Students, past and present, represent the spirit and care for community that Korowal School has embodied since its foundation. When students graduate from this school, they take with them knowledge, passion, altruism, and strength of character. Our school develops key skills and character traits in our students to ensure they go into the world as well-rounded individuals who are confident in expressing their true self. This is achieved through the practices of our Oracy and Open Dialogue, which aims amplifies each student's voice. We endeavour to send our graduates out into the world able to draw on the skills they developed through the experiences they were exposed to at school in order to live meaningful, authentic lives.


Korowal didn’t prepare me for my career, it prepared me for life.
Helena Zadro-Jones, Korowal Alum


Our Growing List of Former Students

Eamon Waterford
Eamon Waterford

Eamon Waterford

Eamon’s career has spanned the social, economic and urban needs of Sydney. He is currently the CEO of The Committee for Sydney, an urban policy think tank that  advocates for the whole of Sydney, and its broader national impact, researching and developing solutions to the most important problems. Eamon started his career working side-by-side with people experiencing long-term homelessness in Penrith and Blacktown. 

What are some of your fondest memories of Korowal? Are there any teachers that left a particular impression on you?

I have such fond memories of Korowal – hard to pick just one or two! Korowal's culture and attitude towards students – treating them like fully-formed people left a strong impression on me. I remember an environment where the gap between teachers and students seemed smaller; I felt the respect and willingness to engage with student's imagination and innovation from the teachers and faculty was incredibly powerful. 


I specifically remember Bob Tucker's Modern History classes – I went in sceptical about whether this would be a topic that would interest me – I left inspired, passionate and certain I wanted to know more. 



How did school influence you/prepare you for your career?

Korowal made me a more well-rounded person. The focus on all forms of learning and encouraging students to be themselves helped me understand the world better. It encouraged me to explore interests I would probably never have considered at another school.

What have you been up to since graduating high school? 


I went to Uni, studied in Oslo, came back to Sydney and worked in homelessness and youth work. I have since moved into advocacy for issues I'm passionate about, and run the Committee for Sydney – a think tank advocating for the future of Sydney.  


If someone were considering sending their child to Korowal School, what opinions would you share about your experience to confirm their decision to enrol? Is there any advice you would give to a child about their impending schooling at Korowal?


Korowal is a small school – and one that doesn't let students just slip into doing things they're comfortable with and spending time with people the same as them. For me, Korowal encouraged me to try new things (and be good at them), while also encouraging me to build friendships with people I was unlikely to think I had things in common with. This was such an important part of my education. The philosophy, combined with excellence in the school's pedagogy, meant that I learnt more and explored more than I would have at any other school. 


If I was advising a new student on how to make the most out of their time at Korowal, I would encourage them to be brave and bold and try things they're interested in, even if they're not sure they're good at it (yet!).

Helena Zadro-Jones
Helena Zadro-Jones

Helena Zadro-Jones

Helena is an actor, writer, producer and graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art. She is also a co-founder of the Mountain of Youth film mentorship program, which aims to empower and train young storytellers in the Blue Mountains. 


What are some of your fondest memories of Korowal? Are there teachers that left a particular impression on you?


There are so many fond memories, it’s hard to pick specifics! When thinking about Korowal it always feels like a beautiful, golden dream. I almost always think of the beautiful big tree out the front, sitting under it in summer and trying my hardest not to climb it, and also sitting under the elephant tree (which sadly isn’t there anymore), and having mentor meetings with Rick Morris, who was my Pathways mentor. 


Cabaret, as you can imagine was always a really big highlight for me – getting ready in the music rooms and getting to hang out with the older kids and then the younger kids when I was the older one. It was always a massive collaboration, that felt fun and magical and beautiful.

There was always something exciting and different happening at Korowal. Every day felt exciting and new, whether that be because of the constant changing Focus Studies, or morning circles. There’d always be something to come home and talk about at the end of the day. 


In terms of teachers, every single one has left an impression on me. The way they hold themselves and relate to the students has really affected the way I also relate to peers and colleagues, as equals and, most importantly, humans. In particular:


Rick: He was the only reason that I kept enjoying Maths throughout Year 9 and 10. It was something that definitely did not come naturally to me and he always made it fun. He was a teacher and a friend I always felt comfortable confiding in and could have a cry with if I needed. He was always there to calm me down with a bit of cheeky humour, logic and patience.


