 on the completion of their VCE studies, and acknowledges the dedication, commitment and support that staff and families have provided to ensure that students reach their potential. 8
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
Class of 2018 High Achievers (ATAR of 90 or above)
RIDING HIGH The thrill of riding a motorcycle at high speeds down a racetrack is an experience that most young boys could only dream of. Yet it is a feeling that Year 7 Sports Academy student Angus Grenfell is incredibly familiar with, and one that continues to draw him back to the track. Riding his first motorbike at age three, Angus officially began his junior racing career in February 2014. Before long, he had won the South Australian Dirt Track State Title in his category. Angus has since won multiple state titles and championships, including four wins out of four races at Round Three of the Hartwell Motorcycle Club Championship, and second place overall after Round Two of the 2019 Oceania Junior Cup, with Round Three scheduled for early July. Angus believes that the key to his racing success is preparation and the support of his family, who accompany him to the track on weekends. In an interview with the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), Angus acknowledged the two things he can’t do without on a race weekend, “My Mum, and a good breakfast!” What do you most enjoy about motorcycle racing? The feelings of excitement and adrenaline I experience when I’m on my bike. It’s also fun to be around everyone in such a positive community. How do you prepare for a race? In the week leading up to the race, I make sure I am eating the right kinds of foods. My coach has advised me to
Photos courtesy of AMS Photography and Lauren Grenfell
avoid eating anything I’m not used to prior to a race weekend, to ensure that my body functions as it normally does. It’s important to work on your agility in the lead up to a race, so I maintain my regular swimming, boxing and gym routine, and go for long runs. I also make sure that I get a good night’s sleep before race day. What has been the most memorable race for you? The South Australian Dirt Track Title. The race was on a flat track, and involved high speeds and corners. It was incredible to win the SA Title during my first year of racing, against several competitors from all over Australia. How do you minimise the risk of injury while racing? It’s important to practise what to do in different situations during a race. If two riders are going into a corner with you, you need to learn to not get scared and panic, because that’s when accidents happen. Wearing the right gear is also important, especially a helmet that’s in good condition. If I fall and scratch my helmet, it is a requirement that I get a new one. I also wear two back protectors during a race. What are your goals in motorcycle racing? My next goal is to compete in the Asia Talent Cup. Tryouts are in Malaysia in August. If I’m successful, I’ll be competing in the series next year. The series will be held in Thailand, Malaysia, Qatar, and Japan. It’s a great opportunity. Hopefully,
if I get noticed by a talent scout, I’ll get into the Moto3 Junior World Championship and continue on from there. Who have been your biggest supporters? My family, and everyone at my club. Even those who don’t race still often talk to me. Salesian has also been really supportive, especially my Sports Academy teacher Mr Sellwood. He is even coming to watch me race this weekend at Round 2 of the Oceania Junior Cup in Broadford. At Round 2 of the Oceania Junior Cup, Angus finished in second place, and is now ranked second in the overall championship standings. Round 3 is scheduled for 5-7 July at Morgan Park Raceway, QLD. How do you maintain a balance between school and motorcycle racing? Because I am often racing on Fridays during race weekends, I email all my teachers prior to being absent to make sure that I receive all the classwork I’ll be missing. If I am given homework on a Monday, I always make sure that I have it done by Thursday. It’s important to stay on top of things. How has your time at Salesian been so far? It’s been great. I love all my teachers, and enjoy going to the gym as a student of the Sports Academy. My classmates are really nice too. Thank you Angus for your time. Keep reaching for the stars! 9
2019 CAPTAIN’S MESSAGE Bo De Silva College Captain
“I believe that it is the negative perception of stress that we must change, so that we can harness it to our advantage.” What a great start we have had to the 2019 school year. The college community welcomed a group of enthusiastic Year 7 students, the whole school engaged in various sport and cultural activities and the Year 12 students embarked on what will likely be their most memorable year at the College. With the Year 12s already having completed a number of SACs, it’s no wonder I find that every week passes so quickly as a senior student. As I near the end of my time at Salesian, I feel that I have reached the pinnacle of my secondary education. Year 12 is a year that will define my future opportunities and prepare me for the wider world. Along with the assignments, exams and other commitments each student has to endure, there is an inherent challenge we all have to overcome. Stress. Stress is a concept that is often visually represented with an image of someone alone, with his hands wrapped around his head, and yet stress is something we all face. It arises when we are faced with challenges, overloaded with deadlines or perhaps in a shaky relationship, spurring within us a sense of disbelief and lack of confidence in our own abilities. Stress is something that people have been told to avoid. When we think of stress, we often reflect on how we are negatively affected mentally, and how stress can be detrimental to our day to day lives. 10
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
I believe that it is the negative perception of stress that we must change, so that we can harness it to our advantage. I have realised that stress is a result of caring about ourselves. When we are determined to overcome challenges, when we strive to hand our papers in by the due date and when we feel we need to fix a broken relationship, we experience stress. I think it is important to understand that stress is what keeps us going. It provides us with an incentive to avoid the negative situations we fear. We as students have an added advantage in managing our stress in a school community that strives to keep student wellbeing at its forefront. At Salesian, we are provided with a safe and welcoming environment that ensures that everyone feels a sense of belonging, something I have experienced since my first few days here at the College. The positive environment at our school encourages everyone to express themselves authentically, creating a space where students feel comfortable approaching their peers and teachers in times of hardship. This dynamic relationship between students and staff at Salesian is something that I value. We all learn from one another, and it is this spirit of teamwork that has allowed me to overcome my own challenges. Our new project based learning initiative is currently being trialled in junior year levels. As part of this initiative, certain
subjects are merged together. The initiative provides students with the opportunity to strengthen their problem solving and team work skills, encouraging them to consider the application of these skills in real life scenarios. It is these principles of cooperation that will prove incredibly useful to students who may be considering becoming a member of the Student Leadership team in their later years at the College. To me, a great group of leaders consists of individuals who voice their various perspectives, whilst always respecting each other’s personal views. In a school that celebrates diversity, our Student Leadership team is one that has a deep level of understanding of one another. What unites each member of the team is our common sense of belonging within the Salesian community, and our passion for encouraging every student to leave their mark by bringing about positive change within our school. 2019 has already set itself on a great path. Our achievements thus far, such as our incredible efforts in raising money for Caritas, and our ever-growing school spirit at community events, should inspire us all to make the most of the rest of the year ahead.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? In 2011 Sam decided to join the army, gladly taking up the opportunity to move back to his hometown, Christchurch. In 2012, he joined as an infantry soldier in the 2nd/1st Battalion, in the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR). During his time in the RNZIR, he became qualified in over ten weapon systems, and visited San Diego to work on a multinational exercise with the US Marines.
