Daughter of Migrant Workers is Headed to UC Berkeley

  • 6/1/2022 1:25:00 PM

This story is part of a series of profiles the Ventura County Office of Education is presenting about outstanding graduating seniors in the Class of 2022.

Carolina1Carolina Martinez will be the first person in her family to attend a four-year university – and not just any university. She was admitted to the University of California, Berkeley, which is consistently ranked one of the nation’s best. “I started screaming, and my family thought something was wrong,” she recalls of the moment she got the good news.

Carolina’s achievement is the result of hard work, perseverance, and the support of some key people at Santa Paula High School, where she is about to graduate. One of them was her water polo coach Trevor Dasnoit. “I never played sports before high School but being part of a team was exciting,” she says. “My coach was inspiring because he was the first person who taught me to believe in myself, and I really needed that.”

Carolina’s parents are both agricultural workers who migrated from Mexico. She says, “They didn’t get the chance to have an education, so they set the foundation for me to embark on my journey with the opportunities provided by this country.” 

C22logoCarolina made the most of those opportunities by participating in all the activities and programs she could cram into her schedule. This included the AVID program for first-generation college students and the Migrant Education Program (MEP) from the Ventura County Office of Education. Last year she won a first-place award in the annual MEP Speech and Debate Tournament. “I was really grateful to be a part of that because it helped me develop my public speaking skills and get a better understanding of political issues,” she says.

Carolina2In another high school program called the Environmental Voices Academy, Carolina studied how low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues. She’s seen it in her own family when her dad had to work in environmentally hazardous conditions. This helped inspire her to major in environmental science at Berkeley. She’s considering careers in law or government where she can make a positive impact.

Santa Paula High School counselor Rocio Bravo Chavez can’t wait to see what Carolina does next. “It is an honor for us to have such a dedicated, positive role model for other migrant and English learner students,” she says. “Carolina is definitely one of a kind who has the drive to do well while helping those around her.”


More Inspiring Stories about the Ventura County Class of 2022

  • Maggie Melendez - Simi Valley High School

    First-Generation College Student Has Her Eye on Career with the FBI

  • Hans Bach-Nguyen - Adolfo Camarillo High School

    Harvard-Bound Grad is an Advocate for Equity in Education


  • Alex Loza - Foothill Technology High School

    Student’s “Beautiful Journey” is Leading to a Bright Future


  • Nikita Manyak - Oak Park High School

    Teen Mental Health is a Priority for this Accomplished Grad


  • Carolina Martinez - Santa Paula High School

    Daughter of Migrant Workers is Headed to UC Berkeley


  • Kendall Brown - Thousand Oaks High School

    This Grad Bounces Back when Things Don’t Go as Planned