Positive people in Pinecrest: Gabriella Ortega

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Positive people in Pinecrest: Gabriella Ortega
Gabriella Ortega

Miami Palmetto High School senior Gabriella Ortega has more than a thousand community service hours.

She spent many of those hours assisting teachers and students at Children’s Resources Center, a school for children with disabilities.

Her sister taught a mix of third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade students in her classroom.

“I helped her, like a teacher aide, doing filing, or distributing papers,” she says. “If a kid had a question, I would help them if my sister was busy.”

She volunteered for four weeks in the summers before going into her junior and senior years.

The rest of the time, Ortega spent hours and hours in the drama program at Palmetto. She is president of the International Thespian Honor Society and vice president of Impaw Club.

“I love drama,” she says. “Technically, I’ve been doing drama since I can remember. I have two older sisters. The middle child and I did the summer camps at Actor’s Playhouse. The director pivoted my way.”

Because she has an ear for music, he told her she should continue to be in theater productions. He said she shines.

“Hearing that, it makes you have a drive,” she says. “I continued to pursue it through high school. If I could, I would pursue it as a career.”

She’s been accepted to the University of Central Florida and Florida International University. She’s waiting to hear from the University of Miami, and the Miami-Dade Honors College in April.

She plans to major in Pediatric Psychology and minor in Film.

At Palmetto she was Pearl in Sponge Bob: The Musical her sophomore year. Last year she was in Legally Blonde: The Musical, playing Margo, one of Elle’s best friends.

This year, the show was The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. They performed February 29, and for three days at the beginning of March. She played Rona Lisa Perretti, the spelling bee host.

The troupe usually receives Top Honor awards at the district competitions.

Ortega is a member of the Student Council. Through her position on Voices of Palmetto, she is one of three hosts of school events such as pep rallies and assemblies.

“We do them by season,” she says. “We also have senior pep rallies. We hosted a couple of senior pep rallies. It’s fun. If it’s a class event the seniors usually wear red, but otherwise the school blue and white is the appropriate attire.”

Last year she wasn’t a part of student council, but the activities director encouraged her to apply for one of the spots. She applied and was chosen for the position.

Her class schedule includes television production, where she works in many of the different jobs that are needed to put on a broadcast, including working the teleprompter or producing the broadcasts.

She says she dedicates a lot of time to the events that are a part of the television production schedule.

“We do shows in television production,” she says. “Last year we did Mr. Panther and Teacher Trivia.”

Teacher Trivia is essentially a big trivia game with teachers as contestants. Each class would choose a team of teachers to compete.

“We even chose Advanced Placement teachers to participate,” she says. “I just watched it last year and now I’m going to be part of the production.”

She says that they add a twist to some of the rounds.

“To make it interesting, there was a round where things got really tricky. Like doing a Tik Tok dance while answering the questions,” she says.

Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld




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