Ortiz gives back to OHS


Ari Shornock

Senior Daniela Ortiz serves as the Student Representative on the ISD 761 School Board.

Ari Shornock

Senior Daniela Ortiz is no stranger to involvement. She has been a part of the student council, National Honor Society, Big Brothers- Big Sisters, SHOC (Students Helping Others Choose), Link Crew and DIG. These activities have provided her with numerous leadership roles. She is the president of NHS, an officer for SHOC, a commissioner for Link Crew and the high school student representative on the ISD 761 School Board. Ortiz said, “I’m passionate about giving back to my community because I’ve lived here my entire life and it’s very sweet to see how much my community has supported me as well. I feel it not only leaves a lasting influence, it’ll lead to an influence for future generations.” Ortiz enjoys volunteering and taking on a role of responsibility as a means to give back to the community.

I feel it not only leaves a lasting influence, it’ll lead to an influence for future generations

— Daniela Ortiz

One of Ortiz’s biggest accomplishments is getting the role of being the Student Representative on the school board. For the last two years, Ortiz has served in that position. She applied her sophomore year, was accepted and started attending meetings her junior year. She speaks for students in general and provides a student perspective at the meetings. She also gives insight to the board about her experience attending school. Ortiz said, “I’ve kind of just been that person, to give not only my personal perspective but a general idea of how students are feeling and where we’re at [with] anything else.” Her perspective contributed to the school board leadership through distance learning during the pandemic and other school happenings in the last two years. Superintendent Jeff Elstad said, “Daniela has really added a lot more value to the position.” Her perspective is key for when the board was making big decisions about the new high school and new classes at the high school.

Giving feedback to each school board member is another one of the student representative’s responsibilities. Ortiz said, “I’ve learned to keep an open mind, keep an open perspective and just listen to everyone.” Managing time and multitasking are skills that Ortiz has had to develop in order to keep up with her responsibilities. Ortiz said, “It was kind of difficult and I was a little overwhelmed at first, but I guess I’ve just kind of been able to get the hang of it.” Communication has been a key skill that Ortiz has developed to reach her success. 

Ortiz’s older sister has been a big influence on her. Her sister has helped her navigate throughout school, college and activities. Ortiz said, “She’s always encouraged me to be involved at the high school and step out of my comfort zone.” Ortiz is very grateful for all of the support her family has given her because they have pushed her to be involved and have never doubted her.

Ortiz would advise underclassmen to get involved during their high school careers. Ortiz said. “It’s definitely the best way to make friends and just kind of get a better sense of community. I’ve met so many people and I’ve had so many great experiences.” In the summer, Ortiz will pass on her Student Representative responsibilities to the next student. Mr. Elstad said, “She’s a very courageous leader and she’s going to do great things in life.”

She’s a very courageous leader and she’s going to do great things in life.

— Superintendent Mr. Jeff Elstad

 Next year, Ortiz is majoring in computer science. She became interested in computer science in her junior year and pursued it through AP Computer Science and an online Google Computer Science Program. She will attend either the University of Minnesota or the University of California, Irvine.