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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

The Boards target for 2023-2024 was 32.5% of schools needing Tier 2 or Tier 3 support. They have exceeded this goal with 29.2% of schools reported needing the support.
School board focuses on innovation growth in district
Penelope KeenanFebruary 29, 2024

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Junior Beinenson skates her way to success

Melanie Heaney
Nationally recognized junior Leia Beinenson poses on ice during a skating competition.

Raised on the ice, junior Leia Beinenson has become a nationally recognized ice skater through numerous competitions and social media, getting over a million likes on a recent TikTok video. 

At an early age, Beinenson began ice skating in her home state of New Mexico.

“I started figure skating at around 3 years old in New Mexico, and because my mom is Russian, and it was always her dream to skate, she put me into figure skating,” Beinenson said. 

After moving to Atlanta, Beinenson said she was surprised by the advanced facilities and intensity of the ice skating community in the city. 

“I do regular free skating, which is just solo skating with one to two programs, which is one short program and one long program, which differs at a time,” Beinenson said. “The skating is much better here than it was [in New Mexico]. It’s a lot more focused here, cleaner rinks and the coaches are much better.” 

Junior Nyhila Silva said Beinenson is a hard worker both on and off the ice.

“Leia works very hard at skating,” Silva said. “Most days, she does hours of practice before school and multiple hours of work after, as well.” 

Junior Saakhi Kaur agrees with Silva, acknowledging the hard work and effort Beinenson puts into her everyday activities. 

“I think she’s a great, hard worker and remains passionate about skating,” Kaur said. “She stays calm during her competition and has really good confidence.” 

Balancing school and ice skating has created an impressive schedule for Beinenson, who wakes up early and puts in multiple hours at school and on the ice. 

“I practice four to six days a week,” Beinenson said. “I practice before school, so I wake up around 4:30 a.m. to get there at 5:45, then practice for two hours and go to school after.” 

Ice skating requires a certain level of dedication and consistency that other sports do not,Beinenson said. 

“You have to put in pretty much all your effort, or else, it’s impossible,” Beinenson said. “[Skating] is not one of those sports where you can just go to practice once a week, and you’re the same. It’s constant, new learning that you can’t take as many breaks from because of your body relying on the habits you create on the ice.” 

Beinenson skates in Alpharetta at The Cooler ice rink. Practices consist of careful warm-ups and intense routines to keep her body safe on the ice. 

“I have to do a lot of off-ice warm-ups like simple stretching of the muscles, so I don’t pull anything; a couple of jumps, spins, and then when I get on the ice, I do a few laps then repeat those jumps and spins on ice and work on my program,” Beinenson said. 

Beinenson said one of the hardest parts of skating is the mental aspect, facing the extravagant moves required on the ice. 

“Getting used to falling is hard, but also, it’s mentally hard to make yourself do the type of moves we do,” Beinenson said. “Being able to jump into the air and do a ton of 360 rotations, you have to work yourself up and keep the adrenaline going all the time.” 

Because of the time and effort required to skate, most skaters prioritize skating as their number one sport. Beinenson tried different sports like tennis, only to realize she loved skating more.

“Once you get into it, you don’t really back out,” Beinenson said. “Some people don’t feel a love for it in the beginning. For me, I didn’t originally love it when I began, but I started to finally understand how beautiful of a sport it was and that it takes a lot of dedication, but it’s something I love to pursue.”

Her commitment and love for the sport sparks interest to continue ice skating in college. 

“Surprisingly, a lot of colleges have skating clubs and a lot of scholarships you can apply for,” Beinenson said. “Schools like Clemson, College of Charleston, LSU and a lot of New York and California schools are very skating-focused, which opens a lot of potential opportunities.” 

Beinenson credits her success to her coach, Anya Martynenko.

“My coach and I connect really well,” Beinenson said. “I’ve had her for several years, and she has a great balance between serious and fun, which I feel the sport is all about, where you can show a more fun side, even though it’s a very intense sport.” 

Over the summer, Beinenson went to Nationals after placing in the top six in her region. Silva said she can understand the challenges that come with skating and that Beinenson not only deals with them, but excels in the sport.    

“She definitely works to be the best,” Silva said. “Her mentality is always striving to make sure everything is amazing. She listens to her music on repeat and constantly goes over her routines over the course before any competition or performances. I once saw her practicing her spins and definitely knew that skating isn’t for everyone, and it’s very hard to be great, which I know she is.”


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About the Contributor
Carolyn Harty, Editor in Chief
Carolyn Harty is a senior and a sports editor in chief. This is her third year writing for The Southerner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends. She is excited to continue writing for The Southerner.

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