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Stephanie Burnham Needham
[2000]

School: Wilson

Sports Played: Volleyball, Basketball

High School Honors: 4-year Volleyball letterman. 2nd Team All-PIL, Team Captain, and MVP as a Senior. Best Defensive Player as a Junior. On PIL Championship team as a Sophomore. 4-year Basketball letterman. 1st Team All-PIL all 4 years; All-State as a Junior and Senior; Team Captain and MVP, 3 years. Team Championship and PIL Player of the Year as a Senior.

Post High School Career: University of Colorado, 2 years; played AAU Basketball in 2006- 07. Player/Coach of Multnomah Athletic Club Women's Basketball Team, 2010-11. New York City Sports Volleyball Team, 2012-13. Inventory Manager at Williams-Sonoma corporate for 4 years in San Francisco, worked for Nike and Macy's corporate in Portland before moving to NYC in 2012 to be a Buyer for Macy's in Manhattan for 3 years. Now owns a skincare business in Portland.

Commentary:

I remember my Mom calling for us from the front porch of our house growing up. The porch light would be on as the sky had darkened, and the sun was beginning to set. My sister and I had been out all day long, playing steal the baby, wiffle ball, riding our bikes, and if we were lucky—swimming at our neighbor's because today was a "green fish" day.

Fast forward a couple years, and my Mom would be doing the same thing, only this time she wasn't yelling because we'd stayed closer to home. We would have played 10 games of pick-up basketball on the hoop outside our house. Although it was dark out, and most of the kids would have gone home, my sister and I would have finagled a flashlight to point directly at the backboard, lighting it up so no matter where we were on the court—we could see the hoop.

I could write a thank you to all the coaches, players, mentors, and peers that I've had along the way, which I am so grateful for, but if I'm honest about who I need to thank, it's my family. My parents never let me say "I'm bored." They always pushed me to go outside and play. They instilled a good work ethic and said I could do anything if I just practiced and put my mind to it. They made sure to notice my successes, but also helped me learn from my mistakes. They taught me to be confident, and try anything—or try again if the first time I failed.

All of these things shaped my competitive drive and helped me succeed in my love of sport. But they are more than that. They are core values that have made me who I am. My years after school have been successful because of the things I was able to learn through sport, and playing on a team.

So, thanks Mom and Dad. I love you guys.

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