COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Over a seven-month span beginning this October, women’s saber fencer Magda Skarbonkiewicz (Oregon Fencing Alliance) will compete at tournaments on five different continents.
The Oregon-based fencer will travel to FIE World Cup and Grand Prix competitions in Algeria, France, Tunisia, Peru, Greece, Belgium, Korea and Georgia. And that’s before you add in her expected domestic travel to USA Fencing national tournaments in Orlando, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The reigning Junior Women's Saber World Champion has a goal for all that travel: she’s hoping to secure a spot on Team USA at the 2024 Olympic Games.
Even as her fencing resume grows and her international travel demands increase, Magda has an equal drive to continue building her academic resume. That explains her recent announcement that she’s taking her talents to Avenues Online, the official school of USA Fencing.
Avenues Online provides a digital learning platform that’s tailor-made for fencers like Magda. The program offers personalized calendars and flexible schedules, allowing students to fully commit to their athletic goals while simultaneously pursuing a world-class education.
“As this Olympic year approaches, I realized that it would be incredibly difficult to balance school while missing every other week trying to qualify,” Magda says. “I needed flexible scheduling that would help me train, travel and compete while also completing my last year of high school. That's what Avenues Online was offering. From this I will be able to grant myself peace of mind and stay in a healthy mental mindset where I'm not constantly stressing and trying to catch up with school.”
But not all virtual campuses are created equal. Magda wanted a program that was accredited, NCAA certified and offered top-tier instruction. Bonus points if the program also offered unique electives that fit her interests and ambitions, such as animation, business and psychology.
“I’m super committed to keeping my grades solid and putting as much effort into school as I put into my sport,” Magda says. “Education is most important for me, and being able to achieve what I want in my education while also achieving big things in fencing lets me stress less.”
That means whether she’s completing schoolwork at an airport in Athens, a hotel in Hammamet, or a cafe in Korea, Magda can stay ahead rather than falling behind.
“With so much flexibility and help, I'll be able to time my schedule perfectly and schedule my school lessons at more convenient times so I get the most out of my education and achieve my goals,” she says. “Avenues is more than willing to work with me on my ambitions, and they will assist me with both my education and my athletic journey.”
You don’t need to be a Paris 2024 hopeful to find immense value in what Avenues Online offers. This season’s USA Fencing national and regional calendars include stops in all four major time zones with tournaments somewhere in the country almost every weekend. That means athletes from second graders to high school seniors will be asked to juggle the many demands on their time.
“Find what will help you balance education as well as your sports goals easily,” Magda says. “You don't want to be in a constant battle to manage everything, because it can become a lot or take a toll on your mental health, stopping you from being able to fully focus on what you want to achieve. Find somewhere that will support your educational needs while letting you achieve your ambitions beyond school.”