After graduating from Waldorf, I went to Capilano College and completed two years of undergraduate courses in the sciences. I then transferred to UBC and completed a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. I was hired at Children’s Hospital in the CFRI (Child and Family Research Institute) as a Graduate Research Assistant working on Cystic Fibrosis and the superbugs that affect CF patients. I then transferred to the CMMT (Center for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics) as a Histology Technician. The project was a drug trial for an experimental procedure to help Huntington’s patients.
Agri-Canada has since hired me as a Master’s student at the University of Saskatchewan, where I am working towards my Master’s in Veterinary Biomedical Science. My research project works on the cryopreservation and transplantation of ovary and testicular tissue between poultry breeds. We hope to get donor gonads to produce offspring from the original breed. I hope one day to bring this work back to Vancouver and work on rare and endangered avian species, as currently, we have no technology for cryopreservation of egg-laying species.
Graduating with my Master’s from UBC was a significant achievement; being a proud dyslexic was a struggle. I can remember my remedial teacher in England saying I was “retarded” and would never amount to anything …. well, I can say crossing the stage at convocation felt pretty good! I also feel like when I die, I don’t really care if I have accomplished anything personally, but I want to make sure that I leave the planet better than how I got it. I genuinely feel that my research now has the potential to save avian species from extinction, and to me, that would make my life a success.
I think Waldorf education is outstanding, but I felt we were a bit light in the Science and Math departments at the time. However, I believe that fact drove me toward this subject. I left Waldorf wanting more science and very eager to learn more. English, on the other hand, I had quite enough of (haha)! It taught me how to be a human being and to be compassionate with others. This fact can make you feel quite alienated when you head back into the mainstream, which wants to churn out workers, not young adults.
Art class, my Grade Twelve Project on quantum physics, and of course, going to Costa Rica for our grade 12 trip were high school highlights. I didn’t feel like I belonged until that trip, and now I feel integral. For anyone who doesn’t feel like they belong, I can tell you that it gets really good in the end. You are unique; don’t give up or get down on yourself.
Editor’s Note: Since George graduated, the VWS High School mathematics and science curriculum has undergone many positive changes, including offering post-secondary pre-requisite courses and splitting and streaming mathematics courses by level. VWS graduates now receive the BC Dogwood diploma and the VWS Graduation Certificate.
Compiled by Ronaye Ireland for Development, September 2013