By Betsy Abraham
Rachael Martines wears many hats: president of the Key Club and Senior Class, clarinet and tenor saxophone player in the band, producer and actress with Carle Place theater productions, a varsity soccer player, AP student. And last Wednesday, the Carle Place senior added one more title to the list, as she was named a Nassau BOCES Education Partner Awards honoree.
The award pays tribute to a select group of people and organizations that have had the most profound effect on public education in Nassau County. Martines was one of two students honored at last Wednesday’s gala.
“It’s humbling, I was very surprised,” Martines said about the recognition. “Everything I do just seems like the right thing to do, and these are things that I love doing. I never expect anything in return, but it’s a nice feeling.”
Martines was nominated for the award by Leslie Rubenstein, Carle Place’s Chairperson of Social Studies and World Languages. Though she has never had Martines as a student, Rubenstein says Martines immediately came to mind when she read the description of the award.
“Rachael has been a constant presence here at Carle Place. She is one of the most self-assured and composed students I have ever seen. She is bright and articulate and has a self-confidence that is pretty unusual for one so young,” says Rubenstein. “She has been a model of academic achievement, social action, student advocacy and leadership since she set foot in our school. I hope that her legacy will be for students to respectfully advocate for the things they care about. Rachael has certainly done that very well.”
Martines says she is always looking for ways to give back to the community, which is in part because she feels a connection to it, especially because her parents and older siblings went through the school district. She also stays involved because of the positive experience she has had with everyone she’s interacted with.
“I’ve had such positive experiences working with the staff and students here,” Martines said. “The teaching staff has had a really positive influence on me and has not only gone out of their way to teach me, but help me as a person.”
She notes that the connection between staff and students is what sets Carle Place apart from other schools.
“It’s not just academics, but they’re teaching the whole person. I think the strong staff-student relationship contributes to the quality of education students get here,” she said.
It’s the positive experience Martines has had with her teachers that has inspired her to go into a career in education. In the fall, she plans to attend Fordham University.
“I feel like it’s bittersweet. I really love this community and school and it’s become such a big part of my life,” said Martines. “But I feel like I’ve been well prepared to move forward and everything I’ve experienced and learned here is allowing me to move forward with confidence.”