Written by Emily Bonoyer
Willimantic, CT -- While most people were preparing a delicious feast on Thanksgiving to enjoy with family and friends, Samantha Stevens was one of the 10,000 in marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Stevens '13 from Torrington, majoring in Education and Math, jumped with the Forbes Flyers, a jump rope team from Forbes Elementary School in Torrington, as a part of Team USA Jump Rope (USAJR). Team USAJR consisted of 143 jumpers from across the United States.
Samantha Stevens '13, right, marches in the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.
Stevens was a co-captain on the Forbes Flyers in 2008-09, and was responsible for leading practices, designing shows and creating new routines. She has competed regionally and nationally, bringing home medals and ribbons. She also has traveled across Connecticut and throughout the region, promoting jump rope at shows, festivals and workshops. She has traveled to the Apollo Theater in New York to participate in the Double Dutch Tournament held each December. Jump rope winners go to the nationals and ultimately, the world competitions.
Stevens has been jumping rope since third grade. Some of her biggest accomplishments include placing regionally with her team this past April in New Hampshire; placing bronze at nationals in Galveston, Tx, in June; performing at half-time shows at UCONN and the Mohegan Sun; performing at the annual NBC/WVIT-TV Health and Wellness Festival and appearing on "Good Morning America".
"I have been jumping for 11 years. Ever since I heard about the Forbes Flyers I wanted to join," said Stevens. "My neighborhood friends were on the team, so I tried out in second grade, and was able to finally get on the team in third grade."
Stevens hopes to continue her involvement by judging competitions in the future. "Former jumpers understand jumping better, so I am looking forward to being judge," said Stevens.
USAJR was formed on Oct 1, 1995, as a result of the merger of two national jump rope organizations. USAJR is a nonprofit organization committed to the exchange and sharing of jump rope knowledge and experience. The organization offers a variety of information about jump rope to its members, coaches and physical educators through books, video tapes, the Internet and other resources.
All members of the Forbes Flyers are students or former students from Forbes Elementary School. The team is led by Physical Education Coach Janice Harrington. All members, whether on the Fitness Team or Travel Team, must maintain a certain grade average and display appropriate behavior both in and out of school.