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Gen 'Next' Celebrates Peers Doing Cool Stuff

A Watsonville educator was among the four honorees feted in Santa Cruz on Saturday night.

Four young leaders in the county took center stage Saturday for the annual Nexties award ceremony in Santa Cruz.

The group included the head of the Homeless Services Center in Santa Cruz, a mountain biking advocate, a bright entrepreneur and a tech instructor who works with teens in Watsonville.

Jacob Martinez, who administers Watsonville Tecnología-Educación-Comunidad in 14 Pajaro Valley Unified School District schools, was the lone South County winner in the group.

"We're transforming a community," Martinez told the crowd gathered at the Museum of Art and History for the party and awards ceremony. "You see it and it's really happening. It's a beautiful thing."

Mark Davidson, president of Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, was lauded for his work in the cycling community. Davidson said he believes the county is a world-class mountain biking destination.

"They're the right kind of people to bring to town," he said.

Monica Martinez, executive director of the Homeless Services Center, and Jeremy Neuner, who helped start  NextSpace, a co-working business in Santa Cruz, in 2008, were the other two awardees.

For more on the award winners, click here to visit the Santa Cruz Next website.

(Editor's Note: Watsonville Patch Editor Jennifer Squires nominated Jacob Martinez for this award.)

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