SPIRE Academy is more than just a private boarding school; it is an international sports academy for aspiring athletes from all over the world. SPIRE students span the globe, including current enrollees from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Republic of the Congo and Spain.
This year, SPIRE Academy welcomes two new swim students in the fall of 2021; Spain’s Alicia Angelone López and Carla Clermont.
Alicia Angelone López
Alicia Angelone López will be an eleventh grader when she joins SPIRE in the fall. The fifteen-year-old started swimming at age two in Abu Dhabi and began official swim training by age six.
Alicia chose SPIRE over other schools because she feels that it gives her the best chance to succeed in her swim career. “In Spain, there are no schools or sport organizations able to provide such quality opportunities.”
Alicia has always wanted to come to the United States and is looking forward to trying other sports, traveling and making good, long-standing friendships with her SPIRE teammates. While she will miss her family, Alicia is ready to challenge herself by managing life far from home and well out of her comfort zone.
Alicia’s father, Francesco Angelone, is excited for Alicia but he admits he is a little nervous. “We are enthusiastic, happy and proud of Alicia for being part of SPIRE and also a little bit afraid for this new stage of her life; completely independent. Still, we know that she will be at SPIRE making the most of her dreams.”
Luckily, Alicia will be joined by her friend Carla Clermont. “I am really happy that she will be joining this journey with me because, quite likely, we will share the same difficulties and we can help each other.”
Alicia had decided to take advantage of SPIRE’s unique opportunities, but her new coach, SPIRE Academy Director of Aquatics Thad Schultz, inspired her even more. “Coach Schultz says that if you have the ambition to become a top swimmer, you need to focus on what you, as an individual, need.” Thad’s statement to Alicia about her future at SPIRE is what really convinced her she was making the right choice. “Coach Schultz told me, ‘You will become the best swimmer and also the best athlete you can be at SPIRE.’”
Alicia adds, “SPIRE is giving me the best opportunity to excel at my passion.”
At 16, Carla will also be coming to SPIRE in the eleventh grade in the fall of 2021. After trying to find a school in Spain that would allow her to pursue her passion for swimming, as well as carry on with her academic studies, Carla learned about SPIRE from her friend, Alicia Angelone López.
“Being at SPIRE will teach me many new things, and I will have new experiences,” Carla said. “I am sure that the practice schedule and the sport facilities at SPIRE will help me to improve my swimming and achieve new goals, which I am really looking forward to. Furthermore, going to a foreign high school without knowing anyone will teach me how to become a more independent person and to manage new challenges.”
Carla’s father, Marcelo Clermont, is very excited for the opportunity. “After searching for references about SPIRE, we immediately knew that it was the right place for Carla. SPIRE’s philosophy about the combination of high-performance sports and studies was the key in deciding to apply to this academy.”
Carla also met Thad Schultz and loved what she heard. “What I like most about the program is all the hours I will swim every day because, for me, it is the best part of the day. I love training and working hard while being surrounded by my teammates and our coaches, all helping us reach our potential.”
“I can tell Coach Schultz is a dedicated coach, determined to make his swimmers reach their goals and be successful in their sport.” Carla laughs, “Coach Schultz is really nice and I am sure he creates a great environment at practice, although we do not have the same taste in music.”
Carla looks forward to studying in the United States as well. “It’s a wonderful opportunity. I will be able to visit and live in a new country, meet new people, experience and learn about their traditions.”
When Carla was accepted to SPIRE, Marcelo remembers that everyone in the family got as excited as her. “We truly believe that it’s a great opportunity for Carla to develop all her potential as a swimmer and to live a great experience without losing sight of her academic formation.”
Carla is excited to be starting at SPIRE alongside her good friend, Alicia. “Alicia and I support each other daily and we have a very strong friendship. I love the idea of living this experience by her side.”
She goes on to explain, “I would be lying if I said I’m not nervous. I will spend a lot of time without seeing my friends and family and I will be using a different language. In spite of this, my excitement to live this experience is greater than my nerves, and I know I will be able to cope with all the hardships.”
In considering those potential hardships, Carla isn’t discouraged at all. “When you want something with this much intensity, no sacrifice is too great.”
Marcelo notes, “We’ll miss her very much, but we are very happy that she will be doing what she likes and what’s best for her, all in a top-level center like SPIRE.”
Alicia and Carla are joining the growing ranks of international students joining the SPIRE family. They are expecting more students from Spain this year to join the swim program. Applications are now being accepted for fall 2021. Download SPIRE’s free admission guide to get your student started on the journey to success.