When Westminster Christian School senior Jonathan Ortiz heads off to college next fall, it’s likely he’s going across town to Florida International University. There he’ll major in biology before heading off to graduate school for a pharmacy degree.
He’s still waiting to hear from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hills but they’d have to make a financial aid offer that tops FIU’s. Ortiz was also accepted to the University of Miami, Stetson, Barry and Purdue.
At Westminster, Ortiz is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa, the National English Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society, the Foreign Language Honor Society and the National Honor Society.
He’s the assistant to the editor in chief of the yearbook.
“When I joined yearbook as a junior, I was a regular staff member,” he says. “Although making one was not enough, I’ve been so committed in making sure that this year’s yearbook, with help of my Editor-In-Chief, represents this class. With that being said I can’t wait until it comes out in May for everyone to take home and cherish for memories.”
He’s also a member of Art with a Heart, a club that sends students to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to interact with children who are patients.
“At the hospital we split up into two groups,” he says. “Some kids will be in the playroom to do arts and crafts and play games, while others will travel to patient’s rooms and interact with them.”
He goes as often as he can, but the children’s hospital limited the number of students that can go at a time.
“When I started sophomore or junior year, we would take huge groups,” he says.
This year, Ortiz has spent a lot of his free times with robots. He joined the robotics team although he’s not in the engineering program.
It was a year of trial and error but Ortiz says over all the team did well. The first competition they rushed the robot and the day of the event, the robot didn’t work properly.
“The next time we placed higher,” he says.
The team learned from their experiences this year. This year’s strategy called for three teams with each team building their own robot and the best one going to competition. But next year, they’ll have everyone working on the same team and build the robot much earlier so that the kinks can be worked out in advance.
He says the experience helped him develop better people skills. When they were on separate teams, he hesitated to speak up.
“I was shy, didn’t share ideas,” he says, adding that when they all came together, he was better able to express his ideas.
He enjoyed the robotics team.
“I wanted to do something fun my senior year,” he says. “I learned something about how robots work.”
He volunteers at Calvary Chapel Kendal in the kid’s ministry where they take care of the children during services. Every other Sunday he’ll work with the kids.
“I work with the first to fifth graders,” he says.
After the children worship, they sit down with the students and teach the children bible verses and stories and do activities based on the message and the bible stories.
“I’ve also done a summer camp program there,” he says. “They put all these tents out, and they have leaders, like me, stay overnight with the kids to learn about the bible and make friendships.”
They have a campfire and they sing worships songs as well as make smores with the kids.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld