Alumni Stories

Meet Lauren Bell. We have been blessed to hear how God has shaped the desires of her heart, and the success that she has had playing basketball internationally. She is an HCS Alumna who is home for the summer from playing professional basketball overseas in the European Basketball League.

Was there a special moment with you and a teacher that had a lasting impact on you? Please explain. 

The first teacher that comes to mind is Ms. Bobby. She has always been such an amazing person. She is so welcoming, loving and has such a warm personality to the point where she makes you feel like family. To this day, she remembers exactly who I am and still gives the best hugs which is such a great feeling!

How did Highlands Christian Schools prepare you for college?

Highlands helped me prepare for college by being such a great school academically. I was surrounded by amazing teachers in all of my classes. Teachers that were always willing to help if I wasn’t understanding something or simply encouraging me to always be my best and do my best.

Describe a specific HCS experience that had an impression on you.

Going to Washington D.C. with my classmates was a great experience for me. Learning outside of school was something that I think everyone enjoyed.

What college did you attend, and what are you doing now?

I received a full athletic scholarship to Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. I am currently a Professional Basketball Player in Europe and I also have my own basketball camp this summer called “Above Average Hoops” for both 5th-8th grade as well as high school.

What would you tell new families to encourage them to educate their children at HCS?

Highlands is an incredible school. Not only is it great academically, but it’s a God-fearing school. Knowing and accepting the Lord in my life at such an early age has kept me on such a positive path in life which makes me forever grateful for my Highlands family.

 

I started third grade at Highlands in 1998 after moving back to the Bay Area. Being only eight years old, I didn't know what to expect. In the six years that followed, I gained knowledge, friends, and a wealth of great memories. I have fond memories of overnight trips, fun group projects, and shared lunches. Beyond the academic and social growth, Highlands helped me grow spiritually as well. The seeds of my faith were planted and nurtured so I was truly able to flourish in high school and college. 

Fast forward through four amazing years of high school at Alma Heights and I found myself lured to the Central Valley by the University of the Pacific’s accelerated pharmacy program. The program allowed me to start pharmacy school (a post-graduate professional program) after just two years of undergraduate studies. On top of that, Pacific's Doctor of Pharmacy program is also accelerated (eight semesters, year-round, over three years instead of the typical four years with summer breaks.) The accelerated nature of the program forced me to make some big career choices very early on. I had moments where I doubted my decisions and myself. This program also meant I didn't have the typical college experience. While my peers were celebrating their last summers and semesters of college, I was trudging my way through the toughest semesters of pharmacy school in the blazing heat of another Stockton summer. Thankfully, I wasn't alone. Some of the most important friendships I gained were those through church and small groups like the Health Sciences Christian Fellowship. Because we faced the same struggles, we were able to support each other academically, emotionally, and spiritually. This kind of support was and continues to be invaluable.

After five years, I was finally Dr. Janice Li but I had important lessons ahead. I had plans for further training but those plans fell through. Although there are many different types of pharmacists, jobs were scarce for new graduates, especially in big cities. I had accepted that returning home to the Bay Area might not be possible. I prayed a lot. I trusted that wherever God brought me, it would work out. I had no reason to doubt that this would be the case but waiting was tough. After numerous applications to jobs all over California, I was finally offered a job and to my surprise, it was in San Francisco! Last November, I started working in the inpatient pharmacy at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco. My job constantly reminds me of God’s amazing provision. They typically only hired candidates who have that extra training I wasn’t able to get. I started off as an intermittent employee but quickly transitioned to a full-time position. I get to work with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers everyday to help give our veterans the best care possible. The daily views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge are really just icing on the cake.

What grade/class did you begin at HCS?

In Kindergarten!

Were there any particular struggles that HCS helped you through?

HCS helped me in the struggle to define my faith and articulate the truths found in the Bible.

Was there a special moment with you and a teacher that had a lasting impact on you?

So many!! Particularly lasting were my moments with Mrs. Gipson and Mrs. Moore, who taught us Christian Living in middle school. I also loved math class with Mrs. Murti-- she was always so funny and motivated us so well!

How did Highlands Christian Schools prepare you for college?

Because Highlands teaches from a Biblical perspective, by the time I got to college I was already well aware of how to engage scholarly conversations from the perspective of my faith. The basics I learned in my history, science and Bible classes have stayed with me throughout my educational journey.

Describe a specific HCS experience that had an impression on you.

I think that my favorite HCS memory is when I got baptized by Mrs. Moore. I'll never forget it! Another favorite is our 8th grade trip to Washington DC. I loved traveling with your teachers who were such great role models for us.

What college did you attend, and what are you doing now? 

I went to Princeton University and am now working 3 different jobs:
1) in sales for a start-up called Box,
2) in sales for a catering company and
3) in communications, marketing and operations for my mom's flower shop, Green Irene Flower Shop.

What would you tell new families to encourage them to educate their children at HCS?

Highlands does a wonderful job of putting Christian faith and values at the forefront of everything they do. Everything that your student will learn will be through a lens of the truths laid out in the Bible. This is so rare to find nowadays and will provide your student with lifelong skills to express their faith.


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