THE Coffs Coast Advocate is shining a light on some of the city’s finest former students who have gone on to great things – both locally and abroad – after being educated in the local area.
Our series Star Students will roll out over the next several weeks and will feature some of the most successful alumni to have graduated from Coffs Coast schools.
With names including the likes of Today host Deborah Knight, international jockey Zac Purton, and basketballer Liz Cambage you may be surprised at just how many famous names once called Coffs home.
The Advocate is kicking off the series with notable alumni from Bishop Druitt College.
ELIZABETH “LIZ” CAMBAGE – Professional basketball player
It’s hard to believe the first ever woman to dunk at an Olympic Games once walked the halls of a local high school, but Australian basketball player Liz Cambage called Coffs Harbour home until the age of 10 before moving to Melbourne where she currently lives.
The 27-year-old international star, who stands at an impressive six feet and eight inches, had moved to Coffs Harbour from London when she was just three-months old.
In 2011 Liz, a player for the Opals, won the Women’s National Basketball League title and MVP before helping the Opals win bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Among several achievements the athlete also won gold at the Commonwealth Games, and currently holds the WNBA single-game scoring record.
The Adidas brand representative at this year’s Coachella has nearly 140,000 followers on Instagram and more than 40,000 on Twitter.
ALICE FOULCHER – Australian actress and writer
ONE of The Guardian’s top 10 Aussie films of 2017, Alice Foulcher is best known for her role in the indie drama-comedy That’s Not Me, which she co-wrote with husband and director Gregory Erdstein.
The Victorian College of the Arts graduate was Dux of Bishop Druitt College in 2003, and now lives in Melbourne.
She and her husband have established film production company Moccasin Films, known for producing short film titles such as Paris Syndrome and A Bit Rich.
OTIS CAREY – Pro-surfer, artist
GUMBAYNGGIRR man and two time Australian Indigenous Champion Otis Carey has graced countless magazine covers and has appeared in surf films worldwide.
The pro-surfer is also an accomplished artist, painting contemporary indigenous art and selling out shows in Sydney, and even recently created works for Google.
In recent years Otis has teamed up with international surf company Billabong and has designed a signature collection.
DR RYAN CROSS – Leading cancer researcher
Dr Ryan Cross is one of the country’s leading brain cancer researchers, and has been working on a project which focuses on the creation of cancer-fighting immune cells made from a patient’s own blood.
After graduating from Bishop Druitt College, Dr Cross studied genetic and immunology at the University of Melbourne before completing a PhD in breast cancer.
He’s since been working with the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation where he was awarded a fellowship worth $345,000.
CLAIRE MAIZONNIER – Third Secretary at the High Commission, Ghana
AFTER completing a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies in Sweden, former Bishop Druitt student Claire started working for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the UN Secretariat in New York.
She was then chosen as a Rotary Peace Fellow and was elected as a Global Peace Index Ambassador in 2016.
Back in Australia Claire was a Policy Graduate for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, and has now attained a three-year position as an Australian diplomat in Ghana.
MATTHEW SAMER – Musical director in London theatres
MATTHEW graduated from Bishop Druitt in 2004, before studying at Queensland University and working for several years as a lecturer at the South Bank Institute of Technology.
While completing further studies at the Queensland Conservatorium, Matthew worked as musical director on several productions including Blood Brothers, Hair and Carousel.
The classically trained pianist moved to the Arts Educational Schools in London and was posted as Musical Director at Associated Studios, where his works include Evita and Fiddler on the Roof.
MEGAN TELFORD – Medical student of the year
MEGAN was in her final year of medical school at the University of Notre Dame when she was named the Rural Doctors Association of Australia Medical Student of the Year, 2018.
Megan had been working in remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberly, while organising high school visits and fund-raising for charities, as part of her long-held aim to pursue a career in rural health.
The Rural Doctors Association Australia praised Megan for her ‘commitment to rural health’ and innovative methods she introduced to better track patient presentations.
BIANCA GREGG – Global sales director
ENTREPRENEUR Bianca Gregg is the founder of Del Rainbow, a global sales and brand development agency that represents boutique and contemporary clothing brands.
Some of her clients include Australian luxury swimwear brand Peony Swimwear, London’s House of Sunny, St. Agni, Poms Eyewear, Valere and more.
Bianca wholesales these labels to more than 330 stores worldwide, and Del Rainbow has upcoming showrooms based in Sydney, Melbourne, New York and Paris.