SAMUEL ABERNETHY (CLASS OF 2010) As a Salesian student, Samuel Abernethy (Class of 2010) planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and undertake a trade, enjoying his time in the Year 10 VCAL program. “I have amazing memories of working with Brother Joe, who was my mentor, after school and on weekends. I used to help out with little projects around the school, and prepared donations for East Timor.”
In 2013, Sam’s career path shifted slightly, and he became a chef in the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment (RNZALR). Sam was awarded the “Top Student Award”, and he became accustomed to responding to states of emergency in both New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. In 2015, he became a qualified volunteer firefighter. During his time with the 3 Emergency Responses Troop (3ERT) of Burnham Military Fire Station, he was given ten minutes’ notice to assist in the Port Hills fire emergency, one of Christchurch’s biggest fires in recent
In 2011, Chris became Executive Chef at Highlands Restaurant Group, overseeing several renowned New York restaurants, including Byron at the Surf Lounge, highly regarded for staying true to an Australian style of cooking that was “simple, clean, fresh, local and organic market-driven, with a focus on fresh seafood.”
CHRISTOPHER RENDELL (CLASS OF 1990) Christopher Rendell’s career as a chef has truly taken him all over the world. After graduating from Salesian College Chadstone in 1990, Chris completed a cooking apprenticeship at Box Hill Institute. He soon scored a gig at high profile restaurant Carmine’s in Melbourne, before moving to Sydney to try his luck under the guidance of Neil Perry. But it wasn’t long before London called. At the Mews of Mayfair, Chris tried his hand at modern British cooking, before crossing the Atlantic to New York, where he was part of the opening team of award-winning restaurant, Public.
In early 2013, alongside sommelier Chris McPherson, Rendell opened Flinders Lane in Manhattan’s East Village. As owner of a self-proclaimed ‘modern Australian’ restaurant, Chris consciously took cues from Melbourne’s strong Greek, Italian and Southeast Asian cultural influences. Before long, the restaurant was Michelin recommended, with Forbes and New York Times recommendations attracting diners in droves. Chris is now based in Auckland with his wife Melinda and three year old daughter, Keva, and is looking forward to the next stage of his career as Group Executive Chef of the ‘Savor Group’. What have you most enjoyed about opening restaurants internationally? I enjoy the challenge of arriving in a new city and starting from scratch each time. Not only do you have to prove yourself in the kitchen, you also need to adapt
history. “Being a firefighter means coming to work and never knowing what truly lies ahead. Every day is different, and provides its own challenges.” In 2017, Sam was promoted to Lance Corporal (LCPL), and started his training to become a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (JNCO), endeavouring to “become more of a role model, and a connection between junior soldiers to HQ.” At the end of 2018, Sam was awarded ‘JNCO of the Year’. Sam looks forward to the future, on the verge of his next promotion to Corporal. “I am planning a two month visit to Australia to work on another multinational exercise, and at the end of the year I plan to take on a post at the Army Depot in Wairau, with my wife. I look forward to taking on an instructor position, training and teaching new recruits who want to join the army, just as I did seven years ago.”
to a different way of life. It gets you out of your comfort zone, and you learn very quickly what your strengths and weaknesses are. Out of all the dishes you’ve created, which one are you most proud of? Steamed Snapper, Baby Bok Choy and Scallion with a Sesame-Ginger Broth. This dish sums up my style of cooking; clean, fresh, and flavour focused. It has travelled with me from London to New York, and has been a staple on my menus. Thinking back to your time at Salesian, what are your standout memories? Definitely of the friends I made at school. They are all still my best mates today, even after 33 years. We all met in Year 7 and have been there for each other since day one. If you could give one piece of advice to students looking to become chefs, what would it be? Gain real kitchen experience first. A lot of cooks come into the kitchen thinking that it’s just like the things they see on television. It’s nothing like that at all. Work as much as you can in the kitchen before you decide to pursue a career as a chef. Being a chef involves a lot of hard work and commitment. 11
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? What led to your decision to pursue a career in politics? There were two teachers at Salesian College who noticed my interest in politics and encouraged me to get involved with a political party.
RAFF CICCONE (CLASS OF 2001) Raff Ciccone (Class of 2001) reflects on the path that led him to his appointment as the 100th Federal Senator to represent the State of Victoria in the Australian Parliament. Growing up, what were the most influential values your family instilled in you? Respect others, be generous, and work hard. The Italian phrase ‘bella figura’ means ‘the beautiful figure’. In practice, it is about the importance of making a good impression, being polite, kind and generous towards people you meet. The concept also extends to good manners, knowing the appropriate behaviour in a wide range of social situations, loyalty and the nuances of simply being Italian. For my parents, the phrase taught my brother and me about generosity and respect. I got my first job in my early teenage years, working for a dry cleaner at Chadstone Shopping Centre. My parents were of modest means, so the money I earned meant I could buy additional extras like a trip to the movies with friends or the latest video games. Dad had always been a member of the union, and the importance of fair pay was instilled in me from a very young age. Today this is something that is at the core of my values. A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is something every Australian worker deserves, whether you go to university, do a trade or work in retail.
