V-Fest 2016 – 3rd Place!

I entered my Google Maps Video with the inventor Noel Gordonxx into a video competition called V-Fest. After looking at the time limit of 6 minutes, I was turned off because my video is 10 minutes, but as I rewatched the video I realised that there were some scenes in the video which I was able to cut out and I would still have a great video. The video was shortened for the competition and I was informed I was one of the finalists. It was a great night and had loads of fun! A big congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted and especially to 1st and 2nd place!!

It was a great night and amazing to see how different my video was up on a big screen. A big congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted and especially to 1st and 2nd place!!

Deborah Cave and Ruby Cogan

Winners – Juniors

1st:  ELEVATOR PARADIGM – Melissa Q. (North Sydney Girls High School)

2nd: PUPPETEERS – Zack Lewin (Blakehurst High School)

3rd: GOOGLE MAPS – Ruby Cogan (St Vincent’s College)

Winners – Seniors

1st: FALLING BUT IN RISING – Tom Doyle (Barker College)

2nd: HALCYON – Lewis Clark (Rose Bay Secondary School)

3rd: DREAMS THAT STAY WITH YOU AFTER YOU WAKE – Anais Adolphe (Burwood Girls High School)

About V-Fest:

V-Fest is a short film competition run by Rosebay Secondary College for kids in year 7-12. If you want to enter here is a link to their website and this is their facebook page!

V-Fest – a Sydney annual student short film competition

Created in 1999 by Deborah Cave (17th year)

There are 3 winners in each section:
– Junior section: Years 7-10
– Senior section: Years 11-12

Hundreds of entries come each year from schools throughout Sydney.


Video: My Yiayia

Many people have unique and beautiful stories, but the one that I am about to tell you is very special to me.

Stavroula Mavrogeorgis is the grandmother (or Yiayia in Greek) of two children, Eve my older sister and me, Ruby Cogan. Stavroula, my Yiayia, had always wanted to be a godmother but no-one had her given her that opportunity. To her surprise in 2004, her daughter gave her the honour of being the godmother to her second grandchild, me! Which is funny, because that made my mother, my god sister.

Stavroula took her faith seriously. Although she did not go to church often, she prayed every day and taught me about the importance of God. She spent much effort and made the major Christian celebrations of Easter and Christmas, amazing. As part of the christening sacrament, in Greek tradition, the godparents give their godchild a crucifix, that is to last for the rest of their life. I still wear that crucifix to church today and it is the most beautiful and meaningful possession I have.

When my sister and I were little, my mum went back to work almost instantly, just four days after giving birth. This meant that Yiayia did the majority of the raising of Eve and I. She told us how she grew up in Greece with little food and money. Therefore as an adult, she was always very careful with her money but never let her children or grandchildren go hungry. So we learnt the important tenets in life, food, spending money carefully and education.

My Yiayia spent the first part of her life working in a factory and the second part as a cleaner. She used all her money to pay for my mum and auntie’s Catholic school education and unfortunately because of the long hours she spent working, she was unable to attend any school events. So when my sister and I came along, she loved us more than anything in this world, she thought of us as a second chance to raise children.

When I turned 5, I started my schooling education. My Yiayia had ended her education at the age of 14, in year 6, because her parents were no longer able to afford it and needed her help. She told us she wished that she could have finished her education. She expected that everyone would take their education opportunity seriously and not just try, but succeed.

As we grew up Yiayia told Eve and I stories about her life, how she had met Papou and about her garden when my mum was growing up. She was very proud of her green thumb and always loved gardening. When my mum was young she told me of her great garden with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, the different varieties of colourful flowers and much more. With all those vegetables, she used them to make the most delicious dinners. When I grew up I helped her with her garden. Often she would create a whole new dish purely because there was an abundance of a vegetable in her garden. I still remember getting pumpkin soup every night for a month!

After starting from the bottom, Yiayia was now financially secure, although she still lived like she was poor. Spending money on a holiday seemed ludicrous, but if her grandchildren were going and my dad was paying for it, she would love to come. She especially loved the buffets and to spend the day by the pool or ocean. Essentially she just liked having a relaxing time with us.

Yiayia kept us fed with only healthy food. She always kept us dressed well too. She sewed our uniforms back together, fixed the hems and covered up the holes we made. But most importantly, she loved us. Yiayia was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer (stage three) in March last year and the doctors predicted she had one to three months left. Yiayia was very brave and decided to try Chemotherapy because the doctors advised it could buy her more time. She made it all the way until March this year. Nine precious extra months.

