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Orchard Donors Make a Difference: Meet the Nalli Family

Meet the Nalli family...

What makes Orchard special to your family?

Cathleen & Jonathan: There’s an incredible sense of family and friendship that is felt the instant you enter the building. Student work, positive messages, and bright images decorate the walls, creating a warm welcome for everyone. It takes more than a well-intentioned philosophy to meet the needs of each child. Orchard has skillfully created an environment where students feel safe, have ownership over their learning, and most importantly, where their individual personalities are accepted and encouraged to shine. These are the qualities that make a school exceptional and this is why we chose Orchard for our family.

Jonathan (4th Grade): Other schools limit students to boundaries where they can only use playground equipment. You have more choices at Orchard. There are different things you can do at recess. You can play outside and explore. You can also go inside to use the computer, draw, or just do what you feel like doing, within reason.

Delaney (Third Grade): At Orchard, it feels free. We get to be outside in the woods, wear rain boots to stomp in the mud, and explore fungus and other things in nature.

Hadley (Kindergarten): Art is my favorite thing about Orchard because I love “free art.”  I like to color fairy drawings.  I also love the loft in my classroom because I can pretend there. It’s so much fun.

How would your life, or your children’s lives be different without Orchard?

Families in this area are lucky to have a number of options when it comes to choosing schools in and around Indianapolis. We experienced a few of them over the years, and although they were good schools, it always felt like something was missing. If not for Orchard, we’d be living in Zionsville, our kids would be attending a different school, and we’d be happy. 

However, we wanted “more” – we wanted a place where kids can be kids, where their opinions and voices are heard, and their intelligence and character are nurtured equally. Consequently, we moved to Indianapolis - where Jonathan, Delaney, Hadley, (and Charlie, in a few years) attend Orchard. The 6 of us are still happy … the difference is that we have found “more.”

What inspired you to make this gift to the capital campaign?

We’ve made supporting causes within which we believe a priority. The well-being and education of our children are at the forefront of those causes. We are inspired by this school, its families, teachers, administrators, staff, and learning environment. We are honored to support its future.

How do you hope your contribution will impact future generations of Orchard students?

It is our hope that future generations will continue to see the benefits of this incredible school and take advantage of its unique opportunities like outdoor education and the new Makerspace. We are also excited that families who may not have the resources to enroll their children, will be capable of doing so through the scholarship program.

Do you have a favorite Orchard tradition?

Jonathan: I love the Halloween parade. It’s a great time to see the kids in their costumes and socialize with other Orchard families.

Cathleen: The winter pageant (and those sweet angels) is at the top of my list of favorites. Watching the kindergarten and eighth grade students emerge from behind the curtain is something I will never forget. 

Jonathan (4th Grade): My favorite Orchard traditions are the art show in the lunchroom, the pancake breakfast, the winter pageant and the fourth-grade play!

Delaney (Third Grade): Tapping the trees and making syrup for the pancake breakfast was awesome. I’ve haven’t had this much fun at a school anywhere else.

Hadley (Kindergarten): I loved being an angel and singing “Love Grows One by One,” in the winter pageant.

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