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Ella Brodsky will attend Michigan State University in the fall, studying business while also hitting the ice.

As soon as Ella Brodsky picked up a hockey stick at age 10, she knew this would be the sport she played for the rest of her life.

The semi-pro hockey player and West Linn native graduated from Oregon Charter Academy this June. She will attend Michigan State University in the fall to study business and continue pursuing ice hockey, a sport she balanced alongside her studies.

While attending ORCA, Brodsky was a left wing for the Anaheim Lady Ducks, a hockey program for young women based in Southern California. She initially pursued figure skating, but added a hockey stick, puck and mouth guard around age 10.

"I immediately fell in love (with hockey) and just the intensity and being with people as a team. I just felt more comfortable than with figure skating, and eight years later I'm still playing," she said.

While a sophomore, Brodsky switched from West Linn High School to ORCA because it gave her more flexibility to travel for the sport.

"I needed something that I could adapt to and that could work around my schedule, and I never was able to do that when I was in public school," she said.

But Brodsky made sure that her studies remained a focus whenever she was on the ice.

"I would just bring my computer with me wherever I was. Whether you have to be doing school in a hotel or whether you have to buy Wi-Fi on a plane — it's just finding time anywhere you are and making it a priority," Brodsky said.

Yet, despite not attending a conventional school, Brodsky found community within her hockey team.

"The friendships are some of my favorite parts about (being on the team)," she said.

Brodsky was part of ORCA's career and technical education program, ASCEND. The program gives students five career pathways including business, hospitality and medicine, and computer science.

Brodsky chose the business and management pathway, where classes are tailored to her career goals and consist of public speaking, management, economics and marketing.

She plans to study business next fall.

"I've always been a pretty sociable person and I think I've learned a lot of that through hockey. Business will teach me more about communication, marketing and being creative," said Brodsky.

And, of course, as she's making the drive from Oregon to Michigan, her hockey gear will be packed.

"I certainly want to continue playing hockey for the rest of my life," she said. "I really don't see myself without it."

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