By Ken Sain
The Chandler chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood has been looking for just the right student to nominate for the international group’s scholarship program.
They found her in Seton Catholic Preparatory Class of 2022 member Rachael Martinez.
The United States-based Philanthropic Educational Organization is dedicated to opening educational opportunities for women around the world.
Martinez was nominated by the Chandler chapter for the STAR Scholarship, which contributes $2,500 to her education at Colgate University.
“I belong to an organization that’s always looking for high school seniors that are outstanding,” said Chandler STAR Chapter Chair Maris Thomas.
The Chandler chapter had only nominated one other girl, Thomas said. They were contacted by members in Pinetop, Arizona, who had a girl they wanted to nominate. Martinez, who lives in South Chandler, was the first girl from the city they nominated.
Martinez ended up winning the scholarship, one of a handful the group awards each year.
“Rachael’s the only one from this area [we’ve nominated], so we’re really proud of her,” Thomas said.
Martinez was the student body president at Seton last year and founded the school’s National Honors Society. She became its first president. She also started the school’s Latino National Honors Society and a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter.
In her free time, she is a serious volleyball player, having earned a partial athletic scholarship to Colgate. In addition to playing for school team, she also was part of a competitive club team that competes with many of the top players in the area.
Each of the 6,000 chapters can nominate one young woman for the STAR Scholarship. Martinez is the only winner.
She was looking forward to getting started at Colgate. In fact, she’s leaving early to begin workouts with her new volleyball teammates.
“It’s such a cliché, but just the combination of academics and athletics,” Martinez said of why she chose Colgate, in Hamilton, N.Y. “I’ve always wanted to go to the East Coast.
“I’ve loved the coaching staff, the culture of the team is great. And also it’s in this cute little town … it’s just like a Hallmark movie when it snows. I’ve seen snow twice.”
Martinez has already secured one NIL (name, image, and likeness) deal, and hopes to get more. She made a deal with the gym where she works out, PITT Fitness.
“So it’s just posting advertising for them,” she said. “So that’s been super fun.”
Thomas said they’ve been impressed by Martinez every step of the process. When they first met her, they had to use Zoom Video because of the pandemic. At that point, she had not settled on her college course.
To get the scholarship, Martinez had to complete a lot of paperwork. Thomas said she was terrific and made every deadline. They were also impressed with her public speaking.
She has not settled on a major yet. She said she’s interested in possibly joining foreign service, international relations or working in psychology. She said she’d really enjoy working with Navy SEALS in that capacity.
Martinez said that’s because she’s a perfectionist and would love a chance to work with the very best. She said she wants to make a difference.
“I want to make a positive impact and leave a great legacy,” Martinez said. “With the volleyball program, that means leaving a better culture than where I found it.
“One of the most notable things about the honor society that I founded, is it’s going to be going on hundreds of different college applications for the kids that are leaving Seton after me.”
For more information about the organization, call Maris Thomas at 480-239-6770.