Prep them well for VCE

Spotlight on our Old Collegians

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Glenn Cummings - Class of 1993

Having progressed straight from Overnewton to university to Collins Street, in 2001 Glenn decided it was time for an adventure and relocated to Kosovo to work for a charity. For the next four years, Glenn moved between conflict zones - Rwanda, Cambodia and Sudan - where he worked with local communities, and then returned home to work with Aboriginal communities.

Glenn never had a plan for his career but has now found a job that combines the skills and experience he acquired in his travels with his passion for sport.

Alive & Kicking is a charity that aims to create fair, ethical jobs for disadvantaged adults, while improving awareness of preventable disease among young people. Glenn works in the head office in London, which supports 130 staff in Kenya, Zambia and Ghana. The staff, many of whom identify as having a disability, make leather sports balls from locally sourced materials, which are sold through local supermarkets and to local companies.

Alive & Kicking has viable businesses in Kenya and Zambia and is heading towards sustainability in Ghana. Viability provides the staff a consistent income and, with each salary supporting six people on average, benefits their housing situation, education and health.

Money made from sales and donations is used to deliver sports-based training to teach disadvantaged young people about HIV and malaria. Coaches and sports teachers are also trained to ensure the skills and knowledge remain in the community.

Alive & Kicking donates thousands of balls each year to local sports clubs, community groups and schools to encourage participation in sport. All of the balls are branded with health messages to reinforce the training, meaning health programmes will directly reach over 15,000 young people - and thousands more indirectly - each year.

Sport has real power to affect social change, and Glenn and Alive & Kicking are proving it.

Leon Struk - Class of 1995

Leon is a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME) for Virgin Australia, a photographer, keen traveler and charity fundraiser.

After graduating from Overnewton, he studied Electrical Engineering at RMIT, then completed an apprenticeship with Ansett Australia. Leon contracted for a year in a variety of roles and locations, before returning to Melbourne to work for Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia).

Over the next few years, Leon successfully completed sufficient Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) examinations and aircraft experience logs to be eligible for an Aircraft Type Training Course.

In 2008, Leon spent two months in Brisbane learning the workings of the Boeing 737, after which he was awarded his license on the aircraft. In 2010, Leon became a LAME with Virgin and has been continually working on improving his qualifications since.

Working in the airline industry, Leon has enjoyed ample opportunity to travel, venturing from South America to South East Asia, Russia to China via Mongolia, and Mexico to Morocco via Cuba.

Leon is involved with Muscular Dystrophy Australia and through ChallengeMD! has mountain biked from North to South Vietnam and trekked to over 4,169 meters in Nepal. Leon partnered with a long time travel friend and drove 15,000km from London to Mongolia in a Suzuki Jimny, and 4,000km from South to North India in a rickshaw, to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy Australia and local Indian and Mongolian charities.

Leon's charitable work was recognised by Virgin Australia and, in 2012, he was nominated for Virgin's Stars of the Year awards. At a function in London with Sir Richard Branson, Leon was awarded runner-up in the Community Services Award.

Leon is a keen photographer and has enjoyed many published works. He has photographed some of the biggest Australian and international musical acts, the red carpet of the Logies and ARIA awards, and major boxing events.

Leon was involved in producing My Diverse Australia, a coffee table book of images of Australia, captured by Australian and international celebrities.

Luke Arnold - Class of 1998

Director, Law and Justice Section - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Governance and Fragility Branch Development Policy Division)

After completing Years 7-12 at Overnewton, Luke Arnold went on to study Arts and Law at the University of Melbourne. He then worked as a Lawyer at Minter Ellison in Melbourne, a Consultant to a United Nations agency in Jakarta and a Volunteer Researcher for The Nature Conservancy in Beijing, following which the British Government awarded him a scholarship to undertake his Master of Laws at the University of London.

He later joined Australia's federal public service and from 2012 to 2015 was posted as a diplomat to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. The highlights from his time there included helping Indonesia to run a smooth presidential election (to date the largest presidential election in world history), establish a public legal aid system, better manage the country's prison system and develop laws to empower people with disability.

