14 years ago Shannon Simpson was a new graduate from Brock University when she got the call from Columbia International College (CIC) that she had got the job. What she didn’t anticipate was to find a family and home at CIC. “My career here has been more than I could have imagined. I feel like I’ve really grown as a person since starting here,” says Shannon. Today, she is the Physical Education Curriculum Advisor at CIC.
Shannon and her immediate family are all from Hamilton, Ontario. It is evident in the way Shannon passionately speaks, that she has a deeply rooted love for the City of Hamilton and all the amazing shops, restaurants and waterfalls it has. “Some people think Hamilton is boring or quiet, but I love it here – I always will,” says Shannon. “But when I work at CIC, I feel like I almost don’t need to go anywhere else because the whole world comes to me.”
“When I work at CIC, I feel like I almost don’t need to go anywhere else because the whole world comes to me.”
To what Shannon is referring to is the diversity found in the school among staff and students. With students from over 70+ countries it’s no wonder why Shannon feels this way. “But if I had a plane ticket to go anywhere in the world, I would go to the Bahamas and I would just lay on the beach and drink coffee in my hotel,” Shannon says with a laugh.
Shannon is a proud mom to her son and daughter and has been married for 13 years. She explains that her hobbies are mainly whatever her children want to do. “I love being involved with my family and being present with them. My world is my children, so I find a lot of my time is spent with them. We like going to any sporting events and just being a part of that experience,” says Shannon.
With her love for fitness and family, Shannon brings the same emotion to her students, teaching her students the positive effects of fitness and being engaged in the class. “I know many students have career aspirations and may think that all we do in a gym class is play sports but it’s more than that,” says Shannon seriously. “If you don’t have your physical, mental and emotional health are you really going to be able to aspire to your goals?”
“I’m doing what I love doing and I have the respect and support from so many people here – what else could I want?”
Shannon is passionate in making sure that the students come to her class and find something so they can be active. “Maybe it’s basketball, running or jumping up and down to music. I want the students to find what works best for them. It’s about creating an active lifestyle,” says Shannon.
Shannon alongside Physical Education teacher Nick Wong, have created new programs like the Healthy Active Living course and Personal Fitness course to provide students with understanding their personal health and having the tools to continue their fitness journey after high school. “The programs have really taken off! Nick Wong is a fantastic teacher and he is very knowledgeable. I hope the students can use what they’ve learned to keep maintaining a healthy lifestyle while they are in university,” says Shannon.
Reflecting back on her career at CIC, Shannon’s greatest accomplishment is making her parents proud and working in a job she loves dearly. “My greatest accomplishment at work is my reputation and building meaningful and trusting relationships with people within the company and treating them as family. I’m doing what I love doing and I have the respect and support from so many people here – what else could I want?” affirms Shannon.