Hayley Hodson12th Grade
This Student Spotlight features Hayley Hodson, a 12th grader in the Laurel Springs Gifted and Talented Academy. Hayley began playing volleyball when she was in elementary school. She credits her career to a next door neighbor who introduced her to volleyball and eventually encouraged her to try out for a team. Thanks to her neighbor, she officially began playing in third grade. Since then, Hayley has played at every level of the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline.
At age 12, Hayley began playing on the Select National Team before moving on to the Youth National Team, the Junior National Team, the inaugural U23 National Team, and the Women’s National Team. Hayley explains, “Every single one of these experiences was invigorating, inspiring, motivating, and invaluable. However, training with the Women’s National Team was a pinnacle accomplishment.” During this time, Hayley had the opportunity to train directly with the head coach of the Women’s National and Olympic teams.
Although it has been her greatest accomplishment thus far, Hayley learned a lot more than volleyball skills while training with the Women’s National Team:
I learned to emphasize progress, appreciate little changes, value the details, and respect coaches and teammates in ways I hadn’t before. I even wrote my college essay on the growth mindset and how training with the National Team impacted my outlook and approach to life as a whole.”
At only 18 years old and already an accomplished athlete, Hayley has begun giving back to the community that she has thrived in. Thanks to the flexibility at Laurel Springs, she has begun coaching youth clinics at her volleyball club. She also recently became the assistant coach of a 12U volleyball team. Hayley finds great joy giving back and helping the young girls grow, “I think it’s important to invest in the younger generation and encourage these girls, build them up, give them confidence, goals, vision, and support.”
After graduation, Hayley plans to attend Stanford University in the fall where she will play for their varsity volleyball team. She has made a four year commitment to play on the team, but has hopes of training with the Women’s National Team again during the summers. Down the road, Hayley’s goal is to play volleyball on the Women’s National Team, professionally overseas, and then pursue a career in either law or entertainment and start a family. Despite the bright future ahead, Hayley’s focus is on the now, and that means doing her best in her last year of high school.
Hayley is grateful to be a student in the Laurel Springs Gifted & Talented Academy because of the opportunities it has allowed her to pursue:
Laurel Springs has given me flexibility. Without Laurel Springs, committing to Stanford would not have been possible. I believe in taking opportunities as they come, and so when phone calls came asking me to play on teams or in tournaments that required extended absences from school, Laurel Springs made it possible for me to keep up with my assignments, to continue to make the necessary grades, and not suffer the academic consequences that would have resulted from extended absences in the public school setting. Thanks to Laurel Springs I have been able to achieve not only my athletic goals but also my academic goal of getting into Stanford University.”
Hayley feels the keys to success for student-athletes who go to an online school are communication, time management, focus, and independence. She is grateful for the unwavering support of her family and the help from her teachers in balancing her academics with her volleyball schedule.