Student takes up online school to pursue skating endeavors

Sophomore Grace Boezinger laces her skates at Young Arena in Waterloo for a competition.

In order to pursue her passion of ice skating, sophomore Grace Boezinger is joining a growing number of students who are trading traditional education for the flexibility of an online school. “The online program that I’m going to use is Connections Academy, which is a nationwide online school program. It’s recommended by the state, so we [my family and I] just decided that it would be the easiest action considering it has the most courses and flexibility,” Boezinger said.

Flexibility is a huge component to many students in high school who are trying to do well in school, work jobs and play sports all at the same time. 

Boezinger said, “High school just isn’t very flexible with hours expectedly because it has a set time frame for all. I’m going to have to be up in Minnesota half the week from Thursday through Sunday, so it’d be kinda hard to do traditional high school while traveling constantly.”

She’s highly committed to skating and has ideas of what her future entails in regards to it. 

“For my practices I have to be available during the day as well as after school to be with my  synchronized skating team. What I’m currently doing now is practices a few times during the week and on the weekends. It would be hard to practice with them, for example, on a Thursday because I can’t just drive up to Minnesota after school and then drive back,” Boezinger said.

“The online school program works really well with my time because I can do it anytime I want to. They also provide you with all the materials you would need, and it’s super nice because I can go to school on the go and not have to actually go to a certain building.”

Boezinger started skating at a very young age and has been drawn to it ever since and continues to stay dedicated. “I’ve been skating for around 11 years or so, since I was around four. I’m pretty committed at this point. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. My goal has always been like my little dream; when I started as a four-year-old, I wanted to go to the Olympics someday, and obviously that would be amazing, but I’m a little bit more realistic now. I understand that there’s a good chance that it won’t happen, but I would like to make it,” she said.

Local issues hamper her from putting in the amount of dedication that she would like to as well.

Boezinger said, “I really want to get somewhere with skating, so I skate five days a week. I wish I could skate every single day, but some days there isn’t ice available in Waterloo or Cedar Rapids, so I can’t, which makes it hard, but I could skate every day if I went to Minnesota.”

Even after all her years in the sport, she is still making adjustments to her routines and skills. “I’m currently doing solo ice dance because I can’t find a partner to skate with, so I’m hoping to make it to Nationals this year. This year is my first year doing solo dance, so I’m not super hopeful, but I’m going to work my hardest. This year the team is pretty good and has a really good coach as well, so I’m really hoping that we make it through this year. I believe we really could have a chance at Nationals,” Boezinger said.

Not being able to have a coach in close proximity is also a struggle that online school would solve for Boezinger.

“I really just wanted to have the flexibility to have every day up in Minnesota with my coach in Minneapolis. It’s hard right now. I do Skype lessons with my coach, but it it’s not as good as having him in person, so that was a main reason as well. I won’t be able to go to prom, football games or see my friends every day—any of that stuff, but I love skating so much that I’d do anything for it.”

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