Kaliya Johnson is well on her way to becoming the first African American woman to play collegiate and professional ice hockey. She is currently a member of the 2011-2012 U.S. Women’s U18 national hockey team. We have taken a special interest in Kaliya’s accomplishment because she was the fourth quarter 2001, winner of our Dare to Dream….Expect to Succeed scholarship contest. Kaliya’s entry was a videotape showing her playing ice hockey and detailing her dream of being a trailblazer in the sport. We recently caught up with Kaliya and spoke to her briefly about her goals and aspirations:
BrainstormUSA: How did the Dare to Dream scholarship help you to succeed in school?
Kaliya Johnson: Dare to Dream helped me succeed in school by giving me the confidence I needed to push myself to do better in school, so I could get good grades and so I could go to better college. Knowing that I had a scholarship that would help pay for some of my college education made me want to do that much in better in school.
BrainstormUSA: You have accomplished a major feat in life, being a member of the U.S.A. U18 Women’s Hockey team. How did you become involved in the sport? Did your success in school contribute to your success on the ice? Tell us about your journey through life thus far.
Kaliya Johnson: I became involved in hockey because of the “Mighty Ducks” movie. I first watched the movie when I was three years old and haven’t stopped skating since. My success in school gave me confidence, which in turn, gave me the confidence I needed on the ice, so I could become a better player. So far hockey has made me a better person and I met the most incredible friends anyone can ask for. Hockey has taught me many life lessons. Hockey is not just a sport to me. It’s my life.
BrainstormUSA: Who do you consider your role models and how did they help shape you into the successful athlete you have become?
Kaliya Johnson: My mom is my role model. She has sacrificed a lot to for me, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her. My mom has always been there for me and has supported me every step on the way to my dream. She taught me to never give up.
BrainstormUSA: What are your goals for the future? College? Major?
Kaliya Johnson: My ultimate goal in life is to play Ice Hockey in the Olympics and represent my country. I am going to Boston College in the fall of 2012. I want to major in Education. I’ve always loved teaching kids new things.
BrainstormUSA: What message do you have for young people today in as far as working hard, setting goals and reaching for the stars?
Kaliya Johnson: My message to young people would be to never give up on your dreams no matter how big or small. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something; you can do anything you dream of. Most importantly, always follow your dreams.
As you can see, Kaliya Johnson is a remarkable young lady and is proof of what one can accomplish with a solid education, determination, goals and support. We wish her all the best and will continue to follow her career as she inches closer and closer to her dream of becoming the first African American woman to represent the U.S. in Ice Hockey at the Winter Olympics.
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