U.S. Figure Skating to Honor 10 Exceptional Scholar Athletes at 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

(1/26/08) - The 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Scholastic Honors Team shines both on the ice and in the classroom. In this year's class, all 10 scholar athletes have been named to the honor roll and/or won academic honors. Seven are straight-A students, and all 10 regularly participate, organize or lead charity programs in their schools or communities.

This year's team will be honored during an on-ice ceremony at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Saint Paul, Minn. The ceremony will take place Saturday, Jan. 26. The program, which started in 1997, was created by U.S. Figure Skating to recognize high school athletes who excel in the classroom and on the ice.

The award is available to U.S. Figure Skating members of all disciplines who are juniors or seniors in an accredited high school. They must be full-time students with a grade point average of 3.4 or higher and have competed at the novice, junior or senior level within the past two years. Candidates submit an application and an essay, which are reviewed by a panel that selects the team.

The 2008 team members are:

Kylie Gleason is a repeat honoree of the Scholastic Honors Team. A member of the Skating Club of Boston, Gleason finished 15th last year in the senior ladies division at the State Farm U.S. Championships. Gleason, who will graduate this spring, attends The Noble & Greenough School in Dedham, Mass., where she is a straight-A student. In her application essay for the Scholastic Honors Team, she writes about how important her older sister, Hadley, has been in her life. Outside of the classroom, she is a three-year member of the Community Service Board. She took a service trip to Romania to work in hospitals and orphanages and has volunteered at Tufts New England Medical Center.

Katrina Hacker attends New York's Professional Children's School, from which she will graduate this spring. Hacker, a member of the Skating Club of Boston, won the senior ladies competition at the 2008 North Atlantic Regional Championships and placed sixth at the 2008 Eastern Sectional Championships. In 2006, she placed fifth at the Junior Grand Prix event in Romania. In the classroom, Hacker has earned high honor roll recognition every semester and qualified for the National Merit Scholarship Program in 2008. In her application essay, Hacker writes about her hero, 1956 Olympic champion Tenley Albright. Hacker also excels with her community service. She was the co-producer of “Edges for Education,” a skating show that raised more than $32,000 for the Literacy Center at Boys & Girls Harbor in Harlem, N.Y.

Chrissy Hughes is a member of the Highland Skating Club and a senior at Liberty High School in Renton, Wash. Her most recent accomplishments on the ice include a sixth-place finish as a junior at the 2007 U.S. Championships. She also won her Junior Grand Prix debut last fall in Romania. Hughes is a straight-A student and is a member of the “Running Start” program, in which students can attend college classes and earn high school as well as college credit. In her application essay, she writes about being injured and the strength and knowledge she gained from reading Lance Armstrong's book It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. Outside the classroom, she helped raise more than $2,500 for the American Cancer Society as the captain of her “Relay for Life” team.

Alexander Johnson attends Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minn., and will graduate this spring. A member of the Braemar-City of Lakes Figure Skating Club, Johnson won the silver medal in the novice class at the 2007 U.S. Championships. Johnson is a straight-A student who tutors other students in mathematics. He's a member of the National Honor Society. In his application essay, Johnson writes about his longtime coach, Joan Orvis, who has helped him persevere through difficult times in his life. Johnson volunteers for the organization “Feed my Starving Children,” which packages meals for starving kids all over the world. He has also spent countless hours making more than 500 fleece hats, blankets and pillows for “Operation Snuggles.”

Curran Oi is a junior at Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Mass. A member of the Skating Club of Boston, Oi placed fourth at the 2007 U.S. Championships as a junior. He's also enjoyed success on the Junior Grand Prix circuit. In the classroom, Oi is enrolled in all honors-level classes, excelling in science and math. In his application essay, Oi writes about his 10th-grade English teacher, Mr. McCullough, and his profound impact on Oi's learning style and outlook on life. Outside of class, Oi is an invited soloist skater at many charity fundraisers and community shows. He was the recipient of the 2007 Mary Louise Wright Award at the Skating Club of Boston, which recognizes outstanding achievements in academics, competitive skating and being a role model.

Blake Rosenthal is a member of the Skating Club of Wilmington and a junior at Radnor High School in Radnor, Pa. Like the rest of her Scholastic Honors Team peers, Rosenthal excels on the ice and in the classroom. She placed fourth at the 2007 U.S. Championships in the junior ranks; she was a U.S. silver medalist a year earlier as a novice skater. Rosenthal is also an accomplished ice dancer. In her application essay, Rosenthal writes about the valuable lessons she's learned through skating, especially those involving perseverance and persistence. A straight-A student and academic leader at her school, Rosenthal is also active outside the classroom. In 2007, she participated in a pair of American Cancer Society fundraisers as well as a Hurricane Katrina Relief project.

Emily Samuelson graduates this spring from Novi High School in Novi, Mich. A straight-A pupil, Samuelson has been on the honor roll throughout her prep years. A member of the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club, Samuelson finished in the top one percentile nationally on the ACT. Samuelson and longtime ice dancing partner Evan Bates have enjoyed great success in the junior ranks, winning the U.S. junior title in 2007 as well as a silver medal at the 2007 Junior Grand Prix Final. In her application essay, Samuelson writes about her accident at the 2007 World Junior Championships. There, in Oberstdorf, Germany, Samuelson fell and was injured when her partner cut her hand with his blade. The accident forced them to withdraw from the competition. Samuelson writes about how the accident actually solidified her commitment and motivation to succeed in the sport she loves. Samuelson is also a contributor to her community. She is a Sunday school teacher and member of the Interact Club (affiliated with the Rotary Club of Novi) as well as the Teens Aiding the Cancer Community organization.

Jeremy Steeger is a junior at Council Rock North High School in Newtown, Pa. A member of the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club, Steeger placed eighth at the 2007 North Atlantic Regional Championships as a novice. In 2006, he finished 16th in intermediate at the 2006 U.S. Junior Championships. A straight-A student, Steeger has been on the Principal's Distinguished Honor Roll since 2005. He has excelled at various history and mathematics competitions. In his application essay, he writes about “staying true to your values and beliefs while embracing the principals of building good character.” Caring coaches, he adds, are difference-makers to many skaters. Steeger is also active outside the classroom. In 2006, he helped initiate “The Garden of Giving,” a student-run program dedicated to building a greenhouse where organic food is grown and donated to homeless shelters. He's also the founder and president of his high school's figure skating club.

Rebecca Tran graduates this spring from Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs, Colo. A member of the Broadmoor Skating Club, Tran placed seventh at the 2007 Southwestern Regional Championships as a novice. She's been a straight-A student and was in the top one percentile nationally on the majority of her ACT scores. In her application essay, she writes about her uncle, Dr. Toan Nguyen, who as a young boy came to the United States from a poverty-stricken family in Vietnam. His passion to learn and succeed serves as inspiration for Tran. Outside the classroom, Tran volunteers weekly at a local hospital and is an instructor for U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills learn-to-skate programs.

Chloe Wolf is a senior at Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Maine, and a member of the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club. At the 2007 U.S. Championships, she placed seventh as a novice in ice dancing. She's a straight-A student and a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. In her application essay, Wolf writes about how she's been able to persevere over whatever obstacles she encounters because of the skills she's acquired through figure skating. Time management, working with people and compromise have proven invaluable, Wolf wrote, as she makes her way through school and skating. Wolf volunteers at a soup kitchen, bottle recycling shed and various food drives.

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