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Catching up with Stephanie Phillips ('09)

Kicking Ice by Stephanie PhillipsStephanie Phillips couldn’t have written it up any better. What she was watching couldn’t have made her any prouder. In the hope that her graphic novel, Kicking Ice, would bring girls and women of all ages confidence, hope, and pride, watching Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson score the winning goal for the USA Women’s Hockey Team in the Gold Medal game at the 2018 Olympics encouraged Stephanie that her passion is alive and excelling at the highest level.

“What happened last night is history. It has been 20 years since the US won gold and despite a deficit early in period 2, that entire team was on a mission and refused to lose. It was absolutely incredible to be able to watch that happen and I hope it also translates into more awareness for women's hockey during non-olympic years.” 

While Stephanie wrote her graphic novel about a pioneering women’s hockey league, Stephanie was herself a pioneer at Carrollwood Day School. In 2009 Stephanie was in the first high school graduating class. In her Senior year she was named Student Council President and was also in National Honor Society. Stephanie is currently at the University of South Florida where she is finishing up her dissertation.

Kicking Ice is about two girls who dream of playing in the National Women’s Hockey League but encounter bullying from boys in their co-ed league. The graphic novel traces their journey and the hardships they endure and overcome.

The Alumni Association spoke with Stephanie to find out more about Kicking Ice and what led her to write it. 

1) What inspired you to write your graphic novel, Kicking Ice? 

As a hockey player and fan, I wanted to create a book to celebrate the women that participate and succeed in a very male-dominated sport. The National Women’s Hockey League is the first paid, professional league for women, and as they enter their third year the entire league aims to create equality, empowerment, and inclusiveness in sport. My goal is to highlight the amazing efforts of everyone involved in making this league possible and for continuing to relentlessly push boundaries so that future generations may never know that this struggle existed. Kicking Ice is a celebration of the best female talent on the ice and the future generations who look to follow in their footsteps.   

2) Did you have a teacher at CDS that inspired you to do what you are doing today?

I always loved reading and writing, but it’s really awesome to have teachers that foster and encourage those interests. My English teacher, Dr. Orbison, clearly loved teaching and made his enthusiasm for literature infectious.

3) What do you remember about being in the first high school graduating class at CDS?

I played a lot of sports while at CDS. I remember when there weren’t enough players to field a women’s soccer team, so the few girls wanting to play soccer were allowed to play on the boys’ varsity team. That was a really cool experience to be readily accepted by the boys’ team. Instead of telling the girls that we couldn’t play, the school gave us a place and a field.  

4) What is one thing you could tell young girls, that helped you along your journey, that could inspire them?

Find your thing. It doesn’t have to be hockey, or comic books, but once you find what makes you excited to wake up every morning, you also find a community invested in supporting you and helping you succeed. Find this thing, whether it’s being an entrepreneur, a doctor, or a teacher, and feel excited about being a part of something bigger than yourself. 

Stephanie may see the women who are playing in the NWHL as the pioneers of the sport, but we realize that it also takes the people who help bring attention to the efforts of those playing to shed light on their battles to fight for equality. Thank you Stephanie for sharing your passion with others and helping to inspire others to be greater than they might have thought possible. We are proud to call you a CDS alum!

To learn more about Kicking Ice click on the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1698370626/kicking-ice-a-graphic-novel-about-womens-hockey?ref=9exz2w