A BUSY 10 YEARS – FRANCIS’ STORY
Francis Ventura was always busy at school. Clubs, committees, studies and leadership were all part of his daily routine. From there he would follow up with extra commitments out of hours- tutoring refugees at the Edmund Rice Centre in St Albans or campaigning for a political cause with his mother. Working hard, giving back to others and supporting people in need quickly defined his identity.
From CBC Francis headed to the University of Melbourne to study International Relations and Affairs. Here he began a career in politics, joining the Labor Party and continuing to build on his sense of social justice and mission of activism. Before long Francis was a university graduate and Federal candidate for the Labor Party, campaigning in the 2010 Federal Election for the seat of Flinders. Around this time you may also have noticed Francis for his role in the ABC series ‘S&#$sville’ alongside Joe Hildebrand.
Francis was a very passionate politician but he couldn’t sit still there – he had to learn and experience more. So much so that the best way to summarise his next few years efficiently is in dot points:
- Director and Youth Convenor with The Australian Republic Movement
- Research Assistant in Corporate Affairs with Medibank
- Victorian Representative on the Australian Youth Forum Steering Committee with the Australian Government Department of Education and Training
- Youth Development Assistant, Kununurra with Save the Children Australia
- Manager of External Relations with The McKell Institute
- Manager, Development and Engagement with Ninti One
- A Graduate Certificate of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney
- Principal of the Golden Wattle Advisory
- Private with Royal Australian Armoured Corps Army Reserves Unit.
- Associate with Teach for Australia- currently studying a Master of Teaching while also working as a teacher at a disadvantaged school
- And finally Founding, Opening and Coordinating The Peshawar School for Peace in Pakistan
There is a lot in there, and that somehow included full time work, study and heavy volunteer commitments running together over many years! The driving force for Francis has always been a desire to give back to the community and support those in need. His identity is framed by many strong influences, from cultural to educational. He’s staunchly proud of his Italian heritage, moving home for a period of six months last year to live with his mother and nonna in Reservior. It was a great time to re-connect to his family and entrench himself in family tradition- his strong and resilient single mother made him the man he is today. His time at Catholic Schools including CBC further developed his sense of social justice and Francis clearly has a sense of duty and citizenship. As a young man he travelled to Pakistan and fell in love with an amazing and beautiful country and its people. Conflict and tragedy spurred Francis on to make a change and build a school on the other side of the world. And now his journey has come full circle and he wants to give back to Australia. In 2017 he signed on with the Australian Army Reserve, believing that Australia has been wonderful to him and his family and it’s the least he can do. Then, just a few months later, he quit his job and decided that he could do even more as a teacher. Teach for Australia have thrown him straight into the deep end, placing him and all of the staff into disadvantaged schools.
Changing lives and supporting others is clearly a noble mission and Francis is only a short way into his adult life and journey. In time we’ll no doubt see more of him and hear more about his efforts to support those in need and give back wherever he can. At CBC we talk proudly of our history and some of our Old Boys, men in their 60s and 70s who have achieved success in life. Clearly we can also be very, very proud of our younger graduates and all that they bring to society.
You can see more of Francis on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/francisventura/ read and hear about the Peshewar School: https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/urdu/en/audiotrack/peshawar-school-peace or catch up on episodes of Sh tsville on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNk-al4jEiA&t=698s
FROM ACADEMIC TO ENTREPRENEUR
Tony Tan loved being involved with everything at school; bored with focussing on his heavy academic load of 7 VCE subjects over two years and an external language course he also managed to throw himself into a school production, social justice activities, camps, a trip on the Young Endeavour and participation in sport. That foundation has continued into his adult life beyond CBC.
Following on from completing Year 12 as the Dux of his year in 2011, Tony headed to Monash University to complete a double Arts/Science Degree, majoring in Sustainability and Chinese. At Monash Tony continued to explore the wider world of opportunities beyond his studies. Inspired by his range of experiences and camps at school, Tony and friends at a residential college and in clubs at Monash organised excursions and trips to socialise, build relationships and be active. Tony also worked as a tutor in English language classes and got involved in the student leadership programs team to facilitate leadership and positive learning experiences. Through the Student Leadership Program Ancora Imparo- ‘Always Still Learning’ he was able to meet and built relationships with influential change makers.
