As part of our alumni outreach project, we ask Detroit Waldorf alum to answer five questions about their time at DWS, and the impact the school has made on their lives. This month, we are excited to have Simone Shurney -an alumna of Detroit Waldorf with an impressive educational background and current DWS 1st grade teacher- share her DWS journey with us:
1. What years did you attend (and graduate from) Detroit Waldorf, and where did you study after DWS?
I started school at Detroit Waldorf in the second grade in 1996 and graduated in 2003. I graduated Valedictorian from Cass Technical High School in 2007. From there, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in sociology and a minor in Spanish Literature in 2011. I earned my Master’s Degree in Educational Policy at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 and completed my Waldorf Teacher Training in the fall of 2014.
2. Can you describe your time at DWS in 5 words or less?
Self-fortifying, grounding, uplifting, enlightening, inspirational.
3. What is your current profession, and how did DWS help you prepare for this career?
Currently, I am the first grade teacher at the Detroit Waldorf School. Needless to say, my Waldorf education helped me to prepare for this career choice. When I think about the impact my experience as a student has on my work as a teacher, I am very grateful for the way our school helped me to cultivate a deep sense of interest and appreciation for a great diversity of academic and artistic subjects. While many educational communities center their energy on guiding students to “narrow” their focus and develop very particular skills that will prepare them for one career path or another, I feel that our school strives to do just the opposite. Our dynamic curriculum exposed me to areas of study I would not have experienced otherwise, and my wide range of interests and passions strengthens me to work creatively with my students so that they in turn feel able to purposefully integrate their many talents and skills in whatever area of work they choose.
4. Can you share a favorite memory of your time at DWS with us?
I used to love our family gatherings at Niki’s Pizza in Greektown after middle school basketball games. When I reflect on these moments, I am touched by the way the school brought our particular group of families together, and I appreciate that these occasions offered me the opportunity to extend my social circle and form meaningful relationships with my classmates’ parents, siblings and extended family.
5. What advice can you share for future graduates or anyone considering attending DWS.
I think one of the most important gifts of Waldorf education is that it gives us the consciousness and strength to explore and discover our true selves. It is my hope that fellow and future graduates everywhere will use their depth of self-understanding as a pathway for developing meaningful connections with others, so that we feel empowered to join together in our striving to lead our best lives and create our best world.