PHOENIX — It wasn’t long ago 10-year-old Jesus Martinez was homeless. He and his family lived in a shelter before moving out a couple of years ago.
Now living under a roof of his own, Martinez attends Children First Academy, a school in Phoenix for underprivileged kids. At a recent groundbreaking for the school’s new building, Martinez met Arizona Superintendent of Education John Huppenthal.
“Mr. Huppenthal asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, so then I said, ‘An electrician.'”
Little did Martinez know that Huppenthal had worked in the electrical field for over 30 years with Salt River Project.
“He went up to the stage and started talking, then he announced my name and I stood up,” Martinez said. “I felt a little shy.”
After the groundbreaking ceremony, Huppenthal reached out to Martinez and told him he would help him achieve his dream. The two had their first learning session on Wednesday at the Arizona Science Center.
“I indicated to him that if he’s interested in becoming an engineer, I’d be willing to give him a certain amount of tutoring on a personal level,” Huppenthal said.
At only 10-years-old, Martinez has an edge over his young competition. Not only does he earn As and Bs in all of his classes, but Arizona Public Service also gave him an engineering starter kit and he’ll be able to tour the SRP plants.
“He’s just a great student, he’s engaging, and he’s got a great smile. We think he has a great future ahead of him and we’re going to do what we can to make sure he has a real good trajectory,” said Huppenthal.