Luke, his wife Leliana and their two sons, Theo and Yosef, are now back in Canberra. Luke is currently the Director for Law and Justice at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he focuses on assisting Australia's neighbours to reduce corruption and establish effective legal systems. He remembers fondly the education he received at Overnewton, particularly the way the school provided a caring and nurturing environment while encouraging him to be inquisitive, questioning and compassionate. Above all, he's grateful that Overnewton encouraged him to follow his dreams.

Alastair King - Class of 1999

From the age of four, when he realised his father flew for a career, Alastair began the journey to follow in his father's footsteps in the hope of one day also becoming a pilot.

In Senior School, Alastair selected subjects that would provide him the prerequisites to gain acceptance into Swinburne University's Bachelor of Technology Aviation. He began flying lessons from the age of 14 and obtained his restricted private license at 16 - yes, it's true that ironically you can fly a plane without an instructor before you can drive a car by yourself!

After completing Year 12 at Overnewton, Alastair was accepted into Swinburne. Two years into his three-year degree, Alastair was selected for a Cadetship with Qantas. The cadetship was a six-month accelerated program comprising a huge workload that combined the rigours of study with flying. The course included aerobatics, multi-crew operations and airline subjects.

While the cadetship was challenging, Alastair's real challenge was waiting three-months for the 'call' that would signal the commencement of his employment with Qantas. Alastair received the call on a Friday afternoon and was in Sydney first thing the following Monday to begin his job as co-pilot on the Boeing 747......a dream come true!

14 years later and Alastair has been in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 for the past nine years as a first officer. Enjoying what he describes as one of the most incredible jobs going around, Alastair is incredibly excited about what the future holds.

Alastair attributes his success to the support of his family and friends and also to a solid education for without all this factors he believes he would not be where he is today.

Mary Lascaris - Class of 2008

On graduating in 2008, Mary was confused as to her goals and direction. She knew she loved performing arts but, after countless auditions and rejection letters, she put her dreams of the stage on hold and decided to pursue teaching.

While Mary enjoyed teaching, she could not shake the feeling that she was meant to perform and, determined to reach her dream, gained experience any way she could - from hosting children's parties to high school discos.

Mary left university and completed a course in Music Theatre at Centre Stage Performing Arts, which then led to the break she'd been hoping for; to perform at Universal Studios in Japan. After a year at Universal Studios, Mary returned to Australia with a renewed desire to work with children, hosting children's parties while continuing her teaching course.

Mary continued auditioning for musical theatre companies and television shows, and ultimately received an offer that combined her love for performing arts, teaching and children - to become the newest member of Hi-5.

Mary's days with Hi-5 have consisted of filming the television series, touring the world performing in live shows, recording CDs, undertaking radio/TV interviews and walking red carpets. Mary maintains that none of these experiences compare to her involvement with charities such as Starlight, the Cancer Council and World Vision, which have shown her the real happiness of giving back and working with children in need.

2015 also led Mary and the team of Hi-5 to travel to Myanmar with World Vision. Nothing will ever compare to the humility and love she felt with such beautiful children and families in the most struggling parts of the world. She will forever hold this experience as the key drive to further pursue her passion in education and sharing love and happiness around the world.

As an Old Collegian, Mary's advice to her Overnewton contemporaries is that no matter how difficult the situation appears, do not doubt yourself; if you truly want success, be prepared to work hard, cope with rejections and - most importantly - never give up!

Timothy Jeffs - Class of 2009

Timothy is an animator who has worked on various films and television series, including Ted 2 and the universally acclaimed Game of Thrones episode, "Battle of the Bastards".

Timothy graduated from Overnewton in 2009 and completed an animation degree at RMIT University in 2013. During his final year of the course, a lecturer advised students of a paid internship opportunity, which ended up being working on The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water at Melbourne VFX studio, Iloura. After a series of interviews, including presenting his showreel to the studio, Timothy was successful in attaining the position and went on to spend the following year working on the film as an animation intern. Following the completion of the movie, Timothy was kept on by Iloura and has since worked in a number of roles for the studio, including as a character animator, matchmove artist and previs artist.

