From Michoacán to UC Davis: Abril Martinez’s Pursuit of the American Dream

Abril Martinez, 17 is smiling. She is a latina girl with long hair, a brilliant smile, and a purple shirt with a black vest.

Abril Martinez, fueled by a profound sense of purpose and a close bond to her family, vividly recalls her move from Michoacán, Mexico to Napa Valley at age 8. Faced with learning English in a school where she couldn’t converse with her teachers or classmates, Abril harnessed her inner strength.

“I used to tell myself, ‘you can’t let this destroy you, you have to fight for this. It will all be worth it.’”

She was fighting for the American Dream—a belief she staunchly upholds— and now Abril sees her aspirations taking shape before her eyes.

As she graduates from Napa High School this spring, she’s looking forward to a bright future, thanks in part to two scholarships from Napa Valley Community Foundation’s scholarship program.

Abril will be starting in the Fall at UC Davis, where she plans to major in Managerial Economics, Minor in Spanish, and ultimately pursue a career as an accountant. Her fascination with economics stemmed from her love for math, a passion nurtured by her high school math teachers, who ensured she remained on her path.

As a first-generation college student, Abril is forging a new path for her family, and she’s excited to set an example for her younger siblings. “We came here for this,” she shares. “My parents moved here for the opportunities we could have. Latinos come to the US to follow the American Dream; I want to show that it’s possible to achieve it.”

Going to college, setting a good example for her younger sister and two younger brothers, “is a way for me to thank my parents for the sacrifices they made so that we could have a better life.”

Familiar with the demands of hard work—a trait exemplified by her parents—Abril has been contributing to her family’s income and saving for college through her job at Kohl’s. Even with the help of scholarship awards, she plans to work during her college years, aiming to find a job on-campus at UC Davis.

UC Davis, with its 5th-ranked Managerial Economics program in California, was an attractive option for Abril, who is excited to live independently, but knows she’ll be able to come home for a weekend here and there if homesickness kicks in.

She deeply appreciates the support she’s received, crediting the generosity of scholarship donors as proof of America’s possibilities. “My family knew the opportunities would be better here.” She shares, “There really are opportunities everywhere, but not all kids know how to find resources.”

The staff at Napa High, particularly Allison de Lorimier, the assistant and scholarship coordinator, were instrumental in guiding Abril toward higher education. Allison maintained a comprehensive list of available scholarships, leading Abril to the Napa Valley Community Foundation’s scholarship program. She applied for and was honored to receive both the Daisy Cavalli Scholarship and Fruit of the Vine Scholarship, two scholarships that offer continuing support through all four years of college.

Abril Martinez’s journey from Michoacán to UC Davis is a testament to her resilience and determination. As she prepares to start college as a first-generation student, she carries with her the spirit of the American Dream. Through her personal journey and academic accomplishments, Abril shows us the power of individual grit, familial and philanthropic support, and the doors that education can open.


About Abril

Name: Abril Martinez

Graduating from: Napa High School

Age: 17

College: UC Davis

Major: Managerial Economics, with a minor in Spanish

She’s looking forward to: new experiences and independent living in the dorms at Davis

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