As a youngster, Jaime Martinez fondly remembers his time at the Campus Laboratory School of Carlow University — playing handball against the front wall with classmates, participating in school musicals, learning French, and vying against other schools in forensics competitions.
“Going to school at Carlow was really formative to where I am now,” he said. “I was on the forensics team, and it turned out to be a fantastic experience, but the way they coached me in public speaking and how they opened me up really prepared me along the road I’m traveling now.”
That road recently included a stop in Washington DC, to pick up the gold level award from the Regional Hispanic Heritage Foundation in Healthcare & Science, sponsored by CVS Health. The award included a scholarship he’ll use at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University in the fall, his top choice, with a double major in chemistry and international studies and a minor in French with the overall goal of attending medical school.
He says he aspires to join Doctors Without Borders, a France-based international medical mission. “Later I see myself in general practice and moving into the political sphere, but I don’t want to leave myself a door closed,” he said.
He said the Regional Hispanic Heritage Foundation received 13,000 applications nationwide and chose 150 for awards in various categories and regions.
Since graduating from the Carlow Campus School, Martinez, son of Jaime Martinez Sr. and Ada Lovo-Martinez, who both immigrated from Nicaragua before he was born, has led a walkout at North Allegheny High School, where he’s a senior, to protest school shootings; landed a position as student representative on the school board where he lead an inquiry into revamping class start times; raised $37,000 for UPMC Passavant to construct an anxiety-reducing garden for patients and earning him his Eagle Scout Award as a ninth grader; and spent summers shadowing a neurosurgeon and manning the front desk by escorting patients to appointments at Passavant.
“I really used the skills they showed me and put it into practical use,” he said, recalling his landing the lead in the eighth-grade play, “Peter Pan.”
“I’ve moved on from that interest in acting, but I’ve transformed the performance and confidence aspect into issues I care about. I’ve gone from beyond the stage to the soapbox.”
Additionally, Martinez said the Hispanic Foundation requested applicants submit entries for a parent award, one of whom was chosen from 10 regions across the country. Martinez’s father won the award for the Washington DC region.
“It was a complete surprise to him,” Martinez said. “He was confused and shocked. It was another highlight of the night. It really is a compelling story of how he came to the United States. How he came through a long, frequently interrupted journey of education to become a structural engineer. Both sides of the family have had hardships, and their life stories have affected me dramatically.” Karen McDowell, middle school social studies teacher and Martinez’ Forensics coach at the Campus School, said she was pleased to hear of his success.
“Jaime was an outstanding Forensics presenter and one of the stars of our school play during his middle school years,” she said. “In addition to his extracurricular successes, Jaime always demonstrated excellent academic achievement. We at the Campus Laboratory School are so proud of our alumni, and are glad to see Jaime representing the CLS so well.”