Apache Junction High School’s Shantel Ortiz wants to give everyone a fair chance

Jan 4, 2022, 5:25 AM | Updated: 6:57 am

(Photo courtesy Ashley Martin)...

(Photo courtesy Ashley Martin)

(Photo courtesy Ashley Martin)

Like most kids her age, Shantel Ortiz knows that her future plans can change. Job opportunities and educational goals evolve.

But the Apache Junction High School senior has a pretty good grasp of what she wants to accomplish in the real world, even if she doesn’t know exactly where and how she’ll get there.

To put it briefly, she wants to create fair opportunities for everyone. She’s off to a good start.

She’s begun focusing on her career goals through the criminal justice program at the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT).

“I’ve always had a little itch, I guess, for criminal justice,” she said.

Ortiz said she has learned about police work and corrections education the past two years in the program. Through it, she got a job working security.

She originally set out to parlay that into a TSA or military career that helps her work through college. Eventually, Ortiz could see herself going into a police academy and pursuing a degree in criminal psychology.

All of that, she said, is with the hopes of helping others. And that is something Ortiz is already involved in.

Along with playing soccer, softball and volleyball in the past for Apache Junction, Ortiz has given back. She’s president of Prospector Pals, a club to make high school life more inclusive for special needs students. Ortiz has been a teacher’s assistant for the Life Skills/Future Readiness program and a former Girl Scout who has done community work with the organization and individually. She’s helped clean up national parks and volunteered with her family at Feed Our Starving Children.

Ortiz said her desire to help prop up others was shaped by her mother, who used to work with special needs clients. Spending time with them, Ortiz said, made her want to help other people who don’t have the same opportunities as her.

“I just feel like everyone deserves a fair chance,” she said. “Just trying to help them feel normal as possible at school, where you should.

“With the police work, just everybody deserves a fair shot. … Someone’s always going to need help.”

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Apache Junction High School’s Shantel Ortiz wants to give everyone a fair chance