My Legal Studies teacher, Mr Mark Donohue, encouraged me to join the Young Liberals, whilst my Social Education teacher, Mr Ray Sestito, advocated for the Australian Labor Party. Despite being on different sides of politics, they shared an office and were good friends. They taught me that you can have your political beliefs and still be friends with someone who holds different views. I joined the ALP in Year 11 at the age of 16 after Steve Bracks’ state election win in 1999. I have also been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in the Labor movement as an industrial officer, at the Shop Assistants’ Union for 6 years, and for 5 years as an adviser for the Rudd and Gillard Governments. What are your priorities as a Senator? Fighting for social justice issues. I am committed to improving preventative healthcare, making the early childhood education system fairer, having a greater focus on homelessness and protecting workers’ rights. I can’t really think of many other countries where I could have achieved what I have today, as the son of Italian migrants who didn’t have much more than what they had packed in their suitcases when they arrived. I was a kid who was teased for having an odd name and lunchboxes filled with antipasto, homemade salami and pasta dura bread. My parents didn’t complete high school, but with their guidance, support and hard work, I was the first in my family to go to university, and now I am an Australian Senator in the Federal Parliament. This is the opportunity Australia represents, and I feel immensely fortunate to have benefited from the success of multiculturalism. More than anything else, I want to help to make sure that we never lose the opportunity for a person like me to go from a modest home in the suburbs
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
to sitting in the Australian Parliament. That means protecting fairness, making sure that every school is a great school and ensuring that every kid has the opportunity for a great life, no matter who their parents are or where they were born. Looking back on your time at Salesian College Chadstone, what are your most significant learnings? Because of the education I received, I understand how important a great school and great teachers are in shaping young people. Salesian College taught me that we should be a society based on fairness, equality and the dignity of the individual, living in community, nurtured by family, for mutual benefit and attainment of the common good. The history of the Salesians, and the teachings of St John Bosco, are full of stories of exceptional people who performed outstanding deeds with foresight, kindness and self-sacrifice. They became an inspiration, and are heroes to myself and many others. What advice do you have for today’s students, keen to succeed? Follow what you are passionate about. We spend about a third of our life at work, so make work your passion. If your passion is sales, do it! Also, marry someone you don’t just love, but who pushes you to be a better person, keeps you accountable and is someone with whom you have fun. Your partner will be the one you will spend even more time with than those with whom you work, so it’s an even more important decision in the end.
ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN Connor Hodinj Year 11 Student I still vividly remember my first day of high school. I was lucky enough to be accompanied by my Mum, Dad and younger brother. There were lots of photos, smiles, tears from Mum, and yes, lots of anxiety. I didn’t know a single person at Salesian; however, deep down I knew I would be okay, not only because of the wonderful Salesian community, but also because I had the formidable love and support of my family. I can’t deny that I was a little overwhelmed with my initial experience of Salesian. I felt there was so much to take in and experience. There was so much history to absorb, and a new school song and College prayer to learn. Almost immediately, I could feel how strongly Salesian embodies its values of integrity, respect and belonging. Salesian College truly does inspire all boys to strive for excellence in the spirit of Don Bosco. Whilst I could immediately connect with and embrace so much of what my school represented, something that initially confused me was our school motto, ‘Omnia Omnibus’, to be ‘All Things to All.’ My thirteen year old self could not comprehend how I could achieve this. I mean, how can one person be ‘all things to all’? I was much more comfortable with the advice of, ‘Don’t try to do everything’, ‘Stay focused’, ‘Know your limits’ and ‘If you try to be all things to all people, you will lose your way. You will be pulled in too many different directions.’ Was the expectation that I become a ‘Jack of all
trades, and a master of none’? Would I not lose my identity, my focus? How can any one person achieve all this? Five years into my journey at Salesian, I think I now have a better understanding of what our motto means. Whilst one single person may not be able to be ‘all things to all’, as a Salesian community we can certainly strive towards this together. We are lucky enough to be a part of something amazing. The diversity of our student body alone, representing over 71 cultural backgrounds, is something we can be incredibly proud of. We welcome and embrace people from all cultures and religious denominations. The Salesian community truly celebrates diversity and promotes relationships built on mutual respect. Whilst we are passionate about academic success, we are just as passionate about developing well rounded men who are an asset to their community. At Salesian, you can experience a fulfilling academic life and amazing sporting success, and you can express your creative self through drama, music, art and so much more.
Social Justice team led us in raising a record amount of $8,061.57 for Project Compassion, through sporting carnival canteens, the Shrove Tuesday House Pancake Competition and many other initiatives. During the St Vincent De Paul Winter Appeal, our College managed to collect over fifty backpacks full of essential items to be donated to those in need at Ozanam House. We can also be proud of our Oakleigh Connections Program that has run since the 1980s. Every Friday at lunch time, a group of young disabled men are welcomed into our community. We spend time socialising with them, and have lots of fun playing football and basketball together. It’s a wonderful way to get involved and connect with all members of our community. When we work together with empathy, compassion and respect, our motto is no longer daunting, but rather an integral part of what makes us Salesian College. We’re side by side with joyful pride, Salesians true.
