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Titiana Shostak-Kinker ‘90

Titiana Shostak-Kinker ‘90 arrived in kindergarten at TGS when she was four years old. Her experiences at school had a lasting impact on her life and career choices.

Titiana writes:

As a child, I was exposed to the outdoors nearly every day at The Grammar School in Putney, Vermont. We had long recesses during which we could run around outdoors. We had sports during and after school, including cross country ski racing, that took place outside even on the coldest days of winter. My memories of TGS include hours in the outdoors, spending time in nature. In fact, my memories of time spent outdoors are more vivid than any other memories at school.

My TGS education influenced me in myriad positive ways. The school laid the foundation for my love of cardiovascular exercise, that I’m very comfortable in the wilderness, and that I inhabit my body and take great care of myself! (And, at TGS I also learned to be a decent writer and I can do math…)

After graduating from TGS, I attended the Northfield Mount Hermon School. Though I never got involved in their outdoor program hiking and rock climbing programs, I continued to be passionate about outdoor sports. At NMH I ended up playing field hockey and lacrosse, as well as cross country ski racing.
Following my freshman year at Colby College in Maine, I spent the summer landscaping in Vail Colorado. The next year, I officially began “working” in the outdoors as an orientation leader for Colby’s mountain bike orientation (1995). I then left Colby and returned to Colorado where I worked in various jobs as a raft guide, ski lift operator, and waitress. Eventually I went back to college at Prescott College (1997), where I studied Outdoor Education full time.

During my undergraduate career, I was able to study and travel in the Everest Region of Nepal, climb in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming, backpack in the Grand Canyon, assist in rock climbing classes in the City of Rocks, Idaho, and much more. I became immersed in the outdoor field through Prescott College. I went on to work at Outward Bound in Colorado and California, the Women’s Wilderness Institute, Prescott College, and for guide services based in Arizona and Switzerland. Last winter I worked  in the US Virgin Islands, which went through two Category 5 hurricanes in a row in September. I find deep satisfaction watching the Colorado River run its course through rapids in the Grand Canyon or the waves breaking during a storm in Hawaii.

I have seen the influence that the outdoors has had on my clients and students. The incredible life changing experiences that I’ve been privileged to witness and even facilitate through my facilitation work are so important in today’s world.

My focus on outdoor careers has affected my life in a very positive way. My passion for the outdoors has made me less materialistic and more honest. I appreciate nature deeply. I live simply; I don’t like to acquire material possessions and I’ve seen firsthand how they can be taken away in an instant. I’m in tune with my body, and I move my body often,  whether I’m rock climbing, ocean swimming, mountain biking, or doing yoga. I value living in my body, close to nature, values that were instilled in me at TGS. I feel so very honored to have attended TGS from age 4 through age 14.