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Former SNC students create a legacy of romance

Jill and Joel Martinez, both SNC alumnus, have shared their lives together

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It is now post Valentine’s Day season, meaning we are probably tired of the saturated Hallmark holiday,  though, absolutely rejoicing in the red roses and boxes of chocolate laid in velvet that Raley’s has marked 70 percent off. Perhaps you had pizza date with your significant other or called your mother to say, “I love you.” Either way, the holiday, now soddened by commercialism,  represents the remains of Christian and ancient Roman traditions (celebrating Saint Valentine), serves as our reminder to celebrate the verb, to love.

And as post Valentine’s Day season continues, as you finish your boxes of velvet chocolate, as your red roses wilt,  I am here to entertain you with a precious story involving Valentine’s Day’s greatest SNC love story.

Years before the SNC campus had an art building or the Prim Library and the student dormitory was in trailers, two students met and fell in love. When their son, Freshman Jake Martinez, decided in fall 2015 to enroll at SNC, it created a unique family tradition.

During the fall of 1993, Jill and Joel Martinez  began their education at SNC as transfer students both as Ski Business Management majors. As the two students studied and crossed-paths at the mountain campus, they inserted themselves into each other’s lives.

“We met in our Wednesday night Marketing class. I remember it being a classroom full of friends and full of lively conversation. The ice breaker between Joel and I was when Joel (who was leaning back in his chair, feet on the table, talking casually next to me), tipped over backwards in his chair,” explains Jill Martinez.  

From that very moment, the two created a special bond.

“My mom loves telling the story of when they first met at their SNC Marketing class,” said son Jake Martinez.

From there, the two SNC sophomores continued their education at SNC enjoying each other’s company. The young couple found similar interests while attending SNC and celebrated Tahoe’s heartening settings.

Jake explains his parents’ roots by sharing their nostalgic memories, “ I believe after they initially met, they spent the summer living out of my dad’s car while he was a raft guide. They were both bums enjoying this beautiful place.”

“We both enjoyed skiing, backpacking and climbing while at SNC and raised our three kids to enjoy the outdoors as well,” Joel continued.

As their relationship bloomed through their college years in Tahoe, they also obtained fulfilling liberal arts educations. Near the end of their senior year at SNC, the young couple welcomed their first son, Freshman Jake Martinez.

“It was an amazing time in our life where we both made lifelong friendships and fun memories. It’s great to see Sierra Nevada’s growth with the new (to us) campus and athletics while remaining true to its roots,” said Joel.

Once the couple graduated they began their family in Stevens Pass, Washington where Joel served as vice president of operations. They also welcomed Jake’s youngest sisters into their family while living in Washington.

“We couldn’t be happier to see our son Jake loving his time at SNC and pursuing many of the same things we loved,” Jill said.

Jill and Joel shared with their family their love for the mountains.

“Growing up, my parents got us into climbing, mountain biking, skiing and backpacking at a really young age. As a family, we still enjoy the mountains together,” said Jake.

Now a freshman at SNC, Jake is continuing in his parents footsteps in gaining an education from SNC, creating a deep connection rooted within SNC culture.  

“Through my parent’s education here, it has been interesting seeing where this school has come from. They had trailers as dorms, now we have million dollar buildings,” Jake said.

Through the educational tradition of  the Martinez family, their story is a testament to how far SNC has come since their 95’ graduation.

Between Jake and his parents,  he already sees a meaningful education, shared with life-long friends developing. This past fall, as Jake began his freshman year, his family took place in the 2015 Parent’s Weekend held every October. Although for the Martinez family, this weekend was spent through their unique, full-circle connection.

“It was surprising to me that not much has changed when it comes to SNC college life… a great group of kids all having the time of their lives living and going to school in Tahoe,” Joel said.

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Former SNC students create a legacy of romance