Where are you now?

Orana Steiner School would like to hear from all former students.

What have you been up to since heading out into the global community? We would love to hear and share where you are, what you’ve achieved and what’s been happening in your world.  No matter how long you have been at our School or how many years it has been since you left; we are interested to hear from you.  You can provide as much information as you wish, including a photo (high quality if possible), and we will share it on this website and on our social media channels.

Please share your news and photos at [email protected]


Meet Our Alumni

Sarah Ireland Photo

Sarah Ireland

I attended Orana Steiner School from preschool through to year 12, graduating in 2017. After graduating from college at Orana, I went into the ACT public service as a liaison officer but realised that it was not the right path for me. I wanted a career that was filled with purpose and personal connections. I am currently studying to become a registered nurse at the University of Canberra, with my goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. Over the past year I have been enjoying working as a support assistant in nursing, whilst studying. Reflecting on my time at Orana I realised that my aptitude for my current roles was gained through activities such as community programs, volunteer work and being given the chance to put my leadership skills into action to direct drama classes.

I believe that these opportunities during my education at Orana contributed to my independence and my compassion for those in the community. I am truly grateful for the experiences that Orana offered and the nurturing support and encouragement I received from particular teachers. I have many fond memories of my time at Orana and through this journey, gained lifelong friends.


Teah Searle photo cropped

Teah Searle

Posted November 2019


I graduated from Orana in 2017. When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do, it took me almost a year of an unsatisfying job and a few TedTalks to decide what I wanted to do. One TedTalker said - when thinking about a career think about what you think you are good at, what other people tell you that you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. From my community service at Orana I knew that I enjoyed teaching and coaching and was told that I did a good job. From this experience I also knew that I enjoyed working with young people to develop their skills and see them grow. I am currently three quarters of the way through a Certificate IV in Community Services, Community Development, Youth Work and Alcohol and Other Drugs with Canberra Institute of Technology. I will finish this at the end of this year and hope to either work at a high school as a Youth Worker or visit schools around Canberra informing students on issues affecting young people such as positive body image, safe alcohol and other drug use, safe sex, positive mental health and strategies for managing stress. I moved to Orana part way through year 10 and I am so glad that I did. Simply the change in environment as well as the attention that the teachers gave me helped me achieve learning outcomes I was not achieving at any other school. My favourite parts of Orana were the small classes and the relationships students developed with their teachers. These two combined, made Orana an ideal and safe learning environment, where it was easy to access support and work with teachers and other staff to reach my full potential. 




























Sophie Schiliro photo

Sophie Schiliro

Posted October 2019


I graduated Year 10 at Orana in 2016. I was passionate about cooking and wanted to be a chef. I organised with the school to do an Australian School Based Apprenticeship in Commercial Cookery; I undertook this course throughout Year 10, attending school and working as an apprentice chef 1 ½ days a week. I loved it so much that I decided to leave school in Year 10 and continue my apprenticeship full time. I worked at the National Press Club of Australia in Barton, where I finished my apprenticeship when I was 17 years old. I went on to do work experience at Restaurant Orana in Adelaide, ranked Australia’s number one restaurant. I then worked at The Truffle Farm in Canberra and at the British High Commission. My dream was to work for a Michelin Star restaurant and in August this year I was accepted as an intern and have now moved to Spain and started working at Azurmendi Restaurant: located in Larrabetzu Spain it is ranked the 14th best restaurant in the world with three Michelin Stars.

My time at Orana was instrumental in me finding a career I love. School helped me find my creativity in cooking and the confidence to know I can achieve whatever I put my mind to. I have also met life-long friends.

Some of my achievements: Certificate 3 in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery),  Silver medalist and Winner - Regional Apprentice of the Year competition 2017,  Silver medalist - National Apprentice of the Year competition 2017,  Rising Star Award – Australian Capital Territory Community and Service Awards 2016,  Bronze Medalist - 2018 National Apprentice Competition,  Received Silver and Second Place - 2018 Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat competition

Sophie Schiliro photo food collage































Mark Richards photo 1


Mark Richards

Posted October 2019


After graduating from Orana in 2012, I went on to complete an apprenticeship as an Electrical Distribution Linesman with ActewAGL, now Evoenergy. I help maintain Canberra's electrical network, replacing power poles and conductors. My office is 10 metres in the air, and about the width of a ladder - and it has some great views! 

We also repair the network during storms. It's not for the faint of heart - the top of a live power pole in the middle of a storm is one of the most dangerous places to be. 

