From Humble Beginnings to Childhood Dreams Come True: Kaitlyn Weaver goes the distance with Waterloo
by: Sheila McConnell
Distance and Continuing Education
Kaitlyn Weaver with ice dancing partner Andrew Poje
© Skate Today
Born in the small town of Humble Texas, world champion ice dancer and Waterloo student enrolled in distance education courses, Kaitlyn Weaver, has stayed true to her down-to-earth nature and now calls Waterloo her ‘hometown of Canada’.
“When I moved to skate with my partner Andrew Poje in 2006, Waterloo is where we trained for our first season and a half together,” says Kaitlyn. Since her move to Waterloo, she and Andrew have won bronze medals at three international events, including the 2007 World Junior Championships. She now lives in Toronto but decided to take university courses at Waterloo to stay connected with ‘her hometown’.
“Needless to say, the University of Waterloo has an excellent reputation in academics, so I was lucky to be able to keep the ties to my hometown and receive an excellent education.”
Kaitlyn began her university studies last fall with a Basic French course through distance education. Studying at a distance gives her “the freedom to study at [her] own schedule.” She says that taking French is “a great step to becoming more Canadian” and will her help her understand her teammates.
“I had no knowledge of French prior to moving to Canada, and there are many athletes on the Figure Skating National Team that are bilingual or have French as their first language.”
Kaitlyn is currently in the process of getting her Canadian citizenship yet she still stays true to her Humble roots as well. Every year, she returns home to Texas for an “all-in-one trip” to visit her family and “take part in some old traditions” like eating her mom’s home cooked breakfast tacos.
When home, she has a chance to reacquaint herself with her favorite role model, a woman that has always been there for her and continues to be an inspiration to her this very day: her mom.
“I know it might sound cliché, but I would not be here if it wasn’t for her. My parents have given up an enormous amount to allow me to pursue my dream, let alone moving to a different country. My mom is my rock; she is there for me always.”
In addition to her mother, Kaitlyn also draws inspiration from two other women: Oprah and her figure skating coach, Shae-Lynn Bourne.
“Oprah is my role-model ‘from afar’. Of course I don’t know her personally, but I admire her for her beliefs and the strength she displays. She’s a great philanthropist and tries to make an impact on humanity. Her passion for her work is clear throughout her life, as much as I can see.”
“Shae-Lynn Bourne is a 2003 World Champion along with her partner, Victor Kraatz. I am in admiration of Shae-Lynn because of her commitment to perfection in our sport. On a personal level, Shae has a light that emanates from her personality. Her positivity is contagious and she helps motivate me to be at my best at all times.”
Kaitlyn is also a “naturally positive, upbeat person” and takes joy in knowing that she is “pursuing her childhood dream”.
“I consider myself extremely lucky to get to say that. I also have excellent role-models in my day to day life, like Shae-Lynn and my mom, that give me the right guidance whenever I’m not having one of those ‘up’ days. However, I think who I am today is a combination of lessons learned and always trying to find the cloud’s silver lining.”
Kaitlyn believes that everyone can make a difference in our lives and whoever we meet along our journey can be just as important as the ones you deem so. Her favourite book is the Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. She uses this book as a source of spiritual knowledge in her daily life.
“It makes you think of the big picture. Mitch Albom focuses on the impact that people give you, and also what you leave with others. In the story, the main character meets five different people who have had a dramatic impact on his life or vice versa. Some, he barely remembers. I think this novel is a great reminder that even the smallest gesture can leave an imprint on someone, somewhere.”
As for her future, she says that’s a difficult question.
“I know that I will always be involved in the figure skating world since it is my passion. However, I do understand the importance of obtaining a degree and pursuing something different. I am not sure what I would like to do with my university degree. I know it will be a great asset to whatever path I choose. Once I decide, the real work will begin.”