Paula and Martha Contreras Embrace Their Community and Their Culture
Paula and Martha Contreras are lifelong Santaluz residents, and they love their neighborhood community. They attend Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, where Paula’s favorite subjects are history and science – she’s interested in the past and its effect on the future. Martha enjoys her studies of multiple languages: Spanish, French, and English. The Contreras sisters are first generation Americans – both parents immigrated from Mexico, and the girls are native English and Spanish speakers.
They appreciate the support and opportunities they find at school. Martha mentioned Ms. Juskaitis and extra meetings to help with grammar. “This improvement would not have been possible if I did not meet with Ms. Juskaitis and if she did not care so much about her students.” Paula commented on the opportunity for global travel at Pacific Ridge. “Last year I went to China for two weeks with my classmates,” she said. “This year I spent a week in the Northern Sierras backpacking with a group of classmates.”
Names: Martha Hilda Contreras and Paula Lourdes Contreras (15)
School: Pacific Ridge School
Parents: Jose Luis Contreras and Lizbeth Flores
Sibling: Andrea Contreras (18)
Favorite Local Spots: Martha – Santaluz Club; Paula – Black Mountain Open Space Park
Awards and Recognitions: Martha – Dean’s List, Basketball Head, Heart, and Hustle Award, Pacific Ridge Ethical Responsibility Award, Athlete of the Week; Paula – Upper School Purposeful Year Award, Science Olympiad Bronze Medal
As far as extracurriculars and volunteerism, Martha plays varsity basketball and lacrosse, while Paula does both varsity and club lacrosse. Both are members of the Student Equity Advisory (S.E.A.), ensuring diversity on campus and that all students feel safe, strong, and represented within the community. The sisters are co-leaders of Latinos Unidos on campus, an ethnicity group that puts on events to help spread the culture and raise money to assist the Latino community. “I have volunteered in Rosarito, Mexico,” Martha shared, “where I went to an orphanage and brought kids clothes and toys – such as my precious LEGO set at the time.” Paula is in the process of creating a nonprofit with their eldest sister Andrea, helping impoverished kids underserved by the educational system in Mexico, specifically orphans living in Tijuana. “We plan on doing this by once a week giving classes: English, Computing, Current Issues, and Math Tutoring.”
The twins’ future goals also align with their global outlook: Paula would like to study international relations or environmental science, and Martha’s looking at international business with hopes to study abroad for at least one year.