Congratulations to Nikolas Cox ‘19 who was Essendon Football Clubs first pick at no. 8 in this years NAB AFL Draft.
Nik is described as ‘One of the most unique prospects in this year’s draft’ as he boasts remarkable athleticism for a 200cm tall, running the 20m sprint in 2.95 secs and the 2km time trial in 6:05 mins (third overall in the country) at the recent Victorian Combine.
Nik will be in good company at the Dons joining fellow IGS alumni Kyle Langford ‘14 & Federica (Fede) Frew ‘14 at the Club.
Last week our year 12 students at The Ridgeway Campus celebrated ‘A Touch of Formal’. Students were presented with a very special commemorative gift from the OIGA and Ladies Association of an #isograds felt pennant. Plenty Campus Year 12 students will be having an Isolation Pyjama themed Casual Dress Day for all Year 12 students on Friday 19 June to celebrate and recognise their wonderful efforts with home-based learning.
Their commemorative #isograds pennants will be presented on this special day and will share photos from this event when they come in. #isograds #classof2020 #egoyah
It was a pleasure connecting with Samantha Haravitsidis ’18 last week. A motivated and driven alum who wasn’t going to let a pandemic squash her determination. Sam, a 2nd year physio student at Latrobe is a fitness and health fanatic. She always knew she wanted to do something in the Health industry, initially thinking it would be in Nursing. However, whilst looking at courses it was the Allied Health industry that sparked an interest. Her love for sport and the fitness industry was definitely a contributing factor. “I participated in Aerobic Gymnastics for eight years, performing competitively throughout that time. Representing Victoria on many occasions, a career highlight was in 2018, individually coming first at the 2018 Australian National Championships. So, sport and fitness has always been a big part of my life”. Although, no longer in the circuit and competing Sam continues to coach not only aerobics but also Touch Football and is a Personal Trainer. With her love for fitness and balancing her study commitments Sam decided to start Fitness Classes online during lockdown. She called them “Sunday Sessions” a way she could help people keep active, look after their mental health and ‘get out on a Sunday and exercise’. ‘I wanted the sessions to be accessible to everyone during this time. I knew I would need to tailor the sessions to all fitness levels and also use body weight exercises. Not all participants would have access to equipment’ Sam said. The 45 minute Zoom workouts became so popular Sam has written an E-Book that she is distributing for FREE for the month of October. Her philosophy is to promote a holistic and realistic approach to living a healthy lifestyle with no drastic diets but to “keep it real”. To get a copy of ‘The Sam Series Ebook’ contact sam through her instagram account @the.samseries or email [email protected]
Shout out to alumna Alice Teague-Neeld. A huge week for Alice, not only being selected in the Aussie Diamonds 2020/2021 Development Squad but also playing GA for Westcoast Fever in Sunday’s ‘Suncorp Super Netball’ Grand Final. Best wishes Alice! Photo credit. @westcoastfeverofficial
In 2005, at just 11 years old, and just 2 years before starting his journey as a junior student at IGS, he landed his first professional role playing ‘Young Simba’ in the Australian Production of The Lion King. He also went on to tour with the show to Shanghai, China. It was an exciting time for Tarik ‘such a wonderful role to play both at the Regent Theatre and in Shanghai. Looking back, at the time I had no professional acting or singing experience’ he said.
He attributes being exposed to the industry from a young age as a contributing factor in pursuing dancing/ acting/ musical theatre as a career. ‘My parents met through dancing and Mum still teaches and owns a performing arts school – Dance Explosion, so I know the work ethic involved and how important it is to keep learning’. Speaking with Tarik it is evident that his work ethic and desire to keep improving has enabled him to fulfil his ambitions. He mentioned he was ‘incredibly grateful to Mr Pinnell, at IGS who played a major role and was a great advocate for young boys/ men participating in theatre and really gave us a lot of confidence’. Upon receiving accolades for Drama and Music by the School in 2012, he auditioned and continued training at Patrick Studios Australia before packing his bags and embarking on a journey to the US. At the time, he had no contacts there, just a willingness and desire to ‘learn more about his craft’ particularly Hip-Hop/ Street Jazz. He trained daily with the best of the best – the top 10 choreographers in the states and auditioned for varies roles whilst also auditioning for one of Americas leading dance agents, and subsequently being offered representation. It is here that he met performers from all over the world. It was his connection and conversations with performers in the UK that encouraged him to move to London. Tarik returned to Australia to continue training and teaching with the sole purpose of moving to the UK. During his time in Melbourne, Tarik primarily worked as a dance teacher.
