Where Are They Now?
In setting up our school alumni page, we hope to discover the stories of our alumni! It will also provide a means for our alumni to contact former classmates, renew old friendships, share memories and get news about reunions.
To realise these goals we need help from all our alumni. If you are organising a class reunion, or know of one, please send us the information and we will post it on this page as well as on our Dandenong North Primary School Facebook Page .
I started at Dandenong North Primary School in Grade Prep in 1998 and finished as a year 6 student in 2004. If it wasn’t for my love of sport and PE I don’t know how I would have got through, ‘hahaha’ just joking. I then moved on to Dandenong High School post DNPS and continued my schooling. It was quite fair to say I wasn’t too good at school nor did I try too hard, which didn’t help. But there was one thing I loved from the minute I started, and that was PE with Mr. Malone at DNPS of course.
My fondest memories of Dandenong North PS are of participating in anything sporty. Whether it was playing kickball on the asphalt, whole school athletics carnival, running the dreaded 15 minute run (which I quietly loved), or representing our school at sports, with my favourite being football.
My favourite teacher without a doubt was Mr. Malone, obviously because of my love of sport. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am in my life without my early years spent with him. A couple of other teachers I absolutely loved were my grade 1 and 6 teacher Miss MacLeod, my Art teacher Mrs Mac and of course, the Principals Mr. and Mrs. Mackay.
I have always been sporty and would try everything, but footy was my ‘go’. I have been pretty lucky and fortunate to represent some great sides throughout my pathway to the AFL. I played local football for Noble Park from U9’s until U16’s (2001-2009), Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup U18 competition from 2009-2010, represented Australia for the AIS-AFL Academy 18’s program from 2009-2010 and played for Victoria Country in both the U16’s and U18’s AFL National Carnival.
I was then lucky enough to be drafted as a Pre-Selected 17 year old to the newly established team Greater Western Sydney Giants in the AFL competition. So I packed my bags and moved up to Sydney. I played from 2012-2015 seasons for the Giants, and played 79 games within this time.
At the end of the 2015 season I requested a trade back home to Victoria to play for the Collingwood Football Club. The 2016 season just gone by was my first season as a Magpie. I played all 22 games, which has taken my tally to 101 AFL games.
The 2017 season will be my 6th season in the AFL. I am very proud to have been able to represent such great clubs in the Giants and the Magpies.
My favourite memory at DNPS was being voted in as House Captain for Verey in grade 6 and able to lead my house in the school carnival. And of course win!! GO VEREY!!!
What initially began as a short visit to my primary school, subsequently became a trip down memory lane. As I was entering the main entrance of Dandenong North Primary School it felt as though I was at the wrong address (In recent years, the school underwent a state of the art transformation to bring the facilities into the 21st Century). Thankfully after speaking with a kind lady at the main office, with much relief I was guided to a familiar face… Mr Mackay!Despite his busy schedule, Mr Mackay fervently offered a personal tour around the new facilities and was more than happy to reunite my former primary school teachers and I together. Speaking with everyone brought back so many memories. Although the facilities have changed, the school environment, atmosphere, values and expectations remained as I remembered. The strong sense of belonging to a very large family was prominent. Also I couldn’t help but notice the strong passion the teachers had when classes were in progress.
Not only that, the young students genuinely looked like they were enjoying their time in class whilst learning. To be honest, no matter what I write, I simply wouldn’t be able to accurately describe what I saw but just to give an idea; classrooms filled with vibrant enthusiastic faces who were eager to absorb new knowledge. It's just something that needs to be seen in person.
The teachers at Dandenong North definitely played a huge role towards moulding me into the person I am today. Their patience, continuous encouragement and ability to bring out a student's own unique qualities & potential allowed each individual to perform to the best of their abilities (whether it be academically, artistically or in physical education). And I'm positive my peers, senior alumni and junior alumni would also agree to this.
Representing Dandenong North Primary School as School Captain in the year 2004 was likely the greatest privilege I had ever been appointed at that time (well I was only 11 years old). It was a fantastic stepping stone towards building leadership qualities and character. The position acted as a pathway to help build me into an individual who voluntarily took on extra responsibilities, strived to be of any assistance when others were in need, understand the importance of listening to one another, willingness to help bring out the best in others and therefore, hopefully inspire one another to achieve our optimal potential.
