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April 9, 2013

GED improves life for Martinez

DUNCAN — When David Martinez was 17 and a high school junior, he dropped out of school.

Martinez found himself at odds with the education system, which wouldn’t transfer credits he earned in Texas, and his classmates and teachers who he didn’t quite fit in with. Instead of facing the daily letdowns and rejections, he dropped out of school.

But at 25 years old, things are looking up for Martinez.

Martinez received his GED through Red River Technology Center and has continued his education there. He has even gone as far as winning math-related competitions and earning college credits.

“The environment was suitable for me,” Martinez said. “They welcomed me with open arms here. I want to come to school here.

“This school is like a second home. Other schools have been like institutions.”

Since dropping out of school, Martinez has done a variety of jobs, from working as a custodian to building scaffolding. But when his wife, Lupe, decided to get her GED, he realized it was time for him to get his.

When he took the initial entrance exam for the GED class, Martinez did poorly on the math section. He has always had an ability to do math well, although he was never quite fond of the subject.

But through RRTC, something clicked inside him.

Martinez went on to win two math contests, through the Business Professionals of America, including financial math and analysis, and fundamental spreadsheet applications. As far as his teacher Letitia Weast knows, no one at the technology center has ever won that open event before Martinez. For that event, he will progress to nationals.

“He came and went through the GED program, and he excelled,” Weast said. “He really fit right in with the program. He’s an exceptional student.”

Weast is one of several people Martinez contributes his success. He also gives some credit to GED teacher Tammy Sparks, who encouraged him to move into the business program at the technology center.

Sparks said Martinez is just one of several students who have found their calling through the technology center.

“He came here last summer and really picked up on math,” Sparks said. “He’s just taken off. He’s just a hard worker.”

Martinez said his success in school has been a sizable confidence boost. He said his wife is happy, and they are starting to plan where their road might take them.

He is considering working toward becoming a CPA.

“We’re looking at the prospects opening up for us,” Martinez said. “It has totally changed my outlook on everything.”

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