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Mount Zion's Martinez paints picture of success

Mount Zion High School Star Student Maria Martinez is an artist with a number of other talents to fall back on.

President of her school's Elite Scholars Club and vice president of the National Art Honor Society, Martinez maintains a 4.066 grade-point average. A doodler with a love of cartoons and portrait drawings, she also excels in Advanced Placement English literature, chemistry, world history, U.S. history, calculus, studio art and human geography.

"What I like most about art is how you can create something," Martinez said. "When you draw, you can portray what you are feeling in the art."

Martinez said she draws encouragement from her friends and teachers, but especially her parents, who have taught her to keep working toward her goals.

"They have always encouraged me to do better because my dad wasn't able to finish college and my mother wasn't even able to finish middle school," Martinez said. "They really want me to do better. When I first get started at something, I might be terrible, but I keep working harder."

While Martinez loves to create, she also loves to read, and excels in literature and English. Her reading list is long and varied and includes books such as "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and the Inheritance Cycle, a series of fantasy novels by Christopher Paolini.

Awaiting acceptance letters from several area universities, Martinez has hopes of becoming a college literature professor. She enjoys books because of their ability to communicate various points of view, she said.

"I think it would be interesting to read the students' papers and get their point of view," she said. "I like how it [reading] helps you become more aware. By reading different things, you really become more open minded."