Physical education classes, athletic carnivals, vault jumping and the 15 minute runs are only some of the countless memories I still remember vividly. I specifically remember Mr Malone telling us that dance IS A SPORT (where he would bring out a giant folder to support his claim to any doubters) as well as mentally telling my legs to not even dare start walking during Cross Country competitions & 15 min runs. Even now fitness is a crucial part of my lifestyle.
For my secondary school education, I studied at Dandenong High School. I was lucky enough to represent Dandenong High as one of the members in the Badminton team where we became State Champions at Junior High School level. In year 12 I was elected as SRC President at Dandenong High School and was privileged enough to partake in interviews by Channel 7 & SBS as well as attend a Canberra Leadership camp where we visited Quentin Bryce, Former Governor-General of Australia.
After finishing VCE, I studied a Bachelor of Pharmaceuticals Advanced with Honours at Monash University. In my 2nd year I was elected as a Monash Parkville Student Mentor where I shared my advice (gave secret tips on how to study smart) and personal experiences to new undergraduate students to help them transition into the lifestyle of university. 3rd year of university became a Monash Parkville Student Association Executive leader where I took the position of Assets/ Treasurer thus being responsible for the student committee's finances & as the position title suggests, assets.
Fastforward to 2016 – till now: am a Formulation Chemist at a Pharmaceutical Company. Just to give a slight snippet of what the position involves, I currently do research and development in pharmaceutical projects to treat conditions such as atopic dermatitis, detrimental back/ joint pain, ear infections etc. The position also includes days where I attend seminars, conferences, meetings that encourage the introduction of new innovative concepts and technology that may benefit the Company's development and progress towards providing the population better medication/ treatments. The job definitely keeps me on my toes and provides an opportunity to help the population spend less time being unwell and more time focusing on other aspects in life.
Believe it or not, 13 years on (after graduating from primary school) I still have the school badges, School reports, speeches, photos and awards all from those school years. I can't help but put a smile on my face whenever I start to think back on the memories made at Dandenong North. It's a shame I didn't get to see all my past teachers when I dropped by but I hope you guys see this written piece and are doing well where ever you may be. Furthermore, I'd like to give a huge thank you to not only my past primary school teachers but to the current primary school teachers who have and are dedicating their career towards developing the future generations; thus, guiding these young minds towards becoming fine citizens that contribute to society.
I came to Australia in 2003 and knew no English besides 'hello' and 'how are you'. The first people who ever helped me with English were Ms Germanchis and Mr Hilton. They were so supportive, empowering and patient. I owe so much of what I've achieved to them.
My father passed away in 2004, five months after we joined him in Australia, and the school was extremely supportive in helping us overcome the shock and sense of loss. The school really supported my mum and us, and we've always been really grateful to our teachers for getting us through that very tough time.
I attended high school in Broadmeadows and graduated as Dux of my school in 2011, with an ATAR of 99.80. I studied a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery after that at Monash University. I will graduate in November this year.
Due to the experiences that I went through, I'm very passionate about empowering students who have come to Australia as refugees, or who have experienced social or financial disadvantage. I've been helping students who've come from disadvantaged backgrounds ever since I was in year 11 (tutoring for free during my spare time) and, in 2016, co-founded an organisation which offers mentoring, tutoring and academic tutoring to students aged 15-18. It's called Happy Brain Education: www.happybrain.org.au.
For more information:
Happy Brain Education Website: happybrain.org.au
Channel 7 Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op0KWr3hrHA
We also received a Westpac social change fellowship for HBE, which can be seen here: http://bicentennial.westpacgroup.com.au/news/westpac-backs-10-social-change-innovators-with-50-000-fellowship/
Thanks so much for everything that you and DNPS have done for me and my family! We always remember you all fondly!
