Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

Talent is never far at Warrane! Meet cultural scholarship recipients Clemens Del Rosario and Cameron Day


One thing’s for sure – there is no shortage of talent at Warrane. Especially when you’re talking to a couple of residents who happened to enter on the Cultural Scholarship: Clemens Del Rosario and Cameron Day. 

20-year old Clemens is studying a Bachelor of Music Studies with contemporary music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at Sydney University. It’s his first year at Warrane and it’s his music that qualified him for the Cultural Scholarship.

“My main instrument is piano, and I’ve played since I was in Year 7… I’m mainly a contemporary pianist so not too much classical… And I’ve been singing since I was in Year 9.” said Clemens. His knowledge has flowed on to other instruments as well: saxophone and guitar. And although he thinks his influences are largely the soul and R&B his parents would be listening to when he was growing up, these days he’s getting into jazz music and other different genres.

As for Cameron, he’s 18 years old and moved to Warrane at the beginning of this year. He received the Cultural scholarship for two aspects: “Leadership – I was the school captain of my school,” he said. “And my experience of drama as well…  Basic stage acting, mostly through school. I was never very musical, which is the great regret of my life.”

Originally studying Architecture, he recently dropped out, is currently working full-time, and is planning to pursue study in Law-Communications. Choosing to leave his degree was one of the most difficult choices Cameron has had to make.

“I’ve been really fortunate for a lot of my life and I’m very grateful for that,” said Cameron. However making the decision to quit architecture was also “making a commitment to follow my gut,” as he put it. “What were my reasons?” he continued.  “Honestly…law and communications was what I wanted to do for most of my life… but in Year 11, I thought the ambiguity of law and media was something I should run away from.” After beginning architecture though, he realised that he could have more impact on the world with law and media and he was more suited to this profession.

It makes sense therefore that this is the description of an inspiring person is the following: “Anyone who has cleanly bitten the bullet with absolutely no regrets and no second thoughts…and gone full speed ahead,” he said. “I have the utmost respect for anyone who can do that.”

These boys have backgrounds that are as different as could be. Clemens, whose parents are from the Philippines, grew up mostly in Rouse Hill, a suburb of north-west Sydney. He is the middle child in a family of four girls and five boys. Cameron on the other hand was born in New Zealand. At a young age his family moved to the UK for his father’s work, and spent time between there and Ireland before settling on the Central Coast of NSW (he still has a bit of an accent to prove it all). But one thing is the same for both: they are enjoying living at Warrane.

“I think Warrane’s fantastic,” said Cameron. “I think its greatest strength is that it manages to facilitate that independence that a lot of people desire when they first come out of high school… but also ­­­­­makes you feel like you’re part of a family.” Some things that helped with this, he thought, were the tutor system, the support from your floor as well as everyone in general, and the open door policy.

Clemens said similar things. When asked what his favourite things about Warrane were, he said: “Being around the boys! It’s a real comforting thing to have that brotherly support there. It’s similar to a family setting where you have people doing their own things …but still visiting your room and seeing how you’re going, which I love. And just seeing the guys nearly every day creates a good sense of family. And it’s a safe environment.”

Clemens took a gap year before commencing his studies as he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. That year included a three-week trip with his parish youth group to Europe for World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. They also visited Rome, Venice, Padua, Salzburg and Vienna, but his favourite place was Assisi.

“Such a beautiful place!” said Clemens. “You have this old quaint simple town… And the city was on top of a hill so you’re overlooking the whole landscape at the bottom… and there was something very simple about it; it was really detached from the world… a town very influenced by St Francis of Assisi – a saint who was really inspired by nature and felt God through all things.”

It’s no wonder, then, that Clemens names St Francis of Assisi as someone who inspires him. “Through his simplicity,” he said, “as there are a lot of things that clog our minds and we overcomplicate things. Just seeing things for their core values… Having that outlook on life.”

For his next trip, Clemens would love to see Switzerland or New Zealand for the stunning mountain ranges and scenery. He’s also keen to go to the Holy Land to follow the steps of Jesus and come to a greater appreciation of significant places.

We already know that Cameron has done a bit of travel in his time, but he has more plans too. He’s looking forward to travelling to Chile one day.

“The landscape; I adore the mountains! They’re my favourite thing in the world,” said Cameron. “And the proximity of the Andes to the ocean…and rolling plains… it’s so immensely diverse but such a short space of land …and for the Latin culture of course.”

For now though, there’s plenty keeping Cameron busy right here – turns out that his talents aren’t limited to the stage. “I do love to go out; I won’t deny that,” he said with a laugh. “I’m a huge fan of sport, I’ve played football, cricket and rugby my whole life,” he continued. “I love music – I’m actually, through the college, learning how to play piano …finally chasing my dream of learning an instrument!… And I draw a lot, which is actually the main reason I took up architecture. I like to write a lot as well.”

Clemens keeps busy as well. “I like to play a lot of basketball,” he said. “I like to get out and about… because spending a lot of time inside with my instruments can sometimes be a bit monotonous, in the sense where I’m indoors all the time… If I want to have the best of both worlds, just bringing the guitar outside and playing a bit…”

He continued: “It’s interesting, it’s now a new struggle or challenge, studying music in university. Because I find that when you study something that you love, it turns into study more than a passion…”

Clemens’ biggest challenge before this? Probably the HSC, he said: “In my last year of school I’d be going through those ups and downs and be thinking that I just didn’t want to do the HSC anymore, and just give it all up… My parents are from the Philippines and they’ve been through all this hardship… in order to provide justice for all they’ve done for us, we have to strive to do well in our studies, right?…and going through those hardships helped me to build more in virtue and become closer to God; because study becomes prayer.”

When it comes to the next few years, Cameron is still working that out. When asked where he sees himself, he said with a laugh: “No idea! Hopefully towards the end of degree, hopefully having more of a grasp of where I want to go … and with more creative skills, maybe playing two or three instruments.”

He admits he’s still learning when it comes to what he thinks about the world as well. “I’d say with that respect, my mind is constantly changing. I’m very aware of my inexperience of the world and … I have to find my feet in respect to what really matters to me and what I want to engage in for the rest of my life.”

As for Clemens’ future, he sees himself becoming a teacher. He said: “But a teacher who can teach bigger things than just knowledge… some things that people can apply in their daily lives: with their families, in their homes…a teacher who can inspire.”

Perhaps his desire to teach comes from the rewarding experiences he has had when passing on his existing knowledge onto other people. “I was part of a youth group where I was a choir leader. And I’d not only give musical knowledge, but also knowledge about character building… To my younger siblings as well, trying to be an example for them… I think it’s a special feeling to see…your influence making change in their life.”