Timothy finds it exciting to work in the film industry and has had interesting opportunities along the way. He was one of 10 people selected to partake in a Film Victoria funded advanced storyboarding intensive course, held by an ex-Pixar storyboard artist at Melbourne 2D animation studio, Viskatoons.

Along with his 3D and VFX work, Timothy also loves drawing 2D animations and, during his studies, worked briefly on a 2D music video at Melbourne studio, Oh Yeah Wow. More recently, with the help of some animator friends, Timothy produced his own 2D animated music video for a friend's jazz band.

Timothy says, "The animation industry in Melbourne is small but tight and, to a lesser extent, the same can even be said for it worldwide. It is competitive and time-consuming work, requiring patience, precision and speed. The people within it are creative and fun, and finishing a large project can be very rewarding."

Nathan Sneddon - Class of 2007

Nathan is a Product Planner for Nissan Motor Corporation, currently based at the North American headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.

After completing his VCE and graduating from Overnewton, Nathan studied a Bachelor of Business (International Business) at RMIT University, during which time he spent a year working for Nissan Australia as an Integrated Business Learner (IBL).

Upon completion of his degree, Nathan was offered a full-time position by Nissan as a Product Planner, giving him the opportunity to continue working on his passion for automotive products. During his time with Nissan, he has had the opportunity to work on several future vehicle projects, Nissan's future model strategy and the launch of the Infiniti luxury vehicle brand to the Australian market before eventually realising his dream of moving to the United States to become a Product Planner in the 2nd largest automotive market in the world.

One of Nathan's passions is to travel and his work with Nissan has given him ample opportunities to do so, both domestically in Australia and the United States, as well as internationally - in 2015 he spent 3 months living on assignment in Yokohama, Japan whilst working on a future vehicle project.

Nathan is grateful for his time spent at Overnewton, as the education he received gave him the platform to further his studies at university and eventually pursue a career that enables him to work on one of his passions. Overnewton also gave Nathan a group of lifelong friends, all of whom have also gone on to pursue careers in business, engineering, medicine, sport and public service, and who constantly inspire each other to further themselves and achieve great things in their own right.


Nitasha Kumar graduated from Overnewton College in 2004. Today, she is a post-doctoral research scientist in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. In the last 12 years Nitasha has completed a bachelors degree, honours program, PhD. She has grown from a shy 17 year old to a feisty, passionate HIV cure scientist and mentor for young people. Her inspiration has been taken from all the people that have coloured her life: the teachers/lecturers that were passionate about their respective subjects and followed those dreams; teachers/lecturers that had several careers before landing in teaching and loving it, and her family. Natasha believes that the OACC community and her family taught her many things about accepting diversity, being a strong female leader, and the value of being a part of a community.

Like the people that inspired her, Nitasha explored her passions after leaving school and completed a volunteer position in Cape Town, South Africa at a nursing care home for HIV positive children. In that time she shared accommodation with people living with HIV, poverty, limited opportunities, gangsterism and drugs. "HIV is a devastating virus that spreads through those without opportunity; those that were unlucky to be born without access to education, opportunity and into poverty. Compounded this with decades of verbal and physical abuse that have battered the resilience of millions. However, despite this there are many people that have managed to rise above the challenges and hardships, these characters have built strong, relentless wills that simply do not power down. They always fight for more, for themselves, for their loved ones and for their people."

Nitasha works with a team of other incredibly talented scientists, and together they are fighting to learn more about HIV and develop a HIV cure.

In the past 12 years Nitasha has devoted her time to finding a cure for HIV, educating young people about safe sex and safe drug use practises, being a good role model and mentor. While she has had many influences in her life, she feels that the nine years she spent at OACC were where she first learnt what good teachers and role models are, and she continually aims to aspire to those qualities.

