Katelyn Matarese

La Canada High School
La Canada, California

Running Out Loud 

A leader’s voice can be just as powerful as her actions.

Katelyn Matarese started her academic career on a quiet note. While she has always naturally excelled academically and has no trouble acing tests, speaking up was another matter. In fact, she said so little during her first two years of elementary school that it was challenging to make friends. As the sibling of two nationally recognized runners, she became known as the “slow Matarese that didn’t talk.” To help her break out of her shell, Katelyn’s parents signed her up for the local running club. Hesitant at first, Katelyn quickly realized that her innate drive to succeed was stronger than her shyness. “I worked harder than anyone on the team, including my siblings,” Katelyn says. “I soon earned two National Championships, a High School State Championship, and 11 All-American selections.”

But Katelyn says the real prize was gaining her voice. “As a top runner other athletes looked up to, I gained the confidence I lacked, and I soon became a very talkative leader of the team . . . giving pre-race speeches to a team of over one hundred kids.” Katelyn began using her newfound voice in many other ways including speaking up for those who struggle to speak for themselves, as she once did. She became a Special Olympics coach, a Spanish and math tutor, and a volunteer who decorates rooms for patients facing long stays at local children’s hospitals. Perhaps her most impressive endeavor is founding and running Pita Against Poverty, a company that bakes and sells pita bread using Katelyn’s great-grandmother’s family recipe. Proceeds are donated to a different cause every quarter. As the company has grown, Katelyn has trained local scouts, church groups, and teachers to pitch in on production, and she even received grant funding for a pita sheeting machine. To date, Pita Against Poverty has baked more than 5,000 pitas and raised more than $20,000 for organizations including Dream Center, International Orthodox Christian Charities’ Aid for Ukraine, and FOCUS North America’s Orange County homeless shelter and food bank.

“Now that I have a voice that I know can do good, I never plan on being silenced,” Katelyn says. She is dreaming of continuing her education at an Ivy League school and she has plans to keep using her voice during college and after in ways that that will help people, especially children who cannot easily help themselves. While Katelyn credits her parents for nudging her toward the sport that helped her find her confidence, she says it’s her grandmother’s words of wisdom, croqueted on a pillow given as a Christmas gift, that keep her focused. Every time she sees the pillow on her bed, she’s reminded that “To whom much is given, much is expected.” She says it’s a personal challenge to always give 100 percent in the classroom, on the field, and in the community so she can keep using her gifts and talents to make the world a better place.



Cross Country

  • Captain

    Varsity Letter Winner




    School Record Holder

    Second Place, CIF State XC Championship

    All-State *Second Place, AAU Junior Olympics National Championship

    All-American * 2x League Champion

Track and Field

  • Captain

    Varsity Letter Winner




    4 School Records

    2 District Records

    State Champion, California High School Track and Field Championship

    2x USATF Junior Olympics National Champion

    3x All-American

    3x National High School Track and Field Championship Bronze Medalist

    5x High School All-American


Academic Honors & Awards

  • National Honor Society Vice President

    AP Scholar with Distinction

    National Science Honors Society

    California Scholarship Federation (6 Semesters)



School & Community Involvement

  • Concert Choir President

    Athletic Leadership Council

    La Canada Track Club President

    Pita Against Poverty Founder and President

    Once Upon a Room Volunteer

    Boys and Girls Club of Monrovia Camp Founder and Counselor

    Girl Scout Gold Award

    Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Internship/Volunteer Camp

    Special Olympics Coach and Leader

    La Canada Royal Court Princess

    LC Spanish Enrichment Founder and Teacher

    La Canada Trails Project Leader

    Dream Center Los Angeles Volunteer


“To whom much is given, much is expected.”

~ Katelyn Matarese ~