Where is she now? Marialaina started as a rally girl her sophomore year at Mother Seton Regional High School in Clark, NJ. She is now a senior and the chapter president.
Her college plans: Marialaina will be attending the University of New Haven. She is undeclared as of now, but she wants to eventually get involved with Alzheimer’s research. “I don’t know what I’m going to major in for sure, but I’ve been thinking of going into something that would help people with Alzheimer’s, like research to find a cure, or something that would help slow it down,” she says.
Her most memorable GG moment: Marialaina often takes a few volunteers into the Alzheimer’s and dementia section of the senior home. The seniors there are some of the last to get visitors, even from volunteers. Marialaina painted the nails of one senior, who was unresponsive. A staff member held the resident’s hand to keep her calm as Marialaina chatted away to her. “I just talked to her about who I am and my school and what I’m doing there,” Marialaina explained. “And she smiled. The next makeover, I saw her and I grabbed one of my friends and this time I held her hand and my friend painted her nails. When I had to say goodbye, she held onto my hand. So I sat with her until the end of the makeover.”
Her chapter sings songs with the residents: “One of my friends made a song book of patriotic songs and other popular songs, like ‘You Are My Sunshine,’” she said. “The seniors are just happy to sing along with us. We’ve been doing this so often that residents will put in requests if we skip something. At the last time makeover, we skipped “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sounds of Music and one senior was like, What happened to ‘Do a Dear’? Then he started the song for us and we joined in too.”