If you were to ask my peers and teachers to describe me in three words, they would define me as responsible, active, and social. From a young age, responsibility has been enforced in my everyday life by my parents. Along with responsibility, I have become very active and taken initiative in school. This can be proven through my school involvement and classroom performance. Currently, I am a senior at Walla Walla High School, born in Walla Walla, WA. I come from a humble and hardworking family, where my parents migrated to America to raise a family for a brighter future. Every day I see the exhaustion on my parents faces after longs hours of agricultural labor. Seeing this motivates me to pursue a higher education not only for myself but to make my parents sacrifice worthy.
Coming from a farm working family, many unforeseen obstacles arose. Growing up, my parents worked from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. My older sister and I had to look after my younger brother and do our house chores. My summers as a child were spent at home doing nothing but reading books and waiting for my parents to come home. To this day, my parents tell my siblings and I that they wish they had spent more time with us during our childhood. During this time my older sister and I helped one another, building a closer relationship. Over the years, my parents work schedules have become more flexible and now have more time for us. I appreciate the sacrifices my parents have made to provide for my siblings and me. Therefore, the person I have become today is due to my parents, helping me grow into a responsible and independent young lady.
Throughout high school, I have taken initiative to become involved on my campus. As secretary of Latino Club, I have dedicated my time and effort to represent our high school at school district meetings, organizing volunteering opportunities for students and holding events to promote our club. For many years, Latino Club has been known for student involvement in the community and the effort the club makes to embrace the Latino culture. In addition to the events we put on, our purpose is to invite student families to meet some of the school staff and update them on what is going on our campus. Also, I have been a student leader for Link Crew, which is a program for student leaders to help upcoming freshman ease their transition from middle school to high school. Other volunteering opportunities I have taken on are volunteering at local middle schools, help set up before the state fair at our fairgrounds and help with concessions during the fair. Also, I have volunteered for the Salvation Army by distributing gifts to families before Christmas.
I will attend Eastern Washington University in fall of 2014. I plan to pursue a health profession because of my interest in science and in making a difference in others’ lives. My career interest is Physical Therapy because I would like to help maximize patients’ mobility and strength, specifically with children. I would like to give as much of a normal childhood to children with disabilities or chronic injuries. At some point during my undergraduate years, I plan to study abroad so I can experience the culture of another country and develop skills related to my intended career.
Since middle school I have participated in GEAR UP. This program helped me think about my future plans by visiting colleges. I visited Eastern, Central and WSU with GEAR UP. I went to the 4H Teen Conference twice with GEAR UP, went to the LEAP Conference twice and also went to Health Care Week at Gonzaga.
Liz Ortiz is an OVP2 student and a 2014 Walla Walla High School graduate.