RS Schools’ Alumni

Former pupils of Round Square Schools share their experiences and reflect on how these continue to influence their lives and choices since leaving school. Click the summaries below to read more and if you are a former pupil of a Round Square School, or know someone who is and has a story we should share, please put us in touch with them or click the link to tell us about your experiences.

Elliot Berry

Elliot Berry: Founder, The Noah Initiative Windemere School, UK

A former pupil of Windemere School, Elliot Berry is founder and director of Kenya-based charity, The Noah Initiative, which provides disadvantaged young boys in Kenya with positive mentors, and was inspired by his experiences on exchange at RS School, Tiger Kloof, in South Africa. “As a teenager, it’s a battle: between your heart, your head, your dreams, your fears,” he says. “Should you go with the easy life, which might be fun and financially rewarding, or should you pursue what you think is your life’s purpose? What you want and what you think you should do, do not always go together.”

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Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini

Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini: Founder and Executive-Director, ICAN Cobham Hall, UK

A former pupil of Round Square School, Cobham Hall, Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini is an influential peace campaigner, consultant and author, who has brought the issue of women in countries torn apart by conflict both to the debating floor of the United Nations and to the attention of academia and the global media. “Through Round Square at Cobham, students were celebrated for all different reasons. It’s instilled in me a respect and wider appreciation for people with different skillsets and abilities in my team.”

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Nimet Rene service

Nimet Rener: Director of the Aga Khan Education Services Gordonstoun School, Scotland

Nimet Rener, a former pupil of RS school, Gordonstoun is now Director of the Aga Khan Education Services, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network working to improve the living conditions and opportunities for people in some of the poorest parts of the developing world. “Having opportunities to take leadership roles at the school helped me understand that leadership isn’t necessarily about being the first, or necessarily the best, but being the one who can bring people together towards a shared goal and create a team spirit. I started to learn that Leadership isn’t about making yourself the priority, it’s about representing your team members.”

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Katharina Dolezal: World Health Organisation Cobham Hall, UK

Katharina Dolezal works at the European Regional Office of the World Health Organisation in Copenhagen, Denmark, supporting countries in their efforts to increase vaccination uptake and to reduce the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. She credits the inspiration for her international career to her time at RS school, Cobham Hall. “If you work hard and believe, you can achieve anything. I don’t mean sitting on the bed wishing for something to happen, I mean getting out into the world and making it happen. I remember the wise words of my Housemaster at Cobham who told us: ‘don’t be active be proactive’. It inspired me to follow my heart and my passion but understand that I had to work hard to achieve it.”

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Marcelo

Marcelo Rochabrún: Investigative Journalist Markham College, Peru

As a student at Round Square school, Markham College in Peru, Marcelo Rochabrún spearheaded a student volunteer response to the Peruvian earthquake disaster of 2007 that constructed more than 30 community centres helping over 3000 people access emergency resources. Since then his dedication to Service has inspired an award-winning career as a current affairs investigative journalist. “The sense of fulfilment has lasted for years. I was privileged to see people using the buildings and see and hear the gratitude they felt at what we had provided. But I also saw how they developed them as the years progressed”

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Alison Corner

Alison Corner: Management Consultant Lakefield College, Canada

Alison Corner, former pupil of Lakefield College School is now a Management Consultant at a top consultancy firm in New York where she is she is currently working on an international research project examining the cultural differences affecting consumers’ financial behaviour. “Round Square gave me the foundation to learn about being a leader, exposed me to leadership opportunities early on, and demonstrated to me the many different perspectives of leadership. I draw upon this context whenever I am offered an opportunity to lead on a project or mentor a colleague.”

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Claire DesBrisay

Claire DesBrisay: Communications Director, Smile Africa St Clement’s School, Canada

Claire DesBrisay, a former pupil of St. Clement’s School in Canada, now lives and works in South Africa, a country she first visited on exchange nine years ago through her school’s membership of Round Square. Claire is currently Communications Director for Smile Africa Foundation (SAF) a grassroots NGO that promotes STEM in Africa through volunteer initiatives. Of her exchange experience at St Cyprian’s School she says: “It was really difficult to see the contrast between the experiences of the rich and poor… it made me think deeply about where my place is in the world, what I can do to make a difference.”

