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By Eric Heinz and Andrea Swayne
Elba Martinez, 17, of San Clemente, was recently inducted into the National Society of High School Scholars, a scholastic organization that recognizes high school student achievement and provides scholarships.
Martinez was last year’s Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Club of the South Coast Area and part of the organization’s College Bound Program.
When Martinez received the recognition, she said she was unfamiliar with the organization but was soon elated when she learned more about it.
“I was not sure what it was until I looked into it,” Martinez said. “It’s an honor to be in it.”
Martinez said she has applied to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, UCLA Fullerton and will apply to Berkley, the University of Southern California, Stanford University and Columbia University.
Martinez, a senior at San Clemente High School, currently carries a 3.95 GPA at San Clemente High School and she is currently enrolled in Advanced Placement economics and calculus B/C as well as International Baccalaureate literature and honors physics.
In her pursuit of higher education, Martinez said she wants to major in a field that challenges her.
“I feel like (college) could be something rewarding the in future, and I just want to prove to people that even as a girl I can (succeed in) engineering because there aren’t many girls in that field,” Martinez said.
Martinez is originally from Mexico City and moved to the United States in second grade not being able to speak English fluently at the time.
“(Martinez) has completed 750 hours of community service and currently works two Monday through Friday for two hours at the Boys & Girls Club as a tutor for high school students,” the letter stated.
Martinez is also a third-degree black belt in Korean Tae Kwon Do.