During her junior year at Golden Valley, Marilyn Chavez carried three backpacks to school: one for sports, one for yearbook and one for her internship at local radio station KHTS.
Hauling all her materials for extracurriculars was definitely a burden, but the feeling of struggle didn’t compare to the relief she felt after school on Fridays.
“It felt hard at the time, but I know the bus rides home on Friday, when I dropped everything and I was like, done, it was because I was satisfied with what I had done, not because I was going to take a break,” Chavez, a recent grad, said.
Throughout high school, Chavez balanced yearbook obligations with cross country, volunteering at the library, National Honor Society and a plethora of other activities. But no matter how much she got involved in, her passions for cross country and yearbook stood above the rest.
A runner since she was a kid, Chavez couldn’t wait for the day she could run with the Grizzlies.
“Going into Golden Valley cross country, it was a big deal and I don’t remember why,” Chavez said. “The team that won state had just won two years ago, so they were like, the big dogs in town.
“I don’t know why, me and my friend Eileen Gonzalez, we were really obsessed with running and being a part of the Golden Valley cross country team. Until then we were just running and then we joined and we were just really into it.”
Her involvement with cross country, and later track and field, gave her the ability to lead a team when it came to yearbook. Chavez worked her way up to yearbook editor by her senior year and excelled. And, of course, the cross country section always looked impeccable.
“She’s very caring, she wants the best for them, she’s like a mother figure,” said Golden Valley cross country coach Wes Hinson. “She’s what we call at Golden Valley a momma bear. She takes the young ones under her and watches over them.
While she wasn’t training for distance running or designing yearbook pages, Chavez has spent every summer for the last five years volunteering at Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library.
The idea came about when her older sister needed to log some volunteer hours for National Honor Society. With a fairly empty summer schedule, Chavez joined her. The pair helped with the summer reading program for kids, primarily.
“It’s always cute when a family comes in and they only speak Spanish and they come in intimidated and I can help translate and all the sudden, their face lights up because they can communicate,” Chavez said.
“The program is really cute because it’s aimed at kids and they get prizes for reading. It reminds me of my mom because we would go to the Pomona library and it would be the same thing. We’d get like, bags of stuff for reading and I picture my mom like talking to her or something.”
Her work with yearbook helped her realize she wanted to pursue a career in journalism and her work at the library led her to an internship at KHTS and eventually, The Signal.
Chavez begins college at UCLA in the fall, where she’ll continue to multi-task by focusing on both academics and running.
“I never did anything because it’s going to look good on a resume,” Chavez said. “I always do things because I really like doing things … I think I liked that busy lifestyle. Having something to do at all times.”