I am grateful to have had my grandmother in my life, she was a beautiful, kind and talented person. I am missing you already Yiayia, I love you.

RIP my beautiful Yiayia

5 November 1939 – 31 March 2016. 76 years old

My sister also blogged about our Yiayia 

Video: School Captain Valedictory Speech

This year I had the honour of being the girl school captain of my school, Claremont College, for 2015.

Of all the speeches I did this year, my favourite was my Valedictory Speech in front of the students, parents and teachers. I loved writing the speech because it was a trip down memory lane, remembering all of the amazing moments my year has had in our past 7 years at Claremont.

I had a really amazing time this year with my partner, the boy school captain, Tom Findlay. We did so many amazing things together, as part of our roles we greeted guests, conducted tours around the school to prospective parents and many other things that took me out of the class room. I started each Monday at the school assembly with the acknowledgement to our country and worked a lot with my school principal, Mr Doug Thomas.

Something that I didn’t expect and that I really enjoyed about my role, was many parents would regularly speak to me and that meant I was able to get to know many of the parents.

For me, the best thing were the speeches. I made many speeches on many different occasions, whether it be at the Mother’s Day breakfast or the Anzac Day Service. I’m lucky that I now have more experience speaking.

I am so grateful for all the opportunities that I have had this year at Claremont College. I really loved my school and the school community. Over the past 7 years I have had an amazing experience and now I am ready for high school.

I hope you liked my speech!


Video: Google Maps – The Australian Co-Inventor, Noel Gordon

Google Maps – The Australian Co-Inventor, Noel Gordon


Co-Inventor of Google Maps – Noel Gordon Full Interview

Here is the long interview.


For my big assignment this year in Year 6, I had to choose a great Australian. I interviewed Australian Noel Gordon, who is the co-inventor of Google Maps. He is an incredibly inspiring person who has made a huge difference to our world. Imagine a world without Google Maps, what would it be like? I don’t know because I have had Google Maps my whole life.

I have done a lot of research and I know maps have advanced so much in just 50 years. It went from paper maps, to navigators like the TomTom, to websites that took 10 minutes to load, to what we have now. Google Maps today is so awesome and fast and it came from four great people, Noel Gordon, Stephen Ma and the brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen.

For this assignment, I interviewed two of the four inventors, Noel Gordon and Lars Rasmussen.

Noel explained to me that we did not always have maps like we do today for free on our laptops and mobile phones. Just before I was born 11 years ago, people had to deal with a slow reality of going to a PC and entering your navigation details, making yourself a cup of coffee, then coming back to your computer only to find you have another 5 minutes of waiting for your next map to load.

When I found some images of some old maps I assumed they had been exaggerated to make them look worse then they really were.

When I found images of some old maps, I assumed they had been exaggerated to make them look worse then they really were!

My favourite quote from my interview with Noel was:

“If you have tenacity and if you have self-belief, it’s amazing what you can achieve.”
Noel Gordon

I love that quote because it is so incredibly inspirational. If you put your heart and soul into whatever you are doing, if you believe in yourself and if you have tenacity, then you can achieve so much. Even if you don’t succeed, you learn from your mistakes and you can try again.

After the interview Noel told me of a special moment that happened just before he and Lars decided to start the business. He and Lars were walking around Newtown, Sydney, having another conversation about if he should quit work and do their mapping startup, when they read a quote someone had written in chalk on the footpath:
When people say you are going to fail and give you the reasons why, just ignore them and go on and do it regardless.
They looked at each and said “Let’s do it”. If only the chalk writer could know the impact of their words.
There are many great videos about Lars on youtube, that I watched.

There are many great videos about Lars on youtube, that I watched.

There we no videos about our Australian Noel Gordon on youtube. How terrible is that?

There are no videos about our Australian Noel Gordon on youtube. I am going to fix that 🙂 


Meeting Noel Gordon outside the Google Office in Sydney


Google Street View is not always done by cars!


Noel and I on the top floor balcony of the Google Building in Pyrmont, Sydney


The Google Offices are so cool!

I hope you like my videos!

Later on I will post my other Skype interview with Lars.


Video: Review of Tomb Raider Xbox Video Game

I am 11 years old and I just finished a video game called “Tomb Raider”, which was based on the movie, Tomb Raider. The video game is about a girl, named Lara Croft, (who is played by the famous actor, Angelina Jolie).

I have watched both movies but that did not really help in playing this game.

