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The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Teacher qualifies for national roller derby team

Apryl-Joy Pascua, special education teacher, poses in her roller derby gear. Pascua has secured a spot on the USA roller derby team. “It really is the best feeling to just be able to show up and not have any doubts in your mind of your abilities,” Pascua said. (Motoko Iwata)

After 10 years of grand slams, hip checks, and J-blocks, what began as a fun party activity has grown into a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a Palo Alto High School teacher to represent her country internationally in the roller derby rink.

Special education teacher Apryl-Joy Pascua, who says she first learned about roller derby at a friend’s birthday party more than a decade ago, will be competing as a member of Team USA in roller derby at the World Skate Games later this year in Italy.

The event has 12 sports, including roller derby, and organizers anticipate over 12,000 athletes and coaches from over 100 countries.  

According to Pascua, who said she was drawn to roller derby “because it was ‘punk rock’ and it empowered girls,” Team USA will have 18 skaters and four coaches from all across the United States attending the games.

“The World Skate Games were supposed to happen in Argentina in 2022 but didn’t,” Pascua said. “The team that was chosen in 2022 is now competing in Italy.” 

There is one more hurdle that the team needs to clear, after years of delay, to go to the games — funding, according to Pascua. 

“We’re having a hard time raising money to fund travel,” Pascua said. “Each skater is responsible to fund their accommodations in Italy, and travel.”

According to the team’s funding page, the team has raised only around $500 of the $120,000 that they need. Without the funding, Pascua said that she and her team will be unable to attend the games that they’ve been training for. 

Photo teacher Kenna Gallagher who has played roller derby recreationally and encourages students to try the sport, said she’s rooting for Pascua as a representative of the sport.

“It’s so much fun,” Gallagher said.  “If you want to legally smash into people while on roller skates then it’s a great sport to play. It’s super athletic, you need to be incredibly in shape. It’s addictive.” 

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About the Contributors
Motoko Iwata
Motoko Iwata, Opinion/Editorial Editor
Motoko Iwata (Class of 2026) joined The Voice in her sophomore year. At Paly, she does badminton and debate. In her free time, Motoko enjoys spending time with her friends and reading about current events.
Ava Knapp
Ava Knapp, News Editor
Ava Knapp (Class of 2026) joined The Paly Voice her sophomore year. She does cross country/track and field and plays the piano.

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