Through your educational journey here, you are supported and encouraged to achieve, experience and grow as a person. Faith and Social Justice are very important aspects of our journey here at Salesian. We have time to reflect on our faith and contribute to the community in meaningful ways through fundraising campaigns such as our Caritas ‘Project Compassion’ focus. Last year, our 13
ALUMNUS Feature Story
A CHANGING FORCE Suzie McErvale Head of Development and Marketing
Representing national interests on the global stage is an assignment Class of 1975 past student Gerard Rodrigues understands well. Today, as Superintendent and national Compliance Operations lead for the Australian Border Force (ABF), Gerard shares insight into how the fabric of the ABF was catapulted into immense change on the day that revolutionised world trade forever; September 11, 2001. In his own calm and polished communicative
Born in Secunderabad, India, in 1958 to parents Leo and Florence, your family lived a comfortable life as Catholic ‘Anglo Indians’. Your Dad was one of sixteen and your Mum was one of seven; family surrounded you. In 1962 at the age of four, you sailed with your parents to the UK, after India won Independence. What are your memories of this transition? I was only four years old when we left India. My earliest childhood memories are of a little red car that you could sit in. It had a little steering wheel and a big red bonnet, and I remember a long driveway with palm trees near the gate entrance. I also have a memory of the face of an Indian woman who carried me around a lot. I got to meet her again in 1983 when I first returned to India on a holiday – it turns out that the woman I remembered for all those years was our house maid in Secunderabad. It was amazing reconnecting with her all those years later. The only thing I remember about the actual voyage to England through the Suez Canal was looking up at the big white funnels on the ship, which had a big blue cross on them. Our first couple of years in England were in London. We lived in Dartford, Kent, and I went to Maypole Primary School, which I am told is also a school Mick Jagger attended. I remember the birth of my brother Nigel in 1963. Things must have been hard in these early years in London. I remember that the whole family lived in a single room in the upstairs of a friend’s house. There was a curtain that divided the room into two bedrooms. Dad’s first job was as a storeman in a local warehouse, and Mum of course was not working, being busy with two small children.
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
way, it’s clear why he’s a brains trust to the United Nations and World Customs Organisation, delivering change and representing Australia. But his commitment to the public is more than just boardrooms and strategy. In his realness, he shares openly about the moments in his life that he didn’t see coming, which altered his life perspective forever, and how being truly happy is life’s biggest achievement.
We didn’t have much money. After Nigel was born, we moved to York in the north of England, where Mum’s sister and her family had migrated to from India. Dad got a job at Rowntrees, the local chocolate factory. It was the 60s. York was predominantly white, conservative and cold, really cold, but hey, the music on the radio was great. It was the time of the Beatles. At St Wilfrid’s Primary School in York, I had my first encounter with a bully and a racist. His name was Stephen Pratt. The fact that I remember his name says something about how this sort of thing can affect a young and naïve child. Happy to say, most of my school memories are of happy times. As a young child, my first encounters with the adult world of news were the vivid memories I have of the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968 and, of course, the moon landing in 1969, which sparked in me a life-long fascination with science and space. Eight years later, in 1970, with the addition of your brother Nigel, your family migrated to Australia. How did this move change the trajectory of your life? It wasn’t a hard decision. Dad had a couple of brothers in the UK and mum had her two sisters there, but almost all of dad’s other brothers and sisters had migrated to Australia. To be honest, we were struggling financially in England, and Dad’s health wasn’t great with the cold weather. There was also the big migration push from Australia at that time, with adverts promising lots of jobs, sunny skies and a relaxed lifestyle. The ads, as it turns out, were spot on. Dad and his UK brothers decided that the time was right to make the move, and so we all did within a year or two of each other. We sailed to Australia on the Greek Company Chandris Line’s RHMS “Ellinis”.
It was a great adventure for my brother Nigel and me. There were tears of course as we left mum’s family behind in England and, although I didn’t think about it at the time with the excitement of the big ship voyage, in hindsight, it must have been extremely hard on Mum. Losing her own mother at eight and her father at twelve, she was raised as an orphan by the Catholic nuns in Secunderabad. Having left her only brother and three sisters in India, she was now leaving her only other two sisters behind in England. Mum never complained then and she has never complained since, but a new life in Australia with two young boys and without any of her siblings or parents must have been tough on her. Her resilience and positive outlook on life, no matter what, has I am sure, had a huge bearing on how Nigel and I see and approach life. Likewise, Dad always had an optimistic and positive view of the world and especially of people. He never said a bad thing about anyone – ever. He hated gossip and always looked for the good in others. Together, my parents made for a formidable positive influence, and the combination of their love, support and positive natures created a safe and secure family environment for my brother and me, complete with grace before meals, nightly prayers and the occasional rosary. Coming to Australia in the early 70s was the best thing my parents did for us. It opened up so many opportunities and experiences. Financially it was a smart move. Dad got a job in the public service and Mum was immediately snapped up as a teacher. We lived in Hawthorn, and I got my first job as a paper boy at the local newsagency where, despite the 16
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
laughter of the other kids working there, I decided to support the underdogs Carlton in the AFL grand final. After coming from 44 points down at half time to beat the Magpies and win the flag, Carlton was always going to be my team for life. That 1970 grand final convinced you completely, did it [laughs]? Yes, absolutely it did [laughs]. With secure, well-paying jobs and surrounded by family support, in 1972 we were able to save enough money to put a deposit on our first home in Clayton. Monsignor Toomey from St Peter’s in Clayton arranged the home loan for us, courtesy of his contacts at the local Commonwealth Bank for the staggering amount of $10,000. Mum got a teaching job at St Peter’s in Clayton, and I was taken out of St John’s in Hawthorn and enrolled in a school I didn’t know anything about; Salesian College in Chadstone. They had green and gold blazers. I hated the uniform [laughs]. Do they still have them? No, not the green and gold any more! I still remember the School Song: Green and gold Salesian Green and gold supreme, None can hold the green and gold ‘cos green and gold are brave and bold Make it known a 100 fold that Chadstone is supreme S-A-L-E-S-I-A-N Impressive memory! It sounds like your parents were a real duo, who really taught your family the importance of consciously investing in relationships. What a great lesson to learn.
