Friday, 17 May 2013 00:00
The Great Neck Park District, in partnership with the Great Neck Figure Skating Club and the Great Neck School District, started the Therapeutic Skating program in February 2013. This program was extremely beneficial to students with special needs from Great Neck North Middle and High Schools. The skaters met bi-monthly at the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink through Tuesday, April 23. They ended the season with a skating session as usual and then enthusiastically were awarded their trophies.
The most thrilling highlight to the event was an extraordinary visit by 2002 Olympic gold medalist, Sarah Hughes. Hughes came out to honor these children and help encourage them to continue their efforts for success through skating. According to Hughes, there are only three United States Figure Skating (USFS) Adaptive Skating Programs, such as this one, in the nation. One of which is partnered by 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist and Hall of Fame figure skater Dorothy Hamill.
The Park District board of commissioners granted permission for the group to use the ice, skates, and special equipment, as well as provide park staff volunteers, at no extra cost. Park district rec aides Blaine Aronovitch and Paul Geurrera, rink manager Dan Marsala, skate guards Felicia Martinez and Rob Carson and Great Neck Park District Skate School instructors Claudia Sersanti and Maria Xerakia volunteered their time.