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For the love of teaching

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A native of Roswell, Cheryl Martinez set her sights on a career in education early on and has continued her journey teaching for the past 38 years. Being an educator at New Mexico Military Institute for 35 of those years, Martinez is also a two-time National Board Certified Teacher in Secondary Mathematics.

Martinez has helped her students better understand the difficult world of mathematics.

They’ve often put that knowledge to use in academic competitions over the years.

The Science Olympiad is an American team competition in which students compete in events pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering.

Martinez recalled the long-time connection NMMI had with that specific event.

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“NMMI had participated in the Science Olympiad since 1993, and we hosted the regional competition for 10 years,” Martinez said. “The competition consists of approximately 26 events and each team is composed of 15 members — with only seven of those members allowed to be seniors. The remainder must be freshmen, sophomores or juniors. Each event has two or three team members competing, and NMMI regularly placed in the top 10 at state.

“The team also placed in the top five for the past three out of five years,” she said.

Another organization Martinez spends her time with is the Girl Scouts of America. Commonly simply referred to as Girl Scouts, this organization for girls in the United States — and American girls living abroad — has been up and running since 1912. Martinez is part of their rich history, providing her leadership skills since 1994.

“I have a multi-level troop, meaning we have Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors in our particular troop, sponsored by Assumption Catholic Church,” Martinez said. “I try to help the girls experience things they may not otherwise get to experience. We have gone various places on summer trips, such as the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, whitewater rafting down the Colorado and Arkansas rivers, the Mission Tour in San Antonio, Celestial Seasons Tea Factory, Ribbon Candy Factory, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Queen Mary, Aquarium at Long Beach, Gettysburg, the Eisenhower home, Mount Vernon, The Basilica in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian, Tobias Wildlife Park, Amish country, Mount Rushmore … and the list goes on.

Martinez expanded on some of the older scouts who were in Boy Scout Ventures, an inclusive program through the Boy Scouts of America for males and females ages 14-20.

“Two groups of older scouts were registered as Boy Scout Ventures and completed a 75-mile trek and another 100-plus mile trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron,” she said. “Twelve girls from the troop have also achieved the Girl Scout Gold Award, which requires a minimum of 100 hours of individual work on an approved project.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award is also heralded by the organization as being the “mark of the truly remarkable — proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has.”

Her work to help the community and the citizens of Roswell doesn’t end there.

“I am a member of the Sunrise Optimist Club; a member of Assumption Catholic Church, where I serve on the Parish Council; and I also serve on the Board of Trustees for All Saints Catholic School,” she said.

Her personal life is just as busy and fulfilling with husband Ernesto B. Martinez.

“We have six daughters, Carrie, Teresa, Grace, Catherine, Jacqueline, Michaela; and one son, Steven,” she said. “We also have five wonderful grandchildren.

“Countless hours were spent supporting the dance team, softball, soccer and baseball teams at Roswell High,” she said.

Sharing a personal story, Cheryl Martinez recalls May 2019, when she completed her EdD, or Doctor of Education, at the University of Nebraska.

“Graduation was a family affair as Ernie and five of the kids made the trip, along with one granddaughter, my sister Tammy, and nephew Connor,” she said. “It was an emotional event for me because I never thought I was capable of accomplishing that degree.”

When it comes to her own personal enjoyment, Cheryl Martinez focuses on having fun and pushing herself at the same time.

“I enjoy participating in triathlons but have not been able to this year due to COVID-19,” she said. “I look forward to competing next season. I have also participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March for 10 years and plan to continue. I am not a real competitor, but I do love to finish them.”

The Death March is quite the challenge, considering this annual march held in honor of our heroic service members, takes competitors through the high desert and definitely tests their will.

Teaching and working with children remains at the top of her passions.

“I love working with kids. I have worked with hundreds of students, and I hope I have in some way made math easier for them to understand,” Cheryl Martinez said.