Lara Gruden '08
What advantage or value(s) did you gain by attending an all-girls school?
A single gender education was particularly advantageous to me when it came to high school. Attending an all-girls high school provided me the opportunities to participate in every team, position, or role offered by the school without having to feel at a disadvantage by going against males. By subtracting boys from school, it created a true competition with direct peers. It also created an environment that allowed me be more confident and take on leadership roles. Whether it be the class presidency, participating in discussions, or being a leader on a team, I could do so with confidence and never be embarrassed or ashamed. All of us girls supported each other in every way and created a very powerful sister bond.
What is an important lesson you learned after high school?
One of the most important lessons I have learned is to live my life for myself and not constantly try to please others. I think many times we get caught up in society with social media and other escapes/distractions in order to fit in with everyone. We let ourselves become someone we are not just to gain others approval. We see the way others are living life and think, “Do I need to be doing that?” I have learned to let that go. It doesn't matter what people think of me, judge my career, or don't agree with the way I am doing things in my life. The most important thing is I am doing what I love, for me, and nobody else. I don't need anyone’s approval and I am the happiest I could be.
What piece of advice or inspiration would you give to a Royal?
Take advantage of every opportunity you get to be a leader. Don’t hold back because you are afraid nobody will stand with you or agree with you. It is so important to always stand by what you believe and not wait for others to show you the way.
Who is someone or a quote from someone during your time at Rosary that you have always remembered and carried with you?
During my years at Rosary and growing up, Mrs. Hein was a huge part of my life. I think one of the biggest things I learned from her was to live life to the fullest. I remember she would sing Cher at the top of her lungs and she didn't care who was watching or who was judging her. She sang those songs with such passion and let it all out there. I incorporate that every day in chasing my dreams in triathlon. I don't sing during it - haha - but I do it with all the passion I have and I always give it everything I got!
What do you do now?
Right now I work very minimally as a strength and conditioning trainer but my main primary career is in athletics. I have become a professional athlete in the field of Triathlon and am constantly chasing my goal to be at the top.
What are some of your accomplishments? Of those what are you most proud of?
Being a professional athlete is probably one of the biggest accomplishments in my life. I don’t think that people truly realize what is takes to get to this position unless they have lived this lifestyle. Three years ago, someone approached me and asked me to compete in my first triathlon. They saw so much potential in me and from there on, my life completely changed. After my first full year of triathlon, I qualified to be part of Team USA and competed in the World Championships where I finished first American. After accomplishing the goal of turning pro and representing the United States, my next challenge will be the Olympics.