Abbey Forbes: Tennis Star and Laurel Springs School Alumna Aces Life & School
Laurel Springs Spotlight
Whether it’s an athletic or artistic pursuit, it takes hard work, dedication and commitment to stand out from the crowd as a young person. That experience can be isolating at times, especially if or when your peers don’t necessarily understand or share your motivations.
Fortunately, Abbey Forbes found Laurel Springs School at the right time in her life. The 2019 Laurel Springs graduate and former UCLA tennis player is now pursuing her master’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. She reflects fondly on her time at Laurel Springs and what it means for her future.
“Laurel Springs actually gave me a family because I felt so outcasted when I was in school,” Abbey says. “While I loved my friends and the group of people I grew up with…I felt different because I was an aspiring athlete. My dream was to play college tennis.”
Time for a transition
Fortunately, she had heard about the Laurel Springs program from a mentor, Kaitlyn McCarthy, who graduated from Laurel Springs in 2015. Abbey made the switch in the second semester of her 8th-grade year — a move that allowed her to enjoy flexibility and maintain a healthy balance between school and her tennis.
In her words, “Laurel Springs is probably the most flexible school that I know of that helps and nurtures kids through a very tough time in their adolescence.”
In retrospect, Laurel Springs’ faculty and staff were keys to her later success. It’s not an overstatement to say College Counselor Jennifer Hagenbuch changed her life.
“She made sure that I was well taken care of at all times, even when I missed due dates and missed deadlines and I needed extensions,” she says. “She worked with me patiently and gave me great advice going into college, especially navigating the UC system. Since I'm not a California native, she was able to help me navigate the college admissions process. And being a student-athlete at the same time, she was able to help me balance and beautifully create plans that worked with my schedule. She went above and beyond expectations.”
Abbey Forbes: Giving her all
On that note, Abbey herself has created quite a reputation for herself as a collegiate athlete. Abbey graduated with her bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 2019 after just three years. During her time playing for the Bruins, Abbey twice earned ITA All-America selections, leading the Bruins at No. 1 singles through the majority of her UCLA career. In that time, she overcame some significant personal challenges, but she’s unrelenting. In the context of tennis, she shares a favorite mental exercise that helps her re-center.
“I go back to that little girl who fell in love with it, and I remember that it's a blessing to play the game,” Abbey says. “And I think that she keeps me going and motivated to continue to play college tennis.”
Whether it’s on the court or in the classroom, Abbey always has her sights set on what’s next. Right now she’s considering a career in venture capital after planning to complete her graduate degree with a concentration in finance.
Whatever she does with her life, her grounded nature will serve her well. Abbey credits her family’s elders for helping her set and maintain priorities.
“We're a very strong-knit family, especially my grandparents,” she says. “They call or text us every day. I think that they inspire me to maintain my connections with my family, my professors and with all the people who helped me get to where I am today.”
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