Alumni Corner

Interview with Emily Sheppard

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

ES: All I wanted to do after high school was travel, but my track and field career took precedence. (That and the fact that I didn’t have money to travel the way I wanted to at the time!) I went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa on a full athletic scholarship, competing for the Rainbow Wahine and becoming an NCAA Division 1 All-American in 2008, a massive accomplishment for me. During the track season, we travelled to the mainland (California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington etc.) almost every other weekend to compete, and this temporarily satisfied my travel bug. However, training over twenty hours a week made track into a job, and by the end of university, I was utterly burned out and done with competing.  I graduated in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Finance. After graduation, I came home for literally four days before hopping on a plane and heading down to Paraguay to visit my boyfriend and his family. I stayed for three months and loved every minute of it. It was then time to come home, and I’ve been living in Lynn Valley since then.

VWS: What kind of work/study are you involved in now?

ES: I worked in the retail and restaurant industries before realizing that both were not for me. I’m currently working at a bank, coaching track a few days a week and finishing my personal trainer qualifications.

VWS: What do you enjoy most about your work?

ES: I would have to say….the benefits?! While I don’t mind my job right now, it’s not what I see myself doing long-term. The lack of sunshine and near-constant darkness started getting to me when I moved back home. I was completely unmotivated to do anything and didn’t work out for months. I randomly decided to try yoga and have been practising regularly ever since. Ultimately, I want to open my own gym/yoga studio. But who knows. I’m still young and don’t feel any real need to decide right away. In the end, I’ll do whatever makes me happy.

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

ES: My accomplishments in track and university, and my amazing friends and family.

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

ES: I came to the VWS in grade 6 after attending an extremely strict private school in Bermuda. Needless to say, it was a bit of an adjustment for me. Ultimately, Waldorf education affected me in many ways. It helped me loosen up and not be afraid of being myself. It gave me an amazing group of lifelong friends. It allowed me to fully pursue my track and field goals by being flexible and supportive. It also helped me realize the freedom that I have to choose, do what makes me happy, and not be too influenced by societal pressures.

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

ES: Too many to list! But here are a few – the hiking and camping trips, choir and guitar class, Christmas time, Eurythmy in general, the 2004-2005 girls basketball team, my Grade 12 Project and all the great high school teachers (Elaine, Eitel, Karin, Tibor, David, Farrah and Bob).

Interview by Michelle Gibson, for Development February 2011 

Emily Sheppard
Emily SheppardClass 2005

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.