My Skating Peers’ Blog

I’ve asked my skating peers to share their experiences at various events and competitions and to spotlight their achievements and accomplishments. I want to provide a platform of expression for their diverse views and opinions on any skating topic that is important to them.
I hope their stories will teach and provide further motivation and inspiration to my students, parents, and readers.

Francesca Olivieri

Francesca Olivieri

Skating has taught me how to get up

I began figure skating when I was seven years old. I was inspired to figure skate by my dad who plays hockey. He thought that I would enjoy figure skating. I first stepped on the ice at Woodbridge Community Center. Even though I fell down countless times, I said with excitement after the first class ended, “I love it!!!”. Woodbridge Community Center is where I met my first coach, Gabby Forlenza. Eventually, I asked if I could try private lessons. She said she would love to coach me. Gabby later brought me to Garden State Skating Club in Howell. It was there that I continued to improve. I still fell down often, but it was because I was trying harder things each day. My coach moved away and it was disappointing, very much like falling down, but I had to stay strong and get back up again.

I have found a passion for figure skating, which makes me want to keep improving. Figure skating is so much fun. I am thankful for the members in the club, the opportunity to be in shows, and being able to learn new things. I am very grateful to now be coached by Alicia Sprengel, who has helped me sharpen my skills even more, and has been both patient and encouraging throughout each lesson.

Through the years figure skating has taught me to always get back up again when I fall and to never give up.

Syena Schaad

Syena Schaad

My experience at north atlantic Regionals

Hi, my name is Syena Schaad and I have been a competitive figure skater for the past five years. One of my goals this past season was to compete in October at North Atlantic Regional   Figure Skating Championships in Lake Placid, NY.  I fractured my knee in the beginning of April and was not allowed to skate for three months.  I was worried that I was not going to be ready or able to compete at Regionals this year because of my injury. My goal was achieved and I was able to compete as a Juvenile Girl at Regionals this year. 

The energy and excitement at Regionals was amazing. I was really pumped and anxious. I could not believe I was going to skate on Olympic ice.  Before I stepped on the ice I was so nervous and excited. I kept telling myself, “focus on one jump at a time and breathe.”  I took my place on the ice to begin my program, and I could hear all my friends cheering. I skated a clean program. I was so happy and rushed off the ice. I gave my coach, Steven, a big hug. While I was waiting for my score,  I could not sit still. The score was announced. I was in third place.  When the qualifying round had finished I still maintained third place.  I had made it to final round. I won a bronze medal. I was ecstatic!  I felt amazing!  It would be my first time competing at Regionals, Juvenile Girls Final Round.


   I didn’t skate my best at Final Round, but it was a good learning experience. This opportunity  allowed me to grow as a figure skater. I was proud to make it to final round and it was an honor to be there. It took a lot of hard work to achieve this goal, but it was worth it! I will continue to practice and work hard to get better.  It was an amazing experience and I can not wait until next competition season!  

Good luck skating, have fun, and
keep working hard!

Megan Tso

Megan Tso

Competing in the junior Ladies division

My name is Megan Tso and I started skating when I was 2 years old. Going into this season I was very excited because I really liked the pieces of music I had selected for both my short and long and I was going to be a Junior Ladies. My short was  something different, it was more modern, very strong and empowering piece. I had never done anything like it before and I knew it would require lots of hard work and dedication but looking back I don’t have any regrets. 

My long was an egyptian, arabian type piece and I just fell in love with all the different parts of the song. It started off very mysterious with beats that got choreographed arms to match. Then, the music started to gradually build up, but then it would slow down again until it started to build up again. Finally it would sound almost like a powerful race which we had planned out to be filled with jumps and spins. 

There is no other way to describe the training leading up to regionals other than a rollercoaster. It was never consistent. I would have a good week, a bad week, a good day, a bad day, an okay day, an okay week, but it was never a pattern. I definitely learned a lot about how sometimes when you fall, and it was literal, when I fell on the ice, I just had to get back up and move forward. I definitely learned the meaning of the words being productive, working hard, and working smart. 

The last couple of weeks before regionals was definitely stressful. I remember walking into the rink warming up and I would run into the other skating moms and they would ask me, “Are you excited for regionals?” and my first thought was, “No,” because by this time it was mid september and I had started school already. It was junior year and everyone kept telling and reminding me about how important this year was for college. So I was definitely more stressed than excited. 

I went up to Lake Placid, where regionals was held this year, a lot earlier than I needed to be there for, but it was because my parents were not able to go so I went up with a friend. When I had arrived to Lake Placid, it did not feel like regionals at all. I was not, and still am not, sure why exactly but when I got there, I hopped right out of the car changed into my practice clothes and went inside the rink. Because I had arrived two days before I was actually going to compete I had bought a total of 11 practice ice so that I could get use to the ice and practice. 

Overall, I was happy with both of the performances I put out. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement and I had left some points on the table, but I worked and did the best I could. There are always things I wish I had done differently. But ultimately, it led me to where I am now in my skating career and I do not regret anything.