SportsBeyond the Roster


How this Chesterfield student is keeping Heroes on Ice alive during the pandemic

Posted at 12:17 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 12:51:33-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- There are only two large ice rinks in Richmond. Both are busy nearly all hours of the day and night, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sport appeals to both the young and the young at heart.

Shelby Warren is a senior at James River High School and has been skating since she was three years old.

For Shelby, skating was more than just a hobby or exercise.

"I've just loved everything about it, especially because it's something that makes me stand out," she said. "It's something that's always made me unique and sets me apart from everybody else. I always love the way I feel on the ice."

Shelby Warren.jpg

So much so that she has found a way to put skating into her education.

Warren is part of James River's Leadership and Specialty Center and is required to complete a Keystone Project before graduation.

She has been part of charity ice shows before, but the pandemic took away the ability for skaters to perform in front of an audience.

"I wasn't ready to give up on it quite yet so I decided to make it virtual," she said.

Warren has taken over this year's Heroes On Ice program as her Keystone Project.

She handles everything from videotaping other skaters to ticket sales and even performing.

"She is the one that actually came to the club and said we can't not do this. We need to do this. I want to do this. And we went: OK!" Joan Mabe, with the Richmond Figure Skating Club, said.

The Heroes on Ice program benefits Special Olympics Virginia.

Not only do the funds go to help athletes in the Commonwealth, but some Special Olympians also take part.

Mimi Carpenter skates a routine with her sister Taylor.

Both girls have been skating for about three years, but there was some apprehension from mom about getting Taylor on skates.

"I was very nervous about putting her in skating," Jeanette Carpenter said. "I was nervous that she was going to fall and hurt herself and we'd have all sorts of tears. After a month or two on the ice, she just started comfortably and never fell and I could just tell it was a skill she could master."

While the show's purpose is to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics, one look into Taylor's face will tell you this event is already having the desired effect.

"She builds so much self-confidence and she's so happy to make other people happy. It's really everything for her," Jeanette Carpenter said.

"You can express your feelings in the program. Taylor was a dancer, is a dancer, and she loves performing so that's why there's always a smile on her face," Mimi Carpenter added. "Doing it together makes it a lot more fun than just doing it alone because we get to experience the fun together."

Shelby called the Taylors fun to work with.

"Just seeing the way they portray themselves when they're competing in events. Here on the ice, it's just something so special," she said.

"They do things that I could never imagine," Jeanette Carpenter added. "I'm hardly able to skate, so being able to watch them and seeing how happy it makes them really warms my heart."

Click here to donate to the Heroes on Ice program.

Click here to purchase a ticket to the event.

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