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College achievers take a place in Hall of Distinction

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Mike Smith, Abbe May and Tristan Clemons were inducted into the Bunbury Catholic College Hall of Distinction in recognition of their achievements on Tuesday night.
Camera IconMike Smith, Abbe May and Tristan Clemons were inducted into the Bunbury Catholic College Hall of Distinction in recognition of their achievements on Tuesday night. Credit: South Western Times/Bunbury Herald, Jon Gellweiler

A trio of Bunbury Catholic College alumni were honoured at the school’s presentation night on Tuesday, as they were inducted into the Hall of Distinction.

The first inductee was Tristan Clemons, who represented Australia playing hockey for the Kookaburras while pursuing a career as a biomedical researcher.

He completed a PhD in nanotechnology at the University of WA and aims to develop nanoparticles which could repair damage to the central nervous system and help with diseases such as cancer.

After retiring in May, Dr Clemons has become a father and taken up a position with Northwestern University in Chicago.

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“I have a young baby who was born three weeks ago, Matilda Ruth, so it was exciting to join the fatherhood club,” he said.

“I have been given an opportunity over in Chicago, which is a once in a lifetime chance... where there is amazing world ground-breaking stuff happening and join a team there to add my skills and see what I can do in the biomaterials tissue-engineering space.

“That is the thing I think is so exciting when I speak to school students, is you don’t have to give up on your sporting dream to pursue academics which I think is so important.

“Just keep saying yes to opportunities and you never know where they are going to take you.”

Award-winning performer Abbe May was also recognised, with her album Fruit released earlier this year to critical acclaim.

The singer-songwriter took the time to visit current BCC students to bestow invaluable advice.

“It was cool to return to the space where I was a young person approaching my future and considering whether or not I would become a musician,” she said.

“I tried to give them a balanced view of the pros and cons of being and artist and how to approach it in a responsible and exciting way.

“It has been really good catching up with a couple of old school friends – it has been lovely to see them and it is fun to see my parents really proud.”

Final inductee Mike Smith is no stranger to accolades, as a life member of Surf Life Saving Australia and the recipient of an Order of Australia Medal.

Mr Smith was the first person from country WA to become president of Surf Life Saving WA and was also president of the Bunbury club for five years.

“You don’t go into these organisations to get these awards, but it is nice to have peers recognise you for what you have done over the years,” Mr Smith said.

“I am probably one of the only ones at the moment who is not a Bunbury Catholic College person, but a Marist Brothers person – I attended in 1963.

“When I was there there was only three classrooms – now it is huge. It is amazing what they have done out there.”

Year 12 student Trinity Mangano was awarded school dux at the presentation night, after achieving 26 A-grades across Year 11 and 12.

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