Video, photos and story by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
So how does she do it?
How does 15-year-old ice skater Katarina Wolfkostin maintain a grueling training schedule that led to last month’s bronze medal at the Youth Olympics Games in Switzerland and silver medal at the U.S. Junior Championships— all while keeping up with her education?
It works because as a Pioneer High School sophomore, she takes all of her classes online through A2 Virtual.
“A2 Virtual has definitely helped with the flexibility of the schedule, and just fitting everything in,” she says.
Katarina began skating when she was five, and while a student at Bach Elementary and Slauson, balanced school with training with increasing difficulty as her skating career flourished.
Last year, she took just one class at Pioneer High School, but even that became tough to work with a grueling skating schedule that included international travel.
That’s when Katarina decided the best thing to do was to take all courses online through A2 Virtual.
This year she’s taking six classes split into trimesters instead of semesters because of her travel schedule. Meanwhile, Katarina trains 40 minutes away in Novi with Jeffrey Chen, her partner of a year.
Katarina fits in homework whenever she can, and can often be found with her laptop in the car as she travels to a practice or competition.
“I definitely recommend A2 Virtual,” she says, noting that it works especially well with those who have scheduling conflicts.
Her mother, Teri Wolf, is also pleased with the way it’s worked out. She recalls all the times Katarina tried to do homework on breaks from training—which is about six or seven hours every day—or during the commute, or on trains or planes or in the mountains. Things really got interesting in Russia and the French Alps when there was no internet service and she had to request help or schedule things another way.
But without A2 Virtual, none of this kind of training or travel would have been possible at all.
“Katarina gets to train intensely, and travel,” said Wolf, “but another huge advantage is that she gets to constantly practice time management and efficiency—how to keep up the learning and the connecting, whenever and however you can, wherever you are.”
A2Virtual was excited to be a small part of Katarina’s journey in skating, says Principal Cindy Leaman.
“We loved to watch her success,” she says. “Personalizing a learning plan for individual students such as Katarina is one of the most important aspects of this program. Katarina is such a dedicated student-athlete which made it easy for us to help her achieve both her academic and skating goals.”