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Senior Spotlight: Laurie Geronimo mastered the drums and the track at Pioneer Valley
Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight: Laurie Geronimo mastered the drums and the track at Pioneer Valley

It had rained before the 2019 Santa Maria Christmas Parade. With all that moisture on the ground, “We were the only high school band that showed up,” said Pioneer Valley senior Laurie Geronimo.

“Our director, Cindy Wehlander, gave us a pep talk. She said, ‘OK guys, you can do this.’”

With drum major Geronimo leading the way, the Pioneer Valley band marched its way down the parade route and toward a $1,000 grand prize.

“I was very proud of the way the band performed,” said Geronimo. The prize, she noted on her Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table scholarship application, led to an invitation to perform in the 2020 Nashville, Tennessee, Christmas Parade.

Geronimo was a top sprinter for the Pioneer Valley girls track team before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the rest of the season in March.

“It was very sad that the rest of the season got cancelled,” she said.

Geronimo was the Pioneer Valley nominee for the 2020 Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. She carried a 4.33 GPA at Pioneer Valley. The NSBCART awards its scholarships at its annual awards dinner. The organization cancelled its 2020 dinner because of COVID-19.

Geronimo will carry her keen interest in math and music to UC Santa Barbara, where she will have a double major, studying both.

Her competitive track days, she said, are over.

Being heavily involved in marching band in the fall and in track in the spring during her time at Pioneer Valley was a big load for her, Geronimo said.

“I think I just want to take it easy and focus on academics in college.”

Geronimo went through a rough patch during the first half of her high school career. She said getting professional help “just helped me manage my priorities.”

Distance learning went into effect when schools were closed statewide in March, “The classwork load was the same online,” as it was when students learned in the classroom, Geronimo said.

With her rigorous athletic training finished, “I actually have a more moderate load now,” Geronimo said.

She said she especially likes working algebraic equations and wants to be a high school math teacher as well as a track coach after she graduates from UCSB.

Geronimo said she hopes to become a high school band director but, “I know there aren’t many openings for those.

“I hope to put in the time teaching and eventually become a band director.”


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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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