I played the game on the Xbox One (but it is also available for the PlayStation 4). It was released in 2004 and it is called “Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition” and Lara gets stuck on an island and she needs to escape. She goes on hunts to find tools to fix the ship but get’s in big trouble many times and she only just escapes each time leaving behind thousands of cursed angry soldiers.

I recorded this video to describe my experience with this video game. Now I can’t wait for the next one called “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and I think it is going to be released by Christmas in 2015.

I hope you like it!


My Photography Album “A Starting Point”

A Starting Point

My Album: flickr.com/photos/rubycogan/sets/72157653486156091

I just finished my first photo album! My mum has always been the photographer on our family holidays, but this time I decided I would be the one who takes the photos and captures the moments.

During our last school holidays in April, my family and I went to Kangaroo Island. It was a great place to take a few snaps, but even these great photos don’t do this gorgeous destination justice. Many of my photos were taken at Kangaroo Island but not all of them, as you will see, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide are also gorgeous places to take photos.

Kangaroo Island, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide were the perfect places to take a few nice shots for my Year 6 Photography Assignment. Every time I saw something pretty, interesting, cute or just plain random, I would take a photo. As this happened every day, I ended up taking more than just a few. All of those photos really accumulated! I took thousands of photos and I had to go through them all to choose my favourite 26.

I really enjoyed the Photography Assignment and I am proud of the end result. I learnt that if you take a lot of photos, there will be some good ones. My favourite part of this assignment was looking through all of the photos. It was fun editing them too.

The program I was using to edit most of the photos is called Adobe Lightroom. The program has many cool features such as changing the colour, exposure and general photo properties. The main purpose of Lightroom is to change the overall image such as lighting.

For specific parts of the image I needed Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is a lot harder to use than Lightroom, but it was able to do a few things which I couldn’t do in Lightroom. I used Photoshop for two of the final. I used it to make images have a specific area in colour and the rest black and white, like “A Pear of Eyes” or “A Beacon in the Dark”. Overall, both programs are amazing for editing photos but only if you know how to use them!

There were a few bumps in the road when I was doing my Photography Assignment. There were three main problems which I encountered. The first problem was having to sort through my thousands of photos. I took a quick look and deleted all of the obvious bad ones, like black screens which were accidents. This seemingly simple task took forever! Then, I had to choose which photos I wanted in which category, which brings me to my second problem.

My favourite photos were Flagged and then I had to categorise them into 20 groups such as Shapes, Colour, Portrait and many more. I didn’t know how to categorise my photos without having too many in one folder and not enough in another. Some photos I really wanted to keep, but the category I thought it would naturally fall under, already had the maximum amount of photos in it. I had to start being creative! For example, I had four photos of animals altogether, but I was only allowed two photos in each category, so I put two photos under the “Animals” category and moved one called “Beauty on a Mountain” into the “Colour” category. The forth animal photo I moved was the funniest, I put “Kevin Bacon and Eggs”, under the food category!

The third and final problem was the due date of the assignment. I wanted to impress my teachers so I ordered a book online to present as my assignment. Snapfish.com.au said it would take “4 to 6 business days” to arrive. I was trying to finish as fast as I could but using their software took a few days and by the time I clicked “Order”, I only had 5 days until the due date, so I thought I was fine. That is when my mum explained to me what the phrase “business days” means! I was mortified when I realised my assignment would be late.

I released my photos to Flickr and showed them to people I knew. I discovered that different people liked different photos and there was not a single image which everyone agreed was their favourite. I didn’t know which photo I should put on my front cover. I decided I would choose, “FEED ME!” as the main photo.

Here are my three favourites…

  1. My first favourite: FEED ME!Kangaroo Island is full of amazing wildlife and we wanted to see the pelicans. We just missed feeding time at the wharf, however when we arrived the pelicans were still there and hungry for more food. I snapped one while it squawked at us. I thought it might gobble up my camera!

    If you look closely you will notice that the pelican’s throat is quite tiny and I don’t understand how it fits big fish down it!

    I like this photo because I captured the pelican at the perfect moment!

    Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rubycogan/17500837754/
    Camera: Apple iPhone 6

  2. My second favourite: A Beacon in the Dark

    This is Cape de Couedic Lighthouse build in 1909 on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. If you look carefully you will see my Mum, my Dad and my big sis. This photo was taken on a stormy April afternoon. 30 seconds after this photo was taken, the heavens opened up and blessed us with hail!\

    I really like this photo because it is so striking. When I was looking over all of my photos, I saw this photo and realised the red was the brightest colour in it. So I set to work and I made the rest black and white.

