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Moment volleyball star is surprised with full college scholarship in white elephant gift exchange

She was the only freshman to play in every game for the team in 2021 and was awarded for her dedication and hard work.

Moment volleyball star is surprised with full college scholarship in white elephant gift exchange
Image Source: Baylor Volleyball/Instagram

The holiday season is here and so are elaborate gift exchanges between families and friends. One of these holiday games is the classic white elephant gift exchange which, according to Reader's Digest, entails "a group of people who each bring one wrapped awesome/bad/campy/funny gift (that could go to anyone in the group) of similar value and place them into a single, anonymous pile."

Participants then pick a number from a hat (the higher the number, the more options they get) and take turns picking gifts of their choice from the pile "or 'stealing' from an earlier participant who’s already picked" until everyone has a present. While these gifts are usually small, hilarious and adorable, one Texas student recently received the gift of a lifetime. 

Image Source: Instagram/Baylor Volleyball
Image Source: Instagram/Baylor Volleyball


Last week, Baylor University volleyball player Lauren Briseño joined her teammates at their coach's home for what she believed was a gathering to watch bracket selection for the forthcoming NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, reports Good Morning America. This year, the team also incorporated a white elephant gift exchange as part of the ritual and Briseño, a sophomore from Waco, Texas, initially opened a present that turned out to be a blanket.

The guidelines for the gift exchange required Briseño to pick a new present when an assistant coach "stole" her blanket at the last minute. The package that she chose to open next contained a declaration indicating that she had been awarded a full scholarship by Baylor Volleyball. She immediately burst into tears after reading the small note as her teammates cheered her on. This touching and emotional moment was caught on camera and posted on the volleyball team's Instagram profile where it has gathered over 58k views and several comments. One Instagram user wrote, "Can't stop watching this... so unbelievably deserving."


Another added, "Sweet girl! So well deserved. [Proud of] you!" A third user added, "Lauren you are such an inspiration! I want to show this to every high school VB player I know and remind them that hard work DOES pay off, but we might be surprised when it does."

According to a university spokeswoman, Briseño, who is from San Antonio, joined the team as a walk-on last year and went on to become the only freshman to play in every game for the Baylor Bears in 2021. She is the team's starting libero, a crucial defensive position, in her sophomore season.

In a news conference following a game last week, she said that she was still "speechless" from the shock. She added, "I was not expecting it whatsoever. Lo and behold, I get this mystery box and I had no idea what it entailed and I opened it up and sure enough, it's a scholarship and I just burst into tears." 


According to the Baylor spokesperson, Briseño received the full-ride scholarship from the university's volleyball coaches, who have a limited number of scholarships they can award to players. Briseño said that she experienced "so much joy" after getting the scholarship. "I'm so grateful to be here, playing with this team, playing with these coaches and just not letting scholarship, not scholarship, not letting it define who I am as a player, but just being eternally grateful for what I have," she added.


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