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Stuart Cramer’s Mary Elizabeth Martin uses both sides of her brain

By Alan Hodge

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Stuart Cramer High graduating senior Mary Elizabeth Martin is one of those people who utilize both sides of their brain.

On the creative side, she is a talented clarinetist who has been an active member of the Storm marching band. On the more analytical side, she is setting her sights on a career as a chemical engineer after taking advantage of a full scholarship with a study abroad stipend at the University of Alabama.

She’s  the daughter of Florencio and Beverly Martin. She attended first and second grade at St. Michael’s Catholic School. She went to Lowell Elementary and Cramerton Middle before coming to Stuart Cramer where her musical and scholastic really took off.

First, the music. She’s been in the Stuart Cramer marching band each one of her four years at the school.

“I learned to play the clarinet in middle school, she said. “I love playing in the band. I especially like playing Irish tunes because they are fun and have a nice dancing type beat.”

In addition to the marching band where she is woodwind captain, Martin also plays in the concert band.

Here’s what her band director of four years, Kameron Radford, had to say about Martin on and off the field.

“Mary Elizabeth is one of the most thoughtful, kind, and hard working students I have ever had the opportunity of teaching,” he said.  “Her desire for academic and musical excellence is something that is extremely rare among students today.  She not only pursues this excellence in the classroom, but also through extra-curricular endeavors such as selection to county and district honor bands and awards in the Science Olympiad program.  Not only does she display academic and musical excellence, what is even more impressive is the excellence of her character.  She is widely respected by her peers as a great leader because of the openness, empathy, and compassion she displays to others.  With such a strong foundation to stand on I am confident that she will be able to build great things for her future!”

Writing about her years in the band helped Martin earn the prestigious and competitive National Merit Scholarship- the very first student at Stuart Cramer to achieve that mark. Part of the Merit Scholarship application involved writing an essay.

“I wrote about my experience in band and how it helped me in school with leadership skills and discipline,” she said. 

The other part of the National Merit Scholarship meant that Martin had to score big on the PSAT and SAT exams. Her SAT score was near perfect. Incidentally, her sister Mary Joanne who went to Highland School of Technology is also a National Merit Scholar.

Martin has been involved in many other Stuart Cramer activities. She took part in the Science Olympiad.

She also delved into material science.

“That’s where you study polymers and how they behave,” she said.

Martin participated in theater at Stuart Cramer and took part in several top notch performances.

At the University of Alabama, Martin will major in chemical engineering and minor in liberal arts- remember the part about using both sides of her brain? 

“I want to be a chemical engineer and create biofuels sustainable for the environment,” she said. 

She will also take part in the Blount Scholars program.

“I will get together in small seminars and hold in in-depth discussions with other students,” said Martin. 

It’s obvious from talking to her that Martin has had a great time at Stuart Cramer and had some parting words for her teachers as well as the underclassmen there.

“Thank you to every teacher and administrator who has helped me on my journey through Stuart Cramer,” she said. “I couldn’t have gotten this far without your support! I especially want to thank Mr. Radford, my band director, for helping me understand what it means to be a leader and for giving me an outlet to express my creativity. I’d also like to thank Mr. Stowe, my theater director, for his words of encouragement and unwavering belief in my success. Another incredible support system has been my family. They have always done what they can so that I am able to pursue my ambitions. I would tell the students, try as many different clubs and classes as you can. There is great potential to create a family within these groups. There are so many pathways to success at Stuart Cramer.”