by Tara Tahil
On May 10, U.S. Figure Skating announced the recipients of the 2017 Athlete Alumni Ambassador (3A) award. The 3A award is a scholarship program that recognizes skaters who have achieved figure skating excellence while actively volunteering. Audrey Laude ‘18, a member of Skyliners junior, has received this award.
To earn a 3A award, skaters must have competed at the novice or junior level at the 2017 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships or the 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. Candidates were asked to submit an application detailing their volunteer work. The Athletes Advisory Committee (AAC) selects one overall winner and five winners from each discipline (ladies, men’s, pairs, ice dance and synchronized).
Audrey Laude, Essex SC of NJ (synchronized) – Audrey Laude is an active student at Millburn High School, serving as class president, president of the school’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, writer for the school newspaper, member of the Millburn High School Peer Leadership Program, and lacrosse player. While organizing fundraisers for the school and managing large events like junior prom, she also worked as a lab intern in the MIT Health Science and Technology Division. In this position, last summer, she worked on a 4D bioprinting project, creating an artificial heart for organ transplant and drug testing. Audrey is a member of the Skyliners junior team, which took home junior gold at the 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.
How do you balance skating, school, and volunteering?
When you really enjoy doing what you do, there is always a way to find time. I try to make the most out of every opportunity that I have. Every practice, every homework assignment, and every fundraiser, no matter what, I give it my all. I feel like it’s a waste to do something only halfway. In terms of time, I try to use every minute to the fullest. I’ve learned to complete schoolwork or plan for the fundraising events in all different kinds of settings: cars, buses, planes, airports, restaurants, and locker rooms, just to name a few. But when I’m on the ice, I’m 100% focused on that.
What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the 2017 Athlete Alumni Ambassador (3A) award?
There are times when I feel overwhelmed by all of the challenges I have taken on, between school, skating, and helping my community. I have my share of failures and moments when I feel like I am giving my all but it is still not enough. This award is a reminder that I am in a sport in which falling is the best way to improve. I can take on challenges, pursue to do everything that I love, and grow as a person and as an athlete because of that.
What advice would you give to younger skaters who are looking to be involved with school and volunteering, like you?
A: From my experience, the most fulfilling and passionate parts of life are completely unplanned. Take risks and try something new, because you can never really plan what will happen, and it might end up being something you really love!
What do you like to do for fun besides skating and the activities listed above (if any)?
A: I love to watch superhero and science fiction movies, especially Star Wars! Even if I have already seen a superhero movie with my friends, I always watch it again with my family, and we get a large popcorn to share!
Where do you envision yourself in 10 years? Do you plan on being involved with synchronized or figure skating after high school?
A: I can only hope that I will have had 10 more years of incredible memories with unique, kind, and interesting people, living life to the fullest, but also giving back by having a career such as scientific research where I can discover new things to help improve life for others. I always talk to my teammates about travelling the world together, and I think it would be a really cool to have new experiences with exotic cultures and delicious food. I really hope that I am still involved with skating, because it has given me all of the best things in my life: the opportunity to represent my country, the experience of putting in time and energy but knowing it was 150% worth it, the bond between my teammates, and the inspiring friendships that will last a lifetime. I could write about what I hope to accomplish in the next 10 years, but I think it’s more about the journey and the unexpected surprises and twists and turns that life throws at you.