Senior Spotlight: Jo Martinez

Clare M. '23

Jo Martinez is a senior at OLSH. She has made a name for herself with her writings, especially poems. Below is an interview with Jo about her writings and other aspects of her life. 

Q: When did you find your passion for writing?

A:  I’ve been writing ever since I was little, like around 4 or 5. I wanted to be an author when I was 10, and actually ended up getting published in a magazine article with a short horror story, so I would say my peak was around those two times the most.

Q: What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

A: My favorite thing I’ve ever written was probably the “When Things Change” poem about problems in our society and what’s really happening. I enjoy writing about things that really trigger someone’s emotions (although more often than not it’s my own emotions).

Q: What do you like about writing? 

A: I like that writing can be used as an outlet. Whenever I get upset or sad about something that happened, I end up writing something. When I wrote my past poems, I wouldn’t say I was in the best state of mind, but moreover, something about it was able to give me a burst of creativity. When I’m upset or something like that, I tend to overthink pretty much everything that happens, which leads to hypothetical scenarios and inevitably leading to more upset-ness. I learned to kind of reroute my emotions because of writing. Those hypothetical scenarios my brain gives me is used to create a whole scenery in my head that I can write down on paper.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to write (example: poems, short stories, etc.)? 

A: I really love writing poetry. I’m a speech and debate kid, and I ended up actually getting to States [for the Speech and Debate competition] in poetry my sophomore year. I also like writing poems in Spanish, too, considering my first two languages are Spanish and English. I love how the words can just kind of flow together, if that makes sense? I’ll reread what I wrote about a hundred times until I find the perfect words to fit and the right tone to read it in. That’s one of the reasons I love poetry because I create this flow with these words that by themselves just really mean nothing. It gives me that creative ability to compare and contrast them, to write about serious things while still making it enjoyable instead of a whole political speech. 

Q: What’s your favorite thing to write about?

A: I love writing about real life topics, ones that people normally wouldn’t write about or talk about–stuff that’s almost controversial in a normal conversation. I also like stuff that personally affects me because, in a way, it gives me an opportunity to share what I’m feeling without being a big mess. My poem that I keep mentioning, “When Things Change,” dealt with a lot of topics, but the main one being loss. I lost one of my friends to the Parkland School Shooting and another to suicide. To be able to still incorporate them into the stuff that I write means a lot to me; it’s my way of keeping them alive even though I know they aren’t.

Q: Have your friends and family been supportive of your writings?

A: My friends have been extremely supportive of my writings– the group of us all really love writing, and we all write differently, too. My family thinks that I should write about happier things, which personally I think is just a generational thing– they aren’t going to school everyday in the modern day society we live in nor experiencing high school anymore. They like how I write, but the subject can be what puts people off. Often times, I don’t share everything I’ve written with them because the majority of things that I write have been based off of my own personal experience and what I’ve gone through in my life. Sometimes, people like a bit of privacy when it comes to those things, you know?

Q: Do you like to read also? If so, what are some of your favorite books? 

A: I. LOVE. READING. My favorite book of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. I also love the Gone series by Michael Grant,  The Great Gatsby, The Time Machine, the Harry Potter series, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and literally anything and everything by John Green!

Q: Do you think it has taken a lot of work to become a good writer, or was it more of a natural talent?

A: Honestly, I think being a good writer has to do with how much of a good writer you want to be. If you aspire to be a good writer, you will eventually with time. Most of the time, we play games with ourselves, telling ourselves we aren’t good enough to write, or do anything at all, but it’s all in our head. Each of us has the potential to be a fantastic writer, to have other people look at our pieces and go, “Wow, that’s really amazing.” It just depends on how much time and effort you want to spend on it. Sure, natural talent can come into play, but if we constantly tell ourselves we aren’t good enough to write, we’ll lose that talent. I found that writing was my outlet, which is why many things that I wrote are on sensitive subjects sometimes, and I’ve been writing for 10 or so years. Writing is one of the things I can be confident about because I don’t have to analyze it. Writing is your opportunity to create a world made for you, from you…it’s creative freedom that you can really do whatever you want with. 


Jo participates in Speech and Debate at OLSH, and is a member of the WCHR news crew. After graduation, Jo Martinez plans to go to Mercyhurst University to study Russian and French, and get a job within the government. She has many achievements, and makes OLSH proud.