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Four years ago, a handful of teachers at Martin High School, inspired by a district initiative, had a dream to start a world-class STEM Academy. Today, that dream is a vivid reality as 110 students, members of the first graduating class from the STEM Academy, prepare to walk the stage in June.

Trinity Stallins and Sam Maldonado are among those graduates. In a matter of weeks, they’ll trade their Texas roots for winter boots as they head to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT, in Cambridge, MA. Both students received full scholarships compliments of the prestigious institute.

Stallins says she’s always liked math and science, but was never thought of as the “smart kid.” The STEM Academy at Martin High School gave her opportunities to challenge herself and grow. “I still can’t believe I’m going to attend MIT,” said Stallins. “I didn’t make straight A’s all the way through, but I tried a lot of things from robotics to bowling and all of them together prepared me for this opportunity.”

Maldonado credits her father for pushing her to apply to MIT. “He believed I could do it so I applied and got accepted.” Having an internship at Romeo Engineering and working on a proton accelerator to develop “next generation” technology in cancer treatment didn’t hurt her chances either.

Both students credit their teachers and school administrators for their success. And those staffers couldn’t be more proud. “This is just off the charts,” said Marlene Roddy, principal, Martin High School. “We can’t remember a time when one of our students was admitted to MIT and here we have two. These kids earned it. They took advantage of every opportunity and exceeded every standard. They took risks that paid off.”

When asked what excited them most about attending MIT, Stallins and Maldonado quipped “the coursework, campus activities and public transportation.”

            Visit the Arlington ISD website to learn more about all of their programs and services.