USSA TEAM Academy staff and graduates celebrate during their graduation ceremony at the Center of Excellence in Park City, UT.
PARK CITY, UT (May 31, 2015) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s TEAM Academy said farewell to its high school seniors at a graduation ceremony held at the USSA’s Center of Excellence on Saturday, May 30. The class of 2015 included 12 athletes, seven who studied in Park City and five Elite Aerial Development Program (EADP) athletes based in Lake Placid, NY. It is the largest class ever to graduate from the Academy. A graduation ceremony for athletes in Lake Placid is set for June 13.
Olympian and World Cup winner Ty Walker (Stowe, VT) completed her junior and senior years at TEAM Academy. Between training for the Olympics and other competitions, she was able to stay on track with school and complete two advanced placement (AP) classes. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA and has been accepted to Brown University in the fall.
“Going into the Olympic year, I just knew I needed more guidance to stay on track,” said Walker. “It can be difficult to balance competition and school, and I knew the support TEAM Academy provided would be beneficial for me. I have stayed on track and made it work. Without TEAM Academy that may not have been possible.”
TEAM Academy is just one of the many educational resources available to USSA national team and development athletes. The blended model of live teaching and virtual learning is easily customizable to best meet the needs of each individual student athlete. Since its inception in 2012, TEAM Academy has graduated 18 national team or development athletes.
“The link between athletic performance and academic success is a key part of the mission of the USSA’s education programs,” said Vice President, Athlete Career and Education Jory Macomber. “All of our TEAM Academy athletes have worked hard in the classroom and on the hill. The long list of academic and athletic achievements is a testament to that. We are very proud of our graduates and all that they’ve accomplished.”
With their high school years behind them, the TEAM Academy graduates are on to bigger and better things in the academic world. College acceptances include Westminster College, University of Vermont, Colorado University, Denver University and Brown University. They’ll all return to the slopes this winter to continue pursing their athletic dreams.
“It’s really important for athletes to try and find time for school and competing,” stated Walker. “We’re very passionate about our sports, and having an education allows you to set yourself up to continue pursuing that passion outside of competition or find something else that you’re passionate about.”
USSA TEAM Academy Class of 2015 (Hometown, Club, Team) Ty Walker (Stowe, VT; Mt. Mansfield Ski and Snowboard Club; U.S. Snowboarding) Eric Loughran (Pelham, NH; Loon Freestyle; U.S. Freestyle Ski Team) Stephanie Lebby (Big Bear Lake, CA; Squaw Valley Ski Team; U.S. Alpine Ski Team) Megan McGrew (Monument, CO; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; National Training Group, alpine) Rachael DesRochers (Edwards, CO; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; National Training Group, alpine Ian Griffith (Park City, UT; National Training Group, alpine) Adam Freeman (Winter Park, CO; Winter Park Competition Center; National Training Group, alpine) Chris Lillis (Rochester, NY; Bristol Mountain Snow Sports Club; Elite Aerial Development Program) Patrick O’Flynn (Penfield, NY; Bristol Mountain Snow Sports Club; Elite Aerial Development Program) Brigid Mack (Savannah, GA; Elite Aerial Development Program) Tyra Izor (Waterbury, VT; Elite Aerial Development Program) Kira Tanghe (Essex Junction, VT; Elite Aerial Development Program)