Alumni

Old-Greenfieldian Speeches From Graduation 2018

Alan Ellenberger

My name is Alan Ellenberger and I stood on this stage exactly 17 years ago… when I was 17 years old as a proud graduate of Greenfields School. I can truly say that the 5 years I spent here were some of the greatest years of my life. The dedication of the executives, staff and teachers is what makes the School not only so special but keeps it going as well, ultimately resulting in a better and saner world.

It was here at Greenfields that I really learned how to study and apply the data and therefore what it meant to become a “good” student. 17 years later I can look back and say that it was here where I was given all the basic tools I needed to fulfill my dreams and succeed in life.

After graduating from Greenfields I returned to Switzerland and started my profession as a software developer. The business school I had to visit was quite different from Greenfields, however I quickly managed to adapt to the situation and eventually finished with top grades. I went on to obtain a degree in banking & finance and later on obtained a Bachelor of Science in business administration.

While I was studying at University, I quickly realized that I did not want to end up working for someone else, but to start my own business, so I DID! Thanks to Greenfields and the staff, I had enough self-confidence and belief that I could go on and succeed at whatever I chose to do. So I founded my company. It has been a steep but rewarding climb from there. I had to learn about PR, marketing, sales, management, finding and closing investors and most importantly product development.

I am very happy and proud to say that my company just finished its first production run and is entering the wider market as we speak. Statistics say that 80% of all start-up companies go bankrupt within the first 5 years. But giving up was never an option and my company is now ready to take off.

So what did Greenfields and Study Technology do for me?

To summarize, it gave me the confidence and self belief as well as the tools to successfully study anything I want. It laid the strongest possible foundation for me to build upon.


Charlie Wakley

Hello, my name is Charlie Wakley and I was fortunate enough to get the full Greenfields treatment all the way from preschool to the 6th form of which I graduated from in 2005.

Greenfields is a funny place; I sort of look back at it in splendour and awe and feel like if I was describing it to others I would make it out to be a sort of Hogwarts. Coming back here today has almost overwhelmed me with emotions and memories as having spent 15 years of my childhood here it really was like a second home.

As for the education itself, let me be honest. Upon leaving school I was quick to join the jibe of those who would joke and heckle that ‘grades don’t really mean anything’ or saying things like ‘When did you last use Pythagoras’s Theorem?’. But on reflection there were lessons beyond all the laws and theories that I have found invaluable in the last 10+ years of my life. First of which I would say is a hunger and love of knowledge and most importantly an ability to absorb and apply knowledge.

I have found since leaving Greenfields the best weapon I have is my ability to study, which I believe is thanks to Study Technology, a gift that every student who comes to Greenfields receives and can use for the rest of their life. Another valuable lesson I learned was discipline. Having to do things that I really did not want to do (homework, revision, study hall…) to achieve something that I really did want (good grades, appreciation,  accomplishment…). I have definitely found this to be a true axiom of life and whenever in doubt of whether I will succeed at something, work ethic can usually pull me through

Finally I would say I learned ‘people’. Greenfields still to this day has some of the most caring and empathetic people I have ever met, especially in the form of teachers. I believe they set the bar of being a decent human. That along with interacting with students of all different ages and nationalities has given me a fantastic grounding for life’s constant interaction with others.

As for what I have achieved since Greenfields, on a personal level my biggest achievement was finding a purpose and passion that I felt worthy enough of dedicating a life to. Having left Greenfields with a feeling that the world was my oyster this was very challenging and I concluded that it was simply to help others.

My vessel or tool for doing this was to work full time at my church and its various community initiatives. I started as a total neophyte on the lowest possible role and have through the years advanced to being awarded at an international event for my achievements. My role has given me the privilege to help people recover from drug addiction, increase literacy in young children, bring religions together, help as a volunteer minister in natural disasters and aiding victims of terror attacks.


Samantha Gilchrist

My name is Samantha Gilchrist and I attended Greenfields from Nursery class through my Primary School education; I then continued to dance at Greenfields and attend Adventure week and summer school until I was 14.