    Link: flickr.com/photos/rubycogan/17503575173/in/photostream/
    Camera: Apple iPhone 6

  3. My final favourite: The Journey of Life

    Kangaroo Island is the third biggest island off mainland Australia and there were a lot of roads to drive along. As we were driving along one of the many roads, I thought this would be an interesting photo with perfect symmetry. I walked into the middle of the road, took a few snaps. Voila!

    This photo really stood out to me because of the perfect symmetry. I lowered the exposure to make it slightly darker, lifted the contrast and this was the end result.

    Link: flickr.com/photos/rubycogan/18097059876/
    Camera: Apple iPhone 6

So they were my favourites, but what are yours? Enjoy my album and press the Flickr *star* on the photos you like (it is the same as “Like” in Facebook).

Ruby Cogan

Video: My School Captain Ceremony for Claremont College 2015

Last year I was grateful to be chosen to be the 2015 Girl School Captain for Claremont College.

This year I have been very busy doing speeches, raising the flag in the mornings, talking to parents during functions and generally trying to be a good School Captain along with Tom Findlay, who is our Boy School Captain. Mr Doug Thomas, my principal, tells a story about him as a leader when he was our age.

2 years ago my sister Eve was also School Captain, she inspired me and I know I have big shoes to fill.

The video is of the official ceremony and I hope you like it.

rubyruby-1 ruby-2

School Captains:

  • Ruby Cogan
  • Tom Findlay

School Prefects:

  • Carlos Tobiano
  • Timothy Moore

Band Captains:

  • Nadia Hui
  • Hamish Boyd

Chess Captain:

  • Jayden Lim

Choir Captain:

  • Matthew Awad

CRU Captain:

  • Paul Nicolaou

Creative Arts Captain:

  • Olivia Vouris

Eco Warriors Captains:

  • Ella Ford
  • Rhys Williams

House Captains – Austin:

  • James Jenkins
  • Ellie Horrax

House Captains – Hyland:

  • Lachlan Muffett
  • Lydia Cheng

House Captains – Storey:

  • Georigina Beer
  • Antonia Sukkar

House Captains – Wearne:

  • Ethan Nixon
  • Kai Hastings


I was a Finalist in Flickerfest 2015

I decided to enter Flickerfest. It all started with my sister’s Eve’s idea. Flickerfest is an international and Australian short film festival held each year with different categories.  The festival screened the finalists in January at Bondi Beach. Some outdoors at night “under the stars”, some in the threatre at the Bondi Beach Pavilion.


I entered three of my videos which included my interview with “Dick Smith, Businessman, Adventurer, Philanthropist“, my environmental video called “Rewarding Recycling” and my video about “Treetop Adventure Park“. The video that I wanted them to select and the video that I thought had the highest chance of becoming a finalist was my Dick Smith video. We were told that over 2,200 videos were entered and only 19 videos were short listed in FlickerUp. Surprisingly, my video “Rewarding Recycling” was selected as a finalist. My sister, Eve, entered one video which was based on how Australia created Wi-Fi, and it was also selected. We had very proud parents that day!

Figure: Mine and Eve's videos on the shortlist

Figure: Mine and Eve’s videos on the finalists list

When Eve and I were accepted we were given a list of instructions for extra stuff. They needed extra formats of the video file, photos and other stills needed for promotional material.  There was so much extra to do for the festival! The instructions were very difficult to implement and understand because they used very technical language. After some researching my sister and I finally understood what to do.

A few weeks later on a very hot day my very happy family were driving to Bondi Beach to attend Flickerfest and watch the finalists’ videos with many of our family friends.

We saw all 19 finalist’s videos and I noticed most of them were stories with a moral at the end. There were two videos which I particularly enjoyed. The first one was called “Misconception” by Shendell Hay. At first it appeared to be a murder story because a man lined up knives, he was wearing gloves and there was a red substance on several items in the kitchen which looked like blood. However, at the end there was an unexpected twist when he actually was just making some jam! The life lesson of that story is that if you change the way you look at something, the thing you are looking at will change.

The next video which I particularly enjoyed was called “My Only Enemy is Time” by Elly Carantinos. The video was about an old Greek man that had just been declared legally blind by his doctor.  We learnt about the cycle of life. The man was speaking in Greek (which I can understand) and there were English subtitles at the bottom. He explained that as a younger man he had built his holiday home by himself and then he went on to explain he was now too old to do any repairs to it and so now unfortunately he was forced to sell his holiday home. The video shows the old man going to the cemetery to visit his wife and his other friends. He made an analogy of life to that of a fig on a fig tree. The fig grows and develops and after a while the fig will fall off. This was my favourite video and it brought many tears to my eyes. In fact, I am sad again writing these words.

