Spotlight on Jesus Ortega

Senior Jesus Ortega talks about how his experiences have shaped him.

Ashley Tindall

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Jesus Ortega is not your average senior. His experiences in another country, combined with his positive attitude and passion for soccer, have all made him the senior he strives to be.

Ortega is bilingual, and after living in Mexico, he picked up unique tips and tricks for speaking Spanish.

From phrases to inflections, language lies in community, heritage and location. This is something Ortega learned and something he warns people who speak multiple languages to remember.

“I recently came back from Mexico. It’s been two years since I’ve been there. Over there I learned a lot about things, life and about another country,” Ortega said. “It’s good to learn from other places or other sources to get knowledge about things you’re passionate about. It’s a good thing to live in another country where your second language is from. You can learn a lot of phrases and things you won’t learn here from a Spanish teacher. They will immediately know you aren’t from there and try to take advantage of you. You’ve got to try to improve, use your common sense and your judgement on how a phrase is used for a particular situation. The tip here is to adapt to anything.”

Ortega’s personality and positive outlook on life keeps him upbeat and determined.

“I think people need to know Jesus on a personal basis,” Spanish teacher Astrid Ruiz said. “He has a very inspiring story and I think if people know about it they would understand why he is so positive about things.”

Ortega has experienced his share of challenges, but doesn’t let them knock him down.

“The things that made me who I am today are my experiences in life and the way I was raised and taught,” Ortega said. “I learned to be positive through problems and experiences. Nothing great is ever easy. You have got to work smarter, not harder, to earn it.”

Soccer is a big part of Ortega’s life with many of his memories revolving around soccer and his cousins. He enjoys the rush soccer brings and the joy he gets from playing with his family.

“I’ve been playing soccer my whole life with my cousins,” Ortega said.

Ortega’s relationship with his cousins started around the time he was two and has blossomed into a brotherhood.

“There are a lot of memories of my cousin Jesus and me but one of my favorites is one time as kids we were racing against each other,” senior Oscar Millan said. “Jesus and I were in second grade, he was seven and I was eight. One of the kids said ‘go’ and we were off. Everybody watching couldn’t believe how fast we went. I ended up beating Jesus.”

Ortega dreams for a future where he can be the best he can be and accomplish what he sets out to do.

“I recommend other people to do anything they want to,” Ortega said. “I try to help them in anyway I can. If they come up to me and ask me, I’ll help them because I hope it’s the same for everyone else, you ask for help and you get it. I hope the world helps each other as a community, as a city.”

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