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Hailey Szybunka: Collingwood to Stanford

Hailey Szybunka—a Collingwood lifer (class of twenty-sixteen)—certainly did not have a scary Halloween this year. In fact, it was anything but frightening for her.

Years of hard work on the field hockey turf paid off on October thirty-first when she finally received her acceptance to Stanford University. Next year, she will play on the women’s varsity field hockey team. Hailey’s acceptance certainly was not out of luck. As a passionate player, she has been working toward this moment for over a year.

Hailey’s application process began just after grade ten. She put together a strict routine to ensure that coaches in the US would notice her. Each weekend her parents filmed her field hockey games. She would then distribute this footage to universities with the hope of catching some attention. Weekly filming, editing, and of course, playing to the best of her ability was actually quite painstaking. She remarks: “some days it felt like the worst thing in the world”. Fortunately, she soon received some reinforcement for her devotion.

After a phone conversation with a Stanford coach in July, Hailey hopped on the next flight to San Francisco. “I had the time of my life,” she explained as she mentioned meeting a few friends on campus who were already committed to playing on Stanford’s field hockey team.

Stanford is the perfect fit for Hailey, academically as well as athletically. She has always had her heart set on studying aerospace engineering; nevertheless, finding a school with a world-renowned field hockey team that offers this specific program was challenging. Thanks to Stanford University, however, next year she has the opportunity to play on a division one team and study aerospace engineering.

This is just the beginning of many exciting acceptances that Collingwood’s class of twenty-sixteen should be receiving within the next few months. We all wish you the best of luck next year, Hailey!

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