Skating is a lifelong passion in Danielle D’Amours’ family. And for Danielle herself, maybe even a little longer than that.

“My mom skated and competed until she was five months pregnant with me,” said Danielle. “When I was only three months old, she took me onto the ice and I slept in her arms while she skated.”

Fifteen years later, Danielle is a serious skater in her own right.  She is a member of the Skating Club of Boston, the United States Figure Skating Association and the International Skating Union.  She trains six days a week while attending the ninth grade through Greenfield Community Virtual School and competing in U.S. Figure Skating events. She takes five online classes that enable her to shuttle between her home in Southwick, Mass., and her rinks in Simsbury, Conn. and Boston.Traveling for weekend competitions throughout the country can continue into the week. She does school work while traveling. She takes biology, history, Spanish, honors algebra and honors English.

My mom skated and competed until she was five months pregnant with me. When I was only three months old, she took me onto the ice and I slept in her arms while she skated.

Danielle D'Amours

GCVS Student

“I can do live classes while I’m on the road. If I can’t attend a live class because of competitions, I make my teachers aware and they let me make it up as soon as I have a chance,” she said. “I talk to my teachers often to ask for help. They understand my schedule and that I don’t always have time to get things done immediately. I email them or have private live classes.”

Danielle enjoys the live classes where she can interact with her teachers and fellow classmates.

“It’s very similar to sitting in a brick and mortar classroom setting. The teachers are very nice and helpful and I’ve made friends with fellow classmates. Some fellow students are skaters that do the same thing as me,” she said.

After high school, Danielle is shooting to represent the USA in international competitions and, beyond that, hopefully the Olympics. In the meantime, GCVS’ flexibility enables her to train and learn without running herself and her family ragged.

“The school helps us balance life,” said Danielle’s mother, Susan, also a competitive skater. “She can train properly while getting a good education. She can complete her schooling at a decent hour each day, and have a home life with us. It’s definitely a huge improvement for our entire family.”

Adding hours to the day.

From her prenatal introduction to the ice, Danielle was fitted with her first pair of skates when she was just over a year old. She took to it right away, loving the feeling of spinning and jumping, the choreography, and putting it all together into a routine. In competitions, she usually ranks within the top three or four skaters.

“My strongest quality is my jumping. Whenever I land a jump and everyone watching says ‘wow,’ it’s just an awesome feeling and I want to do it again,” she said. “They say my legs are really long, so I guess that’s an advantage in jumping and spinning.”

Danielle began taking private lessons at around age five, training three to four days per week. After about three years, her coaches told Danielle that she had serious potential.

“I didn’t know before then that I could be a competitive skater,” Danielle said. “I switched to Russian Olympic and World Champion coaches – Vadim Naumov and Evgenia Shishkova.  They said if I practiced more, I could possibly go to the top. I then started training six days a week. I trained full time with Vadim and Genia in Simsbury until I was fourteen years old, when they relocated to Boston.”

Danielle currently trains part-time with Vadim and Genia in Boston and full-time with Vladimir Petrenko in Simsbury, Conn.  Vladimir is a Junior World Champion and the brother of Olympic gold medalist, Viktor Petrenko.

When Danielle first started training with her Russian coaches, it was important that she skate twice a day. She woke up at 4:30 a.m. and her mom took her to the rink to skate before school, then her father brought her back to the rink after school for more skating and off-ice training. She wouldn’t get home until late in the evening, when she would then eat dinner, start her homework and prepare for the same routine the following day. She did this for several years.

Danielle switched to GCVS three years ago and things improved almost immediately.

“It’s a lot better with my training schedule,” she said. “It’s added more ice time. Since school is online, my schedule is more flexible and it allows me to use my time more efficiently.  I have the option of staying at the rink for the day to train and do school work.  I also have the option to go back and forth to the rinks while doing school work. Whatever school work I don’t finish during the week, I do on the weekends.”

Traveling for weekend competitions throughout the country can continue into the week. She does school work while traveling. She takes biology, history, Spanish, honors algebra and honors English.

“I can do live classes while I’m on the road. If I can’t attend a live class because of competitions, I make my teachers aware and they let me make it up as soon as I have a chance,” she said. “I talk to my teachers often to ask for help. They understand my schedule and that I don’t always have time to get things done immediately. I email them or have private live classes.”

Danielle enjoys the live classes where she can interact with her teachers and fellow classmates.

“It’s very similar to sitting in a brick and mortar classroom setting. The teachers are very nice and helpful and I’ve made friends with fellow classmates. Some fellow students are skaters that do the same thing as me,” she said.

After high school, Danielle is shooting to represent the USA in international competitions and, beyond that, hopefully the Olympics. In the meantime, GCVS’ flexibility enables her to train and learn without running herself and her family ragged.

“The school helps us balance life,” said Danielle’s mother, Susan, also a competitive skater. “She can train properly while getting a good education. She can complete her schooling at a decent hour each day, and have a home life with us. It’s definitely a huge improvement for our entire family.”