Yes, exactly. Life was great, and the Aussie lifestyle meant that we entertained a lot. We went on many family camping trips and other holidays that I think further ingrained in me the importance of good friends and family in shaping our lives for the better. Your secondary years at Chaddy from 1972 – 1975 are “full of happy memories.” What are the life learnings that have stayed with you? Salesian College in the 70s was no different from other Catholic schools at the time. There were some great and some not-so-great teachers and priests, but I think I was fortunate that during the time I was at Salesian, the batch of teachers and clergy was terrific. Father Julian saw the potential in me for the soccer team, and my English teacher encouraged me to join the debating team. Both of these “sports” hold great memories for me. I captained both the soccer and debating teams, the highlight being beating Wesley College one afternoon in the soccer final and fronting up the same evening to beat them in the debating final. Salesian taught me the importance of teamwork, practice and preparation. Academically I had some great teachers who really supported the school’s ethos to foster a love of learning. My geography and science teachers in both Year 11 and Year 12 were fantastic, and fed my insatiable appetite for all things nature and science. Our classes seemed to be almost tailored to the individual student, and I really appreciated that at the time. One of the highlights was our Year 11 trip to Central Australia. Flooding rains meant that the road trip to Uluru was cancelled when the bus got to Coober
Pedy, but plans soon changed to the Gold Coast. I remember learning a lot on that trip about myself and how others behave under pressure and about coping with disappointment. Many of the clergy at the school were great examples also. I remember that religion was taught as an experience of life and why, rather than as an instruction on what we should do. All in all, Salesian College provided a great all round grounding for me, and to this day I think that my interest and drive to continue to try to be better and test myself constantly came from my school years at Salesian. So, after studying Science at University, majoring in Microbiology, you noticed an advertisement in The Age targeting Custom Officers to join the Australian Customs Service (ACS). You’ve described this as a ‘lightbulb moment’ in your life. What gave you such certainty that this was the path for you? It was not so much Customs being the attraction as it was the notion of public service. On one of my holidays to India in Bangalore I saw an old British era town hall building with the words emblazoned across the top of the building “Public Service is God’s Work”. Sounds hilarious and corny, but it underlined to me what many see as the importance of working in the service of the community. The opportunity to work in the public service was the driver for me to change course, because I saw it as an opportunity to be part of what I believed was something bigger. As it turned out, it was the right thing for me, and that decision changed my life in so many ways. Joining Customs, and the Public Service more broadly, opened up so many opportunities, learning and experiences and a sense of satisfaction that, even in a small way, I was contributing to the security, safety and economy of Australia. Following a Parliamentary Review of the ACS in the mid 90s, you played a key role in developing a national quality improvement strategy to support this reform. Australia soon became a world leader in Customs Administration and, as a by-product, you found yourself embarking on numerous aid missions to developing countries throughout the Asia Pacific region. How did these years shape your perception of the world? Good question. The Review of the ACS in the mid 90s proved a catalyst for change in many ways. The organisation learned a lot about itself. About people. About change. Other
Enforcement Administrations took note, and saw the successful reforms positively, not only across the public service, but also in the wider Asia Pacific region. Requests came from all corners for Australia to provide assistance and advice in supporting their own reform projects. I was fortunate to be called on many occasions to undertake international capacity building and reform missions. Many of my early missions were to the Pacific Islands, such as Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and others. I quickly learned that our way of doing things in the west is not necessarily the right and only way in order to be successful. Culture and tradition are deeply embedded in the way of life and psyche of many Pacific Islanders, and I learned that for many of these people family, faith, friendship and traditions come before money and material possessions, and what is often perceived in Western culture as signs of “success”. For these people, living in Third World conditions did not preclude happiness. Some of the happiest people I have come across live in very challenging and poor conditions. The common thread seems to be ‘keep life simple and count your blessings, not your sorrows’. What I learned from these early missions was that we in Australia have a lot to learn and benefit from what makes us happy and what constitutes “success” in life. Walking along the road home after work in Nukualofa in Tonga, I came across family after family sitting in groups outside their houses, playing the guitar and singing in perfect harmony, with their children all playing together safely, always smiling and laughing, never complaining about their lot in life. They were happy, and I could not help but think that we have a lot to learn from these people. My perception of the world at that time is that materialism, money and power don’t necessarily equate to happiness and fulfilment. For many people in poor and developing nations, they see success as being defined by the friends that they have and keep, and closeness of their families. That’s what’s important. And that’s what I learnt. I try to keep that in the back of my mind to this day.
