Snowy Mountains Grammar School Alumna (Class of 1999, Roseby), Alicia French’s passion for the Snowsports industry and love for the outdoors led her to the USA where she is now a Senior Human Resources Business Partner for Vail Resorts.
Alicia says that her time at SMGS made her curious about the larger world and that the school gave her confidence in how to be independent and open to exploring the world.
Alicia’s extended family is still connected to the school, with her nephew currently attending and niece attending in the past.
Of Alicia’s time at SMGS, English teacher, Ms Anne Jones said, “Alicia was a key speaker in our senior interschool debating team. We competed in the ACT Debating competition and used to travel after school to debate. Our debates started between 6.30 pm and 8.30pm so if we had a late debate we’d get back after midnight!
We competed against schools from the ACT and surrounding regions. The adjudicators were from the university.
At Alicia’s level we sometimes had point–of–information debates which were very interesting.”
We are told that Alicia apparently used to practise her ‘debating skills’ quite loudly in the boarding house with some of the other residents!
Interschools circa 1998 or 1999
Sarah May, Tiffany Constance, Alice Purss, Alicia French, Olivia Clifford (all maiden names)
What tertiary education path did you follow after you graduated from SMGS? How did you become interested in that pathway?
I started a degree at UTS Sydney and took a sideways path to the USA to explore the ski resort world, where I worked in many jobs – lift operator, lift maintenance, ski school and tickets. I eventually rejoined my studies a few years later with Griffith University and graduated with a BA in communication. I was part of the SMGS debate team and had strong results in English and writing and so the degree seemed to fit my ability. Later, having a degree became a pathway to a career in human resources as fundamentally I was interested in how to effectively communicate to employees. My passion for the ski industry and outdoors I experienced at SMGS eventually led me to a dream job and career with Vail Resorts, where I was part of the HR leadership team at Park City Mountain and now I sit on the executive team leading HR at Stevens Pass Washington for the company. It’s an awesome job!!!
What is your biggest source of motivation for your career and life pursuits?
Exploration and learning every day. My wonderful family who inspire me to be better every day.
How did your time at SMGS help you in your journey to your current career and life pursuits?
It made me curious about the larger world. The school gave me confidence in how to be independent and open to exploring the world. The connections and happiness I have when I am in the mountains and the outdoors was central to the SMGS ethos and grounded me through life to create a love of the outdoors and then pursue my career in the ski industry that I love so much.
What are some of your most memorable moments from your time at SMGS?
So many, and the mischief we used to get up to in the boarding house gives me so many fond memories. The amazing connections and friends I still have to this day.
Best friends to this day!
Lisa Hartemink and Alicia French
What programs and co-curricular opportunities did you participate in?
Debating, interschools teams – ski, cross country and snowboard.
What advice would you give to students who are beginning their HSC journey and starting to think about their future after they graduate?
Whatever is your pathway, choose the path that is right for you (one size does not fit all). Explore and learn in everything you do, no matter how big or small it is. Every experience is there for learning. It’s up to you what you choose to take from it.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the SMGS Alumni/Old Scholars community?
SMGS was a pivotal part of my high school experience, I have such fond memories and to be still connected would be a privilege. Also, my niece Madison Rager attended from the USA and my nephew Sebastian French currently attends. It’s nice to make the family alumni connections and feel like I am part of the school in some way, even years later.
I currently live in the USA and still have family in Cooma and Jindabyne and I am so often in the area. I am ecstatic to make a connection again with the school.