The USSA TEAM Academy held its first graduation ceremony June 1st in Park City, UT. (Photo: Sarah Brunson/USSA)
PARK CITY, UT (June 1) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s new USSA TEAM Academy celebrated its first year, graduating four seniors from the high school created for national development and elite team skiers and snowboarders. All of the graduating seniors, who hold a combined 4.15 GPA, have enrolled at Westminster College to continue their education. The graduation ceremony was held Saturday, June 1 at the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City, UT.
The USSA TEAM Academy was formed in 2012 to provide high school education specifically for national development or elite national TEAM skiers and snowboarders.
TEAM Academy serves a total of 27 student athletes at two campuses: one in Lake Placid, NY, and one in Park City, UT.
The graduation ceremony was held Saturday, June 1 at the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City, UT.
The average grade earned among all the courses taken by TEAM Academy seniors in the inaugural year was 96.20%. With a weighted GPA (Advanced Placement courses carry a weighted GPA), the four graduating seniors have a combined GPA of 4.15.
100% of graduating seniors are continuing their education, with all enrolling at Westminster College through a partnership with the USSA.
In addition to success in the classroom, TEAM Academy athletes earned World Cup and Junior World Freestyle Skiing Championships podiums and numerous top finishes on international circuits.
Alexi Micinski (slopestyle skiing): First, Sierra Nevada World Cup; Second, Junior World Freestyle Skiing Championships; Top 10, FIS World Freestyle Championships; Top 10, AFP overall rankings
Jess Breda (slopestyle skiing): Top 10, U.S. Sprint Grand Prix series; Top 10, Copper Mountain World Cup
Kiley McKinnon (freestyle aerials): Top Five, Sochi and Bukovel World Cups
Madison Olsen (freestyle aerials): Top 10, Bukovel, Deer Valley and Lake Placid World Cups
Madison Olsen (Park City, UT/FLY Freestyle), freestyle aerials
Bill Marolt, USSA President and CEO Today is an historic moment for the USSA. We believe that academics and athletics enhance each other - they go hand in hand. We have to have the academic side. It's more than you learn in books. USSA Team Academy has brought the best athletes here to Park City to be Best in the World. When you bring the best people together it raises the bar not just here but around the country.
Luke Bodensteiner, USSA Executive Vice President, Athletics This is a day for us all to be proud. This school was little more than an idea two years ago. The accomplishments of our students academically and athletically have shaped this program for the student athletes of the future who will follow in their footsteps. With the USSA's vision to be the Best in the World, we have to identify talent earlier and train better than ever before. What these students learned here about values, goals, and commitment will help them when it's time to lay it all on the line. That's what makes champions.
Dan Kemp, TEAM Academy Headmaster Through the unique blended learning model at TEAM Academy, the students have been able to accomplish things both academically and athletically that they didn’t think were possible. Rather than struggling to keep up with homework while on the road, the more flexible schedule has enabled them to focus on competition while maintaining excellent grades.
When I reflect back today I think of opportunity – the opportunity these students have had. They have given their dedication, hard work and patience to be better students and better athletes.
Kim Micinski, TEAM Academy parent Alexi has had an amazing experience with TEAM Academy. She has been able to work on her courses and balance the amount of school she does with how busy her schedule is. When she returns, she is met by positive, supportive staff ready to help her achieve her academic goals. They have gone above and beyond to support her. TEAM Academy has been the perfect choice for our daughter and is an absolute asset to the USSA.
Tom Olsen, TEAM Academy parent I wonder how many people make an effort to get into this building or to get into an Ivy League school. This is an elite place - a special place to have access to for coaches, athletes and parents. It’s allowed our daughter to surround herself with greatness.
Madison Olsen, Freestyle Aerials It was an awesome opportunity for me. The school was definitely the right choice for me, so I could focus not only on my athletics but my education, as well. This graduation just sums up the entire year—it was awesome.
Jess Breda, Slopestyle Skiing I didn’t really know this day was going to come for a while until this year. I’ve been doing online schooling for a while and it was really difficult with the high level of competition. This year was when it became reality that I would be getting a diploma and graduating. It’s amazing and such a big day. I’m so happy that I’m done with high school and moving on to college at Westminster.
Everyone is so focused and motivated that it’s hard not to be focused and motivated yourself. You’re training next to people that have won Olympic medals, that have so much experience, that are so determined that they’re the best role models. You become the best by training with the best and if you see what the Best in the World are doing, you want to become that and you want to reach that goal.
Alexi Micinski, Slopestyle Skiing Today is really exciting to me. It was really exciting to go to the USSA TEAM Academy and be able to follow my dreams in skiing and get an education, as well. I never thought this opportunity would come to me, but I’m really glad it did.
Kiley McKinnon, Freestyle Aerials TEAM Academy has been an amazing experience. It’s made it a lot easier to focus on my education and training at the same time. I’m starting my classes at Westminster this summer.