CANTON — A SUNY Canton student was recently recognized with a statewide award for overcoming difficulties during his education.

Marcos L. Martinez, a Practical Nursing major from the Bronx, received the 2019 Norman R. McConney Jr. Award, which is bestowed to recognize excellence in the SUNY Educational Opportunity Program. The award is named after one of the architects of the statewide program that provides financial assistance and support to those facing obstacles in achieving their educational and personal goals.

“Marcos is no stranger to life’s obstacles,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran during a ceremony recognizing Martinez. “For most people, those obstacles would have stood in their way. Marcos has defied the odds and rose above both personal and educational barriers and continues to actively better himself.”

Martinez said he began in the college’s Liberal Arts and Sciences two-year degree program but had a rough start during his freshman year. Transitioning from high school to a college environment was difficult. After some initial setbacks, he was able to build up his GPA high enough to enter the Practical Nursing program, which is one of the more competitive majors at the college.

“I could’ve just given up after my first semester, but I didn’t,” he said. “It wasn’t easy, but I was able to do it with the amazing support system I have and the motivation to be and do better.”

Martinez credits his family for offering tremendous encouragement. “My mother always believed in me and keeps me motivated every day,” he said. “Both my mother and father always help push me to be successful. I appreciate how hard they work for me and my siblings and I’m doing everything I do to make both of them proud parents.”

The soon-to-be nurse’s aspirations don’t stop with his first degree. He said he plans on entering the two-year Registered Nurse program, with his sights set on earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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