The end of 2016 is upon us, and the beginning of a new and exciting year, 2017, will be starting soon. This year brought many accomplishments for ASI Gymnastics and for every gymnast walking through the door, from boys and girls gymnastics and tumbling progressions, to exciting Tiny Tots and motivated Gymmie Kids.

Starting at the beginning of 2016, competition season started with a bang and the State Championships proved to be the funnest meet of the season! A group of team gymnasts traveled all the way to Orlando, Florida to compete and how exciting that was! Moving on to the spring, the NCAA National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships were in April, and ASI students were in attendance, becoming even more motivated than before. After the school year was over, our graduating seniors earned over $52,000 in scholarship money, breaking an ASI record! The summer also brought the preparation for the Olympics and all that comes with it. It brought many new gymnasts to ASI Gymnastics, eager to learn and excited to grow, breaking another record of over 10,000 kids in all of the gyms! With the new Gold Standard, gymnasts have been following progressions and are moving up to new levels in the gym. The Olympics came and went, bringing a special gymnast to one of our ASI gyms, Madison Kocian! She visited ASI Lake Highlands, took pictures and signed autographs, and was delighted to meet all of our students! Our gymnasts also got the chance to see all of the Olympians this year at the Kellogg’s Tour of Champions in Dallas and Houston, with 400 tickets sold to our ASI families and students. A select group of 25 ASI gymnasts even got to perform in the show!

Nearing the end of the year, we asked our coaches why they love coaching the kids they do, and why they love the Dallas Stars! (We had some Dallas Stars tickets to give away to our awesome coaches!) Here is what some of them had to say!

Lani Rae Hines – “I love coaching kids because I love the look on their face when they master a skill they’ve been working towards. I’ve grown up going to stars games and I love all the action.”

Ellen Warren – “I love seeing their reaction when they have never done a skill before and they nail it. The confidence and looks on their face is the best. Kids brighten my world every moment I coach!”

Anna Euziere – “I love coaching kids because of the joy and smiles they bring to class. No matter what they always find a way to squeeze so much fun and laughter into that one hour. And I love the Stars because there’s so much action from beginning to end! I can’t take my eyes off of the game!”

Josh Kasselman – “I love coaching my kids because they are so teachable. The pride on their face every time they learn a new skill and the esteem I get to build up in my kids each week goes so much farther and deeper than just gymnastics. It prepares them to be successful in life by teaching hard work and to never quit. I love the Stars because I’ve played hockey for 15 years! They’ve always been my favorite team.”

Paige Mitchell – “I love coaching kids because of their sweet smiles and how excited they get to do something new! ASI knows how to make everything fun for the kids and all about what they want to do. I enjoy helping children become more enthusiastic about gymnastics and seeing them share that with their parents when they go home. The parents are always so happy to see what a fun time their children have with us and how much they grow through their ASI experience. The Stars are one of my favorite teams to watch because of all of the action and the interaction that they have in the DFW community. My boyfriend also plays hockey for Texas A&M and the Stars are his favorite professional team…it would make his year to attend this game with me. He has been playing since he was five years old and attending a Stars game is what sparked his interest in hockey 16 years ago! Go ASI and go Stars!! ?”

Tanner Sonnenberg – “Why do I love kids? Because they simply keep me young. I can be a kid around them and that’s what is so great about it. Another great part is, they come to gymnastics to see us and be with us! The absolute best part is knowing that you’re being an impact on their lives and shaping how they treat others and view their own personal goals is amazing. And why do I love the Stars, because I need a reason to rock my Spezza jersey again!?”

Annie Hope Vaughan – “I think it’s so amazing to be somebody important for a child. When they grow up you get to be somebody they will always remember. It’s almost a way to preserve your memory….Your footprint in the sand. Not only do you get to encourage, inspire, and love, but you may be the only person in that child’s life that brings them joy. It’s completely and totally worth all of the hard work and dedication when you know that you are impacting so much more than just skill development. We impact their futures! We play a huge role in the people these amazing, funny, and kind children will grow into. I love the Stars because I grew up watching them! My family got really into hockey when we lived in the North East for a couple of years. When we moved back to Texas, the Stars became our favorite sports team. Hockey is just so super exciting to watch and be apart of!”

Rosy Garcia – “I love making a difference in a child’s life. No matter what is going on in their lives at home as soon as they walk through our gym doors they are going to feel encouraged, praised, and accomplished. I love the Stars because I’m a die hard Dallas everything fan! Born and raised in the big D!”

