All in a Name: Welcome, May. Welcome, Maya

According to, the name Maya comes from the Latin and means great or larger. It is also the Sanskrit word for illusion.

“In Roman mythology, Maia is a daughter of Atlas, whose name was given to the month of May. It’s also a variation of the English name May,” says the website, identifying writer Maya Angelou and actress Maya Rudolph as being some of the most famous women with that name.

At Armijo, there are two individuals who share that name. Maya Tiller said that she was named after Angelou, a choice that her mother made. “I would like to have a different name, but I have no idea what it would be,” she said.

Both Maya Tiller and Maya Ornellas are freshmen and they share a sixth period class, Ceramics, but besides those similarities and a common first name, they are more different than they are alike.

While both have a brother, Tiller’s is older (Malik, AKA William) and Ornellas’s is younger (Jesse). Tiller also has an older sister (Ashley). Tiller’s siblings both attended Armijo but Ornellas’s brother isn’t quite old enough yet.

Another outstanding difference between the two Maya’s is their ethnic background. Ornellas if Filipino with Japanese influences while Tiller is African-American with Hispanic influences.

Tiller’s dream job is to become an artist, but she doesn’t plan to learn the skills at college. Instead she wants to express herself through her natural talent. Ornellas was unavailable for comment.


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