Jorge Ortiz, 17, is a senior at Lynnwood High School.
He was an Edmonds School District Student of the Month. He is a bassist in the school orchestra. He takes a carpentry class at Mountlake Terrace High School and works at Subway.
He lives with his parents and four younger siblings. He will be the first in his family to graduate from high school in the United States.
Question: Why is graduating so important?
Answer: I am setting a good example for all of them and it’s also something I want to do. It has been a goal for me.
Q: You’ve attended three high schools?
A: Freshman year I was at Meadowdale, sophomore I was at Mariner. Then junior and senior year at Lynnwood. I had to meet new people and make new friends. Junior year everyone had their own friend groups and it was hard to get in. Mostly in my carpentry class I’ve made new friends.
Q: What are your plans after school?
A: I still don’t know. I have pretty good grades. Moving schools was hard because the requirements were different.
Q: What do you want people to know about you?
A: I was born in Mexico and I was 6 months old when my parents brought me to the United States. We lived in New Jersey for 10 years. My dad found a job in Washington and that’s why we moved here. He started in landscaping and he has been progressing. He now works as a concrete finisher. He does a lot of roads and sidewalks and driveways.
My dad attended a year of college for law in Mexico, then I happened. He had me, and it stopped his education.
Q: Does he want you to study law?
A: He said do whatever makes you happy.
Q: What makes you happy?
A: Baking. And music. Not to pursue. It’s a hobby of mine.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence?
A: My mom. She’s always telling me to keep my grades up and never give up. That anything is possible, which is why she brought me to this country.
She is going to Edmonds Community College to learn English. My dad speaks pretty good English. It has been over the years he has learned. I do a lot of translating, paying bills and doctors appointments and all sort of things.
Q: What’s your best class?
A: Over the years, orchestra. I’m leaning more toward carpentry now.
I still get nervous performing. You can’t see the people because of the lighting, but you still get nervous because they are watching you. But it’s fun.
Q: Why bass?
A: It’s a beautiful instrument. I played violin for five years.
Q: Why carpentry?
A: A friend asked me to take it with him. I said sure. It was mostly because we were going to do it together. Then he moved.
Q: Any school activities?
A: Right after school I have to go to work. I don’t have time to participate. I drive my siblings around all the time.
Q: What do you do in your spare time at home?
A: I like to bake. I started by watching You Tube and cooking shows. A lot of people are surprised by my French macaroons. The first time I made them they were pretty ugly, but after I did it a few more times I figured it out.
Q: If you could bake with anyone who would it be?
A: Gordon Ramsay.
Q: Dream job?
A: Something that would involve working with my hands. Construction sounds like an option. Or starting my own company of some sort.
Q: What have you learned about people from working at Subway?
A: To be kind to them and always have a smile on your face and ask how they’re doing. They’ll probably give you a tip.
Q: How important are tips?
A: It’s a thank-you kind of thing. It’s kind of nice. A couple cents even.
Q: What is your favorite Subway sandwich?
A: Steak and cheese or the pastrami.
Q: To make or eat?