Class Acts: Ice Skating Athlete AND Salutatorian

Learning Liftoff’s Class Acts series profiles inspiring online education graduates. Their stories showcase how individualized, award-winning curriculum and technology combine to greatly influence student success and help propel the pursuit of post-graduate dreams.

For some serious athletes intent on training for the Olympics, it could be tempting to put less time toward academics—to simply skate by on the minimum school work and focus on the sport.

But that wasn’t the case for Olivia Shilling.

She not only earned membership to the National Honor Society, she also graduated second out of a class of 750 to become Ohio Virtual Academy’s 2015 salutatorian!

When Olivia was in fifth grade, her parents realized that the brick and mortar public school was not providing their child with the rigorous curriculum they wanted for her. So, the Shillings turned to online education with K12’s Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA).

Rather than slowing down through the years, Olivia, who began her ice skating career as a first grader, sped up all facets of her game. Even as she logged additional practice hours on ice, she was able to continue to excel at her studies due to the scheduling freedom her online education afforded her.

With online education, there was nothing she couldn’t do. It gave her an opportunity to be more productive by skating in sessions with fewer people on the ice and the time she needed to accommodate training—six days a week for six hours a day. 

For the fall semester, she’ll be in Colorado Springs, training at the U.S. Olympic Complex for ice figure skating with aspirations of some day representing the USA, internationally.

In the spring, she will be attending Case Western Reserve University, and has already completed her freshman year of English through K12’s dual enrollment program. She says she is interested in pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering or petroleum and natural gas engineering because she’s “inspired by the thought of improving the day-to-day lives of others through providing access to safe, low-cost energy solutions.”

How did she do it all?

“Schedule,” Olivia says. “Junior year was especially stressful. I had weekly schedules for about 90 percent of the school year that were down to 15 minute increments because I needed to know when I had to do my schoolwork. If I didn’t schedule it that way, I would have been behind.” 

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