Getting through the first year of college is an accomplishment on its own - but making the Dean's List while studying remotely is something good.
And that's exactly what Aida Martinez did.
This time last year, the young woman from Fort Worth graduated from the Young Women's Leadership Academy and was headed 1,700 miles from home to college in Massachusetts.
The pandemic turned those plans upside down.
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Instead of experiencing campus life at Smith College, a private woman's college in North Hampton, Martinez spent her freshman year - that critical year of adjustment - at home connecting with professors remotely
Her self-discipline, determination and perseverance paid off.
Martinez found out last week she'd made the Dean's List. Her GPA put her in the top 25% of the Smith student body.
She'll leave for Massachusetts in a month to step on to campus for the first time.
Martinez is a double major in biology and psychology with plans to pursue a career in pediatric health care.
The young woman has firsthand experience with health care.
Her younger sister was diagnosed with kidney cancer as a preschooler. A few years later, doctors discovered Martinez had a rare heart condition.
She told a reporter for mavs.com that as a sophomore in high school, she had open-heart surgery and went on to serve as class president at YWLA Fort Worth all four years.
“Truly the best thing that ever happened to me was nearly dying,” Martinez told the Mavericks for an article on the website. "I just got a whole new sense of gratitude, love for the world, and compassion for other people."