Where are they now? Part 1

They’re the leaders and high academic achievers of our school each year – but what does life look like after school for the students that fulfilled the role of Head Prefect or held the accolade as Dux for the highest ATAR (previously known as UAI or TER for some of these students).

While their paths are varied and their careers and lives have seen them travel to many parts of the globe, we are proud to say that they are all the thought leaders, creators and community achievers that we aspire for our graduates to be. They have thrived in a rapidly changing world due to their collaborative skills, technological competence, enterprising spirit and capacity for innovation.

In the first of our 3 part series, we take a look at the post school journeys of the leaders (Head Prefect) and high academic achievers (Dux) from 1986 - 2000.

We discover what their lives have held since leaving CCGS, which CCGS experience most prepared them for life today and what advice they would give to their Year 12 self.

1992 - Heather Irvine-Rundle


CCGS alumni Heather Irvine_Rundle

Post school journey

After finishing the HSC, I headed overseas for 6 months working as a sport and recreation instructor in the UK, then travelling Europe before coming back to Australia and commencing my Bachelor of Arts/Law degree. By my third year I realised that Psychology was my preferred professional direction and I then went on to complete my Masters in Clinical Psychology.

I then relocated to the UK with my husband and spent the next 4 years working in various locations and hospitals in Liverpool and London. I returned to Australia following the birth of my first son (Barney Irvine-Rundle - who is currently in Year 11 at CCGS) and took over as a Clinical Director of the READ Clinic in 2010 to support my father (Dr John Irvine's) transition into retirement.

I also spent three years on the Board of CCGS, only standing down due to the demands of raising another young son (Jensen Irvine-Rundle - who is currently in Year 10 at CCGS). I have written two books on post-natal depression, I have presented at numerous seminars and conferences, been on radio and TV and support approximately 6 students and registrars each year in completing their psychology qualifications at the READ Clinic.

Most recently, I was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Practice at the University of Newcastle and became an Internationally accredited Lifestyle Medicine Professional.

I currently live in Wamberal with my two sons and husband (Jan Rundle - who is also CCGS alumni).

The CCGS experience that most prepared you for where you are now

There are two things that stand out for me - the commitment of the teachers and the culture of excellence. I achieved the Dux award mainly because of a teaching culture of unwavering support, dedication and understanding.

Proudest moment post school

Definitely having two beautiful sons.

Advice to your Year 12 self

Be your best self - not a perfect one - just your best version. And be less concerned about what people think about you. The people who truly matter already have your back and the others don’t matter. Worry less. Laugh more.

1994 - Lana King


CCGS alumni Lana King

Post school journey

I completed an honours degree in Psychology at Sydney University and was accepted into a general management graduate program at Telstra. I worked at Telstra for 7 years, focusing on general management and cultural change programs. I then joined American Express in a Regional HR role and moved to Singapore. I was based there for nearly 10 years, working for AMEX and then joined ANZ as Head of HR for Financial Markets.

Since returning to Australia, I am taking a career break as we resettle our three children into CCGS. We love being back on the Central Coast close to family, old and new friends and considering what’s next.

The CCGS experience that most prepared you for where you are now

At CCGS, particularly as Head Prefect, there was a need to be competent at balancing competing priorities across a wide range of activities.

As a Director of Human Resources, every day I would be involved in a diverse range of activities and knowing how to balance delivery of my priorities and supporting the business “fight the fire of the day”, has been essential to my success. This is not unlike the challenges at school of being able to balance co-curricular activities with academic results.

Proudest moment post school

Together with my family, we lived overseas for 10 years and I have travelled extensively for work and for leisure. I feel very lucky to have experienced such diversity in culture and people.

Raising our young family in a foreign country has given them a strong foundation to recognise and embrace difference. My husband and I, both originally from the Coast (and both from CCGS - he was House Captain of Ironbark) feel happy to be back on the Central Coast knowing that we have explored overseas and will continue to adventure at every chance we get!

Advice to your Year 12 self

When you look at successful people, either your peers or people you aspire to be, you have a misunderstanding that they have it all together and know what they are doing. In business you quickly learn that it is ok not to have all the answers or to not know how to do something. What is important and what will make you successful, is to give 100%, surround yourself with positive, equally driven people and always be willing to learn.

1995 - Rebeccah Morris


CCGS Alumni Rebeccah Morris

Post school journey

After school, I went to the Conservatorium of Music and completed my Bachelor of Music (Honours) majoring in Percussion and Conducting. My ultimate goal was to perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In my fourth year of Uni, I was invited to perform as part of the ‘Mahler Concerts’ and the ‘Meet the Music Concert Series’ for a term as a guest percussionist. In that time, even though I loved performing, I realised that the politics overtook the joy of performing and realised that perhaps being in the SSO for a full time job was not the best career path for me.

I had been tutoring Drums for over 6 years and decided to tutor full time. During my school years I joked with my favourite teachers that I would never spend my whole life in a school – as a student and then as a teacher, however I am now the Director of Instrumental Music at Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga. I look after music in the Prep School for Years K-6, teaching both Classroom Music and overseeing the Ensembles Program and over 35 music tutors. I absolutely love my job and love teaching young students and inspiring them!

The CCGS experience that most prepared you for where you are now

I had many role models at CCGS, such as Mr Simpson, Mrs Betty Hannah, Mrs Curtis, Mr Gill and Mr Phil Rees. The school was very young when I went through and Music was only just making an impact in the departments and with students. I can honestly say that Mr Simpson is probably the reason why I have a Head of Music role in a school teaching Music. He inspired me and took great care of me. I look back now and aspire to be as good a teacher as what he was to me. Having teachers at school to be your role models and inspire you and have trust in your talents is what will prepare every student at CCGS. There was no one experience or achievement that prepared me for who I am today, but the knowledge that my teachers set me up for the best possible experiences throughout my adult life is what really prepared me for the outside world.

