Vote Now in the 2017 OHA Outstanding Young Alumni Awards
Now in their fourth year, the awards honour those Old Haileyburians who have excelled in the fields of Arts, Business, Community and Sport.
The criteria and previous winners of the awards can be found here.
Haileybury community members have the opportunity to cast one vote for the awards by clicking here
Please note that voting closes at 5pm on Friday 28 July.
A short spiel on each of the nominees appears below.
Ben Burgess (2012)
Ben is a multidisciplinary artist. In 2012 his artwork was shown at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Top Arts exhibition. As a result of his participation and engagement during this show, he has been working as a Public Engagement Representative at the NGV since. With a passion for collaborating and bringing people together, he began hosting shows in his garage, creating trade books and frequently travelling to the Americas. In mid 2015 he staged his first photographic solo exhibition ‘South’ at Daisylegs Gallery in Prahran. Accompanying this was his first self-published photography book. Later that year he produced his first written novel ‘Your Life Story’ followed swiftly by his second solo exhibition ‘The Grass is Always Green’ at First Site Gallery. In 2016 he received a scholarship grant to study abroad in Canada where his work was displayed in the group show ‘Art of the Mobile Device’ curated by Gerda Crammer. Long after a cameo role in Melbourne band, World’s End Press’ music video in 2014, Ben hounded his acting skills and staged a well-attended performance piece at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto. The end of the year sees Ben graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT, releasing his third publication and the opportunity to assist Brazilian artist Marcos Chaves in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Ashlee (AJ) Conway (2009)
AJ is a young author from Melbourne. She was one of 10 winners of the Dymocks ‘Chosen Author’ Awards in 2011. AJ writes sci-fi/dystopian novels and her published books include "My Nova" (2012), "The Treaty" (2014), and, "Skyquakers" (2014).
AJ is studying PHD in Clinical Haematology at Monash University.
Matthew Rogers (2015)
Matt over the last year has decided to go against the odds and follow his true passion of writing. Matt was completing an Arts/Law degree at Monash in 2016 before he decided that was not for him and took intermission to start writing. Matt completed and uploaded his first book to amazon in August of 2016 and now has 6 books uploaded. His books ’The Jason King Series’ have taken off and Matt has become very successful selling already 95,000 e books and consistently sitting in the top 10 of his desired category and the top 500 of the entire Amazon e book store. Matt grew up as a voracious reader, relentlessly devouring thrillers and mysteries in his spare time. Now, he writes full-time. His novels are action-packed and fast-paced.
Samuel Despotidis (2010)
Samuel completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Monash University and majored in Marketing. Since then he has started various start-up e-commerce and blog sites. He is the co-founder of Melbourne streetwear label Prism (www.prismcollective.com.au), an ethical clothing label based in Melbourne that aims to support local businesses and designers to give the brand an authentic touch. They have obtained gained over 22,000 Instagram followers and collaborate with many different Melbourne artists to bring a fresh look to clothing. Samuel has taught himself the fundamentals of social media marketing, photography, website design, website optimisation, graphic design and maintaining relationships with overseas and Australian suppliers. Samuel also co-operates an EPIC sweet foods blog online called Cheat Yo’sef (www.cheatyoself.com) which is about to be published on Broadsheet and he has created a new fashion blog on Instagram (@Sam.social) and within a month, he havsgained over 1,600 followers. His aim is to support local Australian fashion labels and endorse their clothing at no extra cost to build an engaging and passionate audience. Currently he is endorsed by Assembly Label and Rollas Jeans. On top of this Samuel works full time as a graduate in Marketing at Coles in digital Marketing.
Dylan Harris (2015)
Dylan started his business, Collar Entertainment in April 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. Most of his work is with All Smiles in Sorrento but he has worked venues all over Melbourne. He is the sole employee, and DJ most weekends, sometimes up to 3 times a week during the peak Summer wedding season. Dylan has received an award through Easy Weddings, one of Melboune’s premier wedding booking services. Despite being only young, Dylan has learnt an incredible amount over the past year about marketing and promotion, as well as dealing with people who are entrusting you with the most important day of their lives. Financially, the return has been great for Dylan and has enabled him to set himself up for the start of his working life, whilst still being at university.
Nicolette Kordos (2010)
Since graduating from Haileybury, Nicolette has not only completed and graduated in a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws at Monash University but also simultaneously managed to establish and run her own active wear business, Nicky Kay, which has become known worldwide in a small amount of time. Nicolette’s last year of studying Law at Monash was also her first year launching her business where she faced the challenge of juggling both commitments. However, her perseverance and motivation shone through to make Nicky Kay the success it is today. In attempt to start up her business, Nicolette would run pop-up stores at gyms with her sister Victoria (2013), whilst also managing to keep up with her studies.
See below articles supporting the nomination.
