Student Features

York gymnast is national Junior Olympics champion

Jul 8, 2014

Abby Kaufman, 15, will be only a sophomore this fall at PA Cyber Charter School, but she's already college shopping. She and her mom and dad just returned from a swing through the Southeast, checking out universities in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and North Carolina.

And why not? With a resume of gymnastics achievements topped off recently by a Junior Olympics National Invitational Tournament All-Around Championship, Abby can expect offers from among the best Division I university women's programs in the country.

Abby won all-around honors at the Level 10 Junior Olympic National Invitational Tournament May 7-11 in Jackson, Miss., with a score of 37.35. She also won uneven bars with the top score of 9.4, and placed fourth on the beam.

She had qualified for nationals as first alternate on April 13 at the Region 7 Championships in Allentown, Pa.

"She's been in gymnastics since she was 2. We put her in a toddler program when she was in diapers," said her mother Kelly.

"My parents enrolled me in a preschool tumbling program because I had a lot of energy," Abby stated on her website,

Kelly said their daughter has been a competitor since she started, winning state, regional and national titles.

"For her to make it to nationals was a huge accomplishment. She has a lot of colleges interested in her now."

While Level 10 Junior Olympics NIT All-Around Champion would appear to be the summit of her career so far, her perfectionist nature ranks her greatest achievement as "never falling on a balance beam routine in Level 4 to Level 10 competitions since 2006."

In Level 7/8, Abby won national titles in all-around, vault and uneven bars as a member of the Pennsylvania team at the National Judges Cup tournament. Competing in Level 9 at the Eastern Nationals she was second all-around and won the beam competition. Last year she was a Level 10 regional qualifier but did not compete because of an injury.

Her parents are Jeremy, a teacher, and Kelly, a vice president of administration. She has an older brother, Jacob, who formerly attended PA Cyber. Jacob is working on a degree in human services at Harrisburg Area Community College. The family resides in York, Pa.

Abby trains 26 hours a week at Prestige Gymnastics in Lancaster, Pa., coached by Tony Fatta, Jen Fatta, Kevin Pope and Sarah O'Brien.

All the hours spent training, traveling and competing would not be possible if Abby attended a classroom school. This will be her sixth year in PA Cyber. She takes all self-paced classes and has a perfect 4.0 grade average.

"When Abby was in fourth grade we were on the road and heard a commercial for PA Cyber on the radio," her mom said. "It was a perfect fit for her. There weren't enough hours in the day for her to achieve in school and practice gymnastics."

She calls Abby a "well-rounded child" who loves to bike and bake, and has played piano since age 4.

Good at math and science, Abby plans to take pre-med courses in preparation for a career in a field such as kinesiology, physical therapy or physician assistant program.

Her gymnastics training regimen continues all summer while she prepares for new rounds of competition beginning in November.

When not training, Abby said, "I have a lot of summer things planned, from college camps and tours to some R&R time with my family."

Editor's note:
Abby Kaufman and her family have been informed that she has received a full athletic scholarship to West Virginia University for gymnastics, and she has made a verbal commitment to attend WVU. A national Junior Olympics champion at age 15, Abby plans to complete her high school studies at PA Cyber while continuing to compete. She would enroll as a freshman at WVU in the fall of 2017. "Abby is so excited," her mother Kelly wrote in an email to PA Cyber officials Tuesday. "They have a great academic program for what she wants to take through West Virginia's School of Medicine. Plus, she will get to compete on the gymnastics team for three amazing coaches that she completely loves and respects. I wanted to share this news with you since PA Cyber has played such an important role in Abby's success."

About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.