AC’s Christie Martinez named Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar

Christie Martinez continues to reap the rewards of the academic excellence she demonstrated at Amarillo College, where, in addition to graduating in December 2022, she also served as student commencement speaker.

Martinez, an education major who graduated from AC with highest honors and plans to become an elementary school teacher, has been named a 2023 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.

Each year the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation recognizes only 50 Gold, 50 Silver, and 50 Bronze Scholars nationwide with a total of $200,000 in scholarships. Each scholar also receives a commemorative medallion.

Martinez says she plans to use her unexpected windfall to help finance the pursuit of her teaching credentials through Texas Woman’s University, where she is already immersed in her first semester of baccalaureate studies.

“It is such a great honor to be included in a group of students who have worked so hard to accomplish their educational dreams,” Martinez said. “I am incredibly excited and still trying to wrap my brain around this shocking news.

“I will be using this scholarship for the fall 2023 semester. It is so extravagantly generous,” she said. “I am so honored and thankful for the opportunity to use this gift to continue my education at TWU.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation partners with Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) National Honor Society (Martinez is a PTK member), to administer the Coca-Cola Academic Team program.

Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

Martinez not only parlayed her academic prowess at AC into membership in the exclusive ranks of Phi Theta Kappa, she was a leader in the Teach Club and was chosen to serve with AC’s Blue Blazers, a select contingent of student ambassadors who assist with College recruitment and community relations.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are so proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa to make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow’s leaders of the global community.”

It was with trepidation that Martinez first enrolled at AC in 2020. She had been frustrated by an undiagnosed learning disorder early in life and did not think higher education would ever be part of her future. But when she began homeschooling her son, she discovered that she really enjoyed teaching and decided to give AC a try.

“I achieved what I have with the extensive support of Amarillo College,” Martinez said. “Throughout my time at AC, I used the tutoring center, the food pantry, and the online medical services. All were vital to my success in the classroom.

“My professors at AC pushed me to be better than I thought possible; they demanded the very best I could give. I’m thankful for their support and that people believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”