“As long as the children are happy here, I am here,” said Manuela, who danced with her husband Till at the opening of International Grammar School in the mid 1980s and rejoined the School in 1996.
Manuela and Till, both principal dancers at the Komische Oper in East Berlin, defected from behind the Iron Curtain in 1983 after performing at the Adelaide Festival in 1980 and dancing around “this beautiful country”.
As dancers and dance teachers in Australia, they met IGS founder the late Reg St Leon OAM in 1983 at Paddington Public School where their son was enrolled.
Reg asked the couple to join his fledgling school soon after, and they taught sport, going on to teach ballet and contemporary dance at many Eastern suburbs schools.
Manuela returned to IGS in 1996, working closely with Deputy Head of High School Paul Galea in the clubs and “after care” program, where her strong self discipline and organisational skills were beneficial.
“I am still here,” said Manuela. “My life long friends are here, and I’ve met people from all over the world.
“Our School has a warm and friendly atmosphere; individual personalities are formed and nurtured.
“IGS students and teachers come from all over this planet.
“We all learn from each other, and contribute in our own individual ways to understand each other’s different cultures.
“This makes IGS such a special place.
“I am very proud to continue to contribute to this School.”
Manuela is always delighted when one of her former pupils returns as a fellow staff member.
“I looked after them. Now they look after me!”