If I'm not at work, you'll find me halfway up a rock face, or training in one of the local rock climbing gyms, or somewhere in the great outdoors.

I enjoy hands on work, which is where Orana was extremely helpful for me. I still use many of the skills taught in Design Technology, whether at work or at home, either fixing something or building something new. I've been lucky to have learned from some of the best!

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Piri Goodman

Posted October 2019


I graduated from Orana in 2013 after thirteen years at the school. During my time at Orana I participated in, and went on to help coach, the Orana after school circus. I also undertook training externally from the school.  

After graduating, I auditioned and was accepted into the 2015 intake of the bachelor program at the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne. I trained at the institution for three years specialising in Aerial Straps. The foundations I had from my schooling at Orana, especially in performance and anatomy, helped me excel in both the physical and academic elements of the course. 

Since acquiring my Bachelor’s degree in 2017, I have gone on to work with a number of circus companies performing across Australia and the world. I am currently on tour with Circa Contemporary Circus, a Brisbane based company, and spend as many as ten months of each year performing overseas.  

Through my career thus far, I have been lucky enough to perform in some truly incredible venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House, the Philharmonie de Paris, Palau de Musica Catalana in Barcelona and the Lincoln Center in New York just to name a few.  

What Orana offered me was a vast education in subjects I could never have imagined would be as useful as they are proving to be, all of which occurred in an environment that nurtured and encouraged question asking and reflection.  This holistic education culminated in a broad knowledge base and an undying flame of curiosity, fanned by an understanding of how much there is still to learn. 

I was also hugely privileged to be taught by passionate teachers who were invested in my own and my peers' development, both academically and as individuals.


Piri Goodman photo 5

Photo Credits: Red nose photo - Rowan Heydon-White. Two hanging photos - Kieran McNamara.















 Alex Thornton Scuba diving

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Alex Thornton 

Posted September 2019


I graduated from Orana (Year 12) in 2005. After a 6 year period of travelling and working, I went back to study. I studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts, then went onto study Marine Science. I graduated with Honours in Marine Science in 2017. I studied manta rays in Coral Bay, W.A. I have wanted to be a marine biologist ever since I was young, but never believed I was smart enough. However, after working incredibly hard I managed to complete both degrees and am now working as a marine biologist in Port Douglas, QLD. I also am a marine illustrator, drawing marine life and selling prints, originals and apparel under my business name Ocean Alex Art.

I feel so grateful I am able to work on the Great Barrier Reef every day, where I am presented with endless inspiration for my artwork. My greatest passion is to merge science and art, and connect people to the magic of the ocean. I hope people fall in love with the ocean and want to learn more about the marine life they love and the biology and life histories of those species. With love and knowledge comes a sense of responsibility that I hope to create with my art. I also try to participate in as many ocean conservation projects as I can in my spare time, like coral restoration, ocean cleanups and climate change rallies. I also donate a portion of the profits from the artwork I sell to ocean conservation.

A big part of my Year 12 Project at Orana was finding myself and believing in myself and I learnt to scuba dive which helped to blossom my love for the ocean. I did art throughout my time at Orana, and loved spending countless hours in the art room. Orana really encouraged me to bring out what I was passionate about and my natural talents. I learnt to think differently about life and how to approach situations from varying angles by having a creative mind set. I absolutely loved my time at Orana and the connections I made with friends and teachers there are priceless. I believe it has helped shape the person I am today. 

My plans for next year are to travel more and gain experience in the field working as a marine biologist on varying projects, working with manta rays in the Maldives and Indonesia.









 Geoff Pearce photo TAFE project

Geoff Pearce

Posted September 2019


I graduated Year 12 at Orana in 2014, after being there since Kindergarten, and immediately took on an apprenticeship in Cabinet Making.

Since completing my apprenticeship I am now working full time as a qualified Cabinet Maker at a small company based in Queanbeyan, creating high-end residential joinery and furniture for houses all over Canberra, as well as for some areas a little further from home, such as Guerilla Bay and Thredbo.

A huge amount of my love for working with timber comes from my time spent as a student at Orana, where Design Technology was my favourite subject. All throughout my time at school I was taught to think creatively, and having a lateral thought process helps me overcome many obstacles in my job. Learning a wide variety of subjects also helps me communicate with and relate to people who moments before were complete strangers, be they other tradesmen, clients or potential friends.

Geoff Pearce photo wardrobe






 Laurence Koenig 2019 photo 1


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Laurence Koenig

Posted September 2019


I went to Orana from year 4 to year 12. After Graduating in 2012 I worked and travelled in Europe for six months. 

