CCA student earns inline speed skating medals at World Cup Championships

Sixth-grader Neeli Hoff will become the face of a speed skating company after placing at the World Cup Championships.

Neeli Hoff, a sixth-grader at Commonwealth Charter Academy, is speeding her way through the competition — and she’s not planning to slow down. Neeli recently participated in the World Cup Championships’ inline speed skating competition, checking an item off her bucket list in style.

It was her first time competing in the iconic World Cup Championships, and she blew the competition away, skating away with a silver medal for indoor and a bronze medal for outdoor in her division.

She's been wearing in her wheels for six years, after being introduced to the sport when her mom, Heather, worked at a rink. Neeli was drawn to the sport because it was different. “I’d never seen anything like it,” she said.

Her favorite thing about skating? “I like that it’s fast," she said.

Her competitive streak keeps the family, which lives in Reading, on the move. The Hoffs make monthly trips across the region and occasional trips across the country to watch Neeli compete.

Neeli’s league meets all over the East Coast, with out-of-state locations including Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware.

The family traveled to Orlando to attend the World Cup Championships — and it is slated for more cross-country road trips in the future, including one to Colorado for June’s Outdoor Nationals and another to Nebraska in July for Indoor Nationals.

Beyond competing, Neeli’s practice schedule keeps her on her toes. She practices at a local rink six days a week, along with 20 other skaters.

Recently, Neeli’s speed on wheels earned her another unique opportunity: to become the skating face of Double S Sports. Double S — a speed skating apparel company based in Connecticut — offered to sponsor Neeli after she captured its attention while competing at a league meet. The sponsorship will give Neeli a chance to showcase her skills and become a recognized leader in the sport she loves.

“Because of all the traveling we do for Neeli’s skating, CCA’s flexibility works well for our family,” Heather said.

The family has been enrolled with CCA for five years, since Neeli was in second grade. Her older brother, Nicholas — now in eighth grade — also attends CCA.

“We enrolled because I wanted to be involved in their education, and we also wanted them to be in a PA-certified school,” says Heather, who is the family’s primary learning coach. The learners take every opportunity to meet teachers, which Heather said has made a world of difference.

“CCA’s teachers really allow my kids to work independently, and I feel that they’re not being spoon-fed the information. Teachers are available and involved in Neeli’s life and ask her about speed skating and what she likes to do outside of school.”

The Hoffs attend as many field trips as they can, and they have a large community of church members who also attend CCA.

“We love it! We don’t have any socialization issues because we know so many people who are a part of CCA and have classes with my kids,” Heather said.

Heather tries to stick to a regimented schedule reflective of a school environment, which includes drawing a clear line between teacher mode and mom mode.

“I made a classroom in the basement with educational posters, and during school time I was the teacher. During lunchtime or after school, I was mom again. It made being a Learning Coach an easy transition,” she said.

Keep your eye on Neeli — if you can keep up, that is — because this CCA student has a bright future ahead of her, on and off the ice.


Middle School Learner