We checked in with Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) Alumni Juliette Hopgood from Park City, Utah, and we are overjoyed to hear about her acceptance to Brown University, where she will be completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology, with a goal of becoming a Doctor. This young lady has a very bright future ahead of her, and we are thankful to have been a vital part of her journey.
Juliette attended OHA from 2018-2020, where she made many great friends and built lasting relationships with her coaches & teachers. She expresses gratitude about her experience at OHA; a program that provided her with the support she needed to succeed as a both a student and an athlete. Juliette says, “OHA helped me gain valuable skills that helped me commit to Brown. I learned to become more independent by living away from home, was taught the importance of time management and other valuable study skills that will certainly come in handy in university.”
Penticton High School is where our student athletes are academically enrolled throughout their time at OHA. Juliette recognizes many important staff members such as Dave Nackoney, Academic Advisor, and Mrs. West, Math Teacher & OHA Study Hall Instructor, as playing a huge part in her academic journey. “All the staff and teachers were very supportive and helpful, and were always there if I needed anything,” states Juliette. “Both Mr. Nackoney and Mrs. West were always there if I needed references or recommendations, and really helped me academically.”
Penticton High School allows for academic transfers, which is how Juliette was able to attend high school in both Canada and the United States. Their staff ensures that this transfer process is seamless, guiding students to attend Ivy League schools such as Brown University.
Juliette moved to Penticton to attend OHA for Grade 10 & Grade 11, and although having to move away from home at such a young age, she absolutely loved her experience. Our billeting program at OHA is a home away from home; providing student athletes that require room and board, the opportunity to live with one of our great local families. “I was with the same billet family two years in a row, and billeted with a teammate both years which was a super fun experience,” says Juliette. Our billets provide a safe and supportive environment that our students can call home and we feel that this program has been an integral part of the growth of our Academy.
Another critical part to the growth of our Academy has been in the development of our female programing. We aspire to empower girls and women in sport, and help them to develop within the game of hockey. “I loved being able to get out on the ice every day with a great group of girls who all love the sport as much as I do! OHA became a home away from home, and definitely helped me grow as a person,” Juliette states.
We pride ourselves for this evolution, now with two female teams at OHA Penticton; U17 Female Prep & U18 Female Prep. “If any female hockey player is thinking about attending a sports school like OHA, I definitely encourage them to do it! Being at OHA helped me develop as a person and athlete, and is an experience that everyone should have if they can. While it can be tough balancing academics with high level athletics, in the end it is totally worth it,” mentions Juliette.
Our goal here at OHA is to provide our student-athletes with all the tools they need to progress and reach their goals. By helping our student athletes open as many doors as possible, we are enabling them to pursue their hockey and academic careers. “I had a great experience at OHA; they have a great support system, which helped make the transition of moving away from home a lot easier,” Juliette says. Our professional staff at OHA are applauded for providing endless support and resources; empowering students and cheering them on through the next stage in their lives.
Juliette is hopeful that she will be continue playing the game that she loves throughout university. She has big dreams both academically and athletically, and although this proposes a challenge, we are confident that she will excel by utilizing the tools she developed as a student athlete at OHA to find balance within her competing priorities.
OHA is a stepping stone to where students aspire to be, and we take pride in their future and are invested in their goals. We are wishing Juliette all the best as she embarks on her new and exciting adventure at Brown University in the fall!
Written By: Michayla Fraser (BSM)
I can confidently say the Okanagan Hockey Academy had an impact on me as a hockey player but more importantly as a person. OHA taught me to bring my best self in all aspects of life including as a student, player and community member. I learned many life skills during my time at OHA that I will take with me much longer than my playing career and that is the greatest gift the staff, coaches, billets and community gave to me. I strongly believe I am a more well-rounded individual because of my time at OHA. I hope any young hockey player with drive, determination and a passion to become a better player and person is able to have the chance to attend somewhere so amazing. For me OHA gave me the best balance of academics, athletics, family and social life. I am extremely grateful for my time at Okanagan Hockey Academy.