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Members of the Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club performed various routines at its Olympic-themed exhibition titled “Make a Wish” on Feb. 8. The youngest performer was 4 years old, while another performer, who had recent- ly moved, traveled 1,600 miles round-trip to skate and be with her friends in the club. The club raised $600, with the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish foundation of Michigan. The event was also part of National Skating Month and the West Michigan Youth Wintersportsfest. “All of the girls did a great job, had fun and received a standing ovation,” the club’s Nina France said. A public skate session followed the exhibition, where spectators had a chance to head out onto the ice with the fi gure skaters from the show. Pic- tured is 4-year-old Grace Sheler, who participat- ed in the show’s opening ceremony.

SC of Huntsville member knows skating will be part of her life in the military

If Stephanie Duncan attends the United States

Military Academy at West Point (N.Y.) next fall, she’ll trade in her fi gure skates for hockey skates. Skating is not among the lifetime sports West Point cadets must choose to pursue while at the Academy; hockey is the next best alterna- tive.

“Skating will be the backbone

of whatever I’m doing. I’m still en- joying the ice, whether it’s fi gure skates or hockey skates,” Duncan said.

As a member of the Skating

Club of Huntsville, Duncan skates, teaches, is involved with Special

Olympics and is a member of the club’s junior volun- teer program. The volunteer program aims to engage more people in the local skating community through raising funds for children to attend classes and pur- chasing tickets to their local ice shows for the elderly. Much to her delight, Duncan recently became a gold medalist in moves in the fi eld. She plans to test through her senior free skate soon. In addition to her personal accomplishments, Duncan touches the lives of the skaters around her. “Stephanie teaches that there is so much more

to the sport of skating than just winning gold medals,” Vicky Edwards, the SC of Huntsville test chair, said. “Her beautiful smile shines on the ice as she teaches begin- ners how to skate, encourages Special Olympic skaters to try and pushes talented skaters to keep going.” Duncan believes that all that she learned as a fi g-

ure skater helped prepare her for a military career. “It’s all getting into the right mindset,” Duncan

said. “Figure skating prepared me mentally for the mili- tary by building passion and discipline.” Duncan recently received her Congressional

Nomination as part of the West Point application pro- cess. As a JROTC member, Duncan already embraces the military framework. She comes from two long lines of service members and hopes to continue that tradi- tion.

— Nicolette House SKATING 47

(l-r) Mary Johanson, Katie Lamb, Grace

Cregar, Hamzah Soofi , Alex Meints, Miranda Underwood, Logan

Giulietti-Schmitt, Krista Diephuis, Melanie Bolhuis

Ann Arbor FSC changing lives Several years ago the Ann Arbor FSC’s learn-to-skate program was introduced

to two skaters with autism spectrum disorder. No one could have predicted at the time the extraordinary impact these individuals would have on the rink and the club. On many occasions, these skaters’ parents would tell the staff how skating

has been changing the lives of their children, and slowly, the staff started noticing changes in the skaters’ demeanor during classes. Soon, the physical, intellectual and social development witnessed by their parents, therapists, classroom teachers and coaches alike prompted some new program developments: a Special Olympics team and a therapeutic skating class. With word of the skaters’ successes spreading throughout the special needs

community, the club quickly had two more children deciding to learn how to skate, with participation in the Special Olympics Michigan State Winter Games as the goal. Through the generosity and volunteerism of the community, club members and tal- ented coaching staff , the four Special Olympics team members began training in early December. After three emotional and rewarding days of competition in Feb- ruary, not only did the athletes return with eight medals, but they also came with a new sense of accomplishment, self-esteem and motivation. The lives of the families, athletes and coaches have been forever changed. The next step for the club was to reach out further to the greater special needs

community, to off er the benefi ts of skating year round. Following the badge system created by U.S. Figure Skating, the Ann Arbor FSC’s therapeutic class had its debut in March. The club has had an overwhelming response from the community for this new program, and members have become unifi ed around the common goal of pro- viding an opportunity these families may never have considered as an option for their children. After seeing the pure joy these individuals experience every time they step on the ice, everyone is reminded why it’s so easy to fall in love with fi gure skat- ing. It’s gratifying for the club to be truly enriching so many lives in ways never before imagined.

— Logan Giulietti-Schmitt

Rochester, Mich., to host

U.S. Collegiate Championships Rochester, Mich., has been selected as the host

of the 2014 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Champi- onships. The event will be hosted by the Onyx-Subur-

ban Skating Academy from Aug. 14–16. Held for the fi rst time in 1985, the U.S. Colle-

Grace Sheler

giate Championships is the only individual compe- tition open to full-time college students. Event registration opens on May 15.

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