Proudest moment post school

Personally, having my daughter! She is the absolute love of my life!

Professionally, some of the amazing things that bring tears to my eyes are our end of year presentation days when all of the students sing and play in the band/orchestra to an arrangement I composed for Knox. The pieces are really moving and feel really good, and I know the students and parents love them. I am most proud and take honour in my leading role at Knox. I started at Knox over 20 years ago as a drum tutor teaching 6 drum students. I have slowly built up my role, studied and completed my Grad Dip in Education, was offered a staff position and teaching role, and am currently completing my Masters in Education.

Advice to your Year 12 self

Work as hard as you can and never give up. I had a motto when I was in Year 12 - “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough!!”. If you are positive in the knowledge that you are trying your best and putting in your all then you will succeed in whatever you choose to succeed in!

1998 - Bruce Macdonald


CCGS Alumni Bruce Macdonald


Post school journey

I went straight into IT/Technology. While working I did an apprenticeship, and every Technology Certification under the sun (AWS, Microsoft, Coding, etc.). After doing Technical Engineering I moved into Business Development. I studied a MBA at the University of Newcastle (on the job).

I am employed by a US Startup called Algolia. What is Algolia; If you used the 'search function' on any of the websites/apps abc.com.au or iview.abc.net.au or
news.com.au you have used Algolia. Algolia is the 3rd largest Search as a platform behind Google and Bing.

The CCGS experience that most prepared you for where you are now

CCGS gives you so many opportunities to follow you interests and understand what you have a passion for.

Proudest moment post school

My Family/Kids. The opportunity to take my family and live and work in Chicago.

Advice to your Year 12 self

Work hard and have fun!

1998 - Nicola Rosenberg (née Deall)


CCGS Alumni Nicola Rosenberg

Post school journey

I started studying a Medical Science degree but I didn’t enjoy it so I switched and gained a Business degree, not sure at the time what I was going to do with it.

My first job was in a start up, which was a great experience, and somehow along the way I found Human Resources, which has become my career. Today I am the Chief People Officer of dentalcorp, a listed health care company in Toronto, Canada where I live with my husband and two sons.

The CCGS experience that most prepared you for where you are now

4 things stand out:

  1. Outward Bound built resilience, self reliance and team work in a way that no other experience really does as well.
  2. Being the Head Prefect not only gave me the opportunity to develop leadership skills (and leading your peers can be hard!), it also gave me the gift of self belief which is invaluable.
  3. Attending Sewickley Academy as the first CCGS exchange student was so impactful it was a driving reason I took a role overseas in North America, so that my kids could have a similar experience.
  4. Team sports (basketball was my biggest passion) has left an ability to play as a team and competitively and with high performance.

Proudest moment post school

My most proud moment would be becoming a mum to my two boys and auntie to all my gorgeous nieces and nephews (who attend CCGS). Family is by far my most treasured part of my life.

Advice to your Year 12 self

I would say not to worry about the HSC result so much and to know that skills like leadership, collaboration, innovation and emotional skills are ultimately more correlated to success than the HSC result. And, to know that your dreams can absolutely come true with a work ethic, resilience and commitment.

1999 - Louis Droguett


CCGS Alumni Louis Droguett

Post school journey

During school, I had known that I wanted to follow a career in software engineering. So, after school, I went to UNSW to study Software Engineering, graduating with First Class Honours. At the same time I worked part-time as a software developer at Toyota. Working in software whilst at uni meant that I could genuinely understand why what we were learning at uni was important and how it applies in real work scenarios.

After Toyota, I was fortunate to join the Commonwealth Bank of Australia where I built some of the most powerful software applications in Australia. A highlight was leading over 500 engineers in developing the NetBank and Commbank App applications, relied upon by many Australians on a daily basis.

As a side hustle, I also took the challenge to become Chief Technology Officer of GoFundraise. Here I led the development of a platform that empowers individuals and organisations to make a difference for charities and worthy causes around the world.

Most recently I joined a disruptive fintech, Recreo Financial, where I hold the role of Chief Delivery Officer. I have the incredible challenge to lead the Solution Delivery, Production Support, Feature Engineering, IT Operations, and Quality Assurance departments to re-create administration for the Superannuation industry.

During my time at CBA, I met my wife and got married. We bought a house in leafy St Ives, and I now have two very energetic boys and a newborn baby.

The CCGS experience that most prepared you for where you are now

It would be achieving Dux and also the Outward Bound experience when we camped through the Hawkesbury River.

Both experiences set important foundations by teaching me about setting goals, the importance of resilience to overcome challenges, and the feeling of success that comes after hard work.

Proudest moment post school

I constantly feel proud of my family and work experiences, but if I had to pin point the proudest moment, it would be locking in the first date with my beautiful wife. I think studies, uni degrees, and work achievements all culminated in impressing her enough to take a chance.

Professionally, my proudest moments would be being part of the teams that pioneered advances in the Australian financial technology industry. Some of the smartest minds were working together to break new ground and overcome challenges to delight and streamline digital experiences for users and members.

Advice to your Year 12 self

Chase different experiences and challenge yourself beyond your comfort zone. You will find diverse and surprising ways to learn new skills and grow.

If you're a past Head Prefect or Dux of CCGS we would love to hear from you! Please reach out at alumni@ccgs.nsw.edu.au and let us know where you are now.

Read Part 2 - 2001 to 2010