Kenji Fujihara (2013)
During 2015 and 2016, Kenji, along with the Department of Innovation & Inclusion at Gymnastics Victoria, developed a web-based exercise series that aims to create an accessible, engaging and innovative way for students to learn aerobics at school. The program, “Aerobase”, comprises 6 instructional lessons that run 10-15 minutes each, and star the highly enthusiastic students from Ashwood Special School. Following Kenji’s direction. Aerobase was recognised for its innovative approach as the winner of the 2016 VicHealth Awards for Building Health Through Sports. The Aerobase program continues to attract new schools and students with a particular focus on the inclusion of children and adolescents with disabilities throughout Victoria. Furthermore, Kenji promotes participation in aerobic gymnastics through several coaching positions, including Ivanhoe Girls School (Yr. 2-3), Essendon Keilor Collage (Yr. 7-12) and in the past, at home in Keysborough, at Haileybury Collage. Kenji has represented Australia in aerobic gymnastics on several occasions as recently as December 2015, where he competed in Vietnam. More broadly, Kenji continues to pursue his academic passion in cancer research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where he works as a part of the Tumorigenesis & Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory on translating discovers in fundamental cancer biology into innovative clinical approaches
Asanga Seneviratne (2015)
Asanga has been an active participant in the OHA Social Justice Club. In addition to this charitable work, he was recently selected to become an Associate with the Foundation for Young Australian's new social enterprise, YLab. YLab (Youth Futures Lab) is a global social enterprise focused on bringing together young people to redesign the systems that shape the world, working together on creating a portfolio of solutions to complex social problems with clients from a range of different industries in both the public and private sector.
He is also involved in The Youth Advisory Group at the Centre for Multicultural Youth. He actively contributes to CMY's strategic vision and represents them at various events. In the process he has been able to discuss important youth issues with key influencers such as Greens Leader, Adam Bandt. His most rewarding social justice efforts come through the Shout Out program whereny he discusses topics that he is very passionate about such as covert racism and youth leadership with a wide range of audiences from school children to politicians to university students to corporate managers.
Hannah Vuong (2013)
Since graduating Haileybury as vice-school captain Hannah has continued her studies at Monash University studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, she is currently in her final year of her undergraduate. While studying such a demanding degree Hannah has risen above and beyond to contribute to the community which began at her time at Haileybury. During year 12 Hannah visited Timor Leste to help build a compostable toilet for a small poverty stricken town, this experience inspired Hannah to keep giving back to the community long after her schooling. She has been involved with many charity events such as the Multiple Sclerosis 24 Hour Mega Swim & Run raising money for MS Australia. Through her studies Hannah was able to contribute to a research project for MS Australia in the effects of Vitamin D and genetics. Hannah has been heavily involved with Live Below the Line for many years, and is regularly asked to write articles and tell her story to inspire others. In her limited down-time Hannah also supports her more local communities, working at Monash Health part time where she inspires her colleagues every day. She is also very passionate about the science community in Australia attending events such as March for Science. Hannah is constantly learning from, contributing to, and inspiring the community both locally and abroad.
Tuscany Williams (2010)
Tuscany has a passion for people. In 2016 she decided to chase this dream, leaving her lucrative role as EA in the financial industry. Together with her boyfriend of 3 years, they closed their Australian business operations and embarked on a journey to reinvent themselves and connect with the global community. Thus far, Tuscany’s travels have taken her to over 100,000 km around the world, with plenty more travel lined up. She resides on a small island in the middle of the Caribbean, working within the local community, and building life-long friends from across the world. Tuscany embodies the very meaning of the word ‘community’. Despite her naturally shy disposition, she is fuelled by a desire to connect with people, and bring joy into their lives.
Living on Isla Mujeres (an island about 8km long by 500m wide), Tuscany worked with an Argentinan to setup and start a beach club. This is no ordinary place, it provides employment to disadvantaged people, providing an income when the need it most, the venue supports some very interesting people. The head chef of Green Demon is a local Mexican woman. At 31 years old, she is a grandmother. They are a family of 6 (husband died) living in a single room shack, without so much as a roof to protect them. Green Demon gives them the means and community support to fix this. They employ both Angie & her daughter, providing them purpose, sense of community and income. Tuscany was working with the business from day 1. She helped build the structures, manage the staff and grow the business to support the employment of more people needing help. Many of the staff come from Venezuela, a country ravaged by inflation, violence & unemployment. Green Demon helps these people to support their families and build a life again. Tuscany not only helped the beach club grow, but fosters a community of the staff themselves. She makes sure everyone is looked after, is feeling good about themselves, and is in a position to meet their short term needs.
Wherever she travels, Tuscany tries to setup community events. Tuscany has taken the lead in this domain. Tuscany has formed a women's group that support each other while living away from home. The group changes constantly, with new faces arriving and old faces departing. Over the past 6 months, this has become a tight knit group that run social events, island activities and more. This group creates a refuge from daily pressures. Most of the women are aged 20 - 28, a vulnerable age to be travelling alone. By creating a safe place, with friends they can rely on, it lets them get the most out of their time away. This in turn also helps the community, as the English teachers stay longer, the Island animal shelter has more carers etc.
Karl Amon (2013)
Karl was drafted by the Port Adelaide Football Club in 2013. He debuted in 2015 and has since played 30 games and kicked 19 goals. Karl did not play football until he was 10 years of age. He spent two years unable to walk due to being diagnosed with Perthes’ disease which affects the growth of the femur bone meaning that the head of the femur doesn’t grow into the socket. Karl’s elite running is his asset as is his ability to hit targets from the outside.
Courtney Clarkson (2009)
Courtney is the first ever Haileyburian to play in the AFL Womens’ League (AFLW). She was recruited from VFL Womens team, Cranbourne to the Western Bulldogs and made her debut in round 2 against the Adelaide Crows. She is a key forward who is a reliable shot at goal. Coutney combines her football career with her job as a Constable with Victoria Police.
Jordan Williamsz (2010)
Jordan has recently graduated from the University of Villanova whilst competing in his chosen sport of athletics there. Jordan is a 2 time IAAF World Relays Championship Bronze Medallist and currently holds two Oceania Records in the 4 x 800m and 4 x 1500m events.