Alum Corner with Georgia Simmerling

Georgia Simmerling is a professional alpine ski racer and a member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. She has represented Canada in the Winter Olympics and has achieved success in her career despite her busy training and competition schedule. Georgia appreciates the support she received from her teachers and the Waldorf community, which allowed her to graduate on time despite her athletic commitments. She values her Waldorf education for fostering free thinking and providing diverse experiences, from outdoor gardening to engaging classrooms run by inspiring teachers like Elaine Mackee and Eitel Timm.

Though I was away from school a lot to train and compete, thanks to the immense support of my teachers and the entire faculty, I graduated (on time!) with my class in 2007.

I was blessed to pursue my passion for alpine ski racing and have the sport I love so much be my career. I made the Canadian Alpine Ski Team shortly after graduating and am now a full-time athlete. I love what I do and feel honoured to represent my country, especially when the team travels overseas. I travel the world all year round, and besides skiing, I meet new people everywhere I go and experience many different cultures. I have eaten my fair share of Wiener Schnitzel and can confidently say it is not my favourite European meal. Being on the National Team, I do not have the time to attend a university full-time. We choose ski race and earn money doing it, while we can. I know school will always be there for me, and I intend to attend university after my athletic career.

It is tough living out of a suitcase ten months of the year, rarely seeing my family and friends from home, and 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. Representing my country at the 2010 Whistler Olympic Games has been a major highlight. Having 60,000 people cheer for you walking into GM Place at the Opening Ceremonies is a thrilling experience! I have never felt so passionate and proud in my entire life to be called a Canadian.

Waldorf granted me the opportunity to think freely and experience so much diversity through my education. I loved everything from being outside gardening and learning about a plant’s life to the dynamics of an Elaine Mackee or Eitel Timm-run classroom. There’s just more to education in Waldorf! The fall wilderness trip is an ideal way to learn who your teachers are, get to know your classmates, and figure out a little bit of who you are while hiking in our beautiful backyard mountains of BC! The Grade Twelve Project wasn’t too shabby either.

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

Compiled by Michelle Gibson for Development, 2013

Georgia Simmerling
Georgia SimmerlingClass of 2007

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.