By Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz
The Figure Skating Club of Madison’s president Amy Schellpfeffer wanted to find a special way to highlight the club’s 13 graduating seniors. As a result, each senior received their own “features” on the club’s social media pages as a way to get to know the special young skaters.
The Wisconsin club has always honored its seniors in various ways.
“Seniors can elect to perform a solo during our spring ice show and be honored during the finale with flowers and an individual bow,” Schellpfeffer said. “We also recognize them with certificates and a slide show at our annual banquet.”
The club had to cancel its annual show and banquet during the pandemic. However, Schellpfeffer found a way to still honor graduates with a profile on the club’s social media Facebook and Instagram pages.
So began the “Senior Shout-outs.”
“We still wanted to recognize these special skaters who have been a part of our skating family for so long and have accomplished so much,” Schellpfeffer said. “The online shout-outs were so well received we decided to continue them.”
This year, with one of the largest graduating senior classes anyone could remember, Schellpfeffer got busy conducting “interviews” with the skaters via Google Forms and email.
“This seemed to work well, and it’s nice to give the seniors time to think about their responses,” Schellpfeffer said.
Each profile included facts about the seniors’ lives on and off the ice and (Schellpfeffer’s favorite part) a photo collage.
“I loved seeing the pictures and their skating journey develop and hearing about what they cherished the most,” she said. “These skaters start their journey in this sport at various ages and end at various levels, but all have a love for the sport that keep them committed.”
For senior Ashley Romines, shout-outs were a perfect way to reflect on favorite on-ice memories.
“It was a great way for us to share some of our favorite moments in skating over the years and what goals we have for ourselves in the future,” Romines said.
Amy Qiao agreed.
“I got to share a bit about myself and learn more about the other senior skaters, and I loved everyone’s fun photos, too,” Qiao said.
Schellpfeffer also found this year’s shout-outs extra special because her daughter, Josie, was one of this year’s seniors.
“I have enjoyed seeing these skaters grow alongside each other into amazing young adults,” Schellpfeffer said. “Having so many stick with it through their senior year, especially with the adversity they have faced with COVID-19 the last two years, is so special.”
For Josie, her club’s acknowledgment meant a lot.
“I think it’s really sweet that the club I’ve been a part of since I was little wanted to acknowledge myself and the other seniors that I grew up with for all of our fun and hard work within the club,” Josie said.
Although saying goodbye to seniors is often bittersweet, Schellpfeffer notes that many return to skating in later years.
“We are proud to say many of them will continue to keep skating as part of their lives after graduation as part of intercollegiate skating, collegiate synchro, Team USA synchro, adult skating and recreational skating,” Schellpfeffer said.
She also hopes to continue the shout-outs in the future.
“It is so amazing to see these kids work so hard in academics through high school and continue their commitment to the sport they love,” Schellpfeffer said. “We want these skaters to know how proud we are of them, and whether they know it or not, they are leaders in the club, and our young skaters look up to them.”