Don’t Look for the Doctor in the Nurse’s Office

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Kaitlin Bethay, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Sitting in bed, she feels her eyelids become heavier and heavier. Midnight approaches, yet she still steadily types on her laptop. Her assignment is near completion. Soon a wave of exhaustion sweeps over her and she unwilling succumbs to her body’s desire to sleep. A figure comes to her side takes off her glasses, saves her document, folds her laptop, and turns out the light.

The person described above is not a dedicated high school student with an attentive parent. She is Mrs. Summer Martin and the figure, her husband.

Mrs. Martin, our lead counselor, has been working on her doctorate since 2006 and is closer than ever to achieving her goal.

“Oh, I’m a school nerd,” Mrs. Martin said. “I love school and it was always a dream of mine to get the highest amount of education. I want to know as much as I can about everything I do.”

Where did this love of school originate? Mrs. Martin was born and raised in Arlington. She attended Arlington High School where she participated in many school activities, including student council.  However, she did not always want to pursue a career in counseling.

“When I was in high school I wanted to be an architect and that’s actually kind of scary—the idea of me building things. I decided to go to the University of Texas at Arlington because they had one of the top architecture programs in the state.”

Upon arriving at UTA, Mrs. Martin soon realized that architecture was not for her.

“I knew I always loved school and I thought, ‘You know, this is not where I need to be.’ I like working with people. I like working with kids. Why am I not doing that? I really enjoyed some of the political science classes that I was taking, so my degree is actually in political science and I have a minor in Spanish.”

After graduating in three years, Mrs. Martin went on to teach Spanish and coach the drill team at her alma mater, Arlington High School from 2001-2005. There, she discovered her passion for counseling.

“When I was teaching I’d have kids come in my classroom and just want to sit and hang out or talk about where they wanted to go to college or what they wanted to be when they grew up or the personal problems they were having. I loved teaching and being around kids, but I wanted to do something where I can do this thing all day long. So, I went to TCU and got my master’s degree in counseling.”

Mrs. Martin started her first counseling job at Central High School, where she worked for three years before interviewing for and taking on the lead counselor position at Keller High. Since then she has talked with many students and felt impacted by their stories.

“It has opened my eyes to the fact that there really is no normal,” Mrs. Martin said. “Everyone talks about wanting to grow up and have a normal childhood or a normal family, and there really is no normal. Everybody has issues and it matters not your race, your ethnicity, religion, or your parent’s income. It really doesn’t matter. We all have issues and we all face them.”

Mrs. Martin is currently enrolled in the Educational Psychology Program at the University of North Texas and is set to defend her dissertation on Career Interest Inventories in the next month or two. The process hasn’t been easy; she had to complete her classwork, which took about four years, pass all of her comprehensive exams and take an oral exam in which she could be asked anything about what she had previously written.

“When they congratulated me and told me I passed and could move on to my dissertation I actually started crying,” she said. “It was really embarrassing.”

As exciting as this step was, it paled in comparison to the next step Mrs. Martin and her husband would take.

“My husband Jason and I had been married almost 10 years and we got married relatively young; I was about 20 and he was 25. Really our existence had just been trying to make it and get done with school. I was almost 30 and thought, ‘Are we going to have kids? We really need to figure this out.’”

After much contemplation, Mrs. Martin and her husband decided that they wanted children, but decided to take a less traditional path—adoption.

“There are a lot of kids out there who need loving homes, loving families. Even kids here in the state of Texas. We decided to go through an adoption agency called Covenant Kids, an organization based in Arlington that works with CPS to match families with children who are in foster homes.  That’s the route that we went and it was the best decision we ever made.”

The Martins adopted a half brother and sister named Kyle and Kady in 2011. The children first met their parents at a McDonald’s on May 6th of that year and now celebrate the date by eating at McDonald’s every May 6th.

“I’ll never forget that,” Mrs. Martin said. “We were so nervous and they were so nervous. Our adoption worker told us, ‘They may not call you mommy and daddy at first.’ About that time Kady yells from across the playground, ‘MOMMY!’ And our adoption worker goes, ‘Well, never mind.’”

Mrs. Martin and her husband knew they wanted children, not a baby. At the time of adoption, Kyle and Kady were seven and three, respectively.

“It was definitely worth it. It’s so sad because there are 5,000 children in the state of Texas alone waiting for a family to adopt them. And they’re not babies; they’re little kids waiting for a family.”

With two kids and a PhD on the way, the future looks bright for Mrs. Martin. Where will her plethora of opportunities take her in the next 10 years?

“I could be here, at Keller High School, because I love it here. I could be at a Career and Technology Center because helping kids find careers is one of my passions. Even at a college— teaching classes, doing research. There are a lot of doors open, and I’m open to any of them it just depends on what’s right at the time. Right now my home is here.”