image2After four years of training, including getting on the ice as early as 5:30 a.m. for lessons and heading to the rink immediately after school, Jessica Johnson ’19 is getting her just rewards.

This month, Jessica learned from the U.S. Figure Skating Association that she had reached the Platinum level or the highest level of skating in its graduating seniors’ program.

The USFSA created the program to recognize achievements of skaters who are graduating from high school after maintaining their figure skating training while pursuing their academic studies.

Jessica and her family acknowledge Saint Viator administrators with helping her to reach this distinction.

“Thank you again for being so supportive of Jessica’s skating and all the absences due to travel that she’s endured for competition,” her mother, Leanne Johnson, wrote to school officials. “It’s very much appreciated!”

To earn the distinction, Jessica had to pass all the moves in the field at the senior level, as determined by the USFSA, and be an international competitor. Check and check!

Jessica skates with the Chicago Jazz Synchronized Skating Team, based in Rolling Meadows. Just last year, she advanced to its highest team, the juniors, which took her to international competitions in Scotland and Sweden.

This year, she and her team will compete at the USFSA national championships in January in Detroit, while her team awaits their international destination for this spring.

Jessica has been skating since she was 3 years old and has been involved in synchronized skating for the last 13 years. Not surprisingly, she hopes to continue her passion for the sport in college, at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, where synchronized skating is a varsity sport.

“Moving to the junior level last year was a big jump,” Jessica says. “I had to get used to the speed and higher level of difficulty, but now I’m used to it. I just love the feeling of being on the ice, of the speed and precision, and just being part of a team.”

image3While competing at the next level collegiately and internationally is Jessica’s next goal, her ultimate dream would be to skate in the Olympics.

It’s not a pipedream. The USFSA recently re-applied with the International Olympic Committee to accept the sport. While synchro won’t be in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, there is still a chance it will appear in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

According to reports, the International Olympic Committee will make the decision after the 2018 Games. Jessica, who would be a junior in college in 2022, is hopeful!