Malena Balcos

Please tell us about your current plans after high school and what inspired you to choose this path? After high school, I am going to attend Boise State University. I decided to continue my studies at BSU because I wanted a school that I could experience all four seasons at, feel safe, be familiar with, and be 2 hours away from the best home cooked meals. Boise is beautiful and has a kind community of people. I love the factors of living in a city, and also being so close to the outdoors. I also would love to come back and hunt with my dad, so this makes it very attainable. One other factor is that Boise is financially one of the best options for me.

Please tell us a little bit about your family. My family is full of dysfunctional people, but it is loving and warm like a fire. I am the youngest child of six. I have two older sisters and three older brothers. It is crazy that my parents have made it this far without losing their minds, or they are really good at acting. My family is continuously growing and I love it. Being the youngest forced me to grow up faster by learning from my siblings mistakes and wanting to hang out with them. Everyone in my family is unique and they have passions in what they do. I aspire to be the same way with whatever career path I end up taking, even if it doesn’t work out I have the best home support system in the world.

What are couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?  Oh boy, my favorite subject; food. We will start the food journey in Bellevue. La Cabanita Mex has an amazing Super Carne Asada Burrito. Onward to Hailey. I always have a soft spot in my heart for sushi and Thai food since I lived in Seattle until the age of 11. Dangs is one of my favorite spots, not only the food, but the hospitality and the man himself, Dang. The Thai Curry pasta from the Sun Valley Brewery is my favorite pasta dish in the whole valley. Big Belly Deli crafts some good sandwiches. But up in the North side of things in Ketchum, they have the Pioneer Saloon, and the Pio is always good no matter what. Big Wood Bread & Cafe also has the best paninis and sourdough bread. How could I forget about Johnny G’s, some of the best subs in the world. Lastly, 5B Fruit is so refreshing!

Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?  There are many of interesting characters around our valley that help make this place the way it is. I haven’t officially met this woman, so I can’t recall a name. But every concert and outdoor events, from Ketchum Alive to the Symphony, this woman is there. She dances her sweet little tale off and doesn’t have a care in the world about others judging her. I have danced with her at a few of these events and she’s helped me learn how to be care free with out even using words.

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?  I would travel around South America, and Greece. South America because there is yet so much history and things to be discovered and it is somewhere completely different and new. The archaeology and culture is some of which I have never experienced, so I would love to be emerged. I would go to Greece because I love it there. It is part of my identity and heritage. I have already been to Greece, but I always want to go back because I feel a part of me is at peace and with the feeling of “this is home.” The beautiful crystal bright blue water, and white cliffs, islands that each have their own unique vibe, and the immaculate food and hospitality…what more could you ask for?

What’s the best advice you ever received from a teacher? Who was the teacherI can’t choose just one set of advice, so I will use two. The first set of advice that I received is from a person that I have so much respect for who isn’t only my teacher and inspiration, but a friend. Mr. Jesse Neet told me to seek out what makes me happy and where I believe I can make a difference. Something that will make me get out of bed ready to go. He taught me how to handle things with maturity and to take care of my mental being first. To be a listening ear for people to rely on and to talk to. He showed me how to be the kindest and most helpful person I can be and also inspired me to get a deeper grab of intrigue and love for history. The second teacher is Koch. He no longer works at WRHS, but he is still dear to me. He taught me getting out of your comfort zone to lead others, and experience things that make your heart skip a beat are some of the most memorable and character building moments you can have. That taking care of your mental health is the key to everything and happiness. These two teachers are forever going to be close to my heart and inspirations into the person I am becoming.

What is your go to band / singer when you can’t decide what to listen to?  I can’t choose. I love all sorts, I always have my phone on shuffle when I listen to music.

What one word best describes you? Why?  Genuine. Everything I do, I do with genuine intentions and kindheartedly. I am honest and truthful and just as genuine as they come. I am always going to be there for people and speak my truth as kindly as I can to others. I am down to earth.

What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?  The people and area. My favorite thing about our community is the people in this community that make it feel like home. When we have events, everyone comes out, participates and enjoys themselves. We have the most giving community I have ever been in. I am in love with the area here. How driving five minutes away from your house can lead you into the mountains where you can be completely isolated. The seasons that come and go are the most vibrant and each has its own unique things to be done. From luxury skiing, ice skating, hiking, hunting, biking, to lake days, and so much more. Our community was one of the best places to grow up in and I am so thankful to have spent my teen years living in such a tight nit giving, and outdoors community.

Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?  Graduated from college and traveling the world. This has always been a dream of mine to find a career in which I can travel and work at the same time. Assuming I have found that career, I plan to be traveling the world and experiencing things most people don’t. I also am hoping to find a place to call home base and live at when I decide to start settling down. I wanna live comfortable and as happy as can be.

What is something interesting most people don’t know about you?  Most people don’t know that I am a hunter. They look at me and the thought of me being able to hunt never crosses their mind. I have slayed two elk, a moose, an ibex sheep, and a mountain goat. I love being able to provide for my family.

Who inspires you to be better?  Lots of people inspire me to be better. My family pushes me to be the best human I can be. Through patience, love, acceptance, growth, anger, and craziness, they push me to be better when sometimes they don’t even know it. My boyfriend Lucas, he pushes me to be better and to take care of myself. He is not perfect, none of us are, but he takes care of himself and all that come around him (whether it’s people or animals). He is a ray of sunshine that makes me want to bloom. Without him being there, I would not be the same person I am today. I don’t want to be better only for me, I want to be better for him, for my family, and for the people that I come in contact with everyday. I want to leave an impression of hope, love, and happiness.

If you could go back over your entire school career, what is one thing you would do differently?  One thing I would do different if I could go back in the past twelve years would be to have read more on things that interested me. I would only read what was required for school and not spend any time reading on the outside for things that interested me, like history, writing, mystery and travel.

Who or what do you miss the most right now?  I miss school and I miss softball. I know, crazy right? How can a teenager miss school? You would never hear me say I miss school any other year of my career thus far, but this year, my last year with everyone I’ve grown up with and the growing that we all still have left to do, I didn’t get to see it out. I miss it. I miss seeing my peers and friends in the hallways, after school, and around the community. I just wanted to enjoy a monumental time in ours lives. If I knew the school was going to shut down, I would’ve spent the past couple months differently and reaching out to more kids. I am missing my senior season for softball. I have been committed to the game since I was six years old. Spending the past seven years of my life with these girls and playing our hearts out on the field, making connections that could last a life time, learning to take on my leadership role, and enjoying the game was dearly missed my last season. We only had time to play two away games when all the rest of our season games was supposed to be at our home field, our field. We seniors didn’t get the chance to make more memories, do our senior prank, have a prom, go on our crazy senior skip camp out, and cherish the last few months making memories together. We have watched all the past seniors get that, and really connect as a grade and have fun. It sucks to know we are missing that. I really am (surprisingly) missing school.

What’s the first thing you want to do when this quarantine is over?  Unrealistically I want to get together with my grade and do a huge senior camp out like the senior skip we had planned and wished on. Realistically, I want to go out to a restaurant and then go hangout with a big group of my friends, and get out of here for a while. I need a vacation.

Leave a Reply