Newsletter - Edition 14-2015

Outstanding Alumnae Awards Evening

The 2015 Outstanding Alumnae Awards Evening took place on Tuesday 15 September 2015 in front of an audience of 200 Alumnae, guests of recipients, current families, past families and members of the wider Genazzano FCJ College Community.

 The first award of the evening went to international songwriters and producers Miriam (Mim) and Olivia (Liv) Nervo. The award was accepted by their father, Garry Nervo on their behalf as they are currently performing in Ibiza. 

 In addition to a Grammy award, sold-out live performances and a string of hit singles, the girls can now add a Genazzano Outstanding Young Alumnae Award.

“We can't believe it,” says Liv. “It feels like yesterday when we were attending assembly listening to other girls receive similar awards.”

The twins have penned hits for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears. Today, as DJs and producers, they tour the world performing to an ever-growing fan base. The recent release of the duo’s debut album, Collateral, showcases a heady willingness to push the boundaries.

Says Liv: “Music was always a passion of ours … at Genazzano, we were involved in anything and everything that had to do with music, from the Gen-Xavier musicals to simply choosing music as our electives.

“Genazzano's positive girl power ‘we can do’ attitude is something that we needed, especially in the early stages of our careers where we were working very hard and we didn't feel like we were getting anywhere.

“The world is a large and wonderful place with so many opportunities. The harder you work, the luckier you become. Follow your strengths and don't try and fit in!”

This year we also awarded had an Outstanding Young Alumna (Posthumous) Award recipient, Katrina Wakeling (nee Hastings, 1996) who had a unique ability to relate to every pocket of humanity, from the poverty-stricken child to the influential corporate leader. This award was accepted by Katrina’s mother Jo, and her father Rob Hastings.

Perhaps, Katrina’s mother Jo Hastings reflects, it was due to her upbringing in Berwick, effectively a country town in the years of Katrina’s childhood. “She thrived on the difference in her life. She loved coming home to her own community because she was very involved there but she also loved the challenges and opportunities and choices that Genazzano offered.”

Following school, Katrina completed a Rotary Exchange to Iceland and travelled with her brother Simon through Nepal. Upon her sudden passing in 2009, Katrina’s family established a foundation that has funded a reading room for children in Nepal.

Katrina’s senior health and safety role at Visy Industries required an ability to relate to both shop floor workers and board-level executives. “She was not afraid to say, ‘This is not right,’ but it wasn’t about her; there was no ego there. She understood what was required to create change and you can bring that back to her time at Genazzano.”

It was with much fondness that Genazzano FCJ College recognised the life and contribution of Katrina Wakeling, which continues to inspire us all.

Following the interview with Jo and Rob Hastings, the Stage Band performed the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by Don Raye, conducted by Genazano’s Head of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Emily Tarrant. The second part of the evening was dedicated to 2015 Outstanding Alumna of the Year award recipient, Janet De Neefe who flew in from Bali to accept the award.

While Bali is renowned for its laidback and relaxed character, life there for Janet DeNeefe (1976) is anything but quiet as she enthusiastically throws herself into an incredible array of roles and activities.

The artist, author and restaurateur moved with her husband to the Indonesian island nearly three decades ago. A Genazzano 2015 Outstanding Alumna Award recipient, DeNeefe founded the world-renowned Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in 2004 as a response to the Bali bombings.

“When the bombings occurred I felt it was my duty to help, for both the Balinese and the Australian victims. It had a huge impact on all of us and I will never forget the sadness of that time. It was like a huge grey cloud over our heads for so many, many months.”

DeNeefe remains very fond of her school days and thankful for the determining values she has carried throughout her life.

“I really loved school. For me, the delight in having special friends around me five days a week was a joy. I think Genazzano taught you that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

“There was a lovely sense that the world was our oyster and that beyond school we could achieve anything and move in any arena. I think Genazzano gave me an indomitable spirit to harness my dreams and turn them into a reality.

The evening concluded with a spirited performance of the Genazzano School Song and all guests were given a cupcake, kindly provided by the Alumnae Association. The following morning, guests returned to the College and were once again awarded in front of the whole school congregation.