A year later he booked a one way ticket to London, backing himself to continue training, developing and to secure work as a performing artist. Tarik secured multiple agents in London, and for his first job abroad he danced for FKA Twigs on her World Tour which provided him with a greater opportunity to dance and travel to Russia, Norway, Canada and the US.
In 2016, whilst in London, Tarik landed the role as ‘Angus’ in the Disney Motion Picture production of Mary Poppins Returns. It was a ‘real whirlwind moment from casting, production and the final release date of the movie in late 2018/ early 2019 in Australia’ he said. Tarik also fulfilled another dream last year in London. He secured the role of Prince Abdullah in the stage production of ‘Aladdin’ on the West End. ‘An incredible experience’ he said.
His career was really taking off, whilst working on Mary Poppins he connected with the creative team particularly the Director Rob Marshall. Immediately after closing Aladdin on the West-End, Tarik began work on a new Disney Motion Picture – until production had to be postponed due to COVID-19. As a result Tarik has returned home to be with family during the pandemic, but he hopes to return to London when production resumes.
COVID-19 certainly hasn’t stopped Tarik from perusing his aspirations and his work ethic. He has founded the Artists of Colour Initiative (AOC) which is a scholarship competition designed to provide financial assistance and industry support to exceptionally talented theatre performers, based in Australia, who identify as Bla(c)k, Indigenous or as People of Colour (POC).
The initiative was born from the recognition of underrepresentation of these communities in the Australian Theatre Industry. The aim of the scholarship is to ensure greater participation within the field of musical theatre amongst these marginalised communities.
Tarik is passionate about the performing arts and commented ‘It is so important to celebrate racial diversity in the Arts. Being of African descent it was very special to be involved in The Lion King, “being so young I appreciate The Lion King being my first professional musical theatre gig even more so now. The aim is to come together and have important conversations.
Tarik wanted to create an opportunity where he could support and celebrate ‘Artists of Colour’ by providing them with greater visibility and a stepping stone to a more racially inclusive industry.
To qualify for the AOC Initiative, applicants must identify as Bla(c)k, Indigenous or as People of Colour; be pursuing a career in musical theatre; be aged between 17 and 30 at the time of submission; be an Australian citizen or resident; not have previously secured a leading or supporting role in a main stage musical theatre production and not be engaged in or scheduled for performance-related work in a leading or supporting role at the time of submission. Submissions for the scholarship will occur in three rounds with the first submission deadline on Monday 28 September. From there, a top 30 will be announced followed by a top six then ultimately, one winner.
To assist in curating the semi-finalists and finalists, Tarik has sourced a panel of longstanding performers, choreographers, directors, musical directors, writers and activists. All of whom identify as Bla(c)k, Indigenous or as People of Colour.
He has also started a GoFundMe campaign, where all donations will be awarded to the six finalists, for them to spend on their professional development. So far, the AOC has raised over $20,000 with the winner receiving 50% of the donations; the runner up receiving 20% of the donations and the final four receiving 7.5% of the donations each.
To donate and support Tarik and the AOC Initiative please click on the link below.
The OIGA wishes Tarik every success in his future endeavors and looks forward in following his continued career success in the Performing Arts and with the AOC Initiative.
