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Pines Figure Skating Club Junior Board members (back row, l-r) Stephanie Dahan, Gaby Pezzulo, Reagan Hale, Valeria Amortegui, Kristine Levitina; (front row, l-r) Skater Slime Girls Emmerson Old, Emily Gagliano, Lexi Popkin. Not pictured are Alexa Binder, Marley Chavarria and Bianca Echtey.


Pines FSC Junior Board supports


memorial in wake of Parkland tragedy BY KAMA STIGALL


This past Valentine’s Day, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Park- land, Florida, drew national attention when a gunman shot and killed 17 people and injured 17 more, making it the deadliest high school shooting in American history. A young group of skaters from nearby Pembroke Pines, Florida, have banded together to create a deeper sense of community in hopes that events like these won’t happen again.


The recently formed Junior Board of Directors at the Pines Figure Skating Club has been working since early February 2018 to address problems such as bullying. Coincidentally, their anti-bullying campaign kicked off shortly before the Parkland shooting. Without a doubt, the skating com- munity was shaken by this turn of events.


“It’s hard to put into words how this has impacted the individuals — it was absolutely devastating,” said Jennifer Houghton Morris, who serves as coach and director of fi gure skating/athlete development for the Pines Ice Arena and Pines FSC. “Some of our skaters and those from oth- er rinks in the area have become closer through all of this. Our friends 15 minutes north of us at Panthers Figure Skating Club also had kids in the school that day.”


In response to the tragedy, the Junior Board joined forces with the club’s Skater Slime Girls, who sold slimes at the South Florida Compete USA Series event on May 6. The Junior Board will also do an event later this summer with the opportunity to donate to the memorial project that is being built to honor the Parkland victirms.


“Both the Skater Slime Girls and the Junior Board are trying to do their part to help rebuild their community,” Houghton Morris said.


The Junior Board also launched a Big/Little Sister program to help foster community among its skaters. All of these activities have brought the skaters of all ages together and enriched the time they spend together at the rink.


“The Junior Board gives all of the skaters an opportunity to become an active part of organizing events and learning how to become more responsible on and off the ice,” said Stephanie Dahan, who is a member of the Junior Board.


Groups like the Junior Board have helped to bring a positive change to the community in light of such a negative event.


“The Parkland shooting brought skaters from other rinks together as one, and we were able to use our mutual love for skating to strengthen our ties and become one,” Junior Board member Gabrielle Pezzulo said.


42 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 Brazos Valley FSC celebrates


its SafeSport champions While the Brazos Valley FSC in College Station, Texas, requires parents to complete SafeSport training online, the club has also developed a SafeSport mini training program that is age-appro- priate, and off ers a positive discussion without delving deeply into topics that might be too mature for some of its members.


In April, club offi cers attended their Theatre on Ice team prac- tice and trained the members of ITS HOT (Ice Theater Skaters from the Heart of Texas) in preparation for this summer’s National TOI competition.


Each skater was given a paddle that had a green “thumbs- up” on one side and a red “thumbs-down” on the other; 10 SafeSport scenarios were presented and skaters responded accordingly with their paddles.


Upon completion of training, each member received a T-shirt with the message: “Skating with Sass and Class ... Keeping it Sassy and Classy ... SafeSport Champion.”


The team then celebrated with cake.


Figure skating coach Nadia Kanaeva and her infant son, Timur, enjoy some ice time together around Mother’s Day. Timur turned 1 in July. Kanaeva coaches alongside Rafael and Vera Arutunian and Derrick Delmore in California. Their students include 2018 Olympic Team Event bronze medalist and World champion Nathan Chen, Olympic Team Event bronze medalist Adam Rippon and 2014 Olympic Team Event bronze medalist Ashley Wagner.


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