IV High: Tribute to Ivanna Ornelas B7
The start of 2017 at Southwest High School was marred by sadness. The school lost a bright star, Ivanna Ornelas.
Ivanna’s loving mother, Patricia Ornelas, said above all that her daughter was selflessness.
“I could see her kindness. She would give up anything for her brother or her dogs. ‘I’ll give it you Dad, or I’ll give it to you Mom or Ivan’ and she wouldn’t have it,” said Ornelas.
Ivanna wanted nothing more than to be an average teenager with teenage problems. She retained her teenage spark of rebellion, even through her illness.
“Just making jokes about her dad, we were always trying to joke about things, people, us, about each other. Were always joking about us, that always made me smile,” Ornelas said.
Her smile was always brightest when poking fun at one of her favorite people.
“If Dad was wearing shorts that didn’t look right it was, ‘Oh why’s my dad wearing that?’” Ornelas said. “We were always joking around and making fun of each other.”
Her humor helped her through the hard times that she faced and she fought to smile even when she didn’t want to. She smiled until it felt real and she actually felt happy.
“Ivanna had a quote in her room saying ‘Focus on smiling’ and she would tell me, ‘Mom I need to fake my smile.’ She was always trying to feel happy,” said Ornelas.
Jeannine Enz, a Southwest High School teacher, kept in contact with the family throughout their difficult time of mourning.
“She always had a smile no matter what she was going through,” said Enz. “She never felt sorry for herself. I know she’d get sad, like she’d get feisty, too. Her mom would tell me about how she’d get feisty with the nurses. I never saw her have a pity party.”
Her friends and family saw her as a light in a dark world, with a pure heart and kind soul. She strove to live her life to the fullest and smile while doing it.
“I always saw her smiling, she was always giving advice and she always made people feel better well she made me feel better,” said Southwest junior Dannia Guerrero, 17.
She derived happiness from her family and friends. Among that select few were her two dogs, her constant companions, whom she loved dearly.
“Her dogs were her life, Dulce and Daisy,” said Ornelas. “Dulce has been with us for 11 years. She got Dulce when she was 6, and Daisy is Dulce’s daughter. She’s 3.”
Despite her love for her dogs, anyone would be barking up the wrong tree if they thought she wasn’t social. Quite the opposite in fact, her friend group was full of people who loved this beautiful strong and loving person who smiled as she became a part of their lives to make it better with her love and support. Jocelyn Swain is a junior at Southwest High School and wants to join the Navy after graduation.
Ivanna Ornelas smiles at the camera during a trip with her family.