On Saturday, Sept. 16, young gymnasts at Clovis Academy will celebrate National Gymnastics Day, a nationwide event that highlights the positive lessons kids and teens learn when participating in gymnastics programs.
At a recent meeting, city council members acknowledged the special day with a proclamation, officially recognizing Sept. 16 as a date Clovis embraces, along with other cities across the United States, as Gymnastics Day.
Lance Garabedian, the president of the Clovis Academy Parent Club, said Clovis Academy is currently home to hundreds of local gymnasts ages 3 to 18 and there is a competitive team of over 90 gymnasts specified by age and skill level under the USA Gymnastics junior Olympic artistic gymnastics program. All of Clovis Academy’s coaches, he said, including head coach Kim Kor, are certified by USA Gymnastics and many are also former competitive gymnasts at Clovis Academy.
“From champion coaches to champion gymnasts, Clovis Academy is leading the way as a premier producer of artistic gymnastics in the San Joaquin Valley,” Garabedian said. “We host two meets a year as our main gymnastics fundraisers and we provide an excellent venue for gymnasts and their families who participate. Over the past several years, Clovis Academy has produced state and regional champions as well as national qualifiers. Many of our gymnasts have also been able to continue their gymnastics careers in college. Two years ago, a member of our boys team earned a scholarship to the University of Iowa.”
Three current Clovis Academy competitive gymnasts attended the Sept. 11 council meeting with Garabedian to share what they have learned participating in the sport.
“I love gymnastics because I love learning new skills and traveling all over the state,” Level 5 gymnast Gavin Doherty said. “It has taught me in life to never give up and to always work hard.”
“I love gymnastics because you can be creative with routines and flips and it also challenges me every day,” Hailey Hope, a Level 3 gymnast, added. “I’ve learned discipline and control and it taught me it’s OK to fail, but to never give up.”
Level 7 gymnast Paige McKenzie, who has been doing gymnastics for 12 years, said the sport constantly pushes her.
“No matter how hard it pushes me mentally, emotionally, or physically, I always come back to it. Why? Because I come back stronger and more prepared for what is to come next,” McKenzie said. “If doing gymnastics has taught me anything, it’s that there is always more to learn. A gymnast can have all the skills required for a certain level, but there is always something we can work on beyond that. That is essentially how we get good at something. I love how hard the sport has made me work and the great friendships I’ve got out of it that I wouldn’t change for the world.”