1998 Inductee - Consuelo "Connie" Martinez

1998 Inductee - Consuelo "Connie" Martinez

Connie was born in Stockton, California. She attended Stockton schools and graduated from Edison High School. She earned her B.A. degree at California State University, Stanislaus and a Masters degree at University of the Pacific. After more than thirty years as a teacher, she retired from Stagg High School in Stockton Unified School District in 2005. She served as chairperson of the Foreign Language Department and also chaired the English Language Development for a total of 18 years. She mentored new teachers, served on numerous committees and was class sponsor to several of the graduating classes. Connie was the M.E.Ch.A. Club sponsor for 15 years at Stagg High School.

Connie believes that education, along with family caring and support, are the most important factors in determining a child’s future. Connie’s mother was the single most influential person in providing the foundation for Connie and her sisters’ educational accomplishments. Although her mother did not have a formal education, she made it a priority for her daughters. Connie’s mother was strong, wise and a consistent source of support.

One of Connie’s proudest accomplishments is her role as co-founder of the Annual Latino Graduate Recognition Celebration. She started the celebration in her home in 1989 for her graduating students. Her mother, Loretta Alaniz hosted the dinner and cooked Mexican food for Connie's graduating seniors. Due to an increasing number of graduates, Connie held the celebration at the Stagg High School cafeteria in subsequent years. In 1993 she, Rudy Garcia and Ray Bravo of Franklin High School, gathered their M.E.Ch.A Club students at her house and planned a bigger celebration, inviting Edison High School to participate. Since 1995 the celebration has been held annually at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium and it includes all the high schools in Stockton, Tracy, Lodi, Manteca and Linden as well as some of the private local high schools. The celebration consists of an awards ceremony, keynote speaker, scholarships, a dinner and ends with a dance. An average of one thousand people attends each year. It is a lovely ceremony not only honoring the students’ accomplishments but also their familias, history and culture.

In terms of community service, Consuelo has volunteered extensively, making presentations on Latino culture and history, on such topics as famous women in Mexican history, at local K-12 public schools, San Joaquin Delta College and University of California, Davis. The Haggin Museum requested her services as a guest curator to build an altar for Dia de los Muertos to honor Mexican women in history. The community learned about the many accomplishments of Mexican women who are usually excluded from the school curriculum and media.

Connie has been a member of the Mexican Heritage Center since it's inception, helping write and develop the by-laws. She has participated in events at the center providing cultural presentations on such topics as Women of the Mexican Revolution, Painter Frida Kahlo and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a Mexican intellectual, writer and nun from the 17th century. Consuelo is also a board member and inductee of the Mexican American Hall of Fame, serving as treasurer and correspondence secretary.

Consuelo was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award at Stagg High School in 2004. The Stockton Teachers Association awarded her the Teacher of Excellence Award in 2002. The Concilio (Council for the Spanish Speaking) selected Consuelo Amiga of the Year in 2001. She has been selected five times to Who’s Who Among America's Teachers, something she is especially proud of, because former students who are currently top academic university scholars, nominated her as “a teacher who made a difference in their lives and academic studies”.

Although retired, Connie continues to work with children, and continues to volunteer and serve on community projects that deal with education. She is also politically active; contributing many hours to campaigns at the local and national level.

She is most grateful to have had a wonderful and long career as a teacher where she not only had the opportunity to teach her students, but demonstrate her interest in their well-being. This was evident at her retirement ceremony attended by many of her students who spoke of her influence on their lives and the many ways she showed respect and sincere caring for them.