Her Hometown Perspective

Perspective is often relative; it
can change with time and personal
experience. How a person views his or
her high school experience may change
during certain parts of life: as a high
school freshman, a high school senior,
a 10-year alumni or a senior citizen. It
can be amazing how time and experience
can alter ideas, how a person’s thoughts
and feelings can change. For Tamarah
Martinez, life as a college freshman has
given her an interesting perspective on
her recent high school days.

A Burleson High School 2009
graduate, Tamarah has decided to
continue her educational career at Hill
College, in the town she has always called
home. “I’ve lived here my whole life,”
she shared. “My parents have lived here
since they were 4.” A confident young
lady with a personality and determination
that belies her petite frame, Tamarah had
no plans on leaving her hometown upon
graduation. “I didn’t want to leave home.
I plan on going to UTA [University of
Texas at Arlington] following my first
two years — after I get all my basics out
of the way — but until then, I’m staying
here, with my mom,” she smiled.

Tamarah’s high school days are full
of happy memories. “I was a straight
A student and a cheerleader and that
pretty much took up my entire life,”
she laughed. “I loved the excitement of
the games. I’d never been a football fan
until I started cheering.” While she loved
being a cheerleader, Tamarah is quick
to admit her perspective of those times
has changed. “I didn’t want to graduate
high school. I didn’t want to leave, but
now that I’ve started going to college, I’d
never go back,” she added.

Tamarah has a love for math and
science, two subjects in which she excels.
“I like math because it’s always the same
— you’re going to get the same answer
every time,” she said. Education has
always been important to Tamarah; not
only does she strive for top grades, she
has also always had a desire to become
a teacher herself. “When I was little, my
dad built a playhouse in our backyard and
I pretended I was a teacher,” she recalled.
Tamarah has definite ideas regarding
the kind of teacher she hopes to one day
become. “I’ve always been the one who’s
been the tutor. I just really enjoy getting a
point across. I don’t like the teachers who
do it for you. I’d rather help someone
figure something out for themselves,” she
explained. “I don’t want to be the boring
teacher that lectures all the time. I like
hands-on activities; I think it helps with
memory. I also love songs because I think
they help you remember things, too. I still
remember my color songs from when I
was in kindergarten,” she laughed.
From the perspective of a 16-year-old
— or the parent of a 16-year-old —
college, and especially college tuition, can
be daunting. With plans to earn her degree
in elementary education, Tamarah began
to explore paths toward that goal during
her junior year. “One of my friends who
received a Burleson Opportunity Fund
[BOF] scholarship the year before told me
about it,” she said. Tamarah applied and
was awarded the scholarship toward the
end of her senior year.

Part of the city’s Strengthening
Families resolve of 2007, the BOF fund
provides two semesters of tuition to
students who complete all applications
by deadline, graduate from a Burleson
public high school or accredited private
or home school, enroll at Hill College
upon graduation and complete a FAFSA
(Free Application for Federal Student
Aid). Certain criteria must also be met
after the scholarship is awarded, such
as: enrolling for 12-16 credit hours and
student orientation, completion of all
classes, completion of community service
hours and promoting and assisting the
BOF with future programs and students.

The community service aspect is, of
course, an important part of the process;
encouraging students to take part in their
community is a vital step to keeping the
city strong. “You have to have a certain
number of group community service
hours,” Tamarah noted. “We did our
fundraiser at the movie theater. We had
“A Night at the Theater” and everyone
came and we served them dinner and they
watched a movie. It turned out really well.”
Now in her first semester at Hill
College, Tamarah is busy keeping up
her grades and completing the required
community service hours. “The fund pays
for classes, which is great, but we have to
buy the books. My dad just had to pay for
mine; he wasn’t too happy,” she laughed.
Tamarah also spends part of her busy days
at The Little Gym, where she has already
begun her teaching career helping 3- and
4-year-olds learn ballet and tap. “I love
the look on a child’s face when they finally
get it. You feel like you’ve accomplished
something because they understand what
you’ve been trying to teach them,” she
said. As for her high school days, with
the perspective of a college student, she
advised, “Enjoy it while it lasts, but once
it’s over — grow up!”

Written by Jaime Ruark