The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

Maya Ortiz, 3rd

Q: What is your GPA, if you know it? 

A: 5.638.

Q: What are your plans after high school? 

A: I’m going to Yale University. 

Q: Why did you choose that school? 

A: Throughout the application process Yale became my dream school. Yale allows me to get a liberal arts education and undergraduate research opportunities. The resources, specifically the libraries, were an offer I couldn’t turn down. The Yale network from their recruiting tactics to their small student-faculty ratio made me confident that I am joining an incredible community of people.

Q: What do you plan to major in? 

A: I plan to major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Q: What career do you wish to pursue in the future? What has inspired you to chase that?

A: I want to conduct biodiversity research. I have wanted to work with animals since I was two years old. I started working at the Houston Zoo when I was thirteen, and it was there that I grew a passion for conservation. My work at the Houston Zoo has been the main inspiration for my future plans.

Q: Have you been in the Top 10 all four years of high school?

A: Yes.

Q: How did your rank look throughout high school and how did it change?

A: I was 4th in the beginning and later moved to 3rd.

Q: What did your schedule look like this year?

A: My class schedule this year is late arrival, AP European History, AP Macroeconomics/AP Government, OnRamps Chemistry, Newspaper, AP Literature and Pre-Calculus.

Q: What are your extracurricular activities? 

A: I am a member/of National Honor Society (vice president of leadership), Société Honoraire de Français, Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica (co-president), Rho Kappa, Kappa Rho, Mu Alpha Theta, Science Honor Society and Quill and Scroll. I am the founder of Conservation Club. I am on the UIL academic team, and I am the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Throughout high school I also participated in Key Club, French Symposium, Model UN and varsity softball.

Q: What do you do outside of school? 

A: I volunteer at the Houston Zoo, and I umpire youth softball games.

Q: What was your favorite class you took in high school and why? 

A: AP European History was my favorite class throughout high school. I really enjoy the subject matter, and the incredible teachers, Coach (Eric) Coovert and Mr. (Alan) Prather, made the class fairly easy by making the material engaging.

Q: What was your hardest class in high school and why? 

A: The hardest class I took in high school was geometry. I don’t understand shapes and how triangles are always applicable. I survived the year by asking Mrs. (Theresa) Robison for help. I could not figure out trigonometry until this year when I took precalculus with Mrs. (Jessika) Wells which explains why physics was my second hardest class.

Q: What teacher had the biggest impact on you? 

A: So many teachers have greatly impacted me through these four years, but I would say Coach Coovert had one of the biggest impacts. In the classroom, he has encouraged me to speak up when I know the answer, he has grown my passion for history, and he has taught me to embrace my nerdery. I also learned a lot from him while covering his battle with cancer for the newspaper. He taught me the importance of asking for help and staying relentless. 

Q: What would you say was your biggest accomplishment in high school?

A: My biggest accomplishment in high school is being named the National High School Photojournalist of the Year two times in a row. I am the only person to have received the award twice, and I won the awards with my freshman and sophomore year portfolios which were my first two years ever taking photos. I love being able to tell the stories of my community through photos, and it is incredible that I was able to get recognition for those photos on a national level.

Q: What’s a moment in high school that stuck out to you and why?

A: One memory that stands out is photographing Emma Yeager breaking the single season girls soccer team scoring record. I had just finished pitching a varsity softball game, and I made it to the end of the girls soccer game. I knew Yeager was set to break the record, so I picked up a camera and photographed the end of the game. I was able to capture the record-breaking goal and her celebration. The celebration photo was part of my first National Photojournalist of the Year portfolio. In many ways, I believe that photo is what started my journalistic success.

Q: If you could give freshman you one piece of advice, what would it be? 

A: Everything will work out. We have a plan, God has a plan, and the hard work will pay off. It was never a long shot.

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