Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School


Hope William-Smith (2011)

Hope William-Smith is a Sydney-based finance journalist

Hope William-Smith (2011) is a Sydney-based finance journalist with a degree in Government and International Relations and she recently completed a Masters in Law, Media and Journalism.Hope is also an accomplished flautist, competitive figure skater (she has represented Australia!) and the daughter of long-standing Glenaeon teacher – Gill William-Smith.

What have you been doing since you left Glenaeon?

After finishing the HSC I went to Sydney University and studied for a degree in government and international relations with a major in English literature. I worked as a swimming coach and tried to do as many extra internships, work experience placements or skills based activities as I could fit in. I kept busy playing in an orchestra and continuing to pursue competitive figure skating. I skated overseas a couple of times during my degree, as well as spending six months in Canada training and studying at the University of Manitoba. The time spent there really helped me to develop a strong purpose in my study and reaffirmed my interest in international affairs and relations. While there I was lucky enough to make some of my closest friends, challenge myself to independence, fast track my French, be a student ambassador, teach English and really train at an elite level in figure skating and experience that life.

Straight after my degree I went on tour to the US with my orchestra and performed and studied music across LA, New York, Chicago and Washington, including at Disneyland, the Juilliard School, with the Chicago Symphony, the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Band. I then went onto Europe for figure skating training and competitions, before coming home and heading back to Uni. I had already planned the postgraduate degree I wanted to study in high school and went on to the University of New South Wales and completed a Masters of Law, Media and Journalism. In the middle of that degree, a friend and I developed and wrote a drive-home radio show, which has been on air for nearly ten months now and has grown far beyond what we dreamed and is something I love to work on continuously. (The 3pm Takeover every Wednesday from 3pm to 4pm on Radio Northern Beaches). At the beginning of this year I spent a month overseas for ice skating and travelled with my partner before coming home and starting full time work as a finance and business journalist.

How did Glenaeon influence your career choice?

Glenaeon fosters a strong sense of tenacity and resolve within its students, which meant I was always in an environment where I was appropriately challenged to be versatile, adaptable and diligent. The classics-focused education in primary school gave me a love of writing that I took right through and into my first major in English literature at uni. Glenaeon’s anthropocentric and sensitive approaches to the world sparked my realisation about the power of writing and its infinite reach.

I always loved to read and school made me an enthusiastic scrutineer of everything, which attracted me to journalism - an industry where workers have a commitment to exploring and defending a fundamental freedom of speech and ideas. Even though the number of people who get their hands dirty with newsprint each morning has declined drastically, the potential for journalism to reach audiences around the world is now greater and more important than ever. Above all and I guess to summarise, Glenaeon taught me to think and feel deeply, which is the absolute backbone of my industry.

Favourite Glenaeon memories?

It’s very hard to narrow down favourite memories! I loved every single day of school, but my favourite days were often the ones that were just ordinary. Main Lesson was my favourite part of the day and I particularly loved the Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Shakespeare, Commerce, Geology and King Arthur ones. I also really enjoyed the yearly traditions of festivals, especially the maypole and the spiral. The other top memories were the school plays, particularly the musical in year ten, and any craft based class activities like metal work, woodwork, building and knitting. The best memory in hindsight is knowing that my experience at Glenaeon was a such a positive and enriching one that helped me build a multidisciplinary approach base that has helped me in nearly every aspect of life post-school so far, for which I will always very grateful.

Plans for 2016 & beyond?

My main priority for the year is establishing myself in my job and learning to balance the commitments of full time work with downtime and recreational activities. I want to do a couple of short courses, learn a new language, continue to build my radio show, volunteer more and travel with my partner. I also hope to continue tutoring. I love teaching and helping students see the potential they didn’t know they could have, the same way my Glenaeon teachers did for me. Plans for the far far future aren’t set in stone yet, but I have a list of companies and publications I hope to work for. My main long term aim is investigative broadcast journalism, and one day calling New York City home.

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