March-April 2019 | Parenting

Making Their Marks

Meet the winners of Bethesda Magazine’s 2019 Extraordinary Teen Awards

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Photo by Edgar Artiga.

 

Amalia Marmolejos

Senior, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

Amalia Marmolejos grew up with the scents of her grandmother’s Mexican hot chocolate and tamales wafting out of the kitchen of her family’s home in Friendship Heights in D.C. She spoke Spanish with her extended family and traveled to visit relatives in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

A student at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Amalia always knew her experience was different from that of her school friends, who didn’t have a lot of exposure to Hispanic culture. As a junior, after attending the 2017 Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, she made it her goal to widen her peers’ horizons, to assert her own identity and to start conversations about race and identity.

“I came back [from the conference] thinking, ‘I can bring change to this school,’ ” says Amalia, 18.

The star student—whose senior-year schedule is one of the most demanding the school’s administration says it has witnessed—became co-leader of Amigas, Stone Ridge’s Hispanic affinity group. She set up “brown-bag” lunch meetings, at which all students are invited to discuss topics such as sexism, racism and immigration. She helped revamp the school’s Multicultural and Diversity Festival from a parent-led event to one that is run by students.

Amalia also lobbied success-fully to have free tampons in the school’s bathrooms. And after the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, she began organizing a discussion with boys from Georgetown Preparatory School—considered a “brother school” to Stone Ridge, and Kavanaugh’s alma mater—about consent and sexual assault.

“Amalia is always pursuing the ‘why,’ ” says Stephany Fontanone, Stone Ridge’s upper school dean of students. “She’s constantly engaging others, and she’s not looking for an echo chamber of ideas similar to her own.”

Amalia is also a member of the Nation’s Capital Swim Club, captain of her school’s swim team and an accomplished artist.

She hopes to study political science in college.