Manuel Ortiz, SMS 2003, with students at 'Step Up!'
Manuel Ortiz, SMS 2003, with students at 'Step Up!'

Manuel Ortiz, SMS 2003, honored as 'Emerging Leader'

San Miguel School graduate Manuel Ortiz '03 was honored with the 2011 Emerging Leader Award at Leadership Rhode Island's Inspiring Leaders Luncheon on March 17.

Manuel, who came to San Miguel as a sixth grader after moving to Providence from the Dominican Republic, was recognized for his strong leadership abilities as reflected in his efforts to promote more positive futures for young people living in poverty.

Among Manuel's accomplishments is his work in establishing the "Step Up!" program at Providence College. Currently a senior at PC, Manuel created "Step Up!" during his sophomore year as a way to reach out to San Miguel students to prepare them for high school and college. The "Step Up!" program brings students to the PC campus two Saturdays each month, where they engage in leadership development, discussions, and workshops focusing on topics like nonviolence, peer pressure, study skills, and cultural diversity. Now in its third year, "Step Up!" has expanded to also include students from Sophia Academy.

From a sixth grader with limited English skills to a soon-to-be college graduate pursuing medical school, we are so proud of Manuel, his growth, and his accomplishments. He continues to be a positive example and an inspiration to his 'younger brothers' at San Miguel--and to all of us.