Bright Futures: PN-G’s Marsh striving to make a difference

PORT NECHES — Courtney Marsh doesn’t think twice about going the extra mile to achieve her goals.

Marsh, a senior at Port Neches-Groves High School, is a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club, participates in University Interscholastic League competition in social studies, ready writing and literary criticism and is going to district competition in two of the categories.

The list continues; she started her own tutoring service, in which she helps elementary-school-age children, is interested in politics and plays varsity tennis.

Jessie Burkle, one of Marsh’s teachers, speaks highly of the senior.

“I’ve been privileged to have Courtney as a student for the last two years in three different AP (advanced placement) courses,” Burkle said. “During those two years, she has proven to be academically exceptional and has demonstrated consistently to be a person of great character and integrity with an exemplary work ethic.”

Marsh’s tutoring service — UnoMas, is an acronym for Unleashing a Number of Opportunities for Minorities to Achieve Success.

“I help students with homework and read to them, those who feel they may have been left behind in the classroom,” Marsh said of the free service. “If the parents are willing to make the effort to bring their kids to the library, I don’t think money should be an inhibitor to that.”

One of Marsh’s students is a fifth-grader but reads on a first-grade level.

“I’m working to catch her up. It’s not their fault, those who fall behind,” she said. “They’re willing to learn.”

Marsh got the idea for the tutoring service during a trip to the University of Chicago, where she took part in the Neubauer Summer Scholars program for high achieving Hispanic and Latino students. She realized while there that she’s had some amazing educational opportunities that some students do not get.

“I’m half-minority; half-Hispanic and half-white,” she said. “I was able to see how fortunate we are in this school district.”

She spoke of cousins in another area of the state that do not have the same educational opportunities she has in Port Neches-Groves Independent School District.

After graduation, she says, she hopes to pass the torch to her younger brother and his friends so they may continue with the tutoring.

Marsh plans to attend the University of Chicago, where she will major in public policy. She’s had a longtime interest in politics and enjoys speaking on social issues.

“Eventually I’d want to work in Washington, D.C., maybe an internship in Congress,” she said. Her focus would be on education policy and minorities.

The game of tennis has also helped form Marsh mentally and physically.

“Tennis takes up a lot of time, but it’s worth it. I used to be painfully shy. I started practicing in middle school and made friends with some people on the high school team,” she said. “It helped with the transition. I don’t feel as shy or reserved. I had to break out of my shell. Tennis molded me into the person I am.”

Marsh will continue to play tennis, just not on the college team.

“The most important part of tennis is discipline,” she said. “I’ve made the most amazing friends.”

The high ranking student isn’t one to pull “all nighters” studying.

“I’m not like other high school students who do that. I like to sleep,” she said. “Instead I prioritize. I think of the outcome. People say ‘you study all the time’ but I enjoy learning new things. It sounds cliché; it’s not like it’s a burden (to study).

Courtney Marsh is the daughter of Greg and Christine Marsh.

Email: mary.meaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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