08:26 AM

UST Celebrates High School Senior Monica Martinez with Fanfare and a Full-Ride Scholarship Check


Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Senior Monica Martinez is the first student enrolled in UST’s fall 2023 cohort. She receives the St. Thomas Promise full-ride scholarship.

UST Mascot, Lenny the Lion helps Monica Martinez celebrate her full-ride scholarship to UST.Greeted with balloons and a high-five from the University of St. Thomas-Houston's mascot Lenny the Lion, senior Monica Martinez from Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology High School celebrated her status as the first student to enroll in UST for fall 2023. 

To celebrate Martinez's big day, UST Director of Admissions Sara Johnson, Director of Rising Stars and HISD Admissions Officer Dan Garcia visited the school for the presentation.

Martinez, who has a weighted 4.0 GPA, received college guidance from College Counselor and UST alumnus Juan Perez '93.. She will study psychology at UST.

“My college readiness advisor, who is also an alumnus, first recommended UST to me,” Martinez said. "The week before school started UST’s Admissions and Rising Stars representatives came to our campus and gave a presentation. During the presentation, I slowly saw myself at the UST campus. By the end of the presentation, I truly felt that UST was the school for me.

“I chose to study psychology because mental health professionals are vital in providing support and resources to people to those who struggle with their mental health,” Martinez said. “Being someone who struggles with mental health, I understand the challenges of coping with little resources. My desire is to help those in need of help in meeting their mental health needs.”

As part of the special visit, UST  presented Martinez with an oversized check, announcing she received the St. Thomas Promise full-ride scholarship. The St. Thomas Promise Program offers high-achieving, first-time freshman students from families who earn $40,000 or less per year an opportunity to attend college without paying tuition. Students who receive this award must be eligible to fill out FAFSA forms.

Garcia has been recruiting in HISD schools for several free-tuition programs offered at UST, including the Rising Stars Internship Program, St. Thomas Promise Program, and Houston Hometown Hero Program.

"St. Thomas Promise is providing an amazing opportunity for students in the Houston area to receive a top-notch education with little to no cost," Garcia said. "We are so excited that Monica was the first student accepted into the fall 2023 cohort and is a St. Thomas Promise eligible student. She will be the first in her family to attend a university, and we have no doubt she will be an exemplary UST student."

Ten people attended the event festivities, including several of Martinez's peers and SHMST college counselors, in the College and Career Counseling Center at the high school. Proud SHMST Principal Dr. Diego Linares was on hand to congratulate Martinez on her achievements. 

“I couldn't believe it!” Martinez said.  “ My eyes teared up knowing that attending UST is now a real possibility. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride knowing that I can look at my mom and tell her that her sacrifices and hard work have allowed me to have this opportunity. It is an opportunity that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”