What I liked most about Dandenong North while I was a student here was that it was an amazing environment to be in, the teachers were amazing from Prep to Year 6. DNPS also placed very large emphasis on health and fitness with Mr. Malone. Having 15-minute runs every single week and a lot of sports to be played, at the same time. However, Literacy and Numeracy studies were held to the highest importance and the teachers teaching the students were always at the best level.
After primary school, of course comes high school and the skills that DNPS gave me were essential for me succeeding in high school. A foundation of hard-work, perseverance and commitment that had been enriched into me whilst at DNPS helped me amazingly in high school, particularly whilst completing VCE.
Currently, I attend Monash University studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in criminology and minoring in political science. I hope to do an Honours or a Masters degree within my field and then acquire a job within the criminology field. I know this will not be easy however I know that the skills and values such as the 4C’s that have been enriched upon me from my time at DNPS will help me succeed, no matter what I am challenged with.
I completed Year 6 at Dandenong North PS in 2004 and in 2010 finished at Dandenong High School. After high school I ended up working full-time as a concreter. Thirteen years after I first came to Australia I bought my first house at age 21.
I was lucky, honoured and privileged to come to a primary school that wasn’t just a school - it was a family. The thing I remember the most was that the teachers treated me not only as a student, they treated me like a sibling, like a son. I remember Melissa Maskell and Miss MacLeod really well. I remember Scout. Cross-country was also great – we were a very competitive school – we were ranked second or third best public school in Victoria.
I remember when Mr.Mackay first came to visit Dandenong High – it was a special day because I hadn’t seen him there before.
These days I drive an Audi A4 and I am a qualified professional concreter. I am always giving a helping hand; I love seeing people happy. In 2017 I am planning to start off my own empire.
The best thing about this primary school is that the memories never fade out.
This photograph was taken in 2008 by Mr Mackay when my friend (Masooma Saberi) and I (Sobia Hussain) came to visit DNPS after graduation. Looking back to where I was and seeing the development in the person I am today is all the outcome of having great teachers and all the great school programs they provide for all the new students with no English. DNPS didn’t only teach me English they taught me discipline, dignity and how to be successful wherever I go. They taught me that I could achieve more than what I or other people thought that I was capable of. They took out the “Shy, Introvert & anxious” Sobia and turned it into “Confident, Independent & a better person”. DNPS has always been my second family, not just for me but for my whole family member.
– Sobia Hussain, ex-student at DNPS
Amelia (Scott) Van Diemen
I attended Dandenong North Primary School from 1992 through to 1998 and then I went to Lyndale Secondary College with the legendary Ian Mitchell as Principal. After secondary school I travelled to America and worked at a Summer Camp as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. After travelling throughout America I returned home. I then began working at Dandenong North Primary School as an Educational Support staff focusing on Boys Education and how differentiating learning can impact student outcomes. While I fulfilled this position I was offered a PA role to work alongside Kevin Mackay.
In 2012, I got engaged to Tom Van Diemen and we married in 2013. In 2015, we welcomed the gorgeous Duke Van Diemen. I started back at work at DNPS in 2016 and I am expecting our second child in November of this year.
My favourite memory of DNPS is when Kevin would hold my hand and take me around the oval and teach my about Amelia Earhart. We have maintained a good relationship throughout the years.
I still keep in touch with Meaghan Ellis.
Cathy (Bevacqua) Colaci
I attended Dandenong North Primary School from 1984 through to 1990. I then attended Dandenong High School from 1991-1996. It was during this time that I developed a passion to become a primary school teacher. I completed my Bachelor of Primary Education at Monash University and started my teaching career where it all began at Dandenong North Primary School.
I married in 2010 and have a beautiful little boy named Cristian who was born in 2013. After maternity leave I started back at Dandenong North PS in 2015 and run a Writing Extension program for the Year 5/6 students that are working above the expected level.
My favourite memory of Dandenong North PS was with Mr Malone (who still teaches PE at our school) when he took care of me after I tripped on the mini tramp during a gymnastics lesson. Although I cried he made me feel better and try again to overcome my fear.
I still keep in touch with Tanya (Dyker) Saraikin who is a Leading Teacher at Dandenong North Primary School.