U.S. Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner paid a visit to the children and faculty of Arlington Science Focus Elementary School this afternoon to campaign against underage drinking.
Wagner, sporting the bronze medal she won this year as part of the U.S. figure skating team, told the hundreds who gathered in the school’s gymnasium that after she started training to become a figure skater when she was 5 years old, she vowed to do whatever it took to get to the Olympics.
“When you’re an athlete, your body is a machine,” she said. “You want the ultimate machine, so you want to take care of it. So I made a lot of important decisions. I ate my fruits and veggies, I drank a lot of water and, when the time came, I said no to underage drinking.”
After the crowd of kids answered questions on the basic facts of underage drinking, they got a chance to ask questions of their own. One student asked how old the 22-year-old is –”someone should teach you not to ask a lady that,” she gamely replied before answering question — and another asked how much her medal weighed, which led to Wagner giving the little boy her medal to hold.
“This medal stays in a sock,” she said when asked where she keeps her hardware from Sochi, Russia. “I should probably find a better place for it.”
In addition to students and faculty, attendees at the event included state Sen. Barbara Favola, Del. Patrick Hope and Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibly.
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Flickr pool photo by Damiec
The incident happened just before 5:45 p.m., when police received a call for a truck that had crashed into a fence and a utility pole on the 1500 block of N. Lincon Street. The crash happened in front of Hayes Park and across from Arlington Science Focus school, in the Virginia Square neighborhood. The driver of the truck ran off after the accident, police were told.
After a short investigation officers determined that the truck’s owner had parked it with the keys still inside, and had just noticed that it was missing, according to police radio traffic. Police dogs were called in to try to track the suspect, but as of this morning there was no report of an arrest in the case.
Students, faculty, PTA representatives, school board members, Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy, and Del. Patrick Hope — along with Abraham’s husband and two children — were on hand when Abraham was told she was the first of eight teachers statewide who will receive the award this year.
Abraham will receive a $2,000 cash prize from the lottery, as well as $2,000 classroom supply credit.
“Beth’s commitment to students of all levels is unmistakable,” said Arlington Science Focus School PTA President Noah Simon. “Whether it is the differentiated guided reading groups she established or her firm yet supportive classroom management style, her students develop and keep the will to learn and excel.”
Simon also noted that Abraham has been working beyond her contract hours to help an at-risk student “whose behavior has not only improved, but is serving as an example classmates can follow.”
Funds raised by the Virginia Lottery provided more than $430 million last year for Virginia public schools, representing about 8 percent of state funding for public education.
Photo courtesy Frank Bellavia/Arlington Public Schools