Alia Taylor – “I love that every class I have turns into a little family. My kids get excited to come to class every week, and they love their classmates. I feel that kids learn so much more when they genuinely enjoy something and have a passion for it. That is why I love coaching. December 15th, 2015, when the Stars played the Blues, was my first game ever and I fell in love with hockey and the Stars! I love the Stars so much that I’m actually majoring in sports journalism so that I can work for their PR department when I graduate. GO DALLAS STARS⭐?”

Mary Kathleen Hopkins – “I love coaching my kids because I love helping them realize they are capable of anything and everything. The world stigmatizes people with special needs and often sidelines them when it comes to sports and recreation. I love that I can help my students eliminate preconceived notions to what a person with an intellectual disability, physical disability, or developmental disability can do. There is always a moment when working with my students where they have been struggling on a skill, sometimes for months– sometimes for years, and when they break through and make progress, a little light flickers from behind their eyes and they realize “I can do this. I can do anything.” That is why I coach. That look in their eyes, it’s an addiction. And I love coaching my students and facilitating that feeling in them. I’m not big into sports but I LOVE hockey and I LOVE the Stars. I can remember being a little kid and watching the Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999. I remember when Cheerios had their own box for Brett Hull, and called them Hull-o’s. My sister and I had crushes on Mike Modano and there were Halloweens that we dressed as him. I grew up around hockey (my brother played for 12 years from elementary school through college), and I love that hockey rink smell.”

Paulina Zelinski – “I love coaching because I love seeing the kids get so excited when they accomplish something new in gymnastics! That look of accomplishment is just so rewarding as a coach. The kids make work feel like fun, not like a job.
I enjoy hockey, it’s a fun sport to watch. I went to a few games when I was in junior high and I loved the feeling of welcoming from the Stars. They’re a fun team to watch and they work together like a family.”

Sarah Werther – “I love coaching because there is a happiness that I have found in sharing the goals I have for my kids and the goals they have for themselves. For the longest time I never had a dream for myself. I never knew what I was meant to do or what road ahead of me God had in store. The first time I helped one of my students prepare for a progress check from Bronze to Silver, then watched her pass and ring the bell, and jumped for joy and high fived, the overall feeling of accomplishment and pride for all this kid and worked so hard for, but also accomplishment in what I had helped her succeed showed me that coaching was something I loved and that this is where I was meant to be! I love coaching because I love the feeling of building goals and accomplishing them with my students and watching them revel in the pride and ring the bell knowing I helped them get there! I love the Stars because in high school my drill team got to perform at their games every single year so their games hold many memories for me! My husband is a big fan of the Stars and we have never been able to go to a game together!”

Kiersten Wells – “I love coaching kids because I know that as a coach, I have an opportunity to be a positive role model to the children. Coming from a broken home myself, I know that going to gymnastics was used as a positive outlet for me to not only develop skills, but to build trust and respect towards positive caring and patient adults. It was my escape from reality, my outlet from home, and a positive social building tool. As a coach, I know that I may be that same positive inspiration to a kid, just like mine were for me. I also love coaching because I love seeing the children developing into the people they will become. Seeing their minds at work with creativity (like making pickle ice cream pizza while doing straddle stretches), make believe (pretending their airplanes flying to music circle), and watching them develop friendships and social skills, just really shows you how much I can be apart of that child’s development into an awesome adult! When it comes to coaching my kids, there is not only one reason why I love it, because each day there is something new to be amazed by! I also love the Stars because I am a huge hockey fan. I love the atmosphere of the crowd, the determination of the players to win, and of course the food! Going to the game would be a highlight of my year! GO ASI! GO STARS!”

Cristobal Saenz – “I love coaching because it gives me the opportunity to impact our future generation. I know I am teaching them more than just gymnastics. They are learning how to work hard for something. This will be used for the rest of their lives. They learn confidence, determination, and how to trust themselves and others. Just think about if you were involved in any sport you remember your coaches and the impact they had on you. So I feel it is my obligation to make their experience the best I can. If I didn’t love coaching I certainly wouldn’t be doing it for this long. As for the Stars, hockey is one of my favorite sports to watch.”

Looking forward to 2017, we have new and exciting changes that will take place and we can’t wait to roll them out!

See you next year, and Happy New Year from ASI Gymnastics!