Interview with Luisa Kodweiss
VWS: Tell me about your work and education after graduating from the VWS. (post-secondary schooling, travel, work experience, family, etc.)
LK: After graduating from the VWS, I first went back to Europe for two months to visit my family. When I returned to Vancouver, I worked as a Lift Operator on Grouse Mountain for the rest of the summer and one winter season. The following summer, I worked as a trail ride guide in Lake Louise, AB. Since then, I’ve been working there for three to four months every summer. I began studying at Quest University Canada in Squamish in September 2012.
VWS: What kind of work/study are you involved in now?
LK: I am currently a 3rd-year student at Quest University (Grad of 2016). I am doing a work/study program at the university to help pay for tuition. I am an athletic events staff, meaning that I keep score and help organize basketball and soccer games that happen at our school. During the summer, I work as a trail ride guide in Lake Louise, AB. I take tourists on horseback rides and deliver groceries on pack horses to lodges that cannot be reached by car.
VWS: What advice would you give to this year’s graduates?
LK: It’s ok not to know precisely what you want to do with your life when you graduate from High School. The freedom you have after graduation can be scary and overwhelming, but take advantage of it. It allows you to explore the world and figure out what your passions are.
VWS: What are your fondest memories of your time at the VWS?
LK: The camping trips were among my favourite memories. On the fall hiking trip to Stein Valley in 2009, I remember that we came into an area that a forest fire had recently hit. At first, we were all amazed to see the burnt trees and ashes. After hiking through the burnt area for a couple of days, we were all dirty from falling in the ashes! It was an amazing experience to walk through such freshly burnt woods. It’s not something one would usually do or get the chance to do. It makes you realize the power of nature. It was incredibly fascinating to see the edge of the burn as we stepped from a completely grey and dusty, ash-covered trail into a beautiful green forest simply by crossing a small bridge.
The Michael Bauer Schule (Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany) had a school-run circus, which students from Grade 6 could attend. I was a part of it in Grade 8 and 9. Students could engage in all sorts of disciplines, from juggling, tight-rope walking or acting like clowns. I participated in rope skipping, mini-trampoline jumping, and human pyramids (students standing on each other’s shoulders up to four levels of people high). It was an amazing opportunity to engage in, improve skills in these disciplines, and work the whole year towards a performance weekend, where all grades would put together a program that we performed in a real circus tent.
VWS: How did Waldorf education affect your life and your choice of career?
LK: I think it’s a little early to tell since I only graduated a few years ago. However, I will say that the Grade 12 Project prepared me well for university-level writing. It was a huge advantage to be familiar with doing research and properly citing sources, as well as with the amount of writing that was involved. I now regularly write 2000 word research papers. It affected my career choice indirectly, in that I chose to attend Quest University because it parallels the learning principles of the Waldorf School, and the Foundation Course program at Quest led me to my career choice. It’s tough to point out specific things about Waldorf education that has helped my studies, partially because I have attended Waldorf school my whole life and can’t compare it to anything else. At Quest specifically, having the experience of learning one subject at a time (similar to the Waldorf main lesson rotation) and knowing how to delve into a subject and further one’s knowledge about it every day was an advantage. Learning how to work independently and budget my time to meet the deadlines while taking part in other courses and doing regular homework has proven very useful. I feel well prepared for my Quest Keystone Project on “How do humans impact wildlife?” With that, I am working towards getting a Master’s in Wildlife Biology.
Interview by Ronaye Ireland for Development, January 2015
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.