Meet Angie Ortiz '23! She is a member of our Nation Builders program, involved in our cirque program, a member of the psychology club, very involved in visual arts, and is an excellent student - earning high grades in all her classes. Angie is a boarding student from Mexico City, Mexico and has been at Rabun Gap for 5 years.
Why did you choose to attend Rabun Gap?
I came to Rabun Gap right after my brother graduated, and I decided that I could do anything he could, so I decided to become a boarder in 8th grade. Part of the reason why my family chose Rabun Gap was because of their prioritization of not only fostering good athletes and academics, but emphasizing morals, and making good people.
What makes Rabun Gap special to you?
I've spent 50 weeks of the year in Rabun Gap, and I’ve been here since I was 12 years old. Rabun Gap is special because I feel comfortable. My teachers aren't just that; they are who I bump into at dinner; the ones that let me paint after hours in the A&T, the ones that make me coffee when I had a bad morning. So, what makes Rabun Gap special? That they have the quality of teachers and faculty that make me feel comfortable and cared for.
How is the community at Rabun Gap like a family?
Rabun Gap is a 24 hour deal. Day students spend most of their time here, boarding students live here, and most faculty lives on campus. We are with each other all the time. So what makes Rabun Gap a family? The amount of time that we spent with each other in and outside the classroom.
What is your favorite memory from Rabun Gap?
My favorite memory from Rabun Gap, has actually just become a bit of a every day thing. The day of the week, the place, and the times very but I do this most days. I’m going share with you a specific day and memory, that's become much more of a habit.
It was perfect amount of sunny, I was walking back to Jane with Dani and Rebeca. Dani deviates to the basketball court, Rebeca and him play while I lie on the ground. At some point, I realize we’re all lying on the ground, having philosophical talks, looking at the clouds, arguing about who plays the music. I just remember being fully aware of the bliss and tranquility I was feeling. So, this is a specific memory, but it’s become much more of a habit full of bliss.
What clubs and extracurriculars are you a part of? What do you like most about them?
I am a part of Nation Builders, who is currently working with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to create better opportunities for underprivileged communities. It makes me feels whole, that although I left to study abroad, I’ve been given an opportunity where I can help people from my hometown. I am also an intern in APAC and CDCM in Mexico during breaks, where I’m part of a social justice group that helps underprivileged kids.
I am also involved in the cirque program and psychology club, though visual arts have taken over most of my time. I enjoy it most because it’s a place where I am not only welcomed but pushed to create and express what I feel though art.
What is your favorite class and why?
It would have to be Research in Psychology/ AP psychology because I wrote a literary review on how distress on relationships can have long term effects, and I worked really hard on the proposal to have real life research. And now we are actually designing a psychology research study and will hopefully get it approved.
Which Rabun Gap teachers and/or coaches have had the biggest impact on you during your time here?
I painted before I came to Rabun Gap, but I didn’t understand art. Mrs. Manoogian, somehow somewhere, without me noticing, has made art a critical part of who I am. She didn’t traditionally take a “I speak, you listen" approach. She let me express and understand art my own way; she gave me space to find my own style; she let me express and transmit my own story, while at the same time never let me slack or step back when it seemed like too much. Mrs. Manoogian is the reason for who I am as an artist today. Much more than is she a great mentor, she's a complex and extraordinary human.
What advice would you give another student who is interested in attending Rabun Gap?
It takes time, and it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
How do you feel your time at Rabun Gap has prepared you for your future?
I wouldn’t be who I am without Rabun Gap. Yes, it can be very overwhelming living abroad, speaking a different language, and Rabun Gap has a way to make you quite tired at the end of the day. But I wouldn’t be or have the essential parts of me without it. Rabun Gap manages to foster and push you to become yourself. In academics, arts, and sports, but most of all in making you a whole, well rounded human. Rabun Gap has prepared me to do the right thing.