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BY KARISSA WOIENSKI Every spring, the Program Development

Committee recognizes high school seniors who have been involved in figure skating during their prep careers through the Graduating Seniors Program. Tis year, nearly 800 skaters received the award, which recognizes accomplishments at all levels of figure skating in high school, from passing the pre-preliminary moves-in-the-field test to competing internationally. “Any athlete who skates in high school is eligible for the Graduating Seniors award,” said Dorothy Tank, national vice chair for the program. “Tere are so many different opportu- nities for skaters to stay involved in high school, especially with the high school team skating program.”

Te high school team skating program is one of the fastest-growing opportunities under the purview of the Program Development Committee; this year, 113 high school teams registered with U.S. Figure Skating. Jayda Jones, a Graduating Seniors sil-

ver-level recipient, competed on the Duxbury High School team in Duxbury, Massachusetts. “I enjoyed competing on the team because

we all worked together,” Jones said. “We got to meet so many other skaters on other teams who were extremely nice and supportive.” Te friendships and fun atmosphere of high school team skating were echoed by Rebec- ca Nagle, high school chair of the New England Interclub Council. “Tere is camaraderie built on so many

levels,” Nagle said. “Te skaters support each other and every team at these competitions, and coaches can encourage skaters to become stu- dent athletes and enjoy their skating in a more relaxed environment.” State high school figure skating champion-

ships are offered in several states, and any reg- istered high school team is eligible to compete at the National High School Final. Tis year, the High School Final was held in Northbrook, Illinois, with teams from as far away as Pennsyl- vania competing. High school team skating also provides an

opportunity for skaters to try out competing on a team before attending college, where nearly 300 of this year’s graduating seniors hope to compete on an intercollegiate skating team. “Like high school team skating, intercol- legiate skating has a fun, relaxed environment with lots of camaraderie,” said Sarah Arnold,


U.S. Figure Skating athlete development manag- er for the collegiate skating program. High schoolers staying involved in figure

skating who are applying to college can be helped in other ways. “Skaters have many characteristics that appeal to colleges: excellent time management skills, a strong work ethic, dedication and determination,” said Tira Harpaz, an indepen- dent college admissions adviser and founder of CollegeBound Advice. “While it is not generally a recruited sport, skating can also help students stand out in the application process, because it is relatively uncommon, and skaters often have objectives and long-term accomplishments they can highlight, ranging from competitive results in regional competitions to passing advanced tests.”

Regardless of how skaters choose to partici- pate in skating during high school, the Graduat- ing Seniors award recognizes their commitment in both the classroom and the rink. Ethan Alday, a Platinum-level recipient, noted that the award is “a wonderful recognition of the hard work that goes into both skating and academics, as well as the mentorship of coaches and parents who help each skater along their journey.” For more information on high school team

skating or the Graduating Seniors Program, contact Karissa Woienski, U.S. Figure Skating programs manager, at kwoienski

Ambryn Meehan, a Gold-level recipient, and Emily Styzinski, a Platinum-level recipient, are presented with their awards during a ceremony at Rolling Meadows High School in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

Macey Staff receives her Bronze-level award from Dr. Sally Sover, executive director of Cove School in Northbrook, Illinois, and Mrs. Julie Browne, teacher and adviser.

Skaters on the Reading Rockets team from Reading Memorial High School in Reading, Massachusetts compete in a team maneuvers event.



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