Class of 2007 - Rosanna Gauci

In 2005, Rosanna was a Year 10 student dreaming of becoming a veterinarian. She completed Year 12 in 2007 and was accepted into Science at the University of Melbourne, where she studied diligently during her first year. She was determined to become a veterinarian and sought advice from the university's career advisors who emphasised the competitiveness of obtaining entry into the course. This did not deter her.

After one year of studying Science, Rosanna was accepted into the Veterinary Science course at the University of Melbourne. The workload increased dramatically in the new course and managing the stresses of university study was the key to success. Rosanna quickly learnt to prioritise her time in order to achieve a balance between doing things that she enjoyed while studying intently.

In her fourth year, Rosanna was lucky enough to obtain a scholarship to study at the Animal Medical Centre in New York City. Rosanna had one of the best experiences of her life enjoyed seeing how vets in America practice veterinary medicine, and the high level of care they provided.

Rosanna graduated in 2013 and is now a fully qualified veterinarian. She has experienced some great moments saving animals and some sad times when she has had to say goodbye to them, but overall says that being a veterinarian is a great job.

Rosanna's advice to her Overnewton counterparts is to not let stress rule your life as it can work against you. Work hard towards your goals, help others and remember that Year 12 is just the first step.

Class of 2006 - Bonnie McPherson

Bonnie McPherson commenced a Bachelor of Law/Arts in 2007 with Victoria University after successfully receiving a PPP (Portfolio Partnership Program) course placement from Overnewton in her final school year.

Upon successfully completing her first year at Victoria University, Bonnie then transferred her studies to Latrobe University, and four years on, graduated with a Bachelor Law, and Bachelor of Arts in 2011.

In 2012, she then went on to complete her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the Leo Cussens Institute of Law, before being admitted to the Victorian Supreme Court as a legal practitioner in August 2012 at the age of 23.

Bonnie is currently employed as a lawyer at Thomson Geer, a commercial law firm which is one of Australia's top 10 independent law firms by size.

Bonnie currently practices in the area of property law as part of the firms specialised National Leasing Team, which is responsible for servicing clients in a range of high level commercial and retail leasing transactions across Australia.

Since starting with Thomson Geer Bonnie has acted for a range of national and international clients on a number of complex leasing transactions, including international retailer Zara.

This area of law has become of real interest to Bonnie who intends to continue working towards a specialisation in this field.

Class of 2000 - Alicia Bamford (nee Rawlins)

Upon leaving Overnewton, Alicia obtained a Commerce Degree from Bond University, before working in the corporate world for twelve years. Progressing to a senior management role at PricewaterhouseCoopers - initially in Australia then London - Alicia then joined Diageo in the UK as Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, before obtaining the position of Global Account Director, overseeing the sales and operations of British grocery giant, Tesco.

During this time Alicia, an avid cyclist, was cycling to escape the congestion of London and joined a charity cycling group, the FireFlies. Whilst clocking up the miles on the Fireflies Tour, along with many other tours and races over the years, Alicia started to notice that there were certain things missing from her cycling kit that she thought women's road cycling needed. From this, the idea was born to start a fresh new cycling brand for women, which offered high quality performance apparel without compromising on style.

On January 27, 2016, Alicia launched Queen of the Mountains - a women's performance cycling apparel brand. The brand was launched through the crowdfunding website and had such success that within ten days it had achieved its funding target of £10,000.

The first of the brand's products were manufactured in Italy and packages were initially delivered to the Kickstarter 'backers, with online orders able to be placed as of February 25

Queen of the Mountains' mission is to inspire and empower women to ride, and Alicia will be applying her own brand philosophy to each step of the journey. “It's about setting out to climb your own mountain, setting your own challenge, whatever that is for you. It's about doing it for yourself and feeling that sense of achievement on the way up and when you get to the top.”

As a result of Alicia's vision and passion, she was invited to be a Strongher ambassador for her contribution to women's cycling.