Highland Park student’s “You’re Beautiful” project spreads joy across social media

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The beauty of Highland Park High School has gone viral thanks in part to Junior Jaqui Ortega.

Her journalism class project telling people they’re beautiful has gotten thousands of online views.

“People really need some positivity especially in a time like this with COVID and everything,” Ortega said Monday.

“The school year hasn’t been normal and I think especially in a time like this, people need uplifting and it really didn’t take a lot for me to go out there and be nice to people.”

While Ortega didn’t give the idea much thought, her teacher admits it took a bit of convincing for him to support the pitch.

“My hesitation was that some people might not like hearing it or might not be used to hearing it,” Journalism teacher Steve Berklund said.

“Once she told them, it turned out well and I think a lot of students responded very positively to finally hearing that they’re beautiful.”

The video has boosted the school community’s self-esteem.

“Even when the cameras weren’t rolling, I had a couple of people tell me that ‘nobody’s ever used the word beautiful to describe me’ and ‘wow, that made my day’ or that ‘beautiful isn’t a word that I would use to describe myself,’” Ortega recalled.

It even helped her build some confidence.

“I went out by myself and I was shaking and I was nervous to see what people’s reactions would be but I kept doing it more, it was a lot easier and it made me really happy making other people happy.”

She hopes people who view the video take away a simple lesson.

“Just be nice to people, also, for them to know they’re beautiful as well, I hope people take away from it that even the smallest gesture to somebody can make somebody’s day,” she said.

“In the past, we’ve gotten a bad rap in general because of where we’re located but especially in these last few years and especially with this video we’ve been able to show people that Highland Park is beautiful, we have a lot to offer.”

View the full video here.

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