Every Student Succeeding: Carnisha Martin

Carnisha Martin’s childhood was filled with both loss and neglect, yet she never lost her drive to succeed. She bounced from house to house, family member to family member. And she lost her mother after a battle with breast cancer. Despite the upheaval and constant uncertainty, Carnisha’s resiliency and drive propelled her forward to John Swett High in Crockett where she found educators who were willing to help her to succeed. Against all odds, Carnisha graduated from John Swett High in June and now is heading to college to pursue a career in law enforcement.


August 29, 2017

Student discovers second home at John Swett High

Stability was something Carnisha Martin only dreamed of after a childhood filled with loss and neglect. She bounced from house to house, family member to family member. She suffered abuse at the hands of loved ones. And she lost her mother after a battle with breast cancer when she was in sixth grade.

“I stayed away and there were times where I felt like I couldn’t express how I felt about losing my mom,” Carnisha said.

And yet, somehow, Carnisha never lost her drive to succeed. Despite the upheaval and constant uncertainty, she enrolled at John Swett High in Crockett.

“There’s a lot of consistency for her here,” John Swett High attendance clerk Renee Moreno said. “And that’s probably the only place in her life that she’s felt consistency.”

Carnisha quickly found a refuge at her new school. And more importantly, she found educators who were willing to lend a hand.

“She’s just got a sparkle about her, an inner glow that just comes across when you speak with her,” John Swett High Principal Jeff Brauning said. “She’s kind of a shy, a little introverted sometimes. But once you get to know her, she’ll do anything for you. She’s got a huge heart.”

The size of the school also worked in Carnisha’s favor. A small student body allowed Carnisha to get the attention she so desperately needed.

“One unique thing about our school at John Swett is it’s relatively small,” Brauning said. “We have 570 students. So we get to know all of our students. We just have this real nurturing, caring environment for our students.”

Sitting in the back of Carnisha’s mind was a constant reminder of the failings of her older siblings. Carnisha was not only determined to graduate from John Swett High. She had her sights set on a college diploma. And she wanted to set that example for her younger siblings.

“I wanted to be the one that’s going to go to school, graduate high school and graduate college so they feel like they have to graduate college,” Carnisha said. “It’s not an option anymore. You have to do it because I did it.”

Carnisha graduated from John Swett High in June. She plans to pursue a career in law enforcement. But educators will remember her for the indelible mark she left on her school.

“So Carnisha is the definition of why we became involved in education,” Brauning said. “To make a different in students’ lives. And there’s something truly special about a student, a young man or a young woman who wasn’t necessarily born with a golden spoon in their mouth and doesn’t have all the opportunities. And they overcome those obstacles despite not having the role models at home and despite not having all the financial advantages. My experience is those students, those young men and women, are really special people.”

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