Who is Doing What

VWS Alumni Corner Interview with Georgia Simmerling, Class 2007

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VWS: Tell me about your work and education after graduating from the VWS.

GS: With the immense support of my teachers and the entire faculty while I was away from school a lot due to my skiing career, I graduated on time in 2007. I made the Canadian Alpine Ski Team shortly after graduating and have been a full-time athlete since. I love what I do, and feel honoured to represent my country, especially when the team travels overseas. I am blessed to be able to pursue my passion for alpine ski racing and have the sport I love so much be my career (for now at least!). I travel the world all year round and besides skiing, I meet new people everywhere I go and experience many different cultures. I will say I have eaten my fair share of Wiener Schnitzel and can say with confidence that it is not my favourite European meal. Being on the National Team, I (or any of my teammates) do not have the time to attend a university full time. We make a choice to ski race and earn money doing it, while we can. I know school will always be there for me and fully attend to go to university after my ski career.

VWS: What do you enjoy most about your work?

GS: Yes it is tough sometimes….living out of a suitcase ten months of the year, rarely seeing my family and friends from home, waking up at 6:00 am to train at the top of a mountain for five hours in -30-degree weather. Did I mention doing this in only two layers of spandex on our bodies? But for the most part, I love calling what I do my job. If I didn’t still love it after all these years of dedicating my entire life into this, I wouldn’t be writing about this now.

VWS: What do you think are your greatest successes in life?

GS: I would have to say representing my country at the 2010 Whistler Olympic Games this past February. I have never felt so passionate and proud, in my entire life, to be called a Canadian. Having 60,000 people cheer for you walking into GM Place at the Opening Ceremonies is a pretty thrilling experience!

VWS: How did Waldorf education affect your life, and your choice of career?

GS: Haha… I don’t think Waldorf directed me into ski racing, or maybe it did? But I can say having the opportunity to think freely and experience so much diversity through my education with Waldorf as given me the mind I have today. I am referring to everything from being outside gardening and learning about a plant’s life instead of sitting in front of a computer screen, to the dynamics of an Elaine Mackee or Eitel Timm run classroom. There’s just more to education in Waldorf!

VWS: What are your fondest memories of your time at the VWS?

GS: I would have to say the high school hiking trip at the beginning of each year. It is the ideal way to learn who your teachers are, get to know your classmates, and figure out a little bit of who you are as well, all while hiking in our beautiful backyard mountains of BC! The Grade Twelve Project wasn’t too shabby as well.

Editor’s Note January 2018: Georgia is the first Canadian athlete to have competed in three Olympic sports.

Notable International Results:

  • Olympic Games: 2016 (track cycling) – BRONZE (team pursuit); 2014 (freestyle skiing) – 14th (ski cross); 2010 (alpine skiing) – 27th (super-G)UCI
  • World Championships: 2016 – SILVER (team pursuit)
  • FIS World Championships: 2017 – 7th (ski cross); 2015 – 26th (ski cross); 2013 – 13th (ski cross)

Interview by Michelle Gibson, for Development 2013

* The Vancouver Waldorf School provides an experiential, age-appropriate approach to education based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner that inspires students to love learning, to be creative, open-minded, and compassionate. With a curriculum that integrates all academics with the arts and social learning, Waldorf Education develops not only the left and right hemispheres of the brain but the whole human being. A child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development is considered equally, supporting a conscious unfolding of the individuality within each student. Waldorf graduates possess capacities for empathy and clear, creative and independent thinking that enables them to carry out a chosen course of action with moral courage and social responsibility.