Point Reyes Station teen named Deputy Junior Grand Marshall

David Briggs
WESTERN WEEKEND: Esme Gutierrez has joined Devon McMorrow in an annual contest that has been refurbished to focus on community service. Both young women are selling raffle tickets.  

For the last five years, Esmeralda Gutierrez has watched the Western Weekend parade from the sidelines, admiring the newly crowned queen as she waved them by. Tally Romo, a princess from a few years ago, has been a role model for her; this year, Ms. Romo encouraged her to run for the new incarnation of the Western Weekend Queen: the Junior Grand Marshal. Now Ms. Gutierrez—known to friends as “Esme”—is herself set to ride in the parade as this year’s Deputy Junior Grand Marshal. The 16-year-old sophomore at Tomales High School and Point Reyes Station resident will join Junior Grand Marshal Devon McMorrow in this year’s celebration. She will also serve as an ambassador to the program, speaking about it at her school and helping out in the 2018 event. There are two main components to the Junior Grand Marshal program: an interview process that focuses on community service and, leading up to the June 3 barn dance and June 4 parade, raffle ticket sales. Half of those sales will be returned to Ms. Gutierrez in the form of a scholarship, and the rest will be put into a special fund, with part of that going  to a local nonprofit. Madeline Hope, who helps organize the contest, has known Ms. Gutierrez since she was a “teeny-tiny young gal.” She said the Gutierrez family is deeply connected to West Marin through Sacred Heart Church in Olema, and mused that Ms. Gutierrez is “representing not just herself, but representing her family and Latino community.” When she isn’t playing soccer for her high school or plotting beach cleanups through the school’s Green Team club, Ms. Gutierrez is often providing volunteer childcare at parent education nights or through Papermill Creek Children’s Corner. She plans to study psychology in college (with sights on attending Sonoma State) and, this summer, will spend five days at Saint Mary’s College through the 10,000 Degrees program, which helps students get to—and through—college. Until then she’s focused on teaching herself American Sign Language after noticing students signing during a basketball game last year. “I really like that language a lot, and since that day I’ve been practicing,” she said. Raffle tickets are available from both Ms. Gutierrez and Devon McMorrow, as well as at the Tomales Bay Youth Center, Toby’s Feed Barn and the Building Supply Center until the end of May.