Naperville, Illinois welcomes home Olympic silver medalist Molly Schaus

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

US goaltender Molly Schaus in a game against the Eastern College Athletic Conference All-Stars on January 3, 2010.
Image: Sara Melikian.

US Olympic ice hockey silver medalist Molly Schaus returned to her hometown of Naperville, Illinois last weekend. Her travels culminated in a visit on Monday to Spring Brook Elementary School, where as a fourth-grader she set the goal of some day being an Olympian. Schaus's dream was fulfilled this year during the Vancouver Winter Olympics, when she played for the US women's ice hockey team and won a silver medal. 

As she addressed and answered questions from students and teachers at the grade school, Schaus explained the large amount of work she had to invest to achieve her goals. The Chicago Daily Herald reports that "she has been practicing for three to four hours a day nearly every day for the past year." She told the students to "make a dream and follow it because you never know what can happen and just have fun with it."

The nostalgic visit to her elementary school followed a weekend of other appearances in Naperville, including a celebration last Saturday at Rosebud's Italian Specialties and Pizzeria. Saturday had been declared Molly Schaus Day by Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel, who also gave Schaus a key to the city. 

Schaus has not been the only Olympic alumnus to return to the school; figure skater and gold medalist Evan Lysacek returned to his Naperville hometown and spoke to the students at Spring Brook on March 26. "It's amazing we had two Olympians come to our school. It's like 1 million to one that they both get medals," remarked fourth-grader Alexandra Van Cleave.

Schaus lived in Naperville until moving to Massachusetts during her sophomore year in high school, having attended Gregory Middle School for junior high and Benet Academy during her freshman year of high school. After speaking at Spring Brook on Monday, she visited Gregory later that day and then went home to Massachusetts. She is expected to visit the White House with the rest of her team later this year. She will also start preparing for her final season at Boston College.