of ACS. How difficult was this period, adapting to such an abrupt change? Customs is one of the oldest Commonwealth agencies, and has been around since federation and has undergone many changes during that time, so change is nothing new. However, the terror attacks on the Twin Towers were the driver for a significant change in focus very much onto security. For many staff, the shift had a significant impact on their way of thinking. From being a Customs “Service” we were becoming a “Force”. For many, it was a move towards Law enforcement away from supporting Industry and Trade Facilitation. In reality, it was never a move away from service. It became a balancing act between the need for heightened security and controls, but at the same time facilitating and supporting legitimate trade. Again, I found myself working on various change strategies and projects supporting the organisation through this transition period. In the background to all this was a time of personal upheaval and crisis also. In 2001, my very close friend Mario and I were involved in a serious car accident. He was a Doctor at Bendigo Hospital and we were on our way there when the car he was driving rolled three times and he was crushed. He broke his neck and, as a result, is a quadriplegic. He was close to death, but he survived. I was injured, but not seriously, but it was that accident and the years that followed that I really think had an effect on me personally, my family and all my friends. Far from being a sad story, my friend’s incredible resilience, positive outlook and love of life has been an inspiration to many of us, and he has been an incredibly positive influence on our lives and the lives of my children, who have learned so much about dealing
What a beautiful experience to have and tap into when you need to. Yes, it most certainly is. September 11, 2001 changed the lives of many, and the global tradeenvironment wasn’t exempted. The focus on trade quickly became a matter of national security and border protection, challenging the very culture and fabric 17
with disability, managing stress and difficulties. We have learned about life and putting problems in perspective, no matter how bad things might seem. I mention the accident because I think it is important to understand how lifechanging events like this can change your outlook on life. I found that my tolerance of petty complaints and constant whinging about what I saw as minor problems was being sorely tested. I had to keep reminding myself that every person is different in terms of what they are able to manage emotionally, how they react to changes, how they cope with stress. No two people are the same. My brother Nigel is someone I have relied on to get me through some tough personal times. The organisation needed to change very quickly in light of 9/11, and much of the change strategy was broad brush, as it probably needed to be, to push through many initiatives in a relatively short time. The price paid was the loss of many staff who were not prepared to make the huge leap in the way it was planned. Loss of corporate knowledge is a challenge still facing the organisation.
enforcement, academia, social welfare groups and other interest groups. As the chair of the World Customs Organisation’s E-Commerce Working Group I was extremely happy when, after two plus years of work to develop the first ever global framework on E-Commerce, the 182 members of the WCO endorsed the framework as the global standard. There were many other satisfying moments which I had a role in shaping, such as: •
The creation of a European Law Enforcement Officer network, of which I was the first ever Chair. The group established a network for sharing intelligence and information across the law enforcement community in the region.
Speaking at the first ever Innovation and Technology Global Forum held in Senegal. This emerging African country can be proud of its achievements, and the forum went a long way to contributing to the economy and regional stability of the area.
Thank you for sharing your experience with Mario. What tenacity. He’s an incredible person, and we’ve learnt so much from him. In 2015 you were selected as Counsellor Brussels, a role attached to the Australian embassy in Belgium, covering Europe and Africa. You’ve explained these years as “the most interesting, challenging and rewarding” of your career. What were the moments that gave you the most satisfaction? As the Australian Border Force Counsellor, my role was to represent Australia’s interests in a wide range of fora covering Customs and trade, migration, national security and counter terrorism, passengers and other related fields. I had some incredibly rewarding experiences on the global stage at the United Nations, European Union, World Customs Organisation and other multilateral forums. Given the nature of my work, for operational reasons I can’t really discuss specific cases or matters but, broadly speaking, I got a lot of satisfaction from working with and being part of Australia’s global effort to combat drug trafficking through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This global forum includes representatives from the whole spectrum of drug controls, including health professionals, law 18
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
The election of Australia as chair of the WCO Enforcement Committee, which gave us an opportunity to shape the WCO global enforcement agenda on customs, trade enforcement and national security.
Contributing to the ongoing debate to deal with the European migration crisis and implications for Australia, Brexit, Foreign Terrorist Fighters etc. all presented many special moments.
When you get to big issues like migration and you’re looking at stories of real people, how do you disassociate yourself when making a bigger picture decision, and not get influenced by the emotion? That was the huge challenge, Suzie, because when you’re there sitting at a meeting representing Australia with a mini Australian flag in front of you, you’re speaking on behalf of the Australian government and people, so you have to put your personal views and beliefs to the side. So I would never go to a meeting or a forum without proper consultation with the relevant areas in Australia which had and owned the policy. It was difficult, I must say. There were things that I wasn’t that happy with. There were things I disagreed with, things that I had a different view on. But I wasn’t paid to be Gerry Rodrigues in Brussels;
I was paid to be Australia’s Counsellor in Brussels, and so that was the thing for me, to keep reminding myself that I was looking after Australia’s interests. That made it easier for me sometimes when having to deal with very personal and emotional issues like child trafficking and exploitation, for instance. Having the support of my wife Emma and someone to share experiences with has of course, been really important to me. Often it comes back to trust, doesn’t it? Trust of who you are working for and the organisation and the belief in the people who are making the decision. Having that faith in the overall picture. Yes that’s right. Professionally, I was there to do all of those things, representing Australia’s Trade and Security Policy and interests etc., but you know what really sticks in my mind more than anything? The deep and humbling experience of representing Australia at the many WW1 and WW2 commemoration events throughout Belgium and France. Seeing the Australian flag flying alongside those of France, Belgium and other liberated countries, with the Australian national anthem playing in the background, were to me the most fulfilling and rewarding things I was fortunate enough to do during my time in Brussels. On Tuesday 22 March, 2016, you, wife Emma and two daughters, Olivia and Michaela, survived the Brussels terrorist bombings by only a few hours. You had colleagues and people in your immediate circle who experienced first-hand the effects. What role does faith play in processing this sort of life changing experience? I am not a great believer in destiny, otherwise everything is pre-ordained, so what is the point of prayer? What I do believe is that faith and prayer can change how you deal with grief, how you prepare for challenges and how you can condition your mind to be in the right frame when things do go wrong. Faith of course is deeply personal, but I do think it plays a part in how you deal with life changing experiences, like those we have talked about. We were at Brussels Airport the night before the bombings, after our flight was delayed, but, fortuitously, we flew out just a few hours before the bombs were detonated. Had our flight been further delayed or cancelled to the next morning, we could so easily have been directly impacted. As it turned out, we heard later that a girl from my daughter’s school lost both her legs, a number of
my colleagues were on board the train that was bombed, but luckily survived, and many other people we knew told of their near misses. The incident reminded me that tragedy can strike any day any time. We can’t control what we don’t know, but what faith does for me is that it gives us a level of control over our lives. I guess it doesn’t matter where or how, tragedy can strike. Spiritually and psychologically, I think that through faith we can always be prepared. The processing of that experience must have been so deep for each of you. It’s enough for an adult to make sense of. How do you explain that to child? Where do you even start? We learnt a lot. The Embassy really were terrific in terms of providing support to families. We were brought into a room and given all the information about how to deal with this sort of grief, especially about how we communicate this to children. What we were told was not to keep showing them statistics about how many people were killed and how many lost their limbs. Focus on the good that has come out of it, the emergency services who responded to help, the good news stories of people who risked their lives to evacuate people. Give them the bigger picture that we as a community and world community come together with these sorts of events. That is the strength of our humanity, helping each other when things go wrong. That was good for our kids. Even now, when they hear about or see earthquakes and floods, as well as other terrorist bombings, our kids immediately focus on, “Isn’t it a great story that that person didn’t make the flight and so survived?” That’s quite powerful. How do we prepare our future generations for the challenges they face
in today’s environment?
