Thriving Junior Athlete is Ready for the Future


Merlisse Palacios, Features Editor

Catch her if you can. Well recognized junior athlete Karla Ortega runs toward success. During Southern California’s high summer heat SEMHS Cross Country team prepares for their Mission Valley League finals. Placing third for the female contestant is Karla Ortega. She is a team member of the cross country team during the fall and runs with the track and field team during the spring. 

Before running at South a running program in her old school motivated her to join in high school, because she discovered that running was something she liked doing. She claims, “I was running in eighth grade and that’s when I knew that running was something I wanted to continue doing.” Since then Karla has dedicated her time to running and soon discovered that it was a great way to relax and disconnect with the world. 

At school Karla’s favorite subject is English since she has a passion for reading and writing. One of her favorite books is “Call Me by Your Name” by André Aciman. She also enjoys writing, she states,“Writing is so relieving and it just comes so naturally.” Principal’s Honor Roll has been awarded to Karla since her 9th grade year. She has a 4.5 GPA and is excited to do even better next year.

 Her dream university is Harvard however she also wants to attend USC or Emmerson University in Boston Massachusetts. She wants to be an English teacher, interior designer, or anything that involves film, photography, and fashion. Although Karla is still in eleventh grade she knows that when she is done with school she wants to travel around the world and learn about different cultures. 

When she is not running or studying Karla likes to go shopping. Some of her favorite places to shop at are ZARA, H&M, Forever 21, and Target. Because she is so busy throughout the week she enjoys cleaning and putting things back in order at home. She states, “Cleaning sometimes is a stress reliever. Seeing things in their place makes me happy.” She is also fond of Indie, Indietronica, pop, and alternative rock music. Some of her favorite artists are Tame Impala, John Mayer, Beach Fossils, and Declan McKenna. 

Some school administrators that have had a positive impact on her are Ms. Lelchuk, Mr. Castillo, Mrs. Ayala, and Daniel Rojas. Ms. Lelchuk has been a teacher that has been there for her since she began high school. Karla appreciates that Ms. Lelchuk takes her opinion into consideration and that she can communicate with her if she has a problem. Mr. Castillo is another teacher Karla cherishes because he helped her feel better when she was struggling with her precalc class in the summer. Karla claims, “He constantly reminded me that no grade defined me and that I was going to be successful no matter what.” 

Her cross country and track and field coaches Mrs. Ayala and Daniel Rojas have also taken an important role in Karla’s life. She is grateful to have them because both are supportive and encouraging even when she is having a hard time. “They are both such good coaches they love and care for everyone on the team,” says Karla. 

Thus, Karla wants to also thank her best friend Maritza Torres and Brayan Maya. Maritza has been there for me since first grade helping her with anything she needs and supporting her through everything. “ As far as Brayan Maya he has been like my personal diary, he’s supportive, encouraging, and comforts me in all of my meltdowns,” claims Karla.