BRIGHT FUTURES — Memorial junior tackles leadership roles while keeping heart set on cardiology

Published 12:40 am Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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MarshaLei’ Daniels has known since she was a toddler what she wanted to do with her life.

“My mom said at the age of 3, a lady at her job had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a heart doctor,” Daniels shared. “So I started researching about it, and in all the health care areas, I felt like cardiatrics best fit me.”

The Memorial High School junior, at 16, is well on her way to achieving her goal. And in the meantime, she’s become a natural leader at her high school.

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“MarshaLei’’ is very engaging,” said Principal Victor Fulton. “She has a wittiness and a really, really good center. Her sense of humor is off the chain. She’s intelligent and a good student.

“She participates, and is one of the students who is part of this lead to change the culture here. Last year was not great, but we’ve got a culture change going on, and she’s one of the students that leads from the front.”

Daniels is aware of her leadership abilities, but remains humble.

“I just like helping people, so I guess that’s what makes me a good leader,” she said. “And I communicate well.”

MarshaLei’ Daniels wants to work in cardiology after high school. (Monique Batson/The News)

Daniels moved to PAISD from Beaumont her freshman year. Her mom works for the district and, she said, thought it would be an easy transition.

Now she’s a cheerleader, softball player, serves on the Student Council and takes Advanced Placement (AP) classes.

Softball wasn’t something she expected to be in, but now loves.

“My dad kind of put me on it because he played baseball, so I started here my 9th grade year,” she said. “I started on second base and moved to center field. It’s a family. We have a good bond with each other.

“We connect on and off the field. It’s like a sisterhood. And then our coaches are like my second parents, so that’s what I mainly like. And it’s something that will keep me out of trouble.”

The same mindset is applied to cheerleading.

“I have an older sister that did cheer, so she put me on when I was super, super young because she was in high school and I was in elementary school,” said Daniels, the youngest of six. “She would teach me, and I’ve done it since elementary school, so I just wanted to do it again in high school. And again, it’s like a family. It keeps me out of trouble, and I feel like I’m a good leader. I feel like cheering is a good opportunity to get my name out there and be a natural leader to a team.”

But she doesn’t let free time distract from her goals.

“I tend to take a lot of leadership roles in and outside of school, so I do activities and extracurricular activities outside of school,” Daniels said. “In middle school and elementary school, I was class president,” Daniels said. “Outside of school, I do an organization called Top Teens of America, and I’m the chaplain in that organization.”

She hasn’t decided on her college or university of choice, but it’s something she’s considering as she works towards graduation at the end of the next school year.