Mattress Firm Student Athlete of the Week: Belgrade's Katie Hopp - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Mattress Firm Student Athlete of the Week: Belgrade's Katie Hoppe

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BELGRADE -

A key contributor on last season's Class A title team, Belgrade's Katie Hoppe is a leader on and off the field.

"She's a good catcher," said Panthers Head Coach Mike Neubauer. "She's a good leader, she leads by example she works hard doing extra curricular things like what she does with the Special Olympics."

Hoppe started volunteering with the Special Olympics before her junior year, and said the cause is special to her because it hits so close to home.

"My little sister was diagnosed with autism, and so then I started working at therapy offices and helping her and seeing the impact that it has on her and in the classroom," Hoppe said. "Then I contacted somebody ahead of Montana Special Olympics and started."

Helping to organize Special Olympic events, Hoppe said the goal is to let the athletes experience the same thrill she and her teammates get when they step out on the field.

"They don't get that experience as often as they should," she said. "So whenever we're able to give that to them and you see them running up to you with a big smile on their face, saying that they want to keep on playing ball, it's just great for me to see."

Hoppe has already been recognized for her efforts, winning a $5,000 scholarship from the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation, which she said will help her pursue her dream of working with special needs children in hospitals and physical therapy clinics.

"It wasn't ever about getting the scholarship," Hoppe said. "I love what I do with the Special Olympics, but to get this helps me with my future to help out."

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