Alum Corner with Emily Sheppard

Emily Sheppard joined VWS in Grade 6. Her passion for track and field led her to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she competed as part of the Rainbow Wahine team and became an NCAA Division 1 All-American in 2008. After graduation, she travelled to Paraguay and fell in love with yoga, which she now practices regularly. While working at a bank and coaching track, Emily aspires to open a gym/yoga studio. Waldorf education allowed her to be herself, pursue her athletic goals, and taught her the freedom to choose what makes her happy without being influenced by societal pressures. Her favourite memories include hiking and camping trips, choir and guitar class, Christmas time, Eurythmy, and the support of her high school teachers.

I came to VWS in grade 6 after attending a rigorous private school in Bermuda. It was a bit of an adjustment for me. All I wanted to do after high school was travel, but my track and field career took precedence. I attended 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 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 and field 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 travelled to Paraguay to visit my boyfriend and his family. I stayed for three months and loved every minute of it. I now work at a bank, coach track a few days a week, and am finishing qualifications as a personal trainer. While I don’t mind my work, it’s not what I see myself doing long-term. When I moved back to Lynn Valley, the lack of sunshine and near-constant darkness started getting to me. I was completely unmotivated to do anything and didn’t train or work out for months. I randomly decided to try yoga and have been practising regularly ever since. I aim to open my own gym/yoga studio, but who knows? I’m still young and don’t need to decide immediately. In the end, I’ll do whatever makes me happy.

Waldorf education affected me in many ways. It helped me loosen up and not be afraid of being myself. It gave me a fantastic group of lifelong friends and allowed me to fully pursue my track and field goals by being flexible and supportive. It also helped me realize the freedom to choose, do what makes me happy, and not be too influenced by societal pressures. My favourite memories include – 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).

Compiled 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.