Lauren Aguillard has an impressive resume filled with academic and athletic achievements including being honored by the local Ken Hubbs Foundation and at the national level with an Althea Gibson scholarship. Despite such prestigious accolades, Aguillard says she has learned just as much from her failures.
Aguillard just graduated from Grand Terrace High School where she won the “In Honor of Althea Gibson’s Courage to be the First” scholarship. In addition, she was the school’s Ken Hubbs Award nominee and was selected the Grand Terrace HS Female Athlete of the Year. For good measure, Aguillard was named a 2017 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award winner, and walked in the Top-10 among her class with a 3.90 GPA.
Aguillard was a three-sport athlete at Grand Terrace and will attend UC Irvine next year as a biology major and attempt to make the Anteaters’ track team as a walk-on in the 400-meter hurdles. She was accepted at ten other colleges but instead chose her “dream school.” A two-time 1st Team All-Sunkist League basketball player, league singles tennis champ and member of the league championship 1600-meter relay team, she never could become the league champion in the hurdles which is her featured event.
“I won the hurdles at every league meet for three years and was the uncrowned champion but something would always happen at the league finals.” She tripped and fell as a soph and junior, and suffered a pulled hamstring as a senior. Aguillard considers her serious fall in the hurdles as a junior as a turning point in high school.
“I was also part of the 400 x 4 relay team that day, so I was determined to push through the pain to help my teammates win the league championship. My mom was concerned but I ended up with my fastest time and we won the championship. That day I learned despite my failures, to never give up.”
Aguillard explained she learned some real life lessons by helping the homeless through her Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. “I handed out juice, napkins and donuts. I did not know there were people like that in San Bernardino. I talked to one man who went through a divorce. All he had was his dog. They were all respectful. It made me appreciate what I have and made me grateful for the family I have.”
She later defined that her family household consists of herself and her mother. Aguillard said she does not know where her father is.
“I can’t remember him and just don’t know him. You can say that if you want. Sure, there are some things that I would like to talk to a father about but my mom has always been there. She has been at all my events. I have never been at a disadvantage.”
Her mother, Tiffany Malone, said she gave birth to Lauren when she was 19, and has raised her as a single parent for the majority of her life. Malone acknowledged that it was not pleasant when she told her parents that she was pregnant.
“It was not the best experience. My father was a pastor, so you can guess how that went.”
Her parents told her to get an education. Malone often took Lauren with her to class at San Bernardino Valley College and Cal State San Bernardino.
“I was hoping to show her how important education was. It has been instilled in her,” said Malone, who also excelled in track in the late 90’s at Eisenhower High School and now works in administration at Southern California Edison.
“Lauren is an only child who has lived a nice life and has been kind of sheltered. It’s time for her to expand her horizon, to learn about other cultures and lifestyles.” Malone said she is proud that her daughter has been able to maintain her GPA while playing three sports and working at McDonald’s.
Lauren Aguillard admits she is pretty shy and is careful to not get deceived by those who are not really friends, adding that most of her friends have come through sports.
Aguillard admitted that she is just reading about 1950’s tennis star Althea Gibson and the award she earned in her honor. Aguillard said there are still not many African-Americans who play tennis.
“However, I do not let that affect how I play. Being a minority playing in a white-dominated sport inspires me to be the best that I can be.”
Aguillard said her first goal after college is to become a physical therapist. Then she wants to give back to the community, to help people have better lives and work with little kids.
“At the end of the day, you cannot use failure as an excuse. You can’t let things in life bother you.”