We were then given a twenty minute break so the judges could make their decisions. As we were at Bondi Beach, we went for a quick swim with our family friends the Voulgaris’ and we were quickly back, ready to hear the judges decisions.

The judges didn’t pick my video, but I was happy to be one of the 19. I was very lucky to meet the judges and hear how they judged the videos. This was an amazing experience and I hope to enter more videos in the future.

They did pick someone I know for the winner, but I am not allowed to tell you who. Sorry but Eve has promised me that she will blog it this week or I will have to tell you 🙂


Video: What might children be saying in 2025? (If we destroy our environment)

I was asked to be a part of an advertisement to help save Australia’s environment. It was organised by Getup who help protect Australia’s environment.

I thought the video was funny. The video shows a classroom in 2025 where 4 kids (including me) are telling their holiday stories during “Show and Tell”. Each student has a different “environmental” story to tell.

The first news story is about the disappearance of the “Great Barrier Reef”. The second news story is about “fracking” in the outback. The third story is my story and I tell the class about the deforestation happening in Tasmania. The last story is about allowing shooting in our National Parks.

The video ends by asking all Australians to “help protect the places that make Australia beautiful” by not allowing Prime Minister Tony Abbott to hand over decision-making powers to State Governments and vested interests.

Figure: This is me in 2025

Figure: This is me in a classroom in 2025

I really enjoyed being part of this production and I hope this never happens to Australia. 2025 is only 10 years away! I learnt so much on the day, because I was the last child to be filmed, so I asked lots of questions about fracking and how it pollutes our water. I don’t think mining companies should be allowed to frack in Australia.

Join me on the walk. (I plan on being there on the first day, Saturday 21 February [Avon Dam and Camden events])

Please Don’t Frack! Sydney’s Water is too Precious

Sydneysiders will walk 160km this month, from where our drinking water comes from, right to NSW Parliament in the centre of the city to deliver an important message to our MPs: protect our water!

It doesn’t kick off until 21 February but it’s already making news: http://www.macarthuradvertiser.com.au/story/2854953/water-walk-heading-through-macarthur/

Join the Walk for Water… You don’t have to walk the whole way though, of course you are welcome to. RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1494059474205041/



Dynamite – Karise Eden’s Music Video (Behind the Scenes)

I was in Karise Eden’s music video called ‘Dynamite’. Karise Eden is an amazing singer and she was the first winner of The Voice. Everybody loves her unique voice.

I was excited to be part of Karise’s music video and the story was great. The Dynamite video shows the story of a young girl that is bullied, finds a boxing club, learns how to defend herself and then grows up to be a champion and is able to share the wisdom she has to younger children.

Making the video was a long day. I woke early very excited, ready to meet Karise Eden! I eagerly packed my gym clothes and set the destination in my dad’s phone. After a little while we were at the famous boxing gym, Redfern’s Tony Mundine Gym. I was told that many champions have trained there.

My dad and I arrived and were greeted by the directors, Lawrence Lim and Bruce Dawson. I soon found out that Karise had already done her filming the day before and wasn’t coming in. 🙁  I spent the next few minutes saying hello to all of the actors at the shoot. I got changed into my school uniform (Claremont College) and had my make up done.

The scenes weren’t filmed in order. The first scene we filmed was when I walked into the gym curious to know about this new world. After filming that scene I got changed into my exercise gear ready to box. Once I was dressed I was given a delicious chocolate milkshake by Bruce! Time was short, so I had to start the next scene, so I let my dad mind it for me.

Before any more scenes I needed to really box well so Rob Flanigan taught me for hours, while other scenes were filmed. I have worked with Rob before in a NOVR movie called Blood and Steel, and he is very nice and kind. He also was a professional boxer when he was younger in England! I learnt the different techniques of boxing, then we were able to do 3 more scenes where Rob was teaching me how to box.


Figure: I learnt a lot about boxing

When the scenes were finished I came back to a half finished chocolate milkshake!

I then got changed back into my school uniform to film the remaining scenes. It was getting late but everyone was awesome. What a day!

When the video was released I thought the editing was excellent because it expressed the story of a shy girl who was bullied and then got strong and confident. I hope you like it.

Here are some cool photos from the day: