Alumni Spotlight: Laura Beach back from playing volleyball overseas
Laura Beach, class of '13, played college volleyball at University of Wyoming and in the European League. Now she's pursuing a degree in the medical field.
BY Chris Loesel
What have you been up to since you graduated from Denver Lutheran High?
Since graduating from Lutheran high school my life has been one big adventure. I attended the University of Wyoming, where I played as a middle blocker on the volleyball team all four years. These were some of the most amazing memories of my life, and I will cherish them forever.
I graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Kinesiology in May of 2017, and then went on to play a year of professional volleyball in the Netherlands. I am now back at the University of Wyoming taking additional prerequisite courses before I take my next step in life.
What are the biggest challenges and rewards you experienced during your professional volleyball career in Europe?
Some of the biggest challenges I faced during my time overseas were the language barrier and the cultural differences. My team spoke fairly good English, much better than my Dutch, and for that I was so thankful. The hard part was communicating with many of the other people in the community.
As for the rewards, the list could go on and on. I was especially blessed by the friendships and relationships I made with the people in the Netherlands, many of which I still keep in contact with today, and some who have even flown out to visit me here in America. The volleyball was a blast, as always, and I loved having the opportunity to grow my game as well as be exposed to some new coaching techniques and styles.
As tough as it was, I also learned how to be okay with being alone out there, a blessing and a difficulty all wrapped into one, but isn’t that just how God works, always bring strength and growth out of every hardship.
What do you plan to pursue in this next phase of your life?
I am now currently pursuing my passion for the human body. Health and science have always captured my interest and there is nothing that gets me more excited than the possibility of a career in that field. I am currently taking prerequisite courses so that I can apply to either Physician’s Assistant school, or Medical school.
What did you value most about your time as a student at Lutheran High?
Looking back at my time at Lutheran high school, I always knew it was a special place, but now I can see even more clearly just how great an impact it had on my life, and still has today. The teachers at Lutheran High School are above and beyond what you could ever hope for in a teacher. I could list them one by one, but that would probably fill up far too many pages.
Ultimately, I will leave it at this, the teachers at Lutheran high school taught me so much more than what is outlined in the curriculum. They are the ones who inspired me, encouraged me, led me in a life of faith, laughed with me, coached me, pushed me and shaped me into the person I am today, by leading lives worthy of their calling.
How did Lutheran High prepare you for college and your future career?
Lutheran High School gave me the tools I needed for college by providing me with a sound faith foundation from which I could grow and on which I could lean. College can be a trying time, and if you go into it without clear picture of who you are and who you call Lord, it is easy to get swept up in the worldly things and lose who you are. Lutheran high school also prepared me academically to excel at the highest level once I reached college and as I pursue my career in the future.
With the gift of hindsight, how has your faith guided you through life?
What I have learned most about my faith looking back on my life is that you truly will experience peaks and valleys, but God truly will never leave your side. There will be times you feel so close to God you could touch Him, and times you feel as though you can’t see how God could possibly be working in your situation. Yet looking back, in the highs and the lows I can always see God’s guiding hand.
I have been blessed to have attended a Lutheran school from K-12. Starting at St. John’s and the continuing through Lutheran high school, I constantly had people surrounding me and building me up in my faith. Once I reached college and beyond I was able to see just what they were teaching me and preparing me for, the ups and downs of life, and how to take the faith they helped lead me to, and truly make it my own, a stable rock on which I can always lean, and a light unto my path.
Are there any particular Lutheran High teachers, coaches or staff members that significantly impacted or influenced your life?
Oh man, I guess here is where I can begin to list them. Mr. Blomenberg impacted my life by finding a way to get me excited about science. I’m not sure if it was the shouting or the hilarious anecdotes he provided, but somehow so much of what he taught me has stuck.
Science can also be a tough subject because many think it contradicts the evidence of our Lord. This cannot be further from the truth, the more I learn, the more I am encouraged in my faith, and I can only believe it was Mr. B who first showed me God’s fingerprints all over creation.
I have a very special relationship with both Mr. Zoeller and Mr. Hollenbeck as they saw me every morning at approximately 6:00 am as we rode the shuttle from Denver out to Parker. I say approximately as I was always running late and begging my friends on the bus to stall these two so that I could make it in time.
They saw me with wet hair, no makeup, 100 bags hanging off my arms and breakfast in my hand as I hastily tried to climb the bus, eat my breakfast and do my homework from the night before. These two heard my vent sessions, the drama going on in my life usually revolving around boys, school, and friends, and probably so many other things they might have rather not heard, yet they listened and gave wise counsel all the same. These two taught me more about myself, and being a daughter of Christ than I could have ever known.
Mr. Loesel, I am so sorry for always running tardy to your class, you have taught me the importance of time management, as well somehow instilling our choir songs into the deepest corners of my brain. “Something Told the Wild Geese” is one that will not soon be forgotten. I am also so thankful to you for our senior year religion classes, today when I am studying the Bible, it is always your classes that I am reminded of and guided by.
Lastly, I have a very special friendship with my volleyball coach and English teacher Alicia. She is hands down the best volleyball coach I have ever had. She taught me that volleyball is so much more than a sport, its a form of praise, and she is the one to whom I owe my passion and love for volleyball. She has also shaped me into the person I am today, by teaching me by example what a true woman of God should look like. I still meet her for coffees and lunches and she is still teaching me.
I am thankful beyond words for all of these teachers, and so many more who I was not able to mention. They truly are what makes Lutheran High School such a special place to grow and learn.
Is there any advice you would like to offer to the current and future students of Lutheran High?
High school can be a crazy time with so much to learn about yourself, your God, and your life. You have the best examples here at your fingertips. Soak up all you can from your teachers, dive into The Word with them, find a good group of friends, and start looking for what sets your heart on fire.
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