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Student Spotlight

Francisco Martinez

He Was Headed
for One Broadway;
On the Way
He Found Another

Posted February 9, 2018


Francisco Martinez always knew he wanted a career as a performer, but it wasn’t until he was a high school senior that he found the courage to audition for an actual role.  He won the lead.

“I was totally shocked,” said Francisco who played the role of Usnavi last year in the Passaic High School production of the Broadway hit “In the Heights.”

“The audience response was incredible,” he added. “I felt like I was in a dream and knew for sure I wanted to be a performer.”

As a child, Francisco enjoyed making up scenes, singing, and dancing at home for his family, but he had no performing arts training beyond some vocal instruction he received as a member of the Passaic High School choir. Before senior year, he was also shy about trying out for school productions.

Now a theater major at PCCC, Francisco was not at first going to attend college.  “My GPA was up and down in high school,” he said. “I was planning to just go into theater audition for parts after graduation.”

He was curious about college, though, and decided to try it.  “PCCC is amazing,” said Francisco. “It’s become my second home. The professors go above and beyond to help you learn.”

Initially, Francisco was a Computer Information Sciences major. "My mother wanted me to choose a secure career," he explained. The lure of the theater was too strong, though, and before long, the freshman changed his major.

Now maintaining a 3.7 GPA, Francisco said that while PCCC professors are friendly, they have high expectations for their students and teach them to be accountable for their work.  “Coming to college was a challenging transition from high school, but you are really going to learn here.”

No longer shy, Francisco credits the Student Government Association (SGA) with his active campus life.
“The SGA is like a family,” he says. “They make it easy to get involved.”

A senator of the SGA as well as secretary of the Student Programming Committee, Francisco said he especially enjoyed working on student involvement fairs, visiting the 9-11 memorial with his SGA colleagues, and improving his networking skills.

“SGA is about making connections, and that’s important in theater, too,” he explained.

Looking forward to auditions for the annual spring play at PCCC, Francisco said his college experience here has convinced him to continue his education towards a bachelor’s degree in theater. “After graduating from PCCC, I’d like to go on to either New York University or Juilliard,” he said.

As for his mother's concerns?  "She supports my decision," said Francisco. "She wants me to be happy with my choice."

Read more about the SGA @ PCCC

Theater @ PCCC