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.
From 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!