Maya Bryson

Wilson High School
Long Beach, CA

Outpacing Adversity

Self-positivity helps this runner overcome life’s challenges.

While Maya Bryson has been personally blessed with many opportunities, her success as a top scholar, winner of 22 National Junior Olympic medals in track and field, and a seven-time USA Track & Field National Champion has not always come easily. When she transferred to her current high school, a school much bigger than her previous school, she recalls a first day that “consisted of being pushed around while walking through the hallway, asking people for help, and eating lunch alone.” She has struggled with depression and anxiety as well. To rise above these challenges, she turned toward her teachers and counselors for support, turned off social media, and, most importantly, spent more time with family, especially her mom—the one person who has always been Maya’s source of motivation. Maya has watched her mom overcome health issues and other obstacles with strength and grace. “She taught me always to treat others with kindness, advocate for others, and stay strong in the face of adversity, which has made me the striving, competitive individual I am today.”

It has also made Maya someone who is willing to work hard for social change. Being well aware of the “separation of wealth” that exists in her hometown of Anaheim, California, she says, “I realized that I needed to seek a way to add value to my community with the resources I had.” Maya became involved with School on Wheels and Stand Up 4 Kids, two organizations that provide educational tutoring, mentoring, and resources to homeless students. “This program easily changed the course of my life and made me take off the veil of privilege,” she says. For Maya, who volunteers hundreds of hours of her time to the organizations each year, the greatest reward comes from helping the students realize their potential. “Together, my students and I reshaped the way we saw education, distributing resources, and ultimately nurturing the student mind’s educational ability.”

Maya says that her life experiences have taught her that “through guidance and self-positivity, you can do anything.” Of course, self-positivity starts with accepting yourself. Maya says it is the key to having others accept you, too. “You have to be comfortable with who you are and your purpose in life to become your best individual,” she advises. Maya has been there, done that, choosing to get involved in the organizations and opportunities she cares about most, and meeting her best friends along the way. In her words, “Acceptance comes from within.”



Track & Field

  • Captain
  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • All-Conference
  • All-District
  • All-State
  • 5 School Records
  • 2 District Records
  • 22-Time USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Medalist
  • 7-Time USA Track & Field National Champion
  • USA Track & Field Senior Scholarship Award
  • California Interscholastic Federation State Scholar Award
  • USA Track & Field Athlete of the Year


  • Captain
  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • All-Conference
  • All-District

Cross Country

  • Captain
  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • All-Conference
  • All-District


Academic Honors & Awards

  • National Honor Society
  • Honor Roll
  • Student of the Year
  • Distinguished Scholar
  • Superintendent Co-Chair


School & Community Involvement

  • 3,611 Volunteer Hours
  • Class President
  • Black Student Union President
  • African American Advisory Board President
  • Freshman Student Mentor Program President
  • Friends 4 Hope
  • Biomedical/Red Cross Club President
  • School on Wheels
  • Stand Up 4 Kids
  • Pacific Coast Shock Waves
  • Long Beach Unified School District Marketing and Media Services
  • Long Beach Memorial Hospital Volunteer
  • Wilson High School Head of Fundraising




“Strength and perseverance make a person.”

~ Maya Bryson ~