Elizabeth Martinez, a Newberry resident since 2006, is now an American citizen.
Martinez immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua following her marriage. Martinez was sworn in as an American citizen on July 13 in Greer.
There are many procedures that must be completed in order to become an American citizen. The process is arduous, and it took her five years to complete. She was determined and was not going to let anything stand in her way.
Martinez was educated in Nicaragua and earned a college degree in accounting. When she arrived in the states, she could not speak any English.
Her first job was at Wal-Mart scrubbing floors, and she struggled in all aspects of life because of her inability to speak English. However, she taught herself English with help from the Newberry Adult Education program’s English as a Second Language and her husband.
As a result she received promotions and adapted to her surroundings.
While working at Wal-Mart, she also began working for the Newberry Adult Education program at night as a teacher assistant for the English as a second language class. In time, she was promoted to an instructor’s position when the opening was available.
David Green, director of the adult education program, describes Martinez, “as a model citizen. She is very efficient in the English language, finished her certificate in accounting at Piedmont Technical College and participates in many community activities. Teaching is a natural calling for her, and my ESL students are fortunate to have her as their instructor. She is always searching for ways to improve her teaching skills and is constantly trying new techniques to improve. She took the lead in developing an ESL curriculum/manual last year with her fellow ESL teacher. Elizabeth is always smiling, full of vivacity and concern for her student’s academic progress as well as their personal welfare. I congratulate Elizabeth on her many accomplishments and hope I have the privilege to work with her for many more years.”
Martinez is a prototype for her students to emulate. S
he can relate with them because she has been in their shoes. While teaching them the English language, she incorporates English skills into everyday activities such as shopping, helping them to participate in their children’s education and becoming familiar with local traditions and customs.
Martinez and her husband, Elias Martinez who is an employee at ISE, are active citizens in the local community.
Not only did they take advantage of opportunities presented to them in the United States, they have given back to the community.
They give of their time and talents to help others in any way possible.
They both are living the American dream, and Newberry is fortunate to have them.