The 2017 winner was Haley Miller. Haley is 11 years old. She started training in karate when she was 5 years old at U.S. Budokai Karate in Clifton Park, NY. She started competing in tournaments when she was 8 years old and never stopped. Her parents would let her compete in the local 518 Martial Arts tournaments as frequently as they could. She was honored to be the recipient of the 2017 Northeast Open Scholarship and was grateful for the opportunities this scholarship provided her with.
This scholarship allowed her to expand her interests into other areas of martial arts. She became a member of the United States and World Breaking Association. The funds helped her to participate in the USBA/WBA Hall of Fame Championships in Wallingford, CT; the USBA/WBA Massachusetts State Breaking Grand Championships in Belchertown, MA; the USBA Keystone State Breaking Championships in Scranton, PA; and, the USBA/WBA North American Breaking Championships in Wallingford, CT. The scholarship helped her with expenses for these tournaments, such as registration fees, travel, and supplies (boards, tape, spacers, etc.). She has enjoyed these new opportunities and would never have expanded into this area of martial arts if it wasn’t for the scholarship funds.
In addition to the breaking tournaments, she also used the funds for everyday karate supplies. She purchased a new heavyweight gi, sparring gear, and boards for breaking. These supplies can add up and since she is too young to have a job, it felt good that she could purchase them herself instead of burdening her parents.
Haley had an exciting year of tournaments and is grateful that she had these opportunities.
In addition to being the recipient of the 2017 NEO Scholarship, She received her black belt and was also named the Competitor of the Year for the 518 Martial Arts circuit. Haley says she has learned a lot and was able to spend a lot of quality time with her dad at all these tournaments. She is excited to continue with breaking tournaments in the future. Haley would like to thank the donors of the NEO Scholarship for these opportunities.