Meet Our Editor-in-Chief: Marley Dias


Camille Bugayong, Copy Editor and In Our School Editor

Standing next to Marley Dias, it’s a little hard to feel lost. It’s Green Ribbon Week, and Marley, a senior at West Orange High School, walks into class wearing all green and an attitude that makes her seem like she should be in a room full of professionals, not sleep-deprived teenagers. She slips a green LISTEN bracelet on each of our wrists to promote the project she co-created in the summer of 2018. When she tells me the story of how Green Ribbon Week exists, the only thing that came to my mind was, “Of course this is her doing.” The project was born from a summer fellowship at RWJ Barnabus. Her final assignment was to create something that could address an issue the hospital system could not address. She chose mental health. 

Before we formally begin, Marley pulls out her phone to record our interview, not for any journalistic purposes but just so she can look back on “the stupid stuff she said.” (She refused to send me the video.) As she runs through the details of her outfit for me and her camera, a grapefruit tattoo peeks out from under her shirt. “The tattoo’s in dedication to my great grandmother Dorothy,” she says. When she was younger, she would travel up to Massachusetts to visit her great-grandmother and family. Her parents would wake her up to eat breakfast with her grandmother, and she used to hate having to sit there and answer the constant questions. Dorothy passed away when Marley was only 10, “She always ate grapefruit for breakfast, so every time I saw one, I would get really emotional.” It’s a very simplistic tattoo of a slice of grapefruit, “It’s a huge way to remember her and our conversations.” 

It’s a bit entertaining, how Marley can go from joking with me in front of the camera to a public speaker for an audience of one in 60 seconds. She doesn’t say “um” once but does pause to play with my hair. 

Our interview turned conversation goes over some basic information. She’s a productive person who hates wasting time. (Are any of us surprised?) The pandemic taught her that hard work pays off. She does, in fact, feel like a senior, “I think it’s the lunch thing.” And her favorite song lyric is “Real G’s move in silence like lasagna” from 6 foot 7 foot by Lil Wayne. One of Marley’s favorite artists does happen to be Kanye West, but my Swiftie heart is willing to ignore that, only because I adored her from the moment I met her. 

It’s the last year that Marley gets to grace the high school with her magnetic energy. The same energy that told me I shouldn’t be afraid to talk to her back when I was a freshman and she, a sophomore. The last thing she tells me is how she feels as if sometimes she’s been treated differently for her accomplishments. She’s grateful but wishes she could always be treated the same. It’s hard to see Marley that way, a verified user on Instagram, and a public figure. To me, she’ll always be the cool older girl that was willing to befriend me in our Intro to Journalism class and one of the few people who kept tabs on me through our virtual year. Even when she graduates and moves on to bigger things in life, I think she’s done enough to make her mark on West Orange High School. If it means anything, she’s definitely made her mark on me.