My thoughts are:
We keep hearing about the importance of education, but I think that traditional notions of what constitutes “education” need a revisit. Having taken my children all over the world and exposing them to many different cultures, languages, experiences and environments, I can see first-hand how this has benefitted them. I see how they have grown to understand and value diversity and difference. I would like to think they have developed a sense of compassion and caring for those who may not have the basic needs.
Count your blessings, not your sorrows.
Keep good friends who like you for who and what you are.
Watch your health.
Choose good role models.
Invest in your personal relationships, such as those of marriage, family and friendships.
When you are talking you are not learning – listen more.
Be positive and optimistic; it will always win out in the end.
Of course, a good education is important, but without life experience and exposure to the rest of the world we confine our children to a limited school of thought and experience. I think future generations will benefit from technology and the ability to communicate globally, but this technology needs to be harnessed and managed effectively so that our children don’t lose their sense of adventure, natural curiosity, imagination and creativity. These are essential to a healthy mind, and will equip our children for the challenges they face. Solutions to problems come readily with creative and imaginative thinking.
See the good in other people.
Don’t resent success in others; be happy for them.
Don’t aim for the stars; you may end up failing. Aim for what will make you happy.
Yes, good point.
Follow the commandments and love one another”.
What’s your recipe to building a successful life? I think that, like cooking a meal or building a house, there are many different designs and many recipes. Different tastes, different plans or recipes. Success depends on how you define it. For me, I do believe that if we are happy and positive, success will follow. The recipe for building a successful life is to establish a set of ground rules which I think contribute to a feeling of self-worth and happiness.
Or follow what my Dad wrote down in his own personal diary, which he communicated to me. “Son, when I die, I want this put on my gravestone”, so we did: “Life is short. Forgive and Forget.
My son Andrew who has been a terrific role model for my younger daughters, recently quoted Dad’s words during his wedding speech. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, Gerry – thank you.
2019 HALL OF FAME Take a chance. Be vulnerable. Respect the failure that teaches you the strength and resilience to become even more determined to reach your potential. That was the message the 2019 Hall of Fame imparted to our community. As a College we congratulate ABC journalist and newsreader, Jason Om (Young Achiever), leading New York physiotherapist, Luke Bongiorno (Hall of Fame Inductee) and AFL legend Kevin Morris (Hall of Fame Inductee) on their life stories and successes. MC Michael Pope led the stage, connecting perfectly (and entertainingly) our past students to our current day. This is who we are; this is our community. And we couldn’t be any prouder.
What people are saying about the night: “Just a short note to thank the team for an excellent evening last Friday. Thought the whole was night was superbly organised, with a delightful menu and the calibre of the recipients was outstanding. The professionalism of the compere attributed greatly to the success of the evening. It makes me so proud to be an Old Chaddy boy, and I love to revisit my Alma Mater.”
“We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I feel proud of our college.”
“There was a lot warmth and kindness in the room, so thank you for a wonderful night. Well done on making it all happen.”
“Just wanted to thank you for organising the night and making it such a great success. I had a great time and more than made up for missing the event last year. You guys are awesome. Thanks a million.”
“I enjoyed the evening, it’s always great to come back and catch up with some old mates and to see the College thriving. I look forward to the next one.”
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
2019 YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD This initiative was designed to encourage, inspire and acknowledge the upcoming generation of Salesian men who have significantly contributed to the community, both during and after their time at the College. The 2019 Young Achiever Award was presented to Jason Om.
MR JASON OM Journalism
Jason Om is an accomplished reporter and television presenter with the ABC, having worked for ABC News, ABC News Breakfast, 7.30 and Lateline. Born to Narong and Patricia Om, Jason has a half-sister in Malaysia. During his College years from 1993-1998, Jason was a member of the Year 11 Leadership Team, excelled in Italian and won an award in the Dante Alighieri poetry competition. He also received the 1998 Service Award for his initiative of reviving the student newspaper, The Griffin, as editor-in-chief. After studying journalism at RMIT University in Melbourne, Jason got his first career break in 2004 as a television cadet at SBS in Sydney, before moving to the ABC in South Australia in late 2005. Reporting for both television and as South Australia correspondent for ABC Radio Current Affairs, he covered a wide range of issues, including the David Hicks case, immigration, bikies, Holden and the plight of the Murray Darling Basin. He also held the Aboriginal Affairs round and travelled to remote outback communities. In 2011, Jason returned to Sydney to present rolling coverage on the ABC News Channel. In 2013, he earned a coveted reporting role on the television current affairs program, Lateline. For three and a half years, he reported on federal politics, including the 2015 Turnbull leadership coup, asylum seekers, national security and social issues and trends. In 2018, Jason successfully pitched content ideas to the ABC’s competitive Great Ideas Grant and joined the centrepiece project ABC Life. As a content maker, he created an original video series about love, loss and courage called Thanks. In the four episodes, people thank those who helped them in times of need. One episode appeared on 7.30 and attracted more than 3 million views on Facebook. The full series can be accessed on ‘iView’ by searching “Thanks”. Among his journalism accolades, Jason was named Best Radio Broadcaster in the SA Media Awards in 2011, and in 2018, he was a nominee in the media category for the NSW Honour Awards. In 2018, Jason also ran as a candidate for the staff-elected director position on the ABC Board. Coming from a mixed Malaysian-Cambodian background, Jason is a strong supporter of culturally diverse voices in the media and has been active at the ABC to bring about change. He is currently working on a memoir.
