First-generation student makes his ancestors proudSAN ANTONIO- The Hispanic population at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) is growing, and among them are first-generation students like Kevin Martinez, who decided to be the first in his family to pursue a higher education. “Hispanic Heritage Month is more than just a culture; it is everything around the culture,” Martinez said. As a Mexican-American born and raised in Laredo, Texas, Martinez attended each level of school while his parents ensured that he had a roof over his head and food on the table. “Once I got to high school, I realized it was going to be hard doing it by myself,” Martinez said. “I am the first person to graduate high school.” Although some of his family and friends told him he would fail, he used the comments as motivation to attend OLLU in hopes of obtaining a degree in mathematics education with a certificate of English proficiency. Martinez has goals of helping Spanish-speaking students learn the English language. “I want to be someone better,” Martinez said. “I have two little sisters that look up to me. I want to be an example to them and not have them go through what I went through back then.” Thus, Martinez moved from Laredo, Texas to San Antonio, Texas. Without a family to support him in San Antonio, he was shocked to learn he could attend college by himself. Despite the motivation Martinez had, he was still afraid of failing in college with so many people looking up to him. Although he feared failure, he felt the need to make his family proud. “For me, I was just trying not to fail my family,” Martinez said. “It is stressful and difficult to make sure I don’t fail or drop out.” Having grown up around strong people, he learned that despite anyone’s cultural background, anyone can achieve what they want, including dreams like earning a college degree. “No matter what situation we are in, as a Hispanic, we make sure we keep fighting,” Martinez said. Martinez is continuing his education and is preparing to graduate in Fall 2023.
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