Connections with alumni reach far and wide

alumni in Tokyo

The relationship with our students by no means ends when they walk out of the school grounds after their last exams. Proving that the connections between staff and students can remain strong, no matter where in the world our students go post school, was demonstrated when alumni Hagen Ashley (2015), Lachlan Walker (2007) and Samuel Bloore (2011) caught up with CCGS staff whilst on a school sports tour to Japan last year.

The three Old Boys reflect on the catch up, their time at CCGS and share what they're doing post CCGS.

You recently caught up with CCGS staff whilst they were on a sports tour, how did it feel to reconnect with old faces?

Hagen: It was lovely as many of them had taught me for many years. It was nostalgic, yet also peculiar as it felt like no time had passed at all. I'm glad everyone looked so well and their usual banter was as strong as ever! 

Lachlan: It was a very special evening, there was so much we all wanted to talk about and not enough time. Everyone was so friendly, and it was so interesting to be talking to the teachers now from an adult perspective. It was very rewarding to see my Math teacher, Mrs Armstrong, and tell her how her phenomenal teaching prepared me for the rigors of actuarial science - I certainly could not have done it without her! I left the dinner buzzing with energy and excitement.

Samuel: It was very nice to connect with teachers who I have known since I was in Junior School, and in particular, Mr. Geddes, who was a big help during my senior school days when I was actively playing tennis and had to take days off school due to tournaments. It was great to hear how CCGS has changed since I left and also to tell them what I have been doing since leaving in 2011.

What is your favourite memory from your CCGS days?

Hagen: This is a difficult question to answer as there were so many good moments, like the rainiest Odyssey with my best friends and the great Mr Knox. However, the normal daily life at CCGS is probably my most cherished memory. The countless everyday memories made possible by wonderful friends and the caring teachers I had for my subjects. It is those sorts of innumerable and small moments which connected together always stay with me, bringing a smile to my face whenever I think back.

Lachlan: There are a few to pick from. Things that spring to mind are public speaking in front of the entire year and getting everyone laughing, to performing piano in front of the whole high school. 

Samuel: It may sound a little cliché, but my entire time at CCGS was very pleasant and I enjoyed attending school in a very friendly environment. 

What have you been doing since you leaving CCGS and what brought you to Tokyo?

Hagen: It's hard to believe that it has already been three years since graduation, time sure does go fast! After completing the UMAT test, and once I graduated, I was offered an interview at the University of Newcastle and then accepted into the Joint Medical Program. Newcastle pioneered the Problem Based Learning system, where by weekly content is taught via simulated medical cases in small tutor groups, which makes learning very engaging. Within the first few weeks we were already at the hospital taking medical histories from real patients and not long after began practising physical examinations too. This early hands-on approach is one of the great parts of the program where you can already be giving injections or suturing wounds by third year. This year I began my clinical years at Gosford Hospital. 

As for what brought me to Tokyo, I had to complete a unit called the Health Equity Selective, where you can go overseas to observe the medical systems of other countries in contrast to Australia. I wanted to do this in Japan since the Japanese I learnt at CCGS would come in useful. I was accepted for two months at Jikei University Hospital in the Emergency and Neurosurgery departments, the staff were fantastic and made it a wonderful experience. I would love to do something like it again in the future.

Lachlan: After finishing at CCGS I went straight to university, studying Commerce majoring in Actuarial Studies and Finance at UNSW. University really put into perspective just how fantastic the teachers at CCGS are! Whilst at university I found my passion for Gymnastics and began training alongside studying. After graduating I worked full time in finance at a bond trading firm for a year and a half while keeping up my gymnastics training. It was difficult to work the long corporate hours and maintain a full-time gymnastics training regimen and as such a left my job and began filming a YouTube series about bodyweight strength training which was very successful. I was recently in Tokyo pursuing my dream of training with some of the best gymnasts in the world, training at Nihon University for 3 months. It was an incredible experience, learning so much about Gymnastics in a different culture, and improving my Japanese. A massive thank you to Mrs Bloore for giving me a great foundation and making it fun so that I've stuck with it!

Samuel: After I graduated in December 2011, I went to the USA in January 2012 to begin my tertiary education at Saint Mary's College of California on an athletic tennis scholarship. I majored in Economics and graduated in May 2015. I was the top graduating student majoring in economics and was advised by my professors to pursue post graduate studies. As I could speak Japanese, my peers and family suggested studying in Tokyo to learn about differing perspectives on economics. I applied for a government scholarship to study at the University of Tokyo and was successful and have been at the University of Tokyo studying my masters since 2016.