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Charles Masaki: resident psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School Starehe Boys' Centre, Kenya

Charles Masaki, a resident psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, is a former pupil of Round Square School, Starehe, in Kenya, a Graduate of Nairobi University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. His research has taken him all over the world exploring potential new treatments to alleviate pain and manage depression. “I learned through Round Square the joy of meeting people from other nations and seen that we have more similarities than differences. I have experienced what it feels like when things go wrong, worked through those situations, and now take the ups and downs of life in my stride.”

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Nishant Makhijani

Nishant Makhijani: Assistant Director Advancement, University of Illinois Daly College, Indore, India

Nishant Makhijiani is Director of Advancement at the University of Illinois. A former pupil of Daly College in India, he attributes his passion for environmental issues, and the communication skills he now employs in his fundraising career, to his education at a Round Square school and his experiences on a RS exchange to Lakefield College in Canada. “People learn through experience. Don’t turn your back on an experience just because it seems irrelevant to your current life goals. You never know how it will help you in the future. Every experience I’ve had has shaped who I have become and will define my future too.”

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Shivam Juman

Shivam Jumani: Research Analyst, BuroHappold Dhirubhai Ambani International School, India

Shivam Jumani is an alumnus of Dhirubhai Ambani International School in India. He is now a Research Analyst at an influential consulting firm in New York where he has played a pivotal role in the creation of New York City’s Climate Change Action Plan. “The IDEALS came together for me in a way that informs all that I do” he says “Service isn’t just about volunteering or working for a charity, Environmentalism isn’t just about planting trees. I believe you can still make an impact by expanding the definitions of these IDEALS so that they can be imbibed seamlessly in one’s day-to-day life, regardless of one’s passion and career.”

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Josceline Cluff

Josceline Cluff Program Director, All Hands Volunteers Cobham Hall, England

Josceline Cluff is Program Director for an international natural disaster response organisation called All Hands Volunteers (www.hands.org) and a former student of Round Square school, Cobham Hall, in Kent, England. At the age of 16 this a RS exchange to the Indian School Al Ghubra in Oman “had a massive impact on me in a multitude of different ways. It was my first time being away from home for such an extended period. The experience also gave me a lot more confidence and fuelled what has become an insatiable desire to see more and more of the world.”

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Craig Bennett: Environmental Campaigner; CEO The Wildlife Trusts, former CEO Friends of The Earth

At the time of this interview, Craig Bennett was UK Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth. He describes how his Round Square experiences during a gap year at Sedbergh School in Canada helped to shape his views on environmental issues, providing “a connection to the natural world, opportunities to build my confidence, and an experience of camaraderie, community and common purpose”. “In an ideal world, these would be characteristics that you hope all schools would have in some way or another,” he says. “Round Square schools are very lucky to have that more explicitly as part of their ethos.”

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Liane Nowell: Project Development Manager at the Kenauk Institute

Biologist, Liane Nowell, was a student at Sedbergh School in Canada. The school’s membership of Round Square supported its passion for outdoor pursuits which in turn inspired Liane’s career in outdoor education and sustainability-driven scientific research. She now manages the Kenauk Institute, based in a 65,000 acre nature reserve in Canada, overseeing scientific research into the environment and running outdoor education programmes for young people. “The biggest theme that I still draw on today is the importance of being outside and pushing yourself from an educational standpoint. My current educational programmes draw upon components pulled from Sedbergh and Round Square.”

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Anna Van Der Ploeg: Contemporary Artist

Anna Van Der Ploeg is a former pupil of St Cyprian’s School in South Africa. Through her school’s Round Square membership, her participation in a regional conference, international service project and student exchange inspired an interest in the “complexity and diversity of the human experience”, a theme she has continued to explore and celebrate in her work as a contemporary artist. Anna has enjoyed success at home and abroad with two solo shows in Cape Town and Artist-in-Residence positions in Japan, India and France. “Round Square opened up my world to learning about people and how we function” she says. “There is value in learning about another place and having experiences outside of your realm.”

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Shadman Sahil Chowdhury

Shadman Sahil Chowdhury, a recent alumnus (2020) from Chittagong Grammar School (CGS) in Bangladesh, is passionate about leadership and service. Attending a school committed to character education has given him the confidence to affect positive change in the lives of others. “CGS gives us assurance that whatever you say, whatever you do, it won’t go unheard and you have equally as much of an opportunity to change the world as everyone else.” During his time at CGS Shadman initiated fundraisers, led conference teams, and worked to breakdown stereotypes and destructive behaviours in his community through student discussion groups.