At the end of 2013, I returned home to work on our family farm. Whilst working on the farm, I completed a Diploma in Organic Agriculture, a Statement of Attainment in Holistic Resource Management and a Statement of Attainment in welding and metal fabrication. In 2015, I joined my local Rural Fire Service. Over the years I have attended several incidents and enjoyed volunteering for the community. 

In 2016 I decided it was time to get some different practical experience, so I travelled around N.S.W and W.A and worked on eight different properties as a farm hand. After traveling through Australia I returned home to the family farm. When our own farm did not keep me busy enough I would do contract work for other rural businesses. 

My girlfriend is currently studying in the Netherlands. As I was not enjoying the long-distance part of our relationship, I decided to take the opportunity to experience something new and temporarily moved to the Netherlands, where I now have a job on an organic farm.

You can probably tell that I am a very practical person. This is what I loved about Orana, being able to balance ‘traditional’ learning with so many hands on classes. Both Design Technology and the Year 12 Project helped to keep me focused in that final year.







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Anna R Heart

Anna Roufogalis

Posted September 2019


I attended Orana from Year 1 to Year 12, graduating in 2014.

After graduating from Orana, I spent a year travelling to a variety of places including Greece where I spent time with my family. I am incredibly lucky that my cousins in Greece are not only family, but some of my favourite people in this world (I visit them as often as I can).

Following my year off I started a double degree at the ANU in Medical Science and Design Arts, which I will complete at the end of this year. I hope to spend next year travelling again and then move on to study Medicine the following year. To assist me in this endeavour, I am currently employed as a Wardsperson in the surgical theatres at Calvary John James Hospital, where I am immersed in the medical world and get the privilege of viewing many procedures. 

I have Orana to credit for my interest in two such different degrees. Although they appear to be a strange combination, I have always felt I am incomplete without exercising both my academic and creative interests. Orana was amazing for teaching me to value these two sides of myself equally and giving me the confidence to pursue them both. I find each of my degrees influences the other, as I often create artworks inspired by science and look at science from a less ‘black and white’ standpoint than my peers. 

When I think back on my time at Orana, I have many fond memories, however my favourite times were always spent on camp. We went on a large variety of camps at Orana where we got to spend time outdoors participating in activities such as hiking, canoeing, rafting, swimming, climbing and many team building exercises. Many of my best friends I made at Orana and I will be forever grateful for the bond I have with these people.

Anna R prints   Anna R Cushion of insides








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Hannah Pearce

Graduate Surveyor

Posted September 2019


I'm a Graduate Surveyor who finished school in 2012, having gone through Orana from Kindergarten to Year 12. I took a year off to work and travel around Europe, including spending two months on a biodynamic farm in Germany, before heading to university. 

I’ve now completed my four-year Engineering degree in Surveying at UNSW, and have been working full time as a surveyor for the past two years. I’m working towards becoming a Registered Surveyor, a qualification of around the same level as a Masters degree, which will allow me to legally sign off on changes and redefinitions of land boundaries. 

One of my favourite things about Orana was the way everyone was exposed to a broad variety of subjects, rather than being pigeonholed early on into either STEM or the Arts. My career is pretty heavily maths and technologically based, but having had that background at school in art as well, helps me in terms of creating finished, well-presented plans to give to clients. I think it's really important to get that early exposure to all different topics - music, art, maths, science, languages, outdoors - because you'll always be meeting new people who aren't working in your field, whether they be clients or future friends. Having some idea of subjects outside your field helps you to relate to other people and to find common ground.


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Isaac Gallahar

Isaac Gallahar

Posted August 2019


I attended Orana from sessional kindergarten through to mid Year 11, when I decided to part ways and pursue my sporting endeavours (unsuccessfully, not as good at football as I thought I was, apparently!). 

When I think of Orana I think of the brightest times of my life. Every time I drive past the primary school I get a bit excited and end up slowing down to relish the memories. 

I could name so, so many things I loved about Orana. I had opportunities such as playing ice hockey, helping with community work, hiking through Tasmania and Kosciusko, going to JAPAN!!!! So many endless memories that I will never forget. 

My closest friends are from Orana, and I am forever grateful for it. 

Since leaving Orana and graduating college, I have travelled overseas for 3 months, worked full time and recently enlisted in the Australian Army as a trainee at RMC-Duntroon, where hopefully soon I will graduate as a commissioned officer in the Army. I always find myself relying on skills I was taught at Orana, and some day hope to be able to send my children there.






