WEST ORANGE, NJ - On Dec. 8, two-time Olympian pairs figure skater JoJo Starbuck hosted a free holiday skating party at New Jersey’s Richard Codey Arena for 37 students from the Newark Christian Academy. The students, ages 8-15 years old, arrived at the rink filled with excitement, eager to skate--many for the first time.
Once the students stepped onto the ice, Starbuck and three skating coaches: David Lipowitz, Laura Klinger and Marc Fenczak were ready to help them learn the basics. Though most of these young skaters started the session by clinging to the rinkside wall, by the end of two hours of thrills and spills, many were traversing from one side to the other WITH big smiles on their faces.
Before they left the ice, Starbuck and the three coaches gave the students a brief skating exhibition that was met with gasps of appreciation and spontaneous applause.
After the party, the children returned to school with treat-filled goody bags and wonderful life long memories
This year’s skating party marks the sixth year Starbuck has invited the Newark Christian Academy students to skate. It’s become a holiday event both the students and JStarbuck said look forward to every year.
“I love hearing the squeals of laughter as the kids take to the ice," said Starbuck. "For most, it’s the first time they’ve put on ice skates, yet they take to ice with such determination. I think I enjoy the morning as much as they do. The students are always so well mannered, enthusiastic and so very appreciative.”
Pairs figure skater Starbuck skated in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics with her partner Ken Shelley. During their competitive career, Starbuck and Shelley won two bronze world medals and three national championships. Starbuck also enjoyed a successful professional skating career, headlining for ice capades with Shelley, skating on Broadway and producing major ice events.
Today Starbuck teaches adult ice skating lessons at Codey Arena and Rockefeller Center and produces corporate ice skating events.