By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
BRIDGETON – At a young age, Jeesell Ortiz-Pacheco has developed a love of helping other and the community.
The 18-year-old Bridgeton High School senior was awarded for her efforts this week when she was named one of three winners of the Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation Scholarship.
“I’m extremely grateful that I won the Chamber of Commerce scholarship,” Ortiz-Pacheco told Front Runner La Prensa this week. “Winning the scholarship shows how my help towards the community is being recognized and appreciated.”
Other scholarship winners included Amelia Laubsch, of Cumberland Regional and Alexis Spencer, of Cumberland County Technical Education Center.
Ortiz-Pacheco said Bridgeton High School’s Interact Club, which she was involved with for four years, helped her develop that love for community.
“Being in the Interact Club gave me the opportunity to express my ideas and do what I love, helping those in need,” said Ortiz-Pacheco. “We would participate in many activities after school such as fundraisers for organizations, community clean-ups and other Bridgeton activities.”
Bridgeton Superintendent Keith Miles brought attention to his star student’s scholarship recognition with a post on his Facebook page.
“Today, the Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce awarded scholarship to Bridgeton High School’s Jeesell Ortiz-Pacheco! #BulldogStrong,” Miles wrote.
She said she was able to crave out enough time her junior year to play to the Bulldogs’ field hockey team.
“It gave me the opportunity to socialize more and play the sport I loved,” Ortiz-Pacheco said about her year on the team.
The scholar-student credited her parents for inspiring her and planting the seed of embracing those around her. The lessons they gave her should resonate with all who want to make Bridgeton a vibrant and safe community for young people.
“My biggest inspiration are my parents because they have always loved the idea of helping those in need but they did not always have the opportunity to do so,” Ortiz-Pacheco said. “They have taught me to be a well-rounded person and to do good even when no one is looking.”
Ortiz-Pacheco is just getting started on her impressive journey so far. She also graduated with her college associate’s degree because of her participation in the Bridgeton High School Early College program.
She will be attending Stockton University in the fall to pursue her bachelor’s degree in the health care industry. Ortiz-Pacheco, of course, did not need the scholarship to convince her that giving back to the Bridgeton community and those around her is well worth the effort.
“Even if I did not win the scholarship, the greatest award is the feeling I have after I have helped my community in some way,” said Ortiz-Pacheco, sounding wise beyond her years. “Little things can create a big difference helping our community become a better place.”
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