This issue offers us a chance to highlight some community members, who are also deserving of the spotlight. Advisory board member Eric Hagemann, communication specialist for Osseo Area Schools, ushered forward Mandy Pirich, director of the Maple Grove Skating School (MGSS).
“For more than a decade, Mandy has put her heart and soul into bringing the joy of skating to thousands of Maple Grove children,” he says. “With unmatched determination and countless hours of hard work, Mandy has built the state’s largest skating school and the 17th largest program in the United States. She also directs the program’s annual ice show, giving young skaters the chance to show off their skills, step into the spotlight and feel like a star—even if just for one day. … her passion and devotion to the learn-to-skate program are truly remarkable and deserving of kudos.”
Beginning in 1997, the MGSS now has over 1,500 participants (ages 3 to senior status) with Pirich—the unsung hero at the center of it all.
What is your skating background?
I’ve been skating for 28 years, coaching for 19, and skating director for the City of Maple Grove for 12. I have coached private lesson students at state, regional and sectional levels.
What made you make the jump into teaching/coaching?
I considered becoming an elementary school teacher, but when I decided that figure skating was my passion, I pursued a bachelor’s [degree] in child psychology from the [University of Minnesota]—something I knew would be an asset in coaching. I love sharing my love for skating with others and seeing students’ excitement when they’ve learned a new skill. Whether it’s the first time a student skates without falling, lands a new jump or performs something they’ve been training for all season—these successes are monumental.
Why is skating a great sport to consider?
Life lessons [time management, self-discipline and goal-setting] are abundant in the sport of skating. Skating also instills the concept that positive energy yields positive results—and that motivation is necessary to achieve skating goals. I repeat a Walt Disney quote ... : “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Maple Grove Skating School
Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Road