Skater synchronizes practice schedule, online course work

Figure skater Jennifer Du Breuil was enrolled in public school until the sixth grade, when her demanding practice schedule and fixed school schedule collided and threatened to put her skating dreams on ice.

“Skating requires a lot of training, and I needed a lot of time and flexibility, which MUHS offered,” says Jennifer, who skates competitively with the Lexettes, a junior-level synchronized skating team for girls under age 19. The Lexettes are members of Team USA, representing the United States in international competition.

photo: Jennifer Du Breuil
Jennifer Du Breuil

Having skated since she was 3, the 16-year-old student-athlete is from Ivyland, Pa., calls New Jersey home because it is where her home practice rink is located, and skates with the Lexettes in Lexington, Mass. After following up public school with a year at a charter school in Pennsylvania, Jennifer began MU High School in 2008.

“There was no way she could put in the hours for practice, travel and still go to school, ” says her mom, Ruth. “In seventh grade, we drove an hour so she could practice before school and then drove another hour after school for practice. It was frustrating for us both.”

Frustrating, Ruth says, because of the time spent driving — and Jennifer’s carsickness — not because she’s afraid of hard work. “I like working really, really hard,” Jennifer says. “I love figure skating and synchronized skating. It allows me to express myself.”

She also loves the teamwork created by synchronized skating, which began as a sport about 30 years ago. “It has a definite team mentality,” she says. “You skate with 16 to 20 other skaters, and you know they’ll always be there for you no matter what. It’s a supportive environment.”

When it came to her education, she needed an equal amount of support. Ruth insisted upon an accredited online program that offered textbooks and teacher input and feedback, as well as diverse course offerings. The De Breuils found all three with MU High School.

“We’ve found the program to be quite rigorous,” Ruth says. “She earned good scores on her PSAT, and we feel she’s received a good education. We’re very satisfied.”

the Lexettes

Jennifer, who graduates next year, is looking at colleges in Massachusetts so she can continue her synchronized skating career with the senior team, the Haydenettes. She says her favorite MUHS course was Medieval History. A bit of a history buff, she says she likes how the material was presented and that “it was a really great course.”

As for her overall experience with MU High School, Jennifer says, “It’s a good program, has good courses, and it definitely challenges you. You know the material.”

This story was published in the 2011-12 MU High School bulletin (June 2011).