Jacqueline Martinez

Last updated: 2017

Jacqueline Martinez

2017 Beat the Odds Honoree

Jacqueline Martinez remembers a time in 2011 when there was no electricity to light their one-bedroom apartment nor gas to heat it. Both her parents had lost their jobs, and they lived on McDonald's. This was one of the most difficult times in her life. But living through so much financial uncertainty and the pain of an often empty stomach, Jacqueline was able to witness the resilience of her parents and experience the coming together of family.

Jacqueline's parents have since found jobs, and the electricity flows again, yet she, her parents and her three siblings still struggle financially. Despite challenges, they are unified by their love for family and desire to thrive. Her parents work nightly, from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m., cleaning movie theaters. Since age 11, Jacqueline has helped out- first only on weekends but then, to help make ends meet, she started working on school nights as well. Her grueling schedule leaves little time for sleep with homework and studying, but Jacqueline understands the importance of education and where it can lead you. This dedication is reflected by a 4.1GPA. She is determined to be the first in her family to attend college; in a way, that feat has already been accomplished. The summer going into her junior year, Jacqueline took two college classes — astronomy and anthropology — and passed them both with A's.

Jacqueline aspires to pursue filmmaking and open her own nonprofit that provides college prep services to youth in developing countries.