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Corinda State High School > Calendar and news > Blog
November 14
Corinda’s ACE student – Ivana Daskalovic

Iivana 3.pngvana Daskalovic arrived at Corinda State High School in 2015 during her penultimate year of her secondary education, having been selected to become part of Corinda State High School’s highly renowned Tennis Excellence Program for elite tennis players.  Trained under the direction of senior coach Kent Linyard from Queensland Tennis Centre (in partnership with Corinda State High School), Ivana’s goal has been to improve her formidable skills in the sport as well as improve her national ranking. An impressive goal for a seventeen-year-old young woman!

Inspired by watching her idol Novak Djokovic play tennis, Ivana began playing tennis at the early age of six, and at the time could never have predicted her future success in this sport.  Whilst she enjoyed playing tennis throughout her primary and secondary years, it wasn’t until she joined Corinda State High’s Tennis Excellence Program that she began to excel as an athlete. To achieve Ivana’s level of success, she was provided with a personalised coaching program to reduce her academic workload.  She was allowed to substitute tennis training for three of the six line subjects, which still allowed her to meet the National Curriculum requirements and qualify for university after high school.  A must for her, as she has her sights set firmly on a full scholarship at Bath University in the UK, England’s most renowned university for tennis.

IVANA 2.jpegTo date, Ivana has made impressive strides towards reaching her goal during her time at Corinda High State School. In eighteen months, she has gained an Australian women’s ranking and improved it by 358 ranks going from 570 to 212.  As a result, she has now qualified for an international ranking, an incredible achievement within a short period of time. She has also been named the 2016 University Open Quarter finalist, Most Valuable Player (MVP) Tennis Corinda 2015, and Runner-Up at Queensland Team School Sport last year. Ivana trains and dedicates over three hours of her day both on and off campus to maintain her competitive edge and advantage.

‘The greatest things about being part of the Tennis Excellence Program is the amount of hours we get on court and also having unlimited access to the best tennis facilities in Queensland through our partnership with the Queensland Tennis Centre. Through the Centre we have access to numerous internationally recognised coaches to assist us with our training and goals.  The school is very flexible and allows me to train and practise many hours of tennis per week whilst helping me to complete my schooling so I can go onto study at university.  I've progressed so much with my tennis since I've arrived at Corinda. I wish I could have been here longer than just two years.”

Corinda has no doubt in Ivana’s ability to continue making headway in achieving her goals and we look forward to supporting her in her future endeavours to study and play tennis overseas! Way to go, Ivana!


October 12
Dance Student Success Story – Georgia Tatham-Joyce

Passionate about international relations, different cultures and travelling and above all dancing, Georgia Tatham-Joyce is on her way to becoming a Secondary Dance and English teacher – a goal highly influenced by her time at Corinda State High School.

Georgia Tatham-Joyce fondly remembers Corinda State High School as a supportive and encouraging environment. Always encouraging her to follow her passion for dance, the school provided Georgia with a strong support network, which allowed her to devote over 16 hours per week to dancing and her Dance Troupe Captain duties. In 2014, Georgia was School Captain and graduated with distinction.
Juggling her dance, leadership and academic commitments was definitely a challenge for Georgia. However during her times of stress, she always found assistance and support from her teachers.  “I could always email any of my teachers or talk with them about class content or assessment.  I always knew there was someone I could talk to when I felt like I was barely managing.”
Although very busy with her own Year 11 and 12 study commitments, Georgia still found time to assist some of the younger Dance Excellence classes with their needs. Given the responsibility to develop student’s talents and nurture their skills as well as her own, Georgia realised (by doing this) how much she enjoyed helping others, thus steering her towards a career in education.  Throughout her time at Corinda State High School she was awarded two Arts Silver Awards, one Arts Gold Award, a Music Service Award and was awarded the Leadership and Loyalty Award.
Georgia recalls, “The school motivated me to achieve my best, which in turn guaranteed me entry into all of my QTAC selections.” Georgia is now studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), with a major in Dance and minors in French and English.
Well on her way to becoming a secondary Dance and English teacher, Georgia believes Corinda State High School’s focus on success and development helped her set and exceed her own expectations and goals.
At Corinda State High School we believe that focus and determination can take you anywhere if you set clear goals for yourself. Congratulations Georgia on all of your achievements! We can’t wait to see what you will achieve next!
August 23
Dr Gillian Kopittke

The title ‘soil scientist’ isn’t exactly your regular occupation. Dr Gillian Kopittke, however, has made it her business to build her career in soil science from the ground up. By her own admission, her decision to undertake agricultural studies at Corinda State High during her time there ‘has been the biggest influence in my career path so far. It led me to study agriculture at university and become a soil scientist.’