Greenfields is where I learnt to tie-dye, use a sewing machine, hand stitch, paper mache, draw and paint. This was all for the school plays, dance shows and summer schools. It is where I had my first acting roles and where I learnt to perform on stage. I learnt to play the recorder which in later life led me to take up the saxophone, I dabbled with chopsticks on the piano, I belted out my best singing voice in choir for which I thank the teacher for not throwing me out and smiling through it.

I learnt to dance Ballet, tap, modern and Jazz and I learnt morals and how to be nice to people through Way to Happiness classes. I still to this day know how to save a choking child, thanks to Meet a Professional day where a nurse came in and showed us how, although I am thankful I have never had to use it. I could tell many stories about the fun I had at Greenfields and how it shaped my childhood and all the wonderful teachers, some of who are still here today.

As you can now appreciate, my childhood was quite creative and fun however I did actually learn other subjects too! Greenfields is where I studied the How to Use a Dictionary Course and the Learning How to Learn Course. These gave me the basis in study technology.

At the age of 14 I was accepted into The BRIT Performing Arts and Technology School. I am certain that the creativity I picked up at Greenfields led me to making this choice and helped me get into that school. After BRITS I attended London College of Fashion and somehow ended up taking up photography. I fell in love with the subject and after deciding the fashion industry wasn’t for me I set up my own business and studio photographing weddings and newborn babies. Two hundred and fifty weddings later and countless newborns as well as a number of events and boxing shows, I hung up my camera for the next year or so to concentrate on the wedding venue that I bought with my two business partners in 2017, The Ravenswood.

Although I was only at Greenfields for my younger years I am certain these were the years I developed my creativity, confidence and foundations that set me up for future achievement and I would like to the thank all the staff, old and new, for their continued contribution to building futures.


Greenfields 35th Reunion 2018

Greenfields just celebrated its 35 Year Anniversary! It was a fantastic weekend of celebrations, including performances of Greenfields Theatre Company, Sports Day, Ex-Students vs Current Students Football Match, Summer Fair, Old-Greenfieldian Tea, Graduation and Old-Greenfieldian Reunion Dinner.


A few words from Greenfields School Alumni

How did Greenfields methods help us?

Ali Helnwein – Musician and Orchestra Founder

“I remember some of my earliest musical memories being at Greenfields. I greatly enjoyed the lessons and learned a lot from them, which in turn helped prompt me to pursue a career as a composer-conductor – now having my own chamber orchestra.

Using study technology (A method that helps children learn and to retain and use what they have learned) helped me a lot in my early studies and I continue to use it every day. Knowing how to study, makes it possible to learn what I need to and want to know in order to achieve my artistic goals.”

Ali is an Emmy winning composer and has orchestrated Grammy-winning projects.

He composed all the music for 13 “Touch of Evil” short films, featuring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Kirsten Dunst, Ryan Gosling, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Jessica Chastain, Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska, Michael Shannon, Viola Davis, Jean Dujardin and Adepero Oduye.

In 2006 he founded the Traction Avenue Chamber Orchestra, which he has been successfully conducting since.  The orchestra has become known for showing up in places where one normally wouldn’t expect an orchestra, premiering new works, and playing to new audiences — performing in places such as a skatepark, a Chinatown Alley, the rooftop of the Standard, etc.


Omayma Ramzey – Hollywood makeup artist

“I was very lucky I went to Greenfields School. They have an amazing arts department. In the last three weeks of the year we would do theatre production. They put on Pride and Prejudice one year and they had a costume department where I was helping my teacher make dresses. It was amazing.”

Omayma is now living in LA where she runs her own company called Omayma Inc., providing make-up, clothing and styling services to the stars. She has also worked on music videos and numerous TV commercials including for Ford and Samsung.

The daughter of Hossam Ramzy – an Egyptian percussionist who has provided music for artists such as Shakira, Led Zeppelin and Ricky Martin – Omayma started out with an interest in fashion when she attended Greenfields School in Forest Row.

After Greenfields, Omayma gained a degree in fine art at the City and Guilds of London Art School. But she credits her time at Greenfields School with giving her the buzz for fashion, which has led her to her glamorous career.


