Two weeks after she graduates from Watsonville High School, Morielle Mamaril will travel to New York to attend a summer program at Cornell University.
There, she’ll study Industrial and Labor Relations, a major specific to Cornell she says will prepare her for a career that could include policymaking, labor relations, conflict resolution and leadership.
It will also give her a head start if she heeds advice from multiple people to someday run for public office.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “There is a lot to look forward to.”
Mamaril is leaving open the possibility of graduate school, and will possibly study abroad. She may someday return to the Watsonville community once she finishes her studies.
“Who knows where I’ll end up,” she said.
An impressive resume already under her belt, Mamaril says she began getting involved in her school after the Covid pandemic ended and students began going back to in-person learning.
“We were all starting fresh, moving forward,” she said. “But I think that really motivated me to step outside of my comfort zone. That was my main turning point.”
Mamaril was involved with the school’s Associated Student Body, starting as a class officer and moving up to co-class president. After serving as a student representative to the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees, she then became a student trustee, sitting alongside the Board during meetings.
Mamaril was also involved in several school groups, including Asian and Pacific Islander, Sexuality and Gender Alliance and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.
She also served on the WHS Link Crew, a group of older students chosen to serve as mentors to incoming freshmen.
Mamaril said she owes her success in part to her own mentors, and to the peers who helped her along the way.
“All I’ve ever wanted is to be a source of inspiration, like how I looked up to the upperclassmen when I was in the earlier years of high school,” she said. “I wish that students find the same drive to keep this important work going. And I’m proud of how far we’ve come, the student leaders in general.”
Her advice for incoming students is to seek out the things that interest them.
“Focus on what you already have passion for, and build your momentum,” she said. “And the rest will happen naturally.”