Kopittke.jpegGillian arrived at Corinda State High in 1990, by which time the agricultural program had been a component of the school’s curriculum since its establishment in 1961. From the onset of her secondary education, it was clear Gillian liked to keep herself busy as well as possessing a natural aptitude for practical sciences.

Gillian played the oboe, competed in athletics and played basketball as well as achieving a slew of subject awards, athletics awards and academic excellence awards, amongst other endeavours. Gillian well and truly tried everything, and says that she ‘chose' Corinda because of its excellent music program, its good reputation and the range of subjects available.

“It was great to sample these different subjects in Year 8 to discover what I liked, taking classes ranging from Home Economics to German, Woodwork to Music, and Agriculture to History. (It was a big surprise to me to find I was good at Metalwork and had topped the class!). From being able to try out all these subjects, I also discovered that the animal husbandry and agriculture subjects were fascinating and I wanted to learn more. Plus, due to a Queensland government loophole, I got a free bus pass if I studied agriculture. So that was my decision made.”

Gillian excelled in her agricultural studies, however she had no idea that it was to become the basis of the very successful and well-deserved career she enjoys today. Gillian went on to complete her undergraduate studies at The University of Queensland, which led to Environmental Scientist jobs working on mine sites and contaminated land projects in Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

Fast-forward to 2016 and Gillian now owns her own company, where she applies her hard-earned soil science skills to assessing and remediating contaminated sites. She is the immediate Past President of Soil Science Australia (Queensland Branch) and is a well-respected scientist whose skills in soil science are nationally acknowledged.

Gillian has since returned to Corinda State High, where she says that she ‘is really impressed that the school was using its farm for the general public to access and to learn about food production in an urban setting.’ She is currently in the process of partnering with the school organising the Environment Week event in 2016 that will incorporate Costa at Corinda- a day with Costa Georgiadis.  

‘I think the school has a fantastic facility that can be used to show the links between agriculture and human health, between the soil and biological / physical / chemical processes, and between food production and survival. This is one that should be promoted widely as a great strength of the school.’

Make sure you come down to Corinda State High on the 10th of September to join Gillian and the school for a day of learning and laughter with Costa who will educate guests on the importance of local food production, soil health and agricultural sustainability. 




August 11
Natalie Cook

Natalie Cook’s incredible career, which saw her win both bronze and gold medals at 5 sets of Olympics, is a testament to the hard work Natalie devoted to all aspects of her life, evident even at the tender age of 12 when she began high school at CSHS.

flying highFrom the beginning of her secondary education, it was clear that Natalie had profound aptitude for both sports and academics, as well as the determination to excel at both. Natalie made the most of all opportunities offered to her during her time at school and loved all her subjects equally. Her positive attitude towards her education and the school’s ethos undoubtedly laid the foundations for the astonishing success she’d achieve professionally once leaving school.

Natalie first learnt how to play volleyball in Grade 8 at CSHS, when she saw a noticeboard advertising, ‘Volleyball Trip to Canada and America’. Realising it was the only sport she wasn’t very good at, Natalie spent the next 20 years mastering the sport that would take her to the Olympics.

Natalie kept herself very busy during her time at CSHS. She was age champion for her school house in volleyball, athletics, swimming and cross country, and in Grade 12 received a TE score equivalent to an OP 1, the Caltex All-Rounder Award as well as becoming dux of her year level. After graduation, she was accepted into a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at UQ and studied for 2 years before qualifying for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Throughout the course of her volleyball career, Natalie qualified for and participated in an incredible 5 Olympic games where she won both bronze and gold medals. She became a successful entrepreneur and opened a beach sport centre called Sandstorm, implemented an initiative SurfVolley to include beach volleyball in Nippers programs around Australia, is an ambassador for ISAGENIX Health and Nutrition and wrote a book about her journey from Atlanta to Sydney entitled ‘Go Girl.’

Natalie’s astonishing career and achievements in sport and in business is a source of inspiration for CSHS, a school she still keeps close to her heart. Since leaving School, she has visited every Olympic year giving out awards and speaking at speech nights.

‘I wanted to give back to the school. I wanted to give back to the teachers; I had several connections with teachers that I imagine wonder how their students ended up. So I wanted to go back and let them know what I was up to and thank them. I wanted to show how important they were to my development, as well as to show the students that they too can follow their dreams.’

The drive and commitment Natalie has applied to everything she has put her mind to both during her time at CSHS and in her professional career is proof that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Natalie- we’re proud you’re one of ours!

July 15
Success Story – Ammarrah Tim


In her own words, Ammaarah Tim believes that ‘opportunities don’t happen- you create them.’

If her own experience is anything to go by, this statement couldn’t be more true. Ammaarah is a former student of Corinda State High School and has gone on to enjoy enormous success as a professional tennis player- both in Australia, and on scholarship at Texas State University in the US. 

