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Winter Sports School graduates largest class ever

Winter Sports School 2002 graduates
Winter Sports School
Winter Sports School 2022 graduates

The Park City Winter Sports School graduated its largest class ever last week and several of the 32 graduates were honored for their achievements.

The Class of 2022 is the 27th class to graduate from the Winter Sports School since it was founded in 1994. Head of School Tess Miner-Farra says the college preparatory public charter school offers a lot of flexibility for its student athletes.

“We've got a couple of young athletes that are on the US freeski rookie team, so are making the jump even before they graduate to compete at the highest levels,” Miner-Farra said. “We've got nearly half the class of in four years students with us and many of whom have been dual sport athletes, not only competing in skiing, but also mountain biking, soccer, among others. We also have our first two sport climbers graduating from Winter Sports School. Yes, it's not a winter sport. And yet, we have been the right fit for these two young athletes pursuing a summer Olympic sport.”

Student body president Slater Rodman was in Europe for a competition, so he delivered his class speech via video.

Miner-Farra says while many of the students go on to college, some take an additional year off to continue to train and compete in their sport. There’s no way to know what the numbers are at this point, since they’re just applying for college now.

The school meets all the Utah state requirements for graduation – and more.

“In addition to all those academic requirements, our students must also earn 40 hours of community service during their time with us and at least 1000 hours of training competition over those years,” Miner-Farra said.

Utah schools require 180 days in the classroom. Miner-Farra says Winter Sports School students have 35 fewer days.

“It's so that we can condense the school year into that timeframe from April to November,” Miner-Farra said. “It is also because our students earn their PE credits through the training competition they do with local sport clubs.”

In addition to diplomas, several students were recognized with special awards.

The Kay Wright Award, which is named for the school’s founder, was given to alpine skier Lillie Walden, who best exemplifies the mission and spirit of the school.

The Dave Seiger Award is given to the top performing senior in math and science based on GPA and teacher recommendation. This year’s award went to freestyle skier Jake Brand.

The Sam Jackenthal Award for Citizenship honors a senior student who embodies the school’s values of leadership, integrity, teamwork and helping others. Alpine racer Fiona Sawyer and mogul skier Slader Rodman both received the award.

The Youth Sports Alliance Stein Eriksen Merit Scholarship award went to alpine racer Hadley Platt, which included a prize of $3,000.

With 25 athletes currently on national or junior national team rosters, Miner-Farra says the popular school is already registering students for next school year that starts in April.