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posted: 2/13/2018 1:48 PM

Kids jump at chance to learn to ice skate at new rink in Vernon Hills

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  • Vernon Hills Montessori Academy students Ethan Boulanger, left, Leo Sze, Vihaan Vyas, and Aryan Deshmukh, learn to ice skate with the help of Kevin Jotkus, owner of the Skate Room skating rink in Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills.

    Vernon Hills Montessori Academy students Ethan Boulanger, left, Leo Sze, Vihaan Vyas, and Aryan Deshmukh, learn to ice skate with the help of Kevin Jotkus, owner of the Skate Room skating rink in Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills.
    Courtesy of Sigale Public Relations

  • Vernon Hills Montessori Academy student Penny Zawadzki navigates the new Skate Room ice skating rink in Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. The rink uses synthetic ice tiles instead of traditional ice.

    Vernon Hills Montessori Academy student Penny Zawadzki navigates the new Skate Room ice skating rink in Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. The rink uses synthetic ice tiles instead of traditional ice.
    Courtesy of Sigale Public Relations

  • Sisters Penny, left, and Aya Zawadzki give each other support as they learn to skate at the Skate Room in Vernon Hills.

    Sisters Penny, left, and Aya Zawadzki give each other support as they learn to skate at the Skate Room in Vernon Hills.
    Courtesy of Sigale Public Relations

 

Submitted by Sigale Public Relations

The balance and grace ice skaters achieve is enhancing the overall learning experience of students of the Vernon Hills Montessori Academy, who, once a week, are learning to ice skate at Skate Room, the new indoor ice skating rink in Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills.

"Over half of our students are enjoying the benefits of ice skating, another experience that complements our curriculum and helps students to become independent, competent, and confident individuals," said Margarita Shvets, owner and director of Vernon Hills Montessori Academy, which places a huge emphasis on music education.

Skate Room teaches the joy of ice skating to school age children, youngsters, and adults in groups or a private setting, said Kevin Jotkus, owner of Skate Room. Even during open skate, instructors are available to assist beginners and teach them the basics of ice skating. The 54-foot by 42-foot Skate Room ice skating rink is unique, as skaters glide on synthetic ice panels using regular ice skates.

The idea of offering ice skating as an extracurricular class sounded exciting to the majority of students, said Shvets.

"To supplement our twice-a-week gym class, we offered gymnastics, karate, wushu and tennis. The most participation was one group of four or five children. But when they heard about Skate Room, 18 of our total of 30 students in the school signed up. They also were excited to learn the rink was not made of real ice and they didn't need to wear their coats or gloves," Shvets said.

Jotkus, who came up with the idea for Skate Room, says the benefits of ice skating include better balance, and improvement of joint flexibility, cardio, and endurance. The popularity of the rink's open skating and disco nights -- as well as private and group lessons, birthday parties, and other private events -- has enabled him to expand from the 1,299 square foot ice skating rink he constructed just last November across from the Hawthorn Mall food court to 2,253 square feet.

Now that Skate Room has expanded, Shvets hopes all her students will try ice skating.

"Music and ice skating work well together," she said.

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