By Emily Malloy
Each school year brings new teachers to the Oak Hall campus and community. Becky Lancer, one of the Upper School’s newest additions, joins Oak Hall as an art and ceramics teacher. Growing up in San Jose, Calif. Lancer was exposed to synchronized swimming at an early age, which quickly became her passion. Her school, much like Oak Hall, supported her athletic pursuits. This allowed her to travel the world and compete in countries like Cuba, Russia, Argentina, and throughout Europe before competing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Before competing in the Olympics, however, she competed in Russia’s Goodwill Games and her team won the silver medal. Even though second place is a great achievement, she took the loss as inspiration to perfect the routine and help her teammates prepare for the world’s largest stage. “When you are going for a goal, sometimes the failures along the way will just burn your fire so much hotter,” she said.
At the Olympics, the team achieved a perfect score in the five-minute free routine and a near-perfect score in the technical routine. Combined, the points led the way for Team USA to win the first ever Olympic team synchronized swimming gold medal. “It was amazing to be able to stand and sing the national anthem with a gold medal in our own country,” she said proudly. After retiring from competitive synchronized swimming, Lancer performed for five years with Cirque de Soleil’s water-based show “O”. In addition, the gold medalist choreographed the opening sequence in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. In 2004, Lancer was awarded the highest honor in the swimming and diving community; being voted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
After her many adventurous years, Lancer started a new adventure with her husband and three sons, eventually moving to Gainesville, while still coaching synchronized swimming. After teaching in the public school system for seven years, the opening at Oak Hall became available. When she found out about the open position, she considered it “the golden opportunity”. What drew her in are the values that Oak Hall has to offer. “Students at Oak Hall and the parents have really high standards for their lives. They aren’t just checking the boxes or going to class because that’s what they are supposed to do. We have engaged students and engaged parents,” she said. Lancer has enjoyed her classes so far and getting to know her students and her advisory, while also pursuing her art background and spreading her knowledge. She “hopes to give inspiration and encouragement to students no matter what they are pursuing”.