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Sharaine Talip

Posted August 2019

I was a student at Orana for 11 years, from Kindergarten to Year 10. After completing Year 12, I moved to Melbourne where I worked in various creative businesses and also completed my undergraduate degree in Education (Early Childhood and Primary) at the Australian Catholic University. I am also a mother to four wonderful children and step-mum to three more wonderful children.

After ten years in Melbourne, I returned to Canberra to be closer to family and to begin studying the Certificate in Rudolf Steiner Education (Primary) via distance education at the Sydney Rudolf Steiner College. I am now a primary teacher at Orana, and have been lucky enough to be a class teacher for two different cohorts of children as they completed their seven-year cycle.

My children also attend Orana, and have experienced the beauty of a Steiner education their whole lives.

Some of my fondest memories at Orana were of doing art, handwork, music and Main Lesson. My love of creative subjects has influenced my own creative life, and I still paint, draw, sew and play music today. 

One of my other favourite aspects of life at Orana were the beautiful chalkboard drawings that my class teacher would produce each day. As a class teacher, this is now one of my favourite parts of my job and I love being able to bring such beauty, creativity and imagination into my teaching practice. 

From my time at Orana, I gained a sense of independence and perseverance, a reverence for the creative spirit and compassion for others. This has helped me not only in moving to unfamiliar places and taking the plunge into new career paths, but also in my role as a parent and teacher.

Sharaine Talip black board Ship.docx   Sharaine Talip black board Astronomy.docx.JPG








Casey Meyen photo 2019

Casey Meyen

Posted August 2019


I attended Orana from Sessional Kindergarten to Year 10 (graduating in 1998). After graduating I received a Bachelor of Visual Arts/Arts from ANU and worked as a seamstress and design assistant in New York. I now live in the hills outside Melbourne with my daughter and am tantalisingly close to completing a Masters of Primary Teaching. I hope to eventually become a Steiner teacher. 

My memories of school are full of warmth, colour, adventure and imagination. I credit this education for my creativity, adaptability, resourcefulness and passion for continued growth and learning. I can’t imagine life without the wonderful lifelong friends I made at Orana.






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Kahli Cooper Class photo Mrs Mac Sydney


Kahli Cooper

Posted August 2019

I went to Orana from Kindergarten through to year 12 - apart from one year I attended another school but wanted to go back to Orana.

My time at Orana was truly magical. I love thinking back on all the memories I have there and the friendships I made. The friends I made there are my best friends for life. I'm lucky to have met them through school and to have shared our schooling experience together. 

I could name a million things I loved about going to school at Orana; for example in the younger years learning through play, being encouraged to use our imagination, the colourful classrooms and the always interesting main lessons. But something that has stuck with me is the relationships we built with the teachers. Not only were they our teachers but our inspiration, our idols and our friends. The teachers were always helpful and truly wanted their students to succeed which I believe is why so many of us did. 

I was in the graduating class of 2013. After I finished school I did some travelling, working and studying. 

I studied Enrolled Nursing at Canberra Institute of Technology and graduated in 2017. I moved down to the coast to live with my partner and worked in a rural hospital as well as working in home nursing. In July 2018 my partner and I were blessed with a baby boy so I am currently off work raising him. 

I still knit and sew often, skills which I'm very grateful for learning at school. I also still have all my beautiful coloured pencils and crayons from primary school. 
Steiner schools support creativity in all aspects of learning. Although some students are more creative than others, everyone benefits from participating in the variety of lessons and activities that are offered at Orana. 

I consider myself lucky to have gone to such a wonderful school and am grateful for all I was taught throughout my years there. I am grateful that my parents knew what a wonderful partner to my developing years Steiner education offered. I hope my son is able to attend a Steiner School in the future to have the same nurturing schooling environment that I had.

Kahli Cooper Class photo Formal

Kahli Cooper Class photo Opera House






 Laurence Kain 2

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Laurence Kain

Posted August 2019


I was never particularly academic but LOVED outdoor ed at Orana - I still enjoy back country skiing, rock climbing and surfing. I look back on my time at Orana as some of the most enjoyable years filled with practical learning.

Over the last few years, I have linked up with our old outdoor ed instructor from school, John Morrel, who now runs a back country guiding company in Japan - it has been awesome to reconnect with him because I really looked up to him growing up.

Now I have two kids, both girls - and a really awesome wife. We live in Hackett and have a fairly epic vegetable garden. (Thanks to my time at Orana)

I started year 10 work experience in a bar and never stopped pouring drinks!

