Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Garret, Isabella and Ella
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Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Garret, Isabella and Ella

Teenagers around the world are working to create positive change in their communities. These students inspire you and motivate you with their actions. They have a desire to help others, protect the planet, and make the world a better place.

In Rustic Spirit spotlights we recognize and celebrate these individuals. The following changemakers are doing important work!

Garrett Ordonez
Age 18
Foothill High School
Henderson, Nevada

Garrett impacts his school and community in a variety of ways including serving as a member of his school’s Ecology Club where he’s an advocate for water practice and a Hope Squad National Council member. As a council member of the peer-to-peer suicide prevention program, Garrett has served as a panelist to speak to school administrators to instate Hope Squads in their schools.

Last year, Garrett spearheaded an animal shelter donation drive and assisted in planning the ‘Senior Send-Off Donation Drive’ that sold donated school supplies at a lower cost than retail stores to assist those with financial struggles. As school president this year, Garret and his peers are working on their school’s clothing closet. In October, he organized a clothing drive to fill the closet and they are currently preparing it for use to reduce waste with fast fashion trends.

Garret plans to major in environmental science or ecology and evolutionary biology. Inspired by his AP environmental science class and a summer work-study position at the Las Vegas Valley Water District learning about water-related issues in the community, Garret desires to explore this field more in-depth in college to find which profession suits him. In his free time Garret enjoys reading books or going on walks. He’s also a swimmer for Foothill High School’s swim and dive team.

Garret wants to remind students to find their passion. Whether it be through school classes, clubs at schools or even creating a club aligned with current interests, these all can provide insights into careers and professions.

Isabella Cordoba
Age 18
Foothill High School
Henderson, Nevada

Isabella is an active volunteer in her community. Last year she hosted two resource drives–partnering with local organizations to collect donations and make nearly 100 kits for homeless individuals and collecting blanket donations to ship to Polish refugee camps.

At school, Isabella tutors fellow students, is a member of Hope Squad, and also started a college club that is dedicated to informing students about the college application process and scholarships, and helps fundraise for application fees. As president of the National Honor Society, Isabella volunteers at elementary schools, marathons, local organizations, and more.

As someone who enjoys learning, Isabella couldn’t choose a single subject she liked the most so she plans to enter college undecided. In the future she may want to be a lawyer, but has not committed to a single career path. In her free time Isabella loves to swim on both her high school and club team, read and watch Marvel movies and shows.

Isabella advises others to find something they are passionate about and not be afraid to ask for help. Adults like a teacher, principal, coach, or parents can give advice and be willing to assist.  And most importantly, have courage. When doing something great, don’t stress yourself out!

Ella Seevers
Age 17
Conifer High School
Conifer, Colorado

Ella works to promote a love for learning and helps others develop their own interest in gaining understanding of a subject like Spanish or robotics. She volunteers weekly at two elementary schools, one where she assists the elementary robotics club to teach the students problem solving strategies and spark an interest in robotics.

At her high school, Ella has been working to find higher-level Spanish students who are willing to tutor Spanish I and II students who feel like they’re struggling. She posts materials for sign-ups and matches students with tutors who are free during the needed time.

Ella would like to major in environmental design or architectural engineering, possibly with an emphasis on sustainability. She is very interested in design with a focus on protecting the environment and she aspires to have a career and education in this area. Aside from volunteering, Ella spends her free time outdoors running cross country and track, rock climbing, hiking, biking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Ella believes many people don’t get involved in their communities because the act of getting started seems insurmountable, especially if you’re only exposed to a few incredible people doing things on a large scale. But making a positive impact doesn’t have to be on a global scale or something that only the best sort of people can do: anyone can make an impact in another’s life. Helping just one person to change their world is creating a positive impact.

Nominate a Student

Do you know a student doing valuable work that deserves to be recognized? Nominate them here! Are you making an impact? Tell us about your work here.

Make Change

Interested in creating change in your community? Check out our guide and learn how to make an impact as a student.

At Rustic Pathways, our goal is to make positive contributions to the communities we visit through responsible travel operations and community service projects that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About the Author

Kayla Anzalone

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.