Field of Interest: Education
Placement Organization: Pencils of Promise
Placement Location: Luang Prabang, Laos
About LouisaLucy Ortiz grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska, a small island community in the Tongass National Rainforest that receives about 160 inches of rain each year. There, she passed the school survival class by perfecting her one-match fire building skills, played soccer on a gravel field, and spent many mornings tidepooling on local beaches, which remains one of her favorite hobbies. After high school, Lucy decided it was time for a culture shock and moved to the other side of the country to study economics and educational policy at the nation’s ninth-oldest college, Washington and Lee University. She continued her adventure on the East Coast for two more years, teaching at an elementary school in Fairfax, Virginia. Lucy later moved from that spot, 3,000 miles east of her hometown, to another 3,000 miles west: Unalaska, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands. There, she continued to teach fourth grade, joined the library board, volunteered as a firefighter and EMT, and earned her certification to teach food preservation. In 2021, she returned home and became a third-generation Ketchikan educator. Currently, she serves as the Response to Intervention Coordinator and a reading teacher at Houghtaling Elementary, the same school she attended as a child. As an educator, she is interested in exploring what culturally responsive education looks like for all of her students. Lucy is a lifelong athlete. She competed in three sports in high school, which took her all across Alaska, sleeping in high school gyms and on the couches of rival team members — experiences that she credits with giving her the independence, adaptability, and skills to thrive in the outside world. She was also a three-season varsity athlete in college, competing in cross country as well as indoor and outdoor track. Her love of running, and the way Alaska’s unique sports culture shaped her life, led her to take up coaching too. She currently coaches the same cross country team that she ran for in high school. (Go Kings!) A deep lover of learning, Lucy has never left school, moving from high school to college and straight into teaching. She spends free time outside of her own classroom in other classrooms, taking courses on everything from line dancing and Chilkat thigh spinning to ecology and coding. Lucy especially loves exploring fiber arts, including knitting, knot tying, and cross stitch.
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