2019 HALL OF FAME
2019 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
MR KEVIN MORRIS
Sport Kevin Morris was born to Arthur and Isobel on 20 August 1950, and has seven siblings, Michael, Christopher, John, Rosemary, Simon, Damien and Gerrard. Kevin attended Salesian from 1962 to 1967. Kevin began his football career at VFA club Waverley, making his first senior appearance for Richmond FC in Round 11 of the 1971 season, at 20 years of age. From that point on, Kevin was virtually an automatic selection in the Richmond side each week. Kevin became one of Richmond’s most consistent performers over the next few seasons, using his football talents in a variety of on-field roles, including half-forward, half-back, centre, ruck-rover and full-forward. Kevin played 181 games for Richmond and Collingwood from 1971 to 1981, including two premierships. Richmond Football Club honoured Kevin in 2014 as their ‘Coming Home Hero’. “Wherever he played, Morris knew no other way than giving it everything he had.” In his football career, Kevin coached over 200 senior VFL and AFL games for Essendon, Richmond and St Kilda. He was also Chairman of Selectors and Victorian Metropolitan Recruiting Manager at Essendon FC, and inaugural Head Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport/AFL Academy in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Kevin is an accredited AFL umpire, and has lectured at coaching and umpiring seminars in the US, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
GRIFFIN Winter 2019
A licensed hotel keeper for over 20 years, Kevin raised tens of thousands of dollars for St John of God, a home for the disabled in Greensborough Five-time Richmond premiership hero Kevin Bartlett reflected, “Kevin was a Best and Fairest winner…who was always totally committed to his football and was a team-oriented player. His specialty was just getting things done, and doing them properly.” Kevin is married to Jan, and has three children, Kristyn, Jacqui and Steven. His son, Steven was drafted to Richmond FC in 2012.
MR LUKE BONGIORNO
Sports Medicine Luke Bongiorno was born 27 October 1974 to Rose and Sam Bongiorno, and has eight siblings; Marisa, Juliana, Paul, Peter, Ruth, John, Claire and Rachael. Luke attended Salesian from 1987 to 1992, and during his time here was Table Tennis Captain, a member of the Debating Team, School Orchestra and Jazz Band, and the recipient of the Caltex “All Rounder” Award and State Award for Chemistry. After graduating from Salesian, Luke studied Physiotherapy at Melbourne University, graduating with Honours in 1996. Luke also holds a Clinical Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Rocky Mountain University.
Founder of New York Sports Medicine, Luke is among the most highly regarded in his field. He is a trusted physiotherapist for elite athletes, touring musicians and performing artists. Luke has worked with elite athletes at the Summer and Winter Olympics, is a consultant and resident physiotherapist for the NBA and a consultant on the ‘Dr Oz’ television show. Luke is in demand internationally as an educator, working with the NeuroOrthopedic Institute, a group of world-leading educators and researchers in the area of pain science. He is also a clinical educator at Columbia University, New York University, Melbourne University and Monash University. Luke developed the ‘One Body’ international education program for physical therapists, applying a holistic approach in addressing all aspects of a person’s wellbeing. While living in the US, Luke developed an education program for young professionals, providing mentoring as they establish their career pathways. Luke regularly runs marathons around the world to support ‘Back On My Feet’, an organisation that supports the homeless. Luke has travelled to Africa to support the development of young soccer players and individuals born with HIV, climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and participated in the inaugural Pain Revolution bike ride from Melbourne to Adelaide in 2017 to help raise awareness of chronic pain challenges and solutions in regional Australia.
COMMUNITY BIRTHS & MARRIAGES 1. Daniel Hickman (Class of 1995) and his wife Alexandra Hickman welcomed identical twin daughters Alice Elizabeth and Emily Grace to the world on 9 August 2018.
2. 2017 Hall of Fame Inductee, Alan Thompson (Class of 1964) celebrated his wedding to Elizabeth Thompson (nĂŠe McDonald) at their home in Surrey Hills on 14 October 2018. Alan and Elizabeth were joined by fifty of their closest family and friends, including Elizabethâ€™s two daughters and three young grandchildren.
3. Teachers Dan and Ashley Campisano celebrated their wedding on 9 March 2019 in the Docklands, surrounded by their closest friends and family. They enjoyed a relaxing honeymoon in Bali shortly after.
4. Teacher Sarah Roberts and her husband Matt welcomed their first child, Nathaniel Keith Evan Roberts to the world at 4:01pm on 6 December 2018.
5. Christopher (Class of 2007) and Elli Ziaei were married on 9 February 2019 at St Anagiri Greek Orthodox Church in Oakleigh. The ceremony was followed by a reception in South Wharf celebrated with 170 family members and friends.
6. Principal Rob Brennan welcomed his second grandchild, Henry Francesco Brennan, on 13 March 2019. Henry is the son of Tyson and Josephine Brennan.
Representing national interests on the global stage is an assignment Class of 1975 past student Gerard Rodrigues understands well. Today, as...
Published on May 28, 2019
Representing national interests on the global stage is an assignment Class of 1975 past student Gerard Rodrigues understands well. Today, as...