Shannon Tarbet – British TV and Theatre Actress

“From attending Greenfields School at such a young age I have been given a strong sense of my own integrity and belief in my competence going into any career field. If it hadn’t been for growing up in such a positive and supportive environment I don’t think I would have thought of myself being in the position I’m in today.

Greenfields is a great exemplification of how important support is and I cannot thank the staff and my fellow pupils enough! At Greenfields I learned to love studying and that was because of the study tech used in this school helping me to fully grasp each subject. When you really apply something as simple as “clearing your misunderstood words” – no subject appears as a challenge anymore. Studying becomes a game! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent at Greenfields, and am very grateful for the tech this school has provided me with to flourish and prosper in life!”

Shannon first came to public attention in 2010 with her critically acclaimed professional stage debut as Delilah Evans in Spur of the Moment by Anya Reiss at the Royal Court Theatre in London where she was shortlisted for the Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer in 2010.

Her second theatre performance was in Mogadishu by Vivienne Franzmann at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester which then transferred to the Lyric Theatre in London in 2011. Shannon won the Manchester Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Mogadishu and has made appearances in episodes BBC programs such as Silk, Lewis, Monroe, Inspector George Gently and many others.


Joanna BesseyTop Malaysian actress, star of hit comedy series Kopitiam

Joanna has starred in more than 200 television series, TV movies, feature films, commercials and plays.

I have found ‘study technology’ to be invaluable not only when I was in school but life in general and I continue to use it on a daily basis.

I am currently directing a Broadway musical here [Malaysia] in our national theatre, Istana Budaya and have had a successful career as an actress in both the theatre and television, including hosting a programme for BBC World News last year, ‘Exploring Malaysia’.

There is no question that study technology has and does help me in accomplishing all these endeavours, as my ability to truly comprehend and therefore fully apply myself is achieved with study technology. It even helps with learning my lines rapidly!

In school I got great results in my exams but more importantly, in life, it has given me a powerful tool which is the ability to fully grasp knowledge which in turn, increases my skill.”


Felix Kunze – Award-winning Internationally acclaimed photographer

“The most valuable skill I took away from Greenfields is the ability to learn any subject I set my sights on. The school gives you the tools you need to learn about life and actually USE the knowledge you attain. The attainment of knowledge takes a back seat to the USE of knowledge, which is invaluable.”

Felix is an international world class portrait photographer whose work is often featured in magazines and events and in the portfolios of celebrities.

From his base in London, Felix travels for projects all around the globe. As well as providing some photo assistance for Annie Leibovitz in New York, he shoots a lot of portraiture as well as assignments for agencies like Getty Images, WireImage, the Redferns Music Library, Getty Travel and others, including celebrity portraits at ContourPhotos.


Assaff Rawner – MD of Mark Roberts Motion Control 

Before coming to Greenfields I had been out of school for several months. I didn’t want to go to school anymore, I was bored with it. When I started at Greenfields, I was able to study at my own speed at each of the different levels I was at in the subjects. This allowed me to excel in certain subjects and my desire to study increased dramatically.

As a result, I studied a lot of different subjects, doing exams in everything from cookery to computing, but what I enjoyed the most was electronic engineering. Needless to say after finishing my A Levels at Greenfields, electronic engineering at university was a breeze and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Mark Roberts Motion Control is a revolutionary special effects company for the film industry used in most major films such as ‘the Matrix’, ‘Avatar’, ‘Harry Potter’ etc. Winners of a technical Oscar at the Academy Awards Hollywood 1999.


Gabriel Philips Sanchez – award-winning international Lighting Designer for concerts, dance shows, musicals and drama and manager of his own company, GPS Lighting.

Greenfields gave me the opportunity to discover an art form that not many people notice – Lighting. If anything, my story shows what you can really achieve if you put your mind to it. And the answer is anything.

Take for example GreenfieldsTheatre Company. Always pushing the boundaries of what can be done in such a short time scale, GTC showed me that a brilliant team can be more of an asset than a large budget. As many of you well know, I come back to GTC every year to help them achieve any and every effect required for the show.

I can say that hands down, this group of students care for each other more than any professional production company I have worked with.

I am thrilled to be creating on lighting every day for my living, and Greenfields helped me discover this.”