By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Running Springs resident Natalya Marsh had set herself a goal: to be in the Top 10 of the Class of 2020.
That all changed last year when her counselor, Mrs. Dubois, told her she was tied with several other students for second place.
“I’m kind of a perfectionist,” Natalya said. “I knew I could do it so I tried as hard as I could.”
Her efforts paid off. Her class placement earned her a full ride to Cal State San Bernardino, where Natalya plans to study psychology.
“I’ve always been intrigued about the human psyche, how people think, how people think different ways,” she said.
As a freshman and sophomore, Natalya had no idea what she wanted to do in the future. “I was thinking maybe a surgeon or a lawyer but I realized those weren’t my passion. I discovered psychology and started reading about it.”
As a senior, she took AP Psychology. “Once I started the class, I found it was really interesting to me.” Natalya added that, with a general degree in psychology, she will be able to specialize in so many different areas for her master’s degree.
Even though home is so close to the university, Natalya will be living on campus once in-person classes begin. The Cal State system will be offering classes online initially.
“I talked to my parents about living on campus,” Natalya said, adding that she will be the first generation of her family to go to college. “My Mom said it would be an awesome experience to live on campus and make friendships, learn other people’s stories. It’s really exciting.”
While at Rim, Natalya participated in the debate team and the mock trial team. “It was a little out of my comfort zone,” she said. “I’m not a confrontational person but it taught me how to stand firm in my argument and have a good social presence when making an argument.”
Music has been an important part of Natalya’s life for years. She played the violin from fourth grade to her sophomore year and was in the Rim High orchestra. She also plays the piano.
“It was a stress reliever for me when school was hard, if I was stressed out about a test. I love music – all genres,” Natalya said. “I’ve had some great teachers through the Arrowhead Arts Association. They gave me the opportunity to shine.”
She mentioned Sharon Rizzo and Linda Wilson, her violin teachers, and Sandy Landrum, her piano teacher. “They gave me opportunities to grow as a musician and as a person.”
Another teacher – Mr. Williams, who taught her AP Biology and AP Computer Science – was also influential. “He always made both subjects super interesting to me,” Natalya said. “He pushed me to work hard and encouraged me to find my own answer and not just the textbook answer. I asked a lot of questions and he was always there with answers. I’m grateful we have that at Rim.”
Natalya thinks the graduation the Rim High Class of 2020 will have “will be a cool story to tell in the future, wearing a mask as I walk across the stage. I try to find the positive in the negative. I couldn’t live with negativity in my life.”
She added that, initially, she was upset when she found out she and her classmates would be missing out on so many senior traditions. “But the more I thought about it,” Natalya said, “I realized it was the safest move for everyone. I’m glad we have such a great community, helping us achieve our goals.”