U.S. Figure Skating Honors 10 Scholar Athletes at 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships
(1/10/14) - Ten U.S. Figure Skating athletes have been named to the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Scholastic Honors Team. The team will be honored Sunday during a ceremony at the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston.
The program, which started in 1996, was created by U.S. Figure Skating to recognize high school athletes who excel in academic pursuits, community involvement and the sport of figure skating. More than 1,100 skaters have applied for the scholarship since its inception, with 200 team members selected.
The award is available to U.S. Figure Skating members of all disciplines who are juniors or seniors at an accredited high school. They must be fulltime students with a grade point average of 3.4 or higher and have competed at the novice, junior or senior level during the past two years. Candidates are asked to submit an application and an essay, which are reviewed by a selection panel.
The 2014 Honorees:
Rachel Chang will graduate this spring from Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill., where she has been a member of the gold honor roll for each semester of her high school career. A member of the Skokie Valley Skating Club, Chang competes in singles and has also competed on the Starlights Synchronized Skating Team; she also founded and captains the figure skating team at Stevenson High School. In 2012 and 2013, Chang performed in "One Skate at a Time," a benefit show that raises money to provide outreach camp programs to Children's Oncology Services, Inc. In addition to skating, Chang volunteers with the archdiocese of Chicago and Sharing Hands food pantry.
Daniel Kulenkamp is a senior at MTS Connections Academy in St. Paul, Minn., where he is a member of the National Honor Society and takes several college-level courses through the University of Minnesota. Kulenkamp, a singles skater with the Saint Paul Figure Skating Club, is also a skating coach and is in the process of organizing a skating show to benefit three local charities.
Hannah Miller is a junior at Williamston High School in Williamston, Mich. A senior-level domestic skater who placed second at the 2012 Junior Grand Prix Final, Miller carries a 4.0-GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. Miller's home club is the Lansing Skating Club, where she serves as a learn-to-skate instructor and is a member of the club's Basic Skills subcommittee. Her volunteer activities include working with the Ingham County Animal Shelter.
Yasmin Siraj will graduate from Brookline High School in Brookline, Mass., where she is an officer in the American Red Cross Club and is a senior mentor. Siraj, who was recently accepted to Harvard University, is a senior-level skater who placed sixth at the 2013 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships and teaches both Basic Skills and private skating lessons at The Skating Club of Boston. Siraj's other interests include Boston-area fundraising and disaster relief. She has worked with Rosie's Place, a shelter for impoverished and homeless women, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, Wounded Warrior Project and the American Red Cross in support of Haiti earthquake relief.
Spencer Simon is a senior at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Ill., where he is a member of the National Honor Society and tutors fellow students in algebra and trigonometry. Simon carries a 4.5 GPA and holds the honor of first trumpet in the wind ensemble. Simon, a singles skater, is active in the Skokie Valley Skating Club, where he serves as an instructor and volunteer at nonqualifying competitions. Simon and his siblings recently founded Courage for Kids, Medals for Hope, which provides hospitalized children with skating medals and words of inspiration.
Maddie Staff is in her senior year at Grayslake Central High School in Grayslake, Ill. Staff has served two years on the student council as well as on a small application-based panel working directly with her school's administration. Staff has participated on the track and field team and earned a varsity letter in cross country. Staff has participated in both honors band and marching band. A member of the Starlights Synchronized Skating Team out of Skokie Valley Skating Club, Staff is a volunteer coach for her club's pre-juvenile synchronized skating team. Staff's volunteer activities include working with special needs children and tutoring elementary school students.
Christine Wang is a senior at Wayland High School in Wayland, Mass. A National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, Wang has received academic awards in chemistry and Latin and received the Principal's Scholarship Award as a result of her presence on the honor roll each quarter of her high school career. Additionally, Wang is involved in student government and is an accomplished pianist. Wang is a co-captain of Team Excel from The Skating Club of Boston, and is also a member of the club's competition committee.
Jordan Weiss is a senior at East Ridge High School in Woodbury, Minn., where she is a member of the National Honor Society and a three-time academic letter winner. At East Ridge, Weiss participates in track and field, gymnastics and the Key Club. A member of the Skyliners senior team skating out of the Woodbury Figure Skating Club, Weiss has participated in several benefit shows and has served as a synchronized skating skills instructor. Weiss' community service activities are many and varied; she has worked with Relay for Life, the American Red Cross, Ronald McDonald House and the Children's Starlight Foundation.
Maria Yang is a junior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., where she is on the honor roll, is a member of the physics club and is a teaching assistant in the chemistry department. Yang is a singles skater out of the Washington Figure Skating Club, where she assists with club competitions and test sessions and skates in shows to benefit a local food bank. Yang also coaches Special Olympics skaters and works to promote funding to Special Olympics figure skating programs. Her other volunteer activities include working with elementary school students and raising money to support her local humane society.
Jessica Zhu will graduate this spring from Lexington High School in Lexington, Mass., where she is a member of the National Honor Society and has been named an AP Scholar with Honor. Zhu's other accolades include recognition in French, chemistry and music. Zhu skates out of the Hayden Recreation Centre Figure Skating Club, where she is a member of the Lexettes synchronized skating team and a Basic Skills instructor. Off the ice, Zhu teaches math classes at the Lexington Youth Center for Asian Learning, supports elementary school drug prevention and participates in benefits supporting breast and ovarian cancer research.