In 2011 at 14 years old, Ammaarah had already impressively gained an Australian tennis ranking and knew that she wanted to qualify for a full American college scholarship for tennis.  Leaving St Aidan’s at the end of Year 8, Ammaarah arrived at CSHS to start Year 9 after the school allowed her to undertake only core subjects in Year’s 9 and 10 and leave school during the day for tennis training as an elective. 

By the time she’d reached Year 12, Ammaarah had improved her Australian tennis ranking enormously and signed up to an American Agency called NCSA Athletic Recruiting, which instructed her on the criteria she’d have to fulfil in order to become a US tennis scholarship candidate. 

Ammaarah undertook 5 subjects instead of 6 throughout Year’s 11 and 12, which ensured her ability to attain an OP score as well as aiding her scholarship application. She also completed the SAT exam to qualify for scholarship candidacy in the US. Her days at school were busy and often she’d left class by 1 pm to train- either at a centre in Samford Valley, or with her trainers at Corinda. 

Ammaarah continued to strive for her scholarship and appreciates the school’s involvement and support in her dream. ‘Principal Helen Jamieson was very willing to provide me with the best opportunity she was capable of giving me to excel in tennis, as well as my studies, and allow me to proudly represent Corinda whenever I could. The teachers were very accommodating of my situation, which was a huge help.’ 

In January of 2015, her final year of high school, Ammaarah’s dream came true and she was offered a scholarship at Texas State University. She signed her scholarship contract in April that year, which required her to begin college life in January 2016 - one whole semester early. During her last 6 months at high school and as a member of the Open Girls Tennis team, she and her team went on to win the District Gala Day Competition and were crowned Metropolitan Champions.  Her team was also nominated for the Qld Schools Team Tennis Tournament for the first time (being the only State School Team to qualify for the State Finals) coming a close second to St Hilda’s on the Gold Coast.

By the time Ammaarah graduated last November, she was ranked #137 in Australia’s professional women circuit- a vast improvement from her ranking 4 years beforehand, and an astonishing accolade for a 17-year-old girl. CSHS provided Ammarrah with the necessary transcripts for college, who says that ‘the transition from school to the US was smooth.’

Ammaarah is thrilled with her experience so far at Texas State and is loving the college and her teammates. She says that CHSH was a ‘major support’ to her tennis career and the current Tennis Excellence Program available to the students of CSHS today ‘is doing great things for the students and the sport.’

I feel that Corinda stands out from many schools, as they are long term development-based. Rather than only recruiting students who are providing results and excelling currently, they also welcome students whose Tennis journey has only just begun. They focus on development in order to provide for successful athletes for later on in their lives when it truly counts. This doesn’t just relate to their tennis excellence programme, but with other students whose talents lie in other areas.’ 

We applaud Ammaarah on her unwavering commitment to fulfilling her dream – you are an inspiration!







June 16
A journey to success

An early passion for the outdoors has led former student of Corinda State High School Travis Ittensohn on a journey to success. He’s recently received two Dean’s awards for Academic Excellence whilst studying a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Queensland, majoring in Geographic Science.

Travis arrived at Corinda State High School as an eager Year 8 student interested in sports and the environment and decided to shape his Ittensohn, Travis 16Jun2016.jpgeducation around his passions. By selecting subjects that were about the environment and natural processes – the impacts of climate c

hange particularly fascinated him – he was able to nurture his curiosity and aptitude for all things Geography. 

Throughout his time at Corinda State High School, Travis attended a number of field trips and excursions organised by the school. Each time he gained invaluable hands-on experience, which, together with his teachers’ instruction and assistance helped develop his understanding and knowledge for Geography – and later guided his career choices.

Travis received many awards whilst at Corinda. Some of his noteworthy achievements include a Distinction in the Australian Geography Competition and Dux of his Year 12 Geography class, receiving a Graduating with a Distinction Award from the Principal.

During his final year at Corinda State High School, Travis struggled to decide on a career path to pursue. Confused and unsure about what to do next, he turned to the skilled, experienced and supportive teachers of the Senior Schooling Department to assist him in his decision. He was advised to play to his strengths and follow his passion and to choose what he wanted to do, not what he thought he should do. As a result, his transition to University was seamless and “the advice he received from the Senior Schooling Department was invaluable.”

Having graduated from Corinda State High School in 2013, Travis returns to the school weekly to tutor the current Humanities students.  Organised by Mrs. Tracey Hall (Head of the Department, Humanities) this initiative has been well received and Travis’ advice, empathetic approach, knowledge, and skillset have proven to be an invaluable offering at Corinda State High School. 

More importantly, Travis has become a role model for the students, demonstrating how they can exceed their expectations and future-proof their pathway to achieve and surpass their goals and dreams.

Focused passion in a nurturing environment will achieve amazing results for those who want it. Well done Travis on all of your achievements – from all staff and students of Corinda State High School. We applaud you!