Seventeen-year-old Nikita Ducarroz is one of the top female freestyle BMX competitors in the world. Last year, she landed her first backflip and is thought to be the only girl living in California to do so in competition. If the name Ducarroz sounds familiar, Nikita’s mother is Nicole Abate Ducarroz, a longtime trustee of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District board.
“As long as I can remember I’ve always loved jumping my bike off of anything I could find, but when I was about 14, I finally decided I wanted to buy myself a BMX bike (pretty much out of the blue) and that’s when it all began.
“The BMX community is one of the best things to ever happen to me. You make friends from all over the country (even the world) when you go to contests. Even though we are competing against each other, if a friend beats you, there is no bad sportsmanship or angry parents, we are all happy for each other.
“I get bored really easily and with BMX that’s not an option as there is always something new to learn or something to improve on.”
Ducarroz attends high school online through CAVA (k12.com/cava). Can you tell us a little bit about why?
“I started online school my freshman year. I mainly chose it because of anxiety, but as the years have gone by I realized it was the best option to be able to pursue BMX as well.
“I can’t remember when my anxiety started to get really bad, it’s kind of been a blur, but a couple years ago I wouldn’t leave the house. Since then it’s been a long challenge to overcome all the little things that are hard for me, and I’ve been able to make a lot of progress, but I’m definitely not there yet.
“The first thing that motivated me to want to get out of the house was to go to the skate park. From there, I wanted to travel to more skate parks, attend more competitions, all of which I knew would be a huge challenge, but it’s something I really wanted. I feel like without BMX, I would have had no motivation to face my fears and overcome this.”
What is the best thing about online high school?
Definitely, the flexibility. I have a calendar of assignments that need to be completed, but I can choose if I want to do it in the morning, or at night, or the next day. Also, I can do my schoolwork in my room, at the skatepark, or in an airport. Anywhere that has WiFi.
“People always ask me about the social aspect of doing school online. I have friends from all over the world through BMX, who I see at competitions or when I go on road trips, and I also have a lot of local BMX friends who I see regularly at the skate parks. It’s the best option for me and it’s really been a good choice.”
Ducarroz is taking a full slate of honors and AP classes online and has made the (high) honor roll each year