Kelly: Just an inspiration as a person!! She’s a total powerhouse. It was always lovely to have someone with which to share my passion for theatre and Harry Potter. 


Barb Fitz: Always so calm in a crisis. Her conflict resolution skills have stuck with me in a really big way. Especially regarding resolving my own conflicts and helping to resolve others as well. For example, when I’ve been people’s managers or teaching students of my own. Barb’s dedication and love for Korowal is just incredible.


Cairo: In my younger years, he was totally instrumental to my love for acting, film and creativity. He was the most unorthodox teacher ever, but he sparked that love of acting for me and to this day I still remember lessons he taught me acting. 


I could keep going!! But also massive shoutout to Greg, Steve, Andrew and Mark as well. All of them, so different! But I have a lot of love and respect for all of them. And they’ve definitely stuck with me in a big way. 


How did school influence you/prepare you for your career?


Teachers like Cairo, Kelly, Liz Barclay and Michael Galloway were instrumental in prepping me for my career! They provided this amazing foundation of love for craft, hard work and passion. A lot of the lessons they taught me still resonate with me today. 


The biggest thing Korowal has done for me is help me feel confident and comfortable in who I am as a person. I didn’t learn a lot of the specific industry skills I needed for my career at Korowal. However, Korowal prepped me for communicating with other people well, for staying in touch with myself and the importance or emotional wellbeing, which are traits that I have carried with me through the hard times in life.


Korowal didn’t prepare me for my career, it prepared me for life. Which, to be honest when I first left school to move down to Sydney, I really struggled with. There were lots of people who I met at Uni who had a lot more professional experience than me in the acting, film and theatre world. Over time, I’ve become really grateful for the gentle and nurturing way that Korowal prepared me for the outside world. 


I feel more able to connect with others and myself in a deep way, I value community, self reflection, growth, kindness and empathy and I feel like these skills have gotten me further in my career and life. I’m super grateful to be able to do all these things at a young age; a lot of people I meet don’t value these traits till much later in life. 


What have you been up to since graduating high school? 


I graduated in 2018! And I was one of those people who opted for a gap year, so I could explore who I was outside of a system. However, I didn’t have the money to travel! So instead, I did a random array of things. I started a petsitting business in the Blue Mountains, so I could focus on freelance acting gigs and get a little bit of money. I started teaching Film and Acting at 3 Sisters Youth Theatre. 


At the end of 2019 I was asked to star in a local feature film with John Jarrat and also auditioned for NIDA, WAAPA and VCA. I got into the Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance, a one-year course at NIDA, which was a total game changer.


I moved to Sydney and studied down there during 2020 and graduated in 2021, with an agent and a lot more friends and connections. I did a few short films and a couple of pilot episodes for a kids' show. In lockdown, I wrote my first feature film and this ignited my love for the behind-the-scenes of film. I began to explore what this might look like for me. 


In 2022, I decided to move back to the Mountains to save money, and it was here that I met Kalani Gacon and Riley Saxton, who were in the very early stages of starting Mountain of Youth. I decided to jump on as an ‘intern’ to help out with some of the behind-the-scenes stuff and very quickly ended up becoming co-writer, producer and 1st AD of their film, as well as becoming one of the three key creatives who run Mountain of Youth. 2023 was our second time running it, this time with Springwood High. 


We’ve gotten a grant from Trish Doyle to help support Mountain of Youth. And we were also invited down to Parliament a couple of weeks ago to meet the Minister for Arts and Minister for Youth to discuss ways Mountain of Youth could use their support.


If someone were considering sending their child to Korowal School, what opinions would you share about your experience to confirm their decision to enrol? Is there any advice you would give to a child about their impending schooling at Korowal?


One of the biggest things I would say to a parent and child who were considering enrolling at Korowal is that if they’re looking for a super academic, competitive, results-driven environment, Korowal’s not the school for them. Korowal encourages students to move at their own pace, which worked really well for me, but probably won’t for everyone.


If parents want really well-rounded, emotionally intelligent, perceptive humans, Korowal is the way to go. Also definitely not for super sporty, competitive kids. 


The advice I’d give is that Korowal can be really intimidating at first if you’ve never been to a school like it. I started in Year 6 after coming out of a public school and it definitely took me a while to adjust. The students around you feel loud and confident and outrageous and it can be super overwhelming. But I would say go with the flow and take a deep breath, because the teachers are there to guide you through it and soon enough you’ll be one of those loud, confident and outrageous kids without even knowing it.