Student-Athlete Spotlight: Lauren Harden

Writer / Matt Keating
Photography Provided

Lauren Harden, a senior at Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) High School, says she enjoys playing volleyball because it gives her a chance to meet new people and get better at a sport she loves.

“What I like best about playing volleyball is I have made so many friends and people I call family through the sport,” she says. “Some of the friends I have met are local players through high school volleyball. There are many others I have met nationwide through club volleyball and training, with USA Volleyball and the National Team Development Program. Without the sport, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have learned leadership, teamwork, perseverance and more.”  

Lauren is looking forward to another great season. “So far our high school season is just beginning,” Lauren says. “This team has amazing chemistry and we’re always looking to compete in and out of practice to get better. We have also done some team building outside of school to get even closer.”

Lauren is also involved in other school programs. “Other school activities I am involved in include Blue Crew leadership at HSE,” Lauren says. “Blue Crew are the people that get students and faculty hyped for sporting events and show out to the arts program at school. We also fundraise and do community outreach. I am a senior leader on Blue Crew and have been a part of it since my sophomore year. Another school activity I am involved in is Student Media at HSE, specifically the Southeastern Sports Network. I joined the class last year and I get to cover and promote athletes and students at HSE. We do live broadcasts, social media, a podcast and more. I work specifically with social media. I’ll work on our social media accounts, take pictures, write stories and more.”

Lauren has already made plans for college.

“My college plans include attending the University of Florida to continue my academic and athletic career, where I will play volleyball and be a student,” Lauren says. “I am not 100% on what major I want to go in, but I am leaning towards something with sports, whether that is sports broadcasting, sports management, etcetera.”

Lauren’s mother, Christi Harden, says she is awed by Lauren’s achievements.

“I am beyond proud of my daughter and her volleyball accomplishments as any parent would be,” Christi says. “The dedicated hours spent training since she was 7 years old has blessed her with many accolades and opportunities to continue to play the sport she loves even after high school. The most exciting part is that the best is yet to come since she hasn’t even come close to finding her ceiling yet. She is always seeking to get better, is extremely coachable, and thrives in competitive environments. More importantly than sports, which do not define you, and what I am beyond proud of, is the person she is off the court. Her character is unwavering. I am always hearing others comment, ‘There’s no one nicer than Lauren,’ or that she truly is an old soul, which couldn’t make me prouder. I am so proud of the young adult she is and the positive impact she has on so many.”

Christi notes that being a student athlete is challenging to say the least.

“Not only has Lauren maintained a grade point average above a 4.0 while training and playing year-round, but she has also really stepped into her leadership role,” Christi says. “Being a positive role model and helping to develop a positive team culture fosters success. She truly leads by example and raises the level of expectations for all she comes in contact with. The future is bright and I’m so proud to be her mom.”

Lauren’s dad, Lawrence Harden, says Lauren also continues to amaze him.

“Lauren has blossomed into this awesome young lady that every parent, in my opinion, wishes was their own,” Lawrence says. “She maintains a sense of humbleness and she has always been a leader. She is always looking to make those around her better. Having said that, her achievements this past year come down to a couple of instances. One is the first-ever girls state championship that she and the Hamilton Southeastern volleyball team achieved, and the other is her commitment to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville to further her academic and volleyball career. Anyone who is on the fence about having their daughters play organized sports should dive in head first, because the bonds and life lessons these girls will have will last an eternity.”

Comments 2

  1. Mary Ellen Harden-Mckee says:

    I am very proud of my granddaughter ,I hope that she continues to remain humble and achieve all of her goals.

  2. Kenneth harden says:

    all the hard work ya’ll putting into my awesome niece is paying off family over everything bless

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