Norberto Martinez, a 17-year-old Trimble Tech High School student, said that for many years, he rarely cracked a book.
He didn’t need to.
“There weren’t a lot of classes that challenged me,” Martinez said. “I didn’t open books. I got 100 on tests. I didn’t do homework or I would do it last minute.”
He could pull A’s and B’s without much effort, Trimble Tech teacher Brian Wooddell said.
“He’s an infuriating student to have, because he is so bright he can break the rules,” said Wooddell, who teaches French II, III, IV and V.
Martinez changed his attitude during his sophomore year and got serious about school, he said, after Wooddell started pushing him.
He enrolled in college-level Advanced Placement courses in physics, chemistry and statistics. He took so many Advanced Placement courses that there were none left to take by his senior year.
Martinez, who is in the top 3 percent of the Class of 2015 at Trimble Tech, is a recipient of the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program, one of the nation’s largest privately funded need-based financial aid programs.
He is one of 106 students in the U.S. who will receive a $22,000 scholarship and one of five in Texas. Students who win must maintain a 3.7 grade-point average and have a mean SAT score of 1263, Dominick said.
The award recognizes youngsters who, “in the face of great adversity, have exhibited an admirable commitment to continuing their education and serving their communities,” Alger spokeswoman Meagan Dominick said.
Martinez is the second-eldest of four sons ages 7 to 20. His mother, Marysol Cobos, is a single parent who works as a retail specialist in Hurst.
Older brother Robert graduates in the summer with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin. Younger brother Oscar is a freshman at Trimble Tech, and the youngest, Daniel, is a second-grader at Natha Howell Elementary School in Fort Worth.
Martinez expects to take a four-day trip to Washington, D.C., to accept the scholarship award in April — he said the trip almost excites him more than the scholarship award.
He plans to study aerospace engineering at UT Austin. Martinez is also the recipient of the Presidential Achievement Scholarship from UT.
Wooddell said Martinez deserves recognition for more than just his academic achievement.
“He’s got an amazing heart,” Wooddell said. “He truly cares about people. I’ve seen it in full display. He will see students struggling on math problems and he helps them out without being asked.”
Yamil Berard, 817-390-7705