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Angela McCarthy: CEO, The Earth Foundation

Angela McCarthy, an alumnus from Aiglon College in Switzerland, is passionate about creating opportunities for students to be innovators and change-makers. Much of her work as CEO of The Earth Foundation has been inspired by her experiences at Aiglon, and realisation that she has pulled on the Round Square IDEALS as a powerful source of inspiration throughout her life. “It's amazing when you realize you were given a gift at school, you don't necessarily realize it. And then you have your “aha moment” in your forties when you think, 'Oh, this has already been a framework for me in my life'.”

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Ruxandra Bratfalean, Film Student

Ruxandra Bratfalean or “Ruxi”, graduated from Transylvania College, Romania, in 2018. Since leaving school, her passion for film making has led her to London, to study at the University of the Arts. Ruxi credits her Round Square education with giving her vital skills for later life; the numerous conferences she attended while at Transylvania College, along with the interactions she had with students from other countries, has given her the confidence to view each new situation as an opportunity. Rather than being fearful of change, she feels she is comfortable meeting challenges and sees it as a chance for courage and personal growth.

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Karolina Gaebe, Medical School Student

Karolina Gaebe, a former pupil of Rothesay Netherwood School in Canada is now studying at Medical School. The skills and understanding she gained at Rothesay Netherwood School continue to resonate and motivate her to drive forward and seize new challenges with enthusiasm and tenacity. Karolina’s advice for students is, “don’t be afraid of challenges. When you see something that you want to do, just try and do it. I think the worst that can happen is that it fails, and then you either find something else, or you try again. And then you succeed. That's the biggest lesson that I've learned from everything that I've done so far.”

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Beatriz Peixoto

As you walk around the Inter-Community School, you might notice bright flowers surrounding the entrances. Within each pot, there is a plaque etched with the name Beatriz Peixoto. The flowers are a reminder of an exceptional student and her determination to raise awareness for Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA), an auto-inflammatory disease that affects all parts of the body. Often unable to attend school, Beatriz felt that joining the Round Square Action Group gave her a positive focus, “…you get out what you put into it. If you want to grow, you want to be a better person and you want to push yourself out of the comfort zone, you have to start by joining Round Square.”

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Molly Turpie

Molly Turpie is an alumna from AKS Lytham. She graduated in 2018 with A Levels in Maths, Geography and English. She is currently studying International Hospitality Business Management in Lausanne, Switzerland. Following an RS International Conference hosted by Aiglon in Switzerland, Molly and her fellow AKS students created The Bring Me Sunshine Project helping alleviate loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly in her hometown of Lytham. When Molly was asked to share her message to other students about her own superpower. “I think I'm always positive. I really am not often negative, because I don't think it helps with anything. Being pessimistic is never going to help you achieve anything."

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Alexandra Tidd

Alexandra Tidd is a 2017 graduate from the Inter-Community School in Zurich, Switzerland. She is studying for her Masters of Research in Biosystematics at Imperial College, London. She hopes that this will lead her to a PhD in the field of cancer research. Alexandra believes that her experiences with Round Square have had a strong impact on her personal development and how she views the world. Alexandra identifies strongly with the Spirit of Internationalism. Whenever she had the opportunity, she applied for experiences that would allow her to access other cultures and schools at a deeper level. “I think the Round Square opportunities I took part in really brought me face-to-face with other cultures and walks of life more so than I would have ever gotten to do on my own, especially at that age.”

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Dr Charlotte Newton, GP

Dr Charlotte Newton is an Inter-Community School (ICS) graduate and currently practicing as a General Practitioner (Family Doctor) in the UK, caring for patients who come from “quite a deprived area within the community”. According to Charlotte, “schools shape you more than you realise… I can’t say it was all the school, a good half of it was how my parents brought me up to always think of others, be kind to others and put yourself in their shoes. The two of those together have given me a good springboard to work where I work, and to do what I do.” In her final year at ICS, Charlotte was awarded the ICS Service Award in recognition of the service she had given to others.

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Jack Harrison

Jack Harrison, is an ICS alumnus and recent Oxford University History Graduate; Jack believes that his experiences at school shaped his character and gave him an insight into how invigorating and challenging supporting a cause could be. Jack currently works as the Corporate Planning and Reporting Officer at the Red Cross and feels that many of his choices beyond school were strongly influenced by his experiential learning at ICS. "The work is one thing, but there is a whole world out there and if you do not look to it, you do not engage with it, then you won’t do the work very well because you are not appreciating the world in which it sits and… you won’t really be flourishing to the extent that you can."

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