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Teacher bestie profile: Ms. Clark and Ms. Ortiz

Photo via Ms. Ortiz

Just across the hall from one another live two of the loveliest English teachers you’ll ever meet at this school: Ms. Clark and Ms. Ortiz. With their neighboring classrooms, you’d think they were destined to be best friends, and honestly, you’d be right. This dynamic duo have been neighbors since 2007 when their classrooms were located in the bungalows. 

It was Ms. Ortiz’s first year at ERHS and she was advised to speak to Ms. Clark for a project. Her immediate impression was Clark’s “big belly” compared to how “tiny” of a person she was. However, despite being in a tiny body, Ortiz admired how passionate and how big of a voice Clark had. At the time, Ms. Clark was pregnant with her daughter whom Ortiz now teaches for DP English. On the other hand, Ms. Clark recalls being enamored by Ortiz's passion for literature and their shared desire to impact young people through their work. Immediately, the pair clicked perfectly like the last pieces of a puzzle.  

When describing each other now, Ms. Clark adores how Ms. Ortiz can connect with her students and how compassionate, warm, and “full of life” she is. Similarly, Ortiz admires Clark’s balance of business and warmth; she admires Clark’s ability to be diligent and hardworking, but when she’s feeling down, she knows she can rely on Clark to lend a listening ear, always being thoughtful and caring. 

“She’s a ray of sunshine.” - Ms. Ortiz. 

These two have a “symbiotic relationship,” according to Ms. Clark. They always collaborate on their work and give each other feedback. They’re always caught motivating each other to do difficult things, like when they sponsored a class or ran the marathon (which they’ve done a few times now). Despite considering each other “work wives,” their friendship extends far beyond school hours. These two love going to local restaurants, Malbec being a favorite at the moment, and as stated before, going on runs. 

One memory the duo cherishes is The Moth StorySLAM. Once they were judges for this storytelling competition, with their judge name being “No Bells and Whistles.” Their time judging this competition was unforgettable, as they spent a lovely time in New York City, eating French food and enjoying jazz music. They also attended Beyond the Streets’ (Ms. Clark has a poster from the event in her room) Beastie Boys exhibit. If you think back to Halloween of last year, Ms. Clark and Ms. Ortiz were almost unrecognizable in their marvelous Beastie Boys costumes. 

“I’m grateful to have this friendship for the rest of my life.” - Ms. Clark

We would have to use half the dictionary when describing this pair's friendship. However, when asked what sentence pattern they’d compare their relationship to, Clark chose poly-syndeton as their bond is never-ending and continuously growing. Ortiz took a different route and said their friendship is like the cumulative sentence pattern. She’d describe Ms. Clark “assertively and empathetically” in the beginning then add “so many details thereafter.” 

Keeping on the literature theme, Clark says that a book quote that encapsulates their friendship is from Ms. Ortiz’s favorite book, The House on Mango Street. On the protagonist’s quest for self-discovery, she gets her Tarot cards read, and the reader tells her she has a home in her heart, mirroring how Ms. Clark’s home is in Ms. Ortiz’s heart. For Ms. Ortiz, this quote from Maya Angelou truly summarizes the friendship between her and Ms. Clark: “In a friendship, you get to know the spirit of another person; and your values coincide.” She states that “this is us,” and that she is connected with Clark’s spirit and “her values inspire [her] to be a better person.” 

In the near future, Ms. Ortiz and Ms. Clark hope to travel to Mexico City. Seeing that Ms. Clark is learning Spanish, the two look forward to one day exploring the marvelous city. However, if they could live anywhere in the world together, they’d love to be somewhere in the Mediterranean, enjoying the sun and good food. If not teaching, Ms. Ortiz says she’d love to open a gardening and poetry center with her “soul sister.” Ms. Clark believes that the dynamic duo would also be good detectives. Whatever the case, being together is what’s important.

“She completes me.” - Ms. Clark

“I love her so much. I really do.” - Ms. Ortiz

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