‘You don’t have to fit in the box that society puts you in’

Mariah Lora

On May 10, 2024, Mariah Lora not only graduates with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), she is this year’s master’s ceremony student speaker. Her path took her from the basketball court to the pageantry stage, to the classroom and soon the commencement stage.

Originally from Downey, Calif., Lora, the only daughter of three siblings, was raised around sports her entire life. An academic and athlete, she played basketball, volunteered and became student body president. While at the University of La Verne and Cerritos College, Lora received back-to-back conference championships in basketball and earned academic all-state honors. In addition to being a star athlete, Lora often found herself rushing from basketball practice in sneakers to pageant practice in heels.

Read more of Mariah’s story