Dwight Global Online School students Gabriele Badino, a tenth-grader, and his sister Beatrice, an eighth-grader, are known for their athletic ability on the ski slopes–as alpine racers.
Both Badinos have wins, medals, and records to validate their current chosen sparks, and the siblings are also champions off the slopes, too, for their beloved school.
Gabriele has placed in the top 10 and better at national and international ski races for skiers under 16, and has won first place in regional finals super-g, sixth place in national slalom, and ninth place in an international race in the giant slalom.
“I’ve always been a sports lover!” Gabriele said, noting that several years ago he also passionately pursued soccer, and was enrolled for a time at the Juventus Academy in Turin, Italy, and in New York.
In 2021, Gabriele and his sister were both honored to receive an exclusive invitation to ski in Italy with the top 50 international skiers, and both have sponsorships with top brands for ski clothing.
For Gabriele, now closer to finishing high school, sports is only one area where he excels.
Selected as a Student Ambassador for Dwight Global, Gabriele also enjoys entrepreneurship, “getting good grades,” as he put it, and is an eloquent, articulate, off-the-cuff speaker and advocate for Dwight Global Online School.
Born in Turin, Italy, Gabriele spent the first eight years of his life there before moving to Luxembourg for four years. He speaks fluent English, Italian, French, and some German.
After Luxembourg, Gabriele spent two years at Dwight School New York, where he says he made many friends. In 2019, the Badino family moved back to Italy for dad Marco Baldino’s work.
Gabriele and Beatrice’s parents are fully supportive of their educational path. Marco Badino said the time needed for training and the fact that skiing is only possible concentrated in a few months and in certain areas, often mountainous small villages without good educational opportunities, pushed the family to think “a little out of the box.”
“Having been at Dwight NY for two years, we were convinced that the academic level of Dwight was outstanding. The following step became natural, from “on the ground” schooling to online schooling,” said Marco. “There is less driving this way, and less time wasted. Both Gabriele and Beatrice are fully committed to this model and they are very structured in respecting scheduling for lessons and homework. That’s the key success factor…discipline and passion.”
Dwight Global has been the perfect fit, Gabriele agrees.
“Everyone at Dwight Global is so warm and helpful,” said Gabriele. “You have no idea how good this school has been for me, and how good they have been to me, also.”
“When my family told Dr. Spahn we had to move, he let us know about Dwight’s online program, which is how I found out about this beautiful community!” said Gabriele. “My sister and I wanted the flexibility to ski, and we also wanted the extremely high level of academics.”
“Dwight has helped me out tremendously in all aspects of my life,” Gabriele continued. “The community, the teachers, the classmates, everyone is supporting each other at all times, highs and lows, and that is why I love Dwight Global.”
As a Dwight Global Student Ambassador, Gabriele is available to talk about his school experiences with incoming students and their families. Independently, he has already recommended Dwight Global to friends outside the Dwight community, one of whom has enrolled for next year.
Gabriele is inspired in the classroom as well as on the slopes, and says his economics class this year with teacher Ms. Nurit Praeger sparked an interest in his most recent endeavor: a line of sweatshirts he created and plans to unroll on Instagram in 2022.
“It started in September with my Spark Tank project to create a clothing brand,” said Gabriele. “I conducted an investigation phase, and then I did a lot of research. I got in contact with a printing company in Italy, worked out a contract, and my first launch will be 50 hoodies. I’ll take care of all the shipping. Any profit will be rolled back into the business. I reached out to someone online and hope to eventually collab, too.”
Gabriele says he enjoys talking about entrepreneurship and business with an uncle who lives in Paris, France. His uncle works in a startup business and invests frequently in the stock market. “We talk about successful companies, the mode, trends, different price ranges,” he said.
Juggling his business and his pursuit of excellence in academics and on the slopes seems natural for Gabriele, who has his sights set on college and skiing in the not-too-distant future.
“My dream is to get a scholarship to an American university to continue my skiing career and meanwhile study the things I love,” he said.
Beatrice, who fell in love with skiing when she first put on skis at age three, also dreams of competing for an American university after high school. She acknowledges that “academics are my number one priority.”
Her ski record shows her dedication and talent. Last season, she placed third in regionals, first in giant slalom and special slalom, and 5th in the national finals of her age group. This year she was also invited to a very important competition to her, the “Top 50.” This is an annual ski event that invites skiers from all of Italy based on the national-level results of the year before.
So far, Beatrice says her biggest educational challenge was when her family moved from Italy to New York in 2018.
“In third grade, when I was 6, I moved to Luxembourg and spent about four and a half years there,” said Beatrice. “It was a huge change for me learning English, but it turned out to be extremely important later when I moved to New York in 2018. That was the craziest year for us because we attended three schools in one calendar year! We spent the first trimester in a school in Luxembourg, then during the skiing season we followed the Dwight New York program in an Italian IB school in preparation for our move to NYC, and the last trimester we went to Dwight New York.”
In the end, it worked out very well for both siblings. “And it just shows how much we love skiing!” she said.
For Beatrice, Dwight Global “is the perfect type of education for my passion, and is ideal for my lifestyle,” because of the combination of a high level of academics and the flexibility that allows her to follow her spark. She says she has learned to manage her time and her workload, and now expertly juggles her ski training, travel, and her academics.
“My typical day is very similar to my brother’s,” said Beatrice. “I wake up at 7:30 am, have 30 minutes of stretching and concentrating on my goals, then a healthy breakfast. At 8:30 am I head to the slopes, and ski between 9:00 - 12:00, have lunch at 12:30 pm, then ski again between 2:00 - 4:30pm. Between 5-8 pm I have my school lessons, conduct asynchronous work between 8-10:30 pm, and then bedtime!”
Despite her busy schedule, Beatrice said she has made many friends.
“One might think that since it is an online school it might be hard to make friends and have a community. Instead, with all the activities, group projects, clubs, homeroom, and a lot more, I have made many friends and we chat even outside of school. The houses are also a very important part of this because they encourage you to work for your house and make points to help others,” said Beatrice.
“It's almost like school on the ground,” she continued. “We Facetime and talk a lot. It is definitely hard to talk often, but that is the same for my skiing friends because we all travel all around Italy and sometimes outside Italy, too.”
Marco summed up the family’s feelings, from a parent perspective:
“I strongly recommend online learning to anyone who has a passion and ambition for something outside school and at the same time doesn’t want to give up an outstanding academic curriculum. Discipline, passion, dedication are needed, but something almost impossible just some years ago is now feasible for global students. The kids also appreciate the global network of schoolmates they are building around them, and we hope in the future they can leverage this network to be world citizens ready to face global challenges.
“The advantages to online learning are many, and the best is flexibility. You could do this school from anywhere and anytime in the world, you just need to have a lot of self-control and discipline, and the technological tools/connection. We are aware that we are asking a lot from our children, but we strongly believe that this path can lead to success in both academics and sports.”