Away from CA – Summer Spotlight Series

June 23, 2020

Amelia Lanni ’23


While Amelia Lanni ’23 has always been into the arts, it wasn’t until this past spring when she picked up–and enjoyed—playing an instrument.


During the spring 2020 semester, Lanni took Cheshire Academy’s Music Skills and Performance class, led by Nathan Trier. It was there where she began learning how to play the guitar. “It was an amazing experience playing an instrument,” Lanni said. 


Now, over the course of this summer, Lanni is taking drum and singing lessons. One of her idols, Harvey Mills, from the English singing duo Max and Harvey, plays the drums, which prompted Lanni to want to learn the instrument. And there’s one song she is planning to learnMacklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Can’t Hold Us,” which Harvey performed a drum solo of last year on The X-Factor: Celebrity. 


As for her singing lessons, Lanni simply wants to hone her skills. “I have been singing in many musicals since was 4 years old, so I really wanted to embrace and improve my singing voice,” reflected Lanni. “Singing lessons really help me with my abilities to sing at a higher pitch, and how to sing a song at my full potential.” 


Lanni started taking dance lessons when she was 2 years old, and began performing in places when she was 4. “I truly believe I am more of a performer,” she said. “For a very long time, I have wanted to be an actress. Even though this year I decided to embrace my instrumentalist side, I love being on stage, with the lights on me, ready to say my lines.” 


But for the summer, Lanni is hoping to take in all that she can. “I am so grateful for the experiences I had and will have in the future in my lessons. I am very excited to learn many songs I didn’t know I could sing.” 



Julia Shatalov ’21


At Cheshire Academy, Julia Shatalov ’21 demonstrates her academic rigor by boasting a full schedule of International Baccalaureate® Programme courses. Outside of school, she’s a competitive cyclist who, for the first time this summer, is actively fundraising for the Breakaway Benefit in support of the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program (CCAP). 

Julia Shatalov ’21 (right).


Shatalov says about the program, The Breakaway Benefit is important to me because without the CCAP, I would never have become so attached to the sport, and the people I’ve met through it have taught me a lot.” 


For the last three years, Shatalov has participated in the benefit, held at Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort (Middlefield, Connecticut). Shatalov raced in the 20-mile ride, while other events included 40-mile and 100-mile rides, as well as options for mountain biking and cyclocross. 


This year’s Breakaway Benefit was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, with four days of events that took place from May 27-31. Donations for the benefit are being accepted until July 31. 


Due to this year’s virtual event, Breakaway organizers haparticipants tackling challenges from within their homes using Strava and Zwift. As such, they required an at-home bike and a trainer to keep the bicycle stationary, that can also track power, RPM, and speed. 


On the modified benefit races, Shatalov says, Riding solo definitely presents a lot of challenges mentally. Cycling is more a mental sport than it is physical, on a lot of levels. It takes a lot of grit to get through a long ride alone, and even with high-intensity, high-speed races, it is not as mindless as it may seem.” 


Julia Shatalov ’21 (center).

Shatalov first became involved in triathlons in sixth grade as a member of the Nutmeg Youth Triathlon Team (NYTT). Two years later, Shatalov’s passion for cycling as a standalone sport grew, so she became involved with the CCAP. While there are different types of cycling events, including time trials and point-to-point rides, Shatalov’s true interest lies with criterium racing, which is where racers find themselves on a closed circuit completing as many laps as possible within a set time limit. 


“Criterium races can be dangerous to a certain extent, because the main field of racers are often flying around the course in close proximity,” explained Shatalov. “Even though individuals are competing against one another throughout the race, we also work together, and if there are teammates, we try to help each other achieve optimal positioning in the pack. It is really all about the mental game, and it takes a lot more strategy than you realize.” 


Recent accomplishments include a roundtrip to Massachusetts—about 90 miles total—with two of her NYTT teammates, and a 46-mile point-to-point race called the Tokeneke Classic. During the Classic, Shatalov’s chain dropped a few miles into the race, ultimately resulting in her falling behind the rest of her team. The group ride turned into one of the most challenging solo rides Shatalov has completed.