Marianna Mapes, a recent graduate of Maria Carrillo High School. Press Democrat photo by Beth Schlanker.


Marianna Mapes believes in herself, but so do a lot of other people.
A recent Maria Carrillo High School grad, Mapes this spring was selected from among thousands of U.S. high school seniors to become the national winner of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Good Citizen Award. The honor came with a $5,000 scholarship.
Another expression of confidence in her came this spring when Mapes was selected to receive a full-ride merit scholarship to Washington and Lee University.
About 10 percent of each entering class receive such an award, known as a Johnson Scholarship. In September, Mapes will begin classes at the Lexington, Va., campus.
At age 18, Mapes is an only child who loves writing and dance, and she is articulate enough to explain the connections between the two.
“I think in rhythms and patterns and movement,” she said.
For writing, “I can tell if it’s right, if it has just the right rhythm for me.”
Similarly, she said she enjoys the rhythm of dance and its turning points, where movement “stops and changes direction.”
Mapes lives in Santa Rosa with her parents, Bill and Marian Mapes. She attended Riebli Elementary and Rincon Valley Middle before entering Maria Carrillo.
At age 8, she earned a black belt in tae kwon do. The self-defense system involves “being very inner-oriented,” she said. Along with helping practitioners better know how the mind and body works, “it makes you really aware of what your opponent is doing.”
Daughters of the American Revolution spokeswoman Bren Landon said more than 16,000 students around the country were recognized as Good Citizens by their schools. Of those, more than 6,200 took part in the essay contest. Each year the winner is selected based on four traits: Dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.
Over the years, Mapes has volunteered at city day camps, the Mark West school district’s summer school and the Redwood Empire Food Bank. At Maria Carrillo, she served as a peer tutor, often helping students with Spanish work.
As a senior at Carrillo, she joined the school newspaper.
“That was probably one of the best decisions I ever made,” she said. Her writing improved not only by her own efforts, but also by serving as a copy editor for her peers.
“I learned so much from editing other people’s work and talking to them about it and giving feedback,” she said.
This fall, she’s looking forward to taking a variety of liberal arts classes in college. She has yet to pick a major or career, but said, “I want to write. And I want to write a lot.”
She also hopes to find a career that involves public speaking.
“It’s such a pleasure for me and I love doing it,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or

Marianna Mapes
age: 18
Home: Santa Rosa
Family: Parents Bill and Marian Mapes
Next Step: Washington and Lee University
Fave place: Mount Shasta
Fave book: “A Man in Full” by Tom Wolfe