Standout Athlete Stands Out in Historic Bristol!
by Cate Murway
Much has not changed for track athlete Laura Marie Andrews, VJM ‘03/Lafayette College ’08. When she trained for the discus, she aspired to focus on three elements: her grip on the discus, the timing and caliber of her release and the positioning of her feet.
Laura, [meaning laurel tree or sweet bay tree, symbolic of honor and victory] is still focused on three main elements, her grip on local affairs, timing and caliber of her involvement and the positioning of her plans and the discipline to make those plans work like clockwork. Laura studies her release, making sure it has a healthy spin on it when it leaves her desk with the feeling of it leaving evoking a natural extension of her intended motions.
As in all throwing events, strength is important in discus throwing, the gymnastic exercise of the ancient Greeks, revived in modern times. Equally important are agility and balance!
Laura quickly fell in love with the field sport because she found that she did not have to rely on teammates to succeed. The moves, decisions, and point scoring were all up to her. She liked the feeling of being in control!
While the discus and the sport of discus throwing have evolved over the years, one fact remains constant: The discus is greatly influenced by aerodynamic forces. In fact, greater distances can be achieved by throwing the discus into a moderate headwind.
Discus is the only event where the women’s world record is superior to the men’s mark. That’s because women throw a one-kilogram discus while the men’s discus weighs two kilograms.
Dynamic and energetic Laura was more than sufficiently prepared for her position in Congressman (D-PA) Patrick J. Murphy’s Bristol’s office on Mill Street, the first and only Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, serving the PA 8th District. He is a gentleman who places strong emphasis on community service and leadership.
“He is extremely devoted to what he does. He actually cares about every single person in his district. He uses every ounce of his energy to help people every day. He is absolutely incredible.”
Laura “hits the ground running”. She is the full-time permanent caseworker and intern coordinator, advocating for the citizens of the 8th district, over 600,000 constituents since June 2008. As an intern, Laura was a direct contributor behind the scenes helping Congressman Murphy by performing a variety of tasks, including assisting with constituent mail, performing research for staff, and assisting the staff with daily tasks. This program provided her with an excellent exciting opportunity to gain hands on legislative process experience and the chance to hone her ability to efficiently manage multiple projects. “This is a great environment to work in!”
She really thinks she would love to work in the United Nations some day.
Laura grew up in a very supportive family environment in Croydon with her very caring, devoted parents who were high school sweethearts, the late [Howard] Scott, GWHS ‘67/ Dobbins Voc-Tech and straight A student, Marie Joan [Vanyur] Andrews, AR ‘71 along with her cherished, cool older brother, Scott Frederick, HGP ‘94/ Moravian College ’98/Emerson College. Her dad was well known and respected for his integrity and professionalism as the proprietor of Andrew’s Plumbing & Heating. “He worked hard every day to make sure that my brother and I could have a great future.” Her brother, Scott has a senior copywriter position providing solid writing and editing skills with literacy and proficiency for Prentice Hall, the nation's leading publisher, and is residing in Chelsea, MA.
Intense treasured memories include relaxing family communing with nature vacations, fishing in the picturesque 40-acre Carbon County Bear Creek Lake near Jim Thorpe, PA. She never dined on her catch. “Tried a couple times, but never really liked it!”
Laura played the flute [she was selected to participate in an international concert tour for Lafayette College Choirs] and loved basketball. She was a traditional Girl Scout and then being known for her unusual undertakings and lofty goals, she joined the Venture Crew, a part of Boy Scouts of America. Venturing is a program where high-school age boys and girls take a lead role in organizing and running their own high adventure activities, taking on unique projects that emphasize both the importance of working together and the power of the individual.
Villa Joseph Marie was her choice of high school and “I received a great base for college.
The faculty was really nice and concerned.”
Laura felt that Mr. Hammon was a teacher who inspired her current career.
“He intrigued me with all the dynamics and that there is a domino effect with everything, especially in politics.” He always presented both sides of the story, made us “think outside the box, see the full concept, not just from one angle.”
