Student receives high honor
Aug 18, 2013 | 4978 views | 0 0 comments | 649 649 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Martha Marquez, a student at Ruleville Central High School, recently received the national Alexander Hamilton Citizenship Achievement Award for superior community service and achievement.

Hamilton Awards are given annually by the Alexander Hamilton Friends Association of Seattle, Wash.

Winners receive a scholarship, commemorative certificates, memorabilia and acceptance into the association’s extensive Hamilton Leaders Academy.

Marquez is one of 36 students selected for the award.

She is devoted to making a difference in her school and the surrounding communities.

She is particularly passionate about creating opportunities in rural areas and determined to overcome all obstacles and achieve her goals, not least of which is to become the second in her family to earn a college education.

Martha's most significant achievement is founding R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y. — Responsible Outstanding Youth Advocating Leadership.

She created this organization to provide students throughout the Mississippi Delta an opportunity to improve their schools and communities. Through R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y. Martha has collected over 500 pairs of jeans for the "Teens for Jeans" drive for homeless youth in the area.

In addition, she is currently coordinating a school anti-bullying program and several fundraising events for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to help in the fight against childhood cancer.

Prior to founding R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y., Martha organized an initiative she called L.E.A.F. — Leaders Envisioning A Future — at her school.

As founder of L.E.A.F., she planned and executed two citywide cleanup days, landscaped her schoolyard and implemented a school-recycling program.

Martha is also a member of her school's marching band and enjoys volunteering with her church and at the local nursing home twice a month. She also tutors other students after school.

The purpose of the Hamilton Award is to recognize high school students for their academic, personal, service and entrepreneurial accomplishments and to select students for the Hamilton Leaders Academy. Winners are high achieving, service-oriented, high school juniors with significant financial need.

"This year, the award was very competitive. We received 309 applications from 41 states. Winners represented 17 states," said George T. Cox, founder and senior director of Hamilton Friends.

"Our goal is to identify young people who have set high standards for citizenship and success in their lives. We are very excited about Martha's potential for future greatness. The Sunflower community is lucky to have Martha as a resident."

Martha maintains a 4.0 GPA and ranks first in her class of 109 students.

She is considering a career in nursing and joining the Air Force Reserve to serve her country.

"These young people give us tremendous hope. With proper attitude, support, experiences, and inspiration, I have no doubt they will achieve great things in their lives," said Cox.