Legend Kristi Yamaguchi teaches California first-graders to ice skate

SAN JOSE, California -- A group of first graders from Bachrodt Charter Academy took a field trip to downtown San Jose, California, Wednesday afternoon for an ice skating lesson from Olympic Champion Kristi Yamaguchi.

"Some of the shy ones that you normally see that are kind of like, you know, huddled and quiet in the corner, they are just amazing on the ice," teacher Jessica Isla-Rutherford said.

The academy is one of nearly two-dozen schools supported by Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation.

"To be able to step out of the arena where you competed and go out into the community, it's been incredible," Yamaguchi said.

Off the ice, the Fremont native and best-selling children's author is now focused on the development of early childhood literacy skills by working to integrate e-reader tablets and digital books in local classrooms.

Wednesday's field trip was to reward the students, many of whom come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, for their work at school.

"Maybe we'll have a future skater on our hands, if they really decide they love it and they had a lot of fun, and they ask their parents to bring them back again," Yamaguchi said.

Polina Edmunds, two-time national silver medalist, was also there with some of her Sharkes Ice rink mates to perform for the kids.

"To see them be so excited and to have their eyes light up because we're skating under the palm trees outside next to Christmas in the Park," Edmunds said. "It's so meaningful."

Students said they learned a valuable lesson from the pros.

"Even if you get hurt or anything like that, if you fall, you just get right back up," first-grader Kalea Yacap said. "It's really scary, but no matter what, you always keep trying."

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