“Laura Andrews was a very special student in my eyes. She was part of a group of students I taught in my first year at Villa that I affectionately referred to as “The Cynics” – they sat three across right in the back of my 6th period American History class. I referred to them as cynics in the best sense of the word. They were not willing to accept easy and oversimplified explanations at face value, but were interested in questioning what they experienced to get a better understanding of what was truly happening in the world. What I am most proud of is that Laura has taken this questioning attitude and her desire for understanding and put them to good use trying to address the tremendous environmental challenges we face. I’m grateful I could play a part in her education and look forward to even greater things from her in the future.”
-Joel Jonathon Hammon, Miami University, 2000
“Mrs. Tyburski was great. She wanted every student to learn!”
Lois A. Tyburski, M.S. in Biological Sciences from Fordham University and
teacher of AP Biology at VJM for nine years, remembers Laura
Andrews fondly. "Laura was a great student to have in the classroom. She was
conscientious, disciplined, and always demonstrated a strong interest in the
subject matter. Laura was adept at time management as she always successfully
balanced academics with her commitment to the VJM track team."
While participating in intense training for a high school basketball career, Laura fractured her ankle and needed to start physical therapy.
She started a new athletic venture in track & field.
“Laura would lift her 60 pound backpack of books like a light lunch bag. What are you doing next season, I asked. What are you doing the rest of your high school years? She understood what I wanted her to hurl was not a fish and I introduced her to the shot and discus. Laura was very passionate about learning every nuance of the sport.”
-Cate Murway, VJM track & field coach
“One throw is completely wrong or completely perfect. Working toward that perfect throw is what kept me going!” Her Dad trained with her every step of the way in every discus cage and circle, throwing the discus everywhere.
“Laura seemed to have a natural talent for the discus. Her father and she worked very hard developing her skill. Both of us were very proud of her accomplishments in school and her competitive sport. She is a kind, considerate, never judgmental grownup and I believe that is why she will do well in her government job.” –Laura’s mom
Laura was District I discus champion three years in a row, proceeding to the State competition at Shippensburg University. She shares a “best moment at districts”, “The weather was really bad and I was trying to reclaim my title at districts. One person had thrown further than me and I had one more opportunity, one more pivotal throw moment to throw further.” She claimed her one moment in time again!
Laura was born on Veteran's Day originally known as Armistice Day. She shares her birthdate with General George Smith Patton, Jr., nicknamed ‘Old Blood and Guts’, the charismatic, tactful and effective ‘larger than life’ military figure who represented his country at the 1912 Olympics. He took a citizen army from a not very martial culture and brought it to share his warrior spirit, with the help of pep talks.
Laura promised to return after graduation and she has followed through with her commitment “to give back” and help the athletes to stick with it, earn athletic scholarships and get more and more accomplished. Even with her jammed schedule, Laura travels back to VJM every Monday to work with the field athletes, giving them her own pep talks exuding her unrelenting confidence, energy and ambition.
She possesses tremendous throwing knowledge and she is highly respected by all the VJM track athletes who are very motivated and in it to win it!
“Laura is unlike any coach I’ve ever had. She constantly puts 110% into coaching. She motivates my teammates and I to always do our best. She makes us feel as if our best is the best. VJM throwing would not be the same without Laura Andrews.”
-Catherine Elizabeth Devlin, VJM class of ‘09
“Laura Andrews is a really great coach, she has really helped me with conditioning, weights, and working on my throwing form. She helped me get my throw back!”
- Beverley Ann DiGiacobbe, VJM class of ‘10
"Laura is an exceptional coach. She understands how to coach us because she was a thrower and she knows how to teach it so we will understand. We are all lucky to have her as our coach."
-Alexi Teresa Stershic, VJM class of ‘11
Laura was training with her friend, Kaitlyn for the all female Danskin SheROX Triathlon to benefit ovarian cancer before she re-injured her back. “Kaitlyn completed it in less than 2 hours. She’s amazing!”
“We were good motivation for each other!”
-R.N. Kaitlyn Marie Reidy, VJM ‘03/ LaSalle U. ‘07
Original plans were to attend Lafayette College for Biology but she changed her major to Economics. Friends from the beautiful lush fertile country of Columbia, South America interested her in their culture and Laura earned her B.A. in Religious and Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Historic Bristol on the Delaware is fortunate that Laura continues to always give us her “best shot” …. and discus!
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