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His Rudy Moment: Luciano Martinez

His Rudy Moment: Luciano Martinez
Class of 2012 graduate Luciano Martinez will be able to tell his future high school math students that he got to play on the field as a Longhorn.

Two moments that symbolize the college experience of Luciano Martinez, who’s graduating this month with a degree in mathematics. One was on the football field, in front of tens of thousands of Longhorn fans. The other was in a small classroom at McCallum High School in north Austin.

One: Football

It was one of the last home games of the year. The Longhorns were up 43-0 on the Kansas Jayhawks, and Martinez, who’d been a defensive lineman on the Longhorns’ scout team for four seasons, decided it was time for his Rudy moment.

Luciano-thumbLuciano Martinez (#52), who's graduating this month with a degree in mathematics, walking off the field after he finally got his chance to play in a game. Photo by Mark Tway, Tway Photography.“I turned to Coach, and said, ‘Can I get in for one play?’” remembers Martinez, who grew up in La Joya.

Despite having never been on the field during a game, Martinez was familiar to the gamegoing faithful as the player on the sidelines who was always psyching up the crowd. When word went out that he was getting in the game, a chant started up.

“It started in the alumni section, and it spread from there. Martinez … Martinez … Martinez.”

The ball was hiked. Martinez slanted left. The Jayhawks zoned right. And they met in the middle.

“I got taken down but I took two or three guys with me. The linebacker behind me made the tackle. The way I look at it is that I did my job so somebody else could do theirs.”

Two: Classroom

At roughly the same time that he walked on to the Longhorn team as a freshman, Martinez applied to join UTeach, the nationally recognized math and science teacher training program developed jointly by the Colleges of Natural Sciences and Education.

“The first thing was always my education,” he says. “That’s what my parents instilled in me. Your education first. That’s what they said. And I was inspired to be a math teacher by my high school teacher, Mr. Steckler.”

For the past four years, through UTeach, he’s been earning his degree in mathematics while also spending increasing amounts of time with increasing responsibilities in the classroom. The program has culminated, this year, with Martinez teaching geometry four hours a day, five days a week, to sophomores at McCallum High School.

For every one of those days, until a few weeks ago, Martinez had a mentor teacher in the classroom with him. Martinez was the primary teacher, but he had back-up.

And then he didn’t. His mentor teacher was planning to be gone for a day, and he asked Martinez to substitute for him for the entire day.

“It was a learning experience,” says Martinez, “to be there from morning to afternoon, to handle the transition from one class to the next, to be in control of everything. And it went fantastic, especially the geometry class. I felt comfortable.”

When Martinez graduates this month he’s not completely sure where he’ll go next. He has a job offer to teach high school math in Corpus Christi, and a few other likely offers outside Dallas and back home in the Rio Grande Valley. Wherever he lands, though, he knows what he wants to do.

“I want to teach my math and coach my defensive line.”

Med School Bound: Shannon Allport
Improved Loblolly Pines Better for the Environment

Comments 5

 
Guest - anne on Friday, 08 June 2012 03:25

Great story! Lucky future students of Mr. Martinez!

Great story! Lucky future students of Mr. Martinez!
Guest - Thomas Tovar on Thursday, 21 June 2012 20:59

That's my friend! Lol I remember that story when you told me before real analysis class!!! The RGV is calling you back, bro!

That's my friend! Lol I remember that story when you told me before real analysis class!!! The RGV is calling you back, bro!
Guest - Dr. John H. Harrison IV on Thursday, 07 June 2012 12:25

Congratulations to Luciano.. I played football at Sunset High in Dallas about 60 years ago .. Not much playing time but I was there. I am retired. After 40 years of teaching Chemistry at the University of North Carolina.. I will always remember those few plays at Sunset. Go young man ... and. Have a great life as a teacher. Semper Fi.

Congratulations to Luciano.. I played football at Sunset High in Dallas about 60 years ago .. Not much playing time but I was there. I am retired. After 40 years of teaching Chemistry at the University of North Carolina.. I will always remember those few plays at Sunset. Go young man ... and. Have a great life as a teacher. Semper Fi.
Guest - Al Davis on Friday, 08 June 2012 07:04

):D Congratulations to my fellow math teacher & Longhorn.

):D Congratulations to my fellow math teacher & Longhorn.
Guest - Greg Phillips on Monday, 11 June 2012 18:08

Congratulations, Mr. Martinez! As the proud recipient of two math degrees from UT, and an orange-blooded UT fan (despite living in San Diego CA for more than 30 years), I resonated with your story. Your story came even closer to home for me, in that I graduated from McCallum High (class of 1972).

Congratulations, Mr. Martinez! As the proud recipient of two math degrees from UT, and an orange-blooded UT fan (despite living in San Diego CA for more than 30 years), I resonated with your story. Your story came even closer to home for me, in that I graduated from McCallum High (class of 1972).
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