WACO, TX — Alicia Martinez was strong, ambitious and had her whole life ahead of her, so no one predicted this outcome after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Battling the virus for several weeks, she passed on Sunday at only 21 years old. A recent graduate from Baylor University, she went to the Diana Garland School of Social Work.
One of her old teachers from middle school, Clay Springer, was always in awe by Martinez's work ethic.
"What was so fascinating is that I think of her pushing diversity from a young age. You don't see many high school girls that are so excited about STEM education," Springer said.
He loved watching her grow, and unfortunately had to watch her battle with COVID-19 as the Martinez family posted updates on social media.
"It was just an up and down journey of updates and hard days and good days," Springer said.
"This is devastating news for Alicia's family, friends, her cohort of social work classmates and faculty to whom she was very close and for our community at Baylor University. May all of us in the Baylor Family join together in prayer for Alicia's family and all those who loved and cherished her as they mourn such a tragic loss," Baylor University president, Linda A. Livingstone said.
Even for those who never met Martinez, her death resonated throughout the campus.
"It's heartbreaking because I envision myself through her," student Harmony Anthony said.
Anthony, just a year younger than Martinez, has experienced his own family deaths due to COVID-19 and says he takes this virus seriously.
"To be taken from us like that, even though we don't know her personally, we still feel effected by it," Anthony said.
Martinez, although long graduated from Rapoport Academy, had plans for the future.
"She was starting a project to help Rapoport through a diversity and inclusion process, so that was neat to see a student give back to the community," Springer said.
Now, Springer says it's become his duty to continue her legacy. Even though teachers are people who impact their students, for Springer, he sees it as the other way around.
"You get into teaching, they say you're making all these impacts on students, and you here that, but overtime what you realize is the impacts the students make on you," he said.
Baylor University has set up a counseling service for students who need it. Currently, the family asks for prayers.