During his studies Tony also discovered a love of travel and an eagerness to explore and discover more of the world. In Thailand he discovered a market selling ethical clothing and backpacks and on his return he founded ‘Boyfriend Material’ a small start-up focussed on delivering quality goods to fellow students at a reasonable price. Boyfriend Material quickly developed and grew to the point that Tony was able to sit down with his old principal at CBC and offer two annual scholarships to CBC students to support ‘Leadership’ and ‘Achieving Potential’.
On completing his studies in 2016 Tony took up a role as a Development Associate in the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor working in External Relations, Development and Alumni. This sees him working to raise funds to go back into departments such as the Monash Sustainability Institute for departmental research and student support.
Through Boyfriend Material Tony experienced the learning curve of start-ups; being and entrepreneur and building and sustaining a business. Like all entrepreneurs, he has itchy feet and Boyfriend Material is on hiatus and on the back burner while the next project takes off. Tony’s next venture is a prototype for a hydroponic vertical farming system to use in apartments and smaller homes. Tony crowd funded his way to Texas for the 3DS Global Roundup Convention, meeting other entrepreneurs and growing his dream. This project is currently acquiring users and supporters in preparation to launch to investors.
Tony has certainly packed a lot into a short few years since finishing school. His vision, energy and focus on supporting others are fantastic for the wider CBC community to see.
You can see more of Tony on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonyjtan/ on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptUiQRSMUao&feature=youtu.be or follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyJinTan
From St.Kilda to Lord of the Dance!
Soon after starting at CBC in Year 7 Thommy Wilson made a name for himself for a unique talent and skill- he was the first Irish dancer that most of us had met. Not only was he already an accomplished dancer but the CBC community soon learnt that he was a champion- for the next few years as Thommy travelled around the country to competitions he would come home with more medals, trophies and titles. Along with dancing came performances in CBC and PCW’s joint musical productions and a passion for music- Thommy’s single Washing Line has 167,000 YouTube views and multiple covers- not bad for a 15 year old.
After finishing Year 12 in 2014 Thommy began a degree in Speech Pathology. But this was soon put on hold as Thommy was invited to join Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Tours around Australia and across Europe followed and Thommy established himself as a professional dancer- a credit to his years of dedicated training and hard work.
Thommy continued to compete in dancing competitions, coming third at the 2016 World Championships in Europe and second in North America in 2017. A broken foot three weeks out from the 2018 Worlds has caused a dance hiatus but Thommy hasn’t stopped creating- last year he got back to music and has just realised a new single under moniker of ‘Elme’.
It’s fantastic to see Thommy’s success. It’s also great that he has such a broad range of skills and passions and has managed to continue studying and developing himself as a young man. We look forward to seeing his continued successes.
You can hear Elme on Itunes, Spotify and Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/elmemusic/
Happy in Hollywood!!
Felix Mallard always knew where he wanted to go. His acting, modelling and music career began before he even got to CBC and during his six years at the College he worked away in his own time to build his profile. Small roles in TV and commercials was a good start. His band, ‘Enemies Alike’ was playing local gigs around Melbourne and performing at school music events and ACC ‘Battle of the Bands’ competitions. Felix was not only an accomplished performer by the end of year 12; he was also a College Prefect, he had completed a course in Technical Production, he was a national junior fencing champion and was well regarded for his academic prowess. By the end of year 12 Felix had a regular role on Channel 10’s long running soap Neighbours and had built up a significant on line following on Instagram.
After successfully completing VCE Felix set his sights on Hollywood. He was able to build on his role as Ben Kirk in Neighbours for another two seasons before moving to LA to launch the next phase of his career. Felix has landed the role of Cooper James in the CBS sitcom ‘Happy Together’ alongside Hollywood stars Damon Wayans Junior and Amber Stevens West. Along with ‘Happy Together’ Felix has a movie coming out on Netflix in 2019 and has joined the ranks of Hollywood stars with an appearance on ‘The Late Late Show’ and with assorted interviews on ‘Entertainment Weekly’, ‘Access’ and other Hollywood news shows.
Felix is following in the footsteps of many famous Neighbours stars before him. All of us who watched him grow up at CBC know that he has the work ethic and talent to succeed. We look forward to watching his career on the small and big screen for many years to come.
or listen on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/felix-mallard