Senior Spotlight: Maggie Walsh finds inspiration in tragedy

Editor’s note: With the help of staff at our local high schools, we identified a few students who stand out for the challenges they faced in their school careers.



Losing your father to brain cancer when you’re a sophomore in high school might be enough to get in the way of your future.

But for Maggie Walsh, selected by the faculty at La Jolla High School to be in the Light’s Senior Spotlight, the tragedy has become her inspiration.

“I am definitely proud that I have been able to stay strong and succeed in school,” Maggie wrote in an e-mail. “Although the last few years were very tragic, I am appreciative that I have found my purpose in life. I am passionate about raising money for cancer research, which is why I created a Web site for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and founded my club (Fight for the Cure) at school.”

She wraps up her time at La Jolla High as the representative-at-large in the Associated Student Body and is active in a variety of other extracurricular activities on campus, including Link Crew, Teen Korps, Mariners, Class Council and the Best YET Club.

Outside of school, Maggie also enjoys working at her local church, All Hallows parish, attending youth group and playing piano, which she was been doing for nine years.

When it comes to Maggie’s education, she said, “I feel very blessed for the education I have received at La Jolla High School.”

She described the different opportunities she’s grasped, “I have taken many honors courses and AP (Advanced Placement) classes, while keeping a balanced schedule with classes such as student government.”

Maggie will head for UCLA, where she plans on majoring in psychology and possibly minoring " in business economics or another subject of interest.”

Using the skills she learns, Maggie has her sights on a master’s degree in business administration and then becoming the special events coordinator of a nonprofit organization, “preferably a cancer research organization.”

She said she has run many small fundraisers and worked on the Teens for a Cure Walk-a-thon to benefit the American Cancer Society held recently at the high school.

Through her father’s passing, Maggie said she learned some very important life lessons.

“I am fortunate that I have been able to realize that life is not about what happens to you, but what you do about it to make a difference,” she said. “One of the most invaluable lessons I have learned is how to take energy from a negative situation and channel it towards the development of creative and positive ideas.”

When Maggie gets to UCLA, she wants to be a part of the student government.

As her own inspiration, she carries with her the quote: “I am tremendously motivated to do meaningful work that will allow me to be the happiest person I can be, not only for myself, but for the world around me.”