Martin girls shine in academics, activities
It is not uncommon for students to get involved with numerous activities during their high school years. Many students see the value of that involvement. But for students to have a lot of success in all their activities, as well as being straight "A" students, is rare. But two Baldwin High School students, and sisters at that, are prime examples of just that.
Mary and Katie Martin have always been very involved. While growing up they participated in softball, volleyball, dancing and basketball, among numerous other activities.
Currently at BHS, they both are members of the Pommers dance squad, with Mary serving as captain, they are standouts on the volleyball and softball teams, and Katie also plays basketball. They also compete for a softball team called the Sunflower Skyhawks, which is a traveling team which keeps a pretty busy schedule in the late spring and summer. In addition to these activities, the two have been involved in various school and community plays and musicals as well.
These two outstanding student-athletes have had quite a bit of practice at schooling, sports and sisterhood.
"We grew up in an environment where we were always singing, dancing and playing sports," Mary, a BHS senior, noted. "We always saw people doing what we wanted to and since we were little we've been playing softball or in dance class."
Both agree it has taken time and effort in all activities.
"We started everything young; dance and softball especially. Our parents were a big role," Katie, a BHS sophomore, added. "They introduced us to everything, and with them being teachers, they always emphasized school work and grades. Also for me, my sisters were my role models. I always wanted to be like them."
Parents of the girls are Bob and Susie Martin, who are also important parts of BHS as teachers and coaches. They agree they have put a lifetime into where they are now as individuals. They have seen their daughters through it all.
"Since birth they have always been together," Susie said. "They have always been playmates and have always been together in activities."
"With parents as coaches and teachers, I suppose it would be hard not to be exposed to sports and academics," Bob added. "They have loved dancing since they were very small. But what they have done is because they were interested in it and spent a lot of time on it."
These two sisters stand out in a crowd as individuals who through it all have been together. They choose to join each other on the court. They choose to be together on the dance floor performing. They both excel in academics as 4.0 students. Mary and Katie have made a decision to be together in their activities because of their closeness.
It does not go unnoticed that these two are outstandingly brilliant when it comes to cooperating with one another. They have had all of their lives to get that down pat.
"They really care for each other and show it," said Gayle Dempsey, BHS Pommers sponsor. "They support each other and are respectful of each other."
From dancing to setting a volleyball on the court, coaches have not seen many other siblings like it.
"Being involved in the same activities, very surprisingly they are still amazingly close, very close," said Jill Brown, BHS head volleyball coach. "Growing up with three sisters of my own I know firsthand how sibling rivalry works. But these two never show any negativity. They are together in everything and are still very close."
One may think that with countless activities these two would not have time to sleep. But this is different for each girl.
"There is very little free time during weekdays," Katie noted. "Weekends are a little better but I usually still practice softball because it's just what I love to do."
Mary on the other hand believes in having more free time. This is different than her sister, but it makes sense taking into consideration she has two more years of high school than her younger sister. Mary has had many lessons on time management and planning out her activities.
"We have tons of free time to go out with our friends or just do what ever," Mary suggested. "If you balance your time out, it's not really a problem. I think if we had any more free time we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves. We like to keep busy!"
The two talented girls add a lot to not only BHS, but to the community of Baldwin. But they have had to work hard at it.
"Yes, some talents come easily to us but we also have to work hard and practice or study," Katie commented. "We may be good at the things we do but we can always be better. It takes a lot of time, but I can't think of any better way to spend my time. I love being a busy person!"
How do they do it? Katie and Mary seem to be successful in all they pursue. But it's more than meets the eye. Going behind the scenes shows the countless hours of practice and determination it takes to make a successful scholar-athlete.
To count just how many hours, just ask their father.
"A lot!" he said.
"The pom squad practices 3-5 days a week on a normal school week, but I really don't know how much time they spend on their own practicing," Dempsey said. "Mary is the captain of the squad this year, so she puts in lots of hours! They both pick up eight-counts pretty fast, but it shows that they practice outside of the regular practice schedule."
Both varsity volleyball players practice everyday from 3:30-6 p.m. On top of this, both girls are varsity members of the new BHS softball team. But this one sport is nothing new to the girls.
When asked a rough estimate of hours spent practicing, Mary responded, "Twenty hours a week if you include pom and volleyball. It varies depending on the season."
Katie notes she spends three and a half to four hours daily. "Plus on the weekends I practice softball for about one to one and a half hours."
"But sometimes it varies between sports including volleyball, basketball, softball, plus pom," Katie said.
Two sisters that are both very successful in athletics and excel above the rest is very rare. It is something you don't see very often.
"Out of my many numerous achievements, I'd say having a 4.0 GPA means the most to me personally. I like that I can still excel in academics in addition to the other things I do," Mary added.
Katie agreed with her sister that holding a 4.0 GPA is quite amazing.
"Academics are right up there with athletics. We both have always had a 4.0 average," Katie commented. "We always strive for the best, just like in athletics."
Being advanced academically is extremely helpful on the court as well. Mental preparation takes place before a performance or match just like it does before a test.
"Academics parallel athletics in more ways than one," Brown said. "It helps in sports. They are smart on the court. It shows in the way they have done in athletics."
Many probably agree that Mary and Katie Martin are unique, but likely for different reasons.
"To me it is that they are very self-motivated and that they get along so well together," Bob Martin said.
"Their sisterly love for one another," said Susie Martin.
"I think several attributes they possess make them stand out," Dempsey added. "Their natural charm and charisma, their presence on the dance floor, their beautiful smiles and crowd pleasing presence. They glow when they dance."
Very different, very similar and yet very close. Many words can define or describe these two authentic individuals ... aspiration, persistence, positive attitudes, dedication, passion, self-motivation, commitment and love.
"You have to stick with things and keep working hard to reach your goals," Katie said, "and you have to have a good attitude about what you do to make things better for you and your peers."
"We know the type of people we want to be and try to define ourselves with everything we do," Mary said. "We want to live up to our own hope for ourselves."
And as is obvious, they are managing this just fine.