Chicken Express Community Heroes: Danbury's Ethan Martin and El Paso Eastlake's Vanessa Herrera

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Ethan Martin: Danbury Panthers

Danbury High School senior Ethan Martin has been involved with sports for as long as he can remember. Baseball and football have both been integral aspects of his life.

Though he has a deep love for both sports, it is football that gets the edge for him. The focus of the team, and the ability to be able to play with so many friends from his high school are what makes football such an exciting game for the senior to play.

But Ethan has also excelled in his academic endeavors. Being recognized for the Panther Award, an award at Danbury for those who exemplify the pursuit of excellence in the classroom, athletically, and in their lives.

“To me, it meant that my coaches recognize my work, and what I do.” Ethan said.

While the award meant a lot to him, it was the recognition that meant more. It meant that the work that he puts in does not go unnoticed. Ethan was also named to the Academic All State teams in both football and baseball, is top ten in his class, and is a member of NHS.

Ethan loves his community and is always looking to give back. Whether with his church or with his schools National Honor Society, Ethan is constantly involved. This love for the community was ultimately displayed when Ethan assisted in the cleanup of hurricane Harvey. To Ethan, when people are in need, you help.

After graduation, Ethan will partake in a two-year mission with his church. Upon completion, he hopes to go to Texas A&M where he wishes to be involved in the ROTC and ultimately become a pediatrician. Continuing his belief of helping those in need. 


Vanessa Herrera: El Paso Eastlake

Vanessa Herrera, senior at El Paso Eastlake high school, is a standout on the basketball court. Though sports have been a part of her life forever, she will never forget when her older sister introduced her to the game of basketball. It immediately became the center of her universe.

Though Vanessa was involved with other sports throughout high school, she chose to focus on basketball her senior year. With the next level on the horizon, Vanessa wanted all attention on her favorite sport.

“Sports have made me a more determined and focused person, both in the classroom and daily activities.” Vanessa said.

She credits the lessons learned in basketball for a lot of the success she has maintained in school and life. The hard work, determination and perseverance are all factors she carries close. That hard work has not gone unnoticed either.

By her junior year, Vanessa already had scored 1,000 points and had been selected as all-district her sophomore and junior year. As a freshman, she was awarded second team all-district. That work came to a head this year as the senior was recognized as 6A MVP for El Paso and 1st team all-city.

As impressive as this is, Vanessa also displays that excellence in the classroom. A biomedical student at her high school, not only does Vanessa maintain a 3.8 GPA, but also finds herself volunteering at her aunt’s medical practice. She also looks for other ways to give back to her community, such as going to nursing homes during the Christmas holidays.

After graduation, Vanessa will continue her academic and athletic career at Texas A&M International. Someday, she hopes to become a doctor and practice Oncology and cancer research. The lessons of determination and perseverance continuing to lead the way.

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