Laura Murphy

East Greenwich High School
East Greenwich, RI

This Runner’s Perseverance
Makes School Sports Safer For All

Athletes like Laura Murphy depend on their bodies to propel them toward their goals. So when illness or injury strikes, they’re not willing to take it sitting down. When Laura tore a hamstring early in her sophomore track season, the surgeon warned that recovery could take nine months. However, she returned to sprinting in just five, and throughout her career, has gone on to win four state track titles and set two school records. Then, her junior year, Laura was diagnosed with acute vocal cord paralysis and was given a poor prognosis for recovery. She lost her voice for four months. Although speechless and unable to talk in class or to her friends, she was never hopeless, turning to writing and artwork to make her voice heard. Despite the odds, her voice returned in time for Laura to sing in the spring talent show—an experience that gave her “happiness beyond words.”

But the biggest health scare in Laura’s life happened to another student. When she was in 8th grade, a junior collapsed on the volleyball court and went into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, the student survived. But the experience motivated Laura to take action on behalf of all student-athletes. She began a Heart-Safe School Initiative her freshmen year, ultimately working with a Rhode Island State Representative to draft and testify on behalf of new legislation requiring teachers to be CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) certified. A portion of the bill passed, and now, middle and high schools in Rhode Island are required to make an AED available.

Today, as a student representative on the school’s Health and Wellness Committee, Laura continues to work hard to make her school and community a safer place for all. Whether she’s acing a test, winning a race, editing the school paper, or volunteering her time to improve her community, Laura is a shining example that nothing is impossible, as long as you are willing to work hard and to see difficult circumstances as challenges rather than obstacles.




Track & Field

  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • All-District
  • All-State
  • 2 School Records Holder (4×100 and 4×200)
  • 4-Time State Track Champion (400m, 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400)
  • 2-Time Freshman Indoor State Track Champion (55m and 300m)
  • 3-Time Freshman Outdoor State Track Champion (100m, 200m and 400m)
  • Indoor Track Team MVP
  • New Balance Nationals Indoor Competitor (60m dash)
  • New Balance Nationals Outdoor Competitor (100m, 400m and Long Jump)
  • Weightlifting


Academic Honors & Awards

  • Harvard Book Award
  • National Merit Semifinalist
  • Pell Medal for Excellence in U.S. History
  • 3 Gold Awards in National Spanish Exam
  • Rhode Island Scholar Athlete Award
  • Rhode Island All-State Chorus Soprano
  • 10 Scholastic Writing Awards (National Silver Medal, 4 Gold Keys, 4 Silver Keys and Honorable Mention)
  • 5 Scholastic Art Awards (Silver Key and 4 Honorable Mentions)
  • Celebrating Art Award
  • 3 Congressional Art Competition Citations
  • National Honor Society
  • AP Scholar Award



School & Community Involvement

  • Spectrum Editor-In-Chief (School Paper)
  • Spark Notes A Cappella Club (Founder/President)
  • Student Council
  • Interact Community Service Group (President)
  • East Greenwich High School Heart-Safe School Initiative (Founder)
  • Health and Wellness Committee of East Greenwich School Committee
  • East Greenwich Summer Youth Track Series
  • St. Elizabeth’s Nursing Home Volunteer





“The quietest voice in the room may have the most important message of all.”

~ Laura Murphy ~