Even though he was born with cerebral palsy and shortly thereafter lost his legs, Jose Martinez has not let his disabilities come in the way of either his determination or success. Indeed, the young boy recently graduated South San Antonio High School. Although wheelchair bound, like all the other able-bodied graduates, he walked across the stage to receive his diploma, aided by his prosthetic legs and two educators.
Clearly Martinez has a great attitude. About his determination he explained, “I believe that because something isn’t probable does not mean it’s impossible. Anything can be done with the right state of mind.” Of the graduation he added, “this is pretty much an event that I’ve long waited for, and I’m glad to get it done. It’s overwhelming. It’s been a challenge, but I love a challenge. It makes the world a better place, not just for me but for everyone.” Even when he missed classes because he was having surgery or recovering from it, he made up the work he missed and remained involved in activities he could participate in such as school dance fundraisers.
Martinez has undergone a substantial amount of surgery since he was born. With cerebral palsy, when bones grow, additional surgery is needed and then after that, time to recover and rehabilitate. So that took him out of school a lot. But as his Criminal Justice Teacher, Glory Gross, said, one of his goals was to “walk the stage and make his grandma proud.” And that is what he achieved, as it was due to her that he has come this far. Ofelia Rodriguez, his grandmother, played the most pivotal role in his life, and he describes her as “the foundation for what [he is] today. She made this day possible for me. I love her with all my heart,” he said. Throughout all the obstacles, she has been there. “I believe we pushed each other and are each other’s light of hope,” he explained.
In the audience watching him graduate along with the Class of 2013 were proud family and friends. But this is just the start for the determined young boy who intends to study further at Palo Alto College and then transfer to St. Mary’s University. He was selected to be the recipient of a San Antonio Education Partnership Scholarship as well. He plans to become a lawyer and to set up a school “for unfortunate kids in society…and to become a loving father and husband.” Given his determination to date, anything is possible!