Nick Djorgonoski ’09 knows all about the pressures of being at the top of your game. Whilst still at School, Nick was selected by the Victorian Institute of Sport and played in numerous state teams and also was selected in the under 16 Australian squad. He was affectionately known by his peers as the ‘Baseball Guy’. His dream was to play professional baseball in the US. That was his goal. Approaching the end of 2009, Nick was approached by ten US colleges and eventually ended up in Austin, Minnesota. Prior to leaving for the States, Nick wasn’t feeling himself. He knew something wasn’t quite right. He recalls ‘it was a slow build, and looking back now it probably started at the end of year 12. Initially I thought it was anxiety. I had always been a nervous kid but when I started playing and pitching it would go away’ but something was different. Nick now knows it was the ‘yips’. The yips are a state of nervous tension, a neurological condition affecting specific muscles (focal dystonia) predominately in athletes. For Nick the yips got worse over in the US. It was a ‘taboo topic’, there was minimal knowledge on the yips and he struggled to deal with these mental challenges in a time where it wasn’t understood or talked about. He returned back to Melbourne two years later after playing a handful of College games and felt embarrassed about his lack of playing time. He “didn’t want to talk” about his playing time or lack there of in the US to friends and family. He reached out and saw a Sports Psychologist who helped him through it.
Now, eight years on, he wants to put the yips in the spotlight. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while, how I can help others that may be in the same position I was. It’s time we got the story out there”. He started his Root of All Yips Podcast two weeks ago, and since then he’s had 400 plays and over 1200 followers on Instagram. When asked why he thought the podcast has grown so rapidly Nick said “I think people genuinely appreciate the honesty. I have had athletes reach out to me to tell their story from all sports. A lot of people have struggled with the yips and no one would even know”. Nick credits being able to “start loving the game again” through the support and help he has received by seeing a sport psychologist. He is now looking to expand his podcast by interviewing sports psychologists, musicians and artists. It can affect anyone he says, from the casual golfer to the elite athlete to a musician.
Root of All Yips can be readily accessed on Instagram, Facebook, Apple, Spotify and Anchor with new podcasts being dropped weekly. The OIGA wishes Nick every success with his podcast and shining the spotlight on ‘the yips’. #Egoyah
Tara McKeon (nee Hodges) ’04 has had a terrific 12 months. Formerly an Emergency Department – Critical Care Nurse, Tara changed out of her ‘scrubs’ to take the plunge in her own clothing business – ‘Proud Poppy Clothing’.
With the end of her maternity leave looming, her son Brodie two years old and knowing the potential dangers associated with nursing in a hospital emergency department, Tara was looking for a sea change. From her research she knew there was a need in the market for a clothing store that catered for women particularly in sizes 14-22 – the average size of Australian women.
Her personal experience proved that many women in that size range wanted to ‘feel confident and still look on trend’. Within a short time, Tara was recognised in the well known publication ‘Mamamia’ and her Proud Poppy Clothing online presence and socials skyrocketed. She moved into a factory in Campbellfield and has just signed a lease for a shop front in Doreen which she hopes will be opened once lockdown restrictions ease. In the meantime and with Proud Poppy Clothing turning 1 this Sunday, her online sales continue to grow. She also recruits ‘local mums, women of all shapes and sizes and diverse backgrounds to represent her brand’ something of which she is the most proud of.
Tara has just been named as a finalist in four categories for the AusMumpreneur Awards. Two of these awards are People’s Choice. Let’s get behind Tara and Vote for her (Section 5 & 7) Clink on the link below it takes 30 seconds! #EgoYah
News just in that Chris Balazs ‘Bazza,’ a cattle farmer and Adam Jenkins, a dairy farmer, both from the Class of 1989 were both featured in the Weekly Times dated 29 July 2020. Both men have been instrumental in creating changes in their respective industries.
Great to see two Old Ivanhoe Grammarians Dylan Buckley ’11 and Nick Butler ’00 hosting their own show Teams on 10!
This weeks episode was extra special featuring the addition of another Old Ivanhoe Grammarian in John Stevens ’88. John recalls he’s unconventional journey to AFL football from he’s efforts as a 26 year old playing in the VAFA C grade at Old Ivanhoe Football Club to a middle age recruit at the Sydney Swans. (Skip to 7:45 to see Johns Interview)