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March 18, 2011 > FCS student honored by Stanford women's hoops

FCS student honored by Stanford women's hoops

By Nick Zambrano
Photo submitted by Amy Graham

Lauren Graham is like any other fifth grader of Fremont Christian School. She enjoys spending time with her friends and loves to draw and write. She's even begun to enjoy the world of basketball. But even more, she loves to bury her nose in her homework.

"She loves to tell stories, she's just getting into writing them," says her father Ed.

So when the Stanford women's basketball program received a grant to raise awareness and exposure for women's basketball an opportunity was presented to Lauren. The grant was put into action by means of a creative writing program for local elementary schools. The product was a mini comic book containing Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer and a number of Stanford alum as role models to young, female basketball players.

However, there was a catch. The ending of the story was left wide open and it was up to the participants to write it out.

The program reached out to over 40 schools in the Bay Area and in to the classrooms of third, fourth and fifth graders. And out of those 40 plus school, a winner would be chosen from each grade and honored at halftime during a Stanford basketball game. Intrigued and tempted by the writing bug, Lauren decided to give it a whirl.

"Well, first I thought that sounded fun... it just started going through my mind like, 'oh, like what if we do that?'" commented the fifth grader.

A parent's dream, Lauren loves to keep her mind busy. So when she lost her initial ending, she had no problem drawing up the ending again. But this time she played it safe, placing the story on the FCS website. And it was from there, that Stanford announced that she had won the fifth grade honors.

Lauren's initial reaction was a little bit overwhelming. She was brought into the front office and was confronted by the administration. In the mind of any fifth grader, being called to the office was never a good sign.

"I was shocked. I got called down from computers and I was expecting second or third. And they said, 'you won first, you're going to the game, you're getting on the court, you're going on the jumbo screen,'" Lauren recalled.

It was later announced to the whole school at chapel that she had won the award and was given a certificate of excellence. Word spread about Lauren's accomplishment quicker than you can flip on a light switch. Lauren and her parents were honored but it didn't quite sink in fast enough. The fact that it was a Stanford-based award still had not settled in.

"We were like, 'oh she won something' and then it was 'oh, it's Stanford!'" Lauren's father recollected. "Maybe everyone knew before us."

After receiving the award, Lauren became the envy of her friends. A number of her friends also entered the contest but she remained humble when they congratulated her. She also gave credit to her friend Corey, who was one of the first to encourage to venture into writing.

On Feb. 26, Lauren was brought to Stanford's Maples Pavilion to receive recognition for the award. During halftime, the winners were escorted out on to the court and were given an ovation for the accomplishment. Lauren, not being shy at all, admitted she was blown away by the near sellout crowd.

She received a Stanford basketball but only met one player, who was more than willing to give the youngster an autograph. Stanford defeated Oregon in that game and clinched the regular season Pac-10 title, 99-60.

With the contest now over, Stanford will work Lauren's ending (and the endings received from the third and fourth grade winners) on to the original comic and have it redistributed. There has been no official word from Stanford when the book will be released. Despite that, Lauren is anxious to see how the final product comes out.






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