Four months ago, we shared some of Cayla Barnes ’17 thoughts as she prepared to depart for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang with the US Women’s National Hockey Team. Less than a year after graduating, Cayla walked back onto campus with an Olympic gold medal in hand.
True to her modest and gracious nature, Cayla was hesitant about the idea of a celebration with all eyes on her. As a recent graduate, and one of the humblest Gold Medalists you might ever meet, Cayla was eager to return to New Hampton School and share her success with all of us, but she was careful to do so in a way that wouldn’t set her above any of her peers and friends.
New Hampton Women’s Hockey
During Monday’s school meeting, Women’s Hockey Coach Craig Churchill reintroduced Cayla, sharing a bit of her history as a four-year student and as member of New Hampton School’s first ever NEPSAC division championship team. Churchill has remained a close friend and resource for Cayla in her recent successes, and partnered with the school to help plan her visit.
Cayla spoke briefly to students, and rather than emphasize her journey to the Olympic games, she thanked the school and her peers for welcoming her back. She noted what a special place New Hampton was for her over the course of four years, and what an honor it was to be back on campus with all of them.
Sharing Her Gold
The School hosted a special lunch with Cayla in Alumni Hall; students, faculty, and families were invited to stop by and say hello. Cayla’s many visitors included longtime faculty, the women’s hockey team, and also young faculty children. All were eager for a photo and the opportunity to hold her medal. With casual ease, Cayla shared stories of PyeongChang. From the Olympic Village, to the opening and closing ceremonies, playing with national caliber athletes, and watching all the competitions, her guests shared in her excitement. Her schedule is busy these days as she makes plans for the future. She continues on with media tour events this month, one of which is a visit to the White House before the end of the month.
A Role Model for Husky Nation
A California native, Cayla and her family have since relocated to New Hampshire following her tenure here as a student. Cayla plans to return to Boston College next fall, continuing her quest as a national all-star on the ice. For us, Cayla’s visit was a wonderful reminder of what it means to be a Husky. Cayla is confident yet humble, ferocious yet kind. She understands the value of community on every level and is loyal to and grateful for all those who have helped her find success.
Thank you, Cayla, for sharing your journey with us. We are so proud of you.
Wow what a story. I graduated in 1985, and was on the ski team. I just found this out yesterday that New Hampton has an Olympic Champion, amazing :-)