Martin sisters claim top spot at Central High two years in a row

For the second year in a row, a member of the Martin family will give the valedictory speech during Central High School’s graduation ceremony.

Last year, Caroline Martin set the bar at the top of the class for her sister, Grace, and now that Grace has reached that goal, the next challenge is coming up with a different speech.

Grace remembers her sister’s speech and “kept wanting to write similar things” that Caroline wrote last year, but she thought to herself, “You have to write something different. You can’t give the exact same speech your sister gave because people will notice.”

Grace, a STAR student and graduate of the school’s International Baccalaureate program, said high school was a time for her to shed her shyness and come out of her shell.

“I feel like I’m much more of a leader now than I used to be.”

Going through some of the same classes as her sister, Grace said it wasn’t long before she established her own identity with teachers beyond “Caroline’s sister.”

“I think my teachers quickly realized I’m a lot more strong-willed than my sister is,” she said. “I’m very quiet at first, but then I become much more loud and much more opinionated.”

One of her most memorable experiences was playing violin in the Central High School orchestra.

“Doing orchestra helped broaden my horizons,” she said. “I never thought I could consider myself a musician,” but her instructor -- also her STAR teacher -- Patricia McCall, helped her find her inner musician.

McCall said Grace improved “a whole lot” since she started in the ninth grade, adding that Grace was a joy to have in class.

“The one thing I can say about Grace is that she’s very responsible and very intelligent,” McCall said. “She stands up for what she thinks is right.”

McCall added, “(Grace) is one of those students who you never really have to worry about because you know she’s going to be successful. She’s just that kind of kid.”

Grace plans to attend Reed College in Portland, Oregon, a school that focuses on individuality and independent thinking, she said.

Asked what advice the valedictorian would give to her former ninth-grade self, she said, “I’d probably say don’t be afraid to talk to people and make new friends.”

To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382..