I started running music festivals in 2007 - co founding Kicks Entertainment (Foreshore Festival) and in 2011 opened up my first venue, Honkytonks followed by Hippo Co in 2013. Running bars is fun while you are young but does not really suit family vibes so in 2015 sold both venues to start a brewery.

Capital Brewing Co is at Dairy Road in Fyshwick - we have a tap room where you can come and have a beer and sell packaged and keg beer to pubs and bottle shops around Australia. We have grown the brewery over the last couple of years to produce well over a million litres of beer with 45 staff.

I have been self-employed now for just on 12 years and never had a 'real job' - I am self-taught and have learnt some hard lessons mixed in with some success along the way. 

It's been real and Orana played a large part in preparing me for it.










Benjamin Harlow 2019

Benjamin Harlow

Posted August 2019


I moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York City about 12 years ago, and have enjoyed every day of it.

I'm Director of Product Design at TMRW, a Med-Tech startup creating revolutionary hardware and software solutions for Cryogenic Storage in IVF Clinics.

Orana helped set me on a path of continual creative growth and recently I graduated from the International Centre of Photography in their Continuing Education program, and have taken part in group exhibitions in Brooklyn. Photography has become a serious hobby and creative exploration. My best memories of Orana are all of the friends I made there, whom I encourage to come visit me in NYC.






 Adrienne Walls Nichols 2

Adrienne Walls-Nichols

Posted August 2019


I started at Orana in Kindergarten and went all the way through to Class 10, we had no College then. After school I went on to study graphic design and have been working in the industry since 2004.

I am also mum to two boys and spend a lot of my time chopping wood, feeding chickens and drinking coffee.

When I think of my time at Orana, I have such vivid memories of being in the forest, we all felt so connected to it, our games were complex and involved and some of our cubbies should have been on Grand Designs. To have explored and known a forest like that is so rare for kids who live in the city – we could have mapped where each tree was and told you their defining features. There was such a sense of freedom because of our surrounds, this is something I really needed as a child and has hugely contributed to how I parent.

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 Jake Coppinger Feb 2019

Jake Coppinger TEDxSydney 2014

 Jake Coppinger

Posted August 2019

I'm Jake Coppinger, and I was an Orana student from kindergarten through to year 9 (2003-2012). I have since moved to Sydney to study Computer Science at UNSW on a UNSW Co-Op scholarship and will be working at Atlassian after graduation.

Since Orana I have presented at TEDxSydney in front of 2,250 people in the Sydney Opera House, been sponsored by Intel to represent Australia at the International Science & Engineering Fair in LA, received the top score of 45,000 students across Australia, NZ, Singapore and other Asian countries in a 2013 science competition, and grown my filmmaking YouTube channel past a profitable 4 million views.

I still enjoy playing the violin in a university orchestra, and I enjoy photography, filmmaking, and all sorts of design in my spare time.

In a world of standardised testing and uncertain future job prospects, Orana focuses on cultivating a love of learning in students. Having experienced Montessori, Steiner, public education and now a Group-Of-Eight university I believe that Steiner education forms an excellent foundation for lifelong learning and nurtures an innate curiosity of the world. Though it's not perfect and not for all individuals (I don't believe any school is) I wouldn't hesitate to send my children to Orana or a Steiner school one day.

My closest friends are from Orana and are kind, well spoken, exceedingly resilient to adversity and quietly confident in themselves. 

The thing I miss the most from Orana: the morning singing.





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Grace McIntyre

Posted August 2019

I attended Orana from Pre-sessional Kindergarten through to Year 12 (2001-2015) and I have very fond memories of my time there. Upon reflection, what stands out the most to me is the level of love and care that exists at the heart of the Orana community. I always felt deeply cared for and supported as an individual, whether through the connections I formed with my teachers and peers, the guidance I received to achieve academically, or the many enriching experiences I was given through music, sport, and school camps and excursions.

Upon finishing Year 12, I wondered how prepared I would be for the outside world. As it turned out, Orana had given me much more than the practical and academic skills required to secure a job or an offer at university. I now had the confidence within myself to go out into the world and pursue whatever I wanted. I remember feeling a strong sense of purpose and love for the world around me; a feeling I carry with me everywhere I go.

Since my time at Orana, I have worked, played sport, travelled around the world, and studied (a lot!). I am currently in my third year of a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at the ANU. After finding a love for forensics while studying in the Netherlands last year, I hope to eventually work somewhere like the AFP.