Kaya Ortega: The sweet smell of chlorine and hard work!

“I choose Fullerton because it is enriching, fun, and challenging.”


Photo by Anthony Rugama.

Senior Kaya Ortega balances water polo, swim and AP/IB courses, while being the Opinion Editorial editor in journalism and leading Freethinkers of America and Key Club. Ortega has been water polo captain for three years and received title of MVP twice.

Excelling in academics has always been important to Ortega because of her parents.

“Both my parents went to very good colleges and spoke very highly of higher education. Doing well in school has definitely been about getting into a great college, but more than that, I love to learn,” Ortega said.

Mr. David Shanebeck, AP U.S. History teacher challenged Ortega academically the most. Ortega admires how Shanebeck’s teaching does not discourage learning, but makes her excited and expanded her love for American history.

“Shanebeck teaches one of the hardest classes on campus, but he does it in a way that doesn’t discourage learning. Everyday I went into class, I was so excited to learn. He really allowed me to have fun at school,” Ortega said.

Theater Educator Mr. Michael Despars has been an instructor Ortega enjoys working with in journalism.

“In Journalism, we really do work together and he doesn’t just lecture and tell us what to do. He guides us along the right path which has been so great.”

Journalism has allowed Ortega to explore writing and has given her an opportunity to voice her opinion.

Ortega desired a well-rounded education in high school.

“I really wanted to expose myself to different groups and different ways of thinking. It’s very important to me that my education is well-rounded,” Ortega said.

She is able to achieve this at Fullerton challenging her and allowing her pursue different activities.

“The very best thing you can do for yourself in high school is be involved.”

Through these programs, Ortega met incredible friends and had diverse and different experiences which she would not trade for the world.

Ortega hopes to attend a UC school to major in political science and minor in journalism, and eventually go into law.

“I choose Fullerton because it fosters an environment of learning and it allows me to be a varsity athlete, a journalism editor, and a politically active student while simultaneously receiving a challenging education.”