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HSF Students

Marcus Ortiz

  • Gender: Male
  • Hometown: El Paso

Marcus says his family—his mother, uncle, and grandparents—collectively instilled in him the importance of a higher education. As he prepares to begin his college career, however, the prospect of soon needing to cover the associated costs worries him, as he is considering the effect his time in school could have on the family finances. Despite his concerns, he says he is determined to reach his academic goals, to pursue a path toward long-term financial stability for himself and his family, and to be able to give back to his community.

Marcus is currently a senior at Del Valle High School, where he serves as Co-Captain of the top-ranked debate team in West Texas, and participates as a member of both the FIRST Robotics Team and the Engineering Board for the Del Valle Leadership STEM Academy. He also holds the role of Historian in the National English Honor Society Conquistador Chapter, and plays guitar in both state and district competitions. His goal after his high school graduation, is to pursue a college degree in the field of Engineering.

His scholastic achievements have been recognized through his designations as a NASA High School Aerospace Scholar and a Yale Young Global Scholar. He is also ranked 12th in West Texas for Speech and Debate, according to the National Speech & Debate Association.

His additional accolades and awards include being named the Top Lincoln-Douglas Debater at Del Valle, Most Improved Guitar Player, and Top AP English III Student. He has also participated at the state Texas Forensic Association for Debate and at the University of Interscholastic League Debate Regionals.

Last July, Marcus was one of 152 top students who were invited to attend the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s 2018 Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) at the University of Southern California. YLI is a four-day, overnight conference that gives outstanding Latino rising high school seniors the practical tools they need to set a course for success in college and career. He says the HSF network unites him with “a one of a kind community” of peers and mentors, who he might not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet.

Marcus advises students who are considering college to avoid being fearful of either the future or of failure, turning that energy instead into motivation. He encourages students to take advantage of the many opportunities available to them, while also dedicating themselves to creating new opportunities for those who may not have access to them now.