Alumni Spotlight: Mike Maliniak

By Jenna Baker

For decades, Granada Hills Charter has carried many different interests for its many students. In some cases, there are students who balance their interests rather than focusing on one. 

Alumnus Mike Maliniak was involved in three different forms of electives. Not only was Maliniak the feature writer and photographer for the newspaper, but he also participated in the school’s marching band and orchestra. 

During Mike’s 1968-1969 winter semester, he was the photo editor for the school newspaper, then named Highlanders Highlights.

Maliniak graduated on his 18th birthday, making the occasion doubly special. Being a part of Granada’s largest class at the time, they covered the entire football field with a two hour program that graduated 2,000 students. With vivid memories of loud music coming from a Jimi Hendrix concert down the street, the memory from many years ago has stuck with him.

With so much to experience and so many different opportunities in different fields, it’s easy to imagine the many different perspectives and experiences Maliniak had in high school. Some of his favorite memories consist of doing the activities and things he loves. 

“I marched in the Rose Parade as a trumpet player for the GHHS marching band representing LAUSD.  Back then high schools were invited to compete for the honor. I also fondly remember playing French horn in the orchestra for the musical productions of ‘Carousel’ and ‘West Side Story.’ Those are still my favorite theater productions and motion pictures,” Maliniak said.

Maliniak experienced one of the first German classes in LAUSD during his fall 1968-1969 semester. Maliniak had an interest in foreign language along with his interest in the arts. He received a minor in foreign languages (German, French and Russian) from CSUN. 

“I make use of my language skills by learning a small amount of the languages spoken in each country we visit,” Maliniak said. 

He majored in political science, although didn’t follow that interest into a career path. Rather, Maliniak went into the business sector. He worked in insurance in security sales in college and then went on to being a manufacturers representative, specializing in retail operations management as well as government procurement and supply chain management. 

Retired since 2014, Maliniak now spends his days traveling the world with his wife, Cheryl. For the past 12 years, he has traveled and visited around 30 countries.

“I did learn organizational, analytical and research skills that I still use today to learn about places we visit and things we can do in these places,” Maliniak said.

Maliniak’s greatest advice for students is to “Focus on the work you are doing now, and consider how it can benefit you in your future activities.  Remain open to other options and ideas in life that can help you be successful in anything you do so you can help others live happy, successful lives.”