Eighteen Winter Olympians have attended NSA, and hundreds of the school's alumni have competed in World Cup and Division I sports including cross-country and downhill skiing, hockey and luge. Some of the school's most famous alumni include three who competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver: Vermontville native Bill Demong, who won gold and silver medals in Nordic combined; biathlete Haley Johnson of Lake Placid; and luger Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake.
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In a recent letter to parents, the chairman of NSA's Board of Trustees wrote that the school is facing some serious financial challenges.
School officials declined to go on tape for this story, but did agree to share portions of the letter. Board Chairman David Van Arnam wrote that the tough economy has led to most of the school's fiscal troubles.
Van Arnam said decreased enrollment, increased financial aid and debt service have all contributed to the problem.
Var Arnam said, "The board has worked closely with the administrative team to reach out to community leaders, our banks, and supporters of the school. With this support, we seek to ensure the continuation of the school year."
Officials said the school is designing a financial plan for the rest of the school year, and a sound business plan for the 2013-14 academic year.
The school's director of development, Angela Price, said in an email that NSA has launched a "special end-of-year appeal" that resulted in an "outpouring of support" from parents and community leaders.
She said NSA is also pursuing grants and loans to keep the school solvent.
The school's co-founder and longtime headmaster, David Wenn, retired in the spring. His replacement, Jeff Beedy, resigned earlier this month. A team of senior administrators will fill in until an interim headmaster can be appointed.
NSA started out as a winter tutorial program for alpine skiers in 1977. It later developed into a 10-month program, with students studying at local public schools, and in 1984 it began awarding its own diplomas.
It was originally called Mountain House School; the named changed to National Sports Academy in 1989.
NSA currently enrolls 62 students.