Immigrants: Kayce Martin’s American success story
By JANET STOICA
This is the first in a series of articles about local immigrants and their lives in the United States, why they came, how they lived, and what their outlook is about this country.
She arrived in the United States from Mexico when she was a teenager. The second of four children, all girls. Her father, who was a military man in Mexico, died young from a very sudden and unexpected heart attack. Her mom was also young, now a widow, and afraid for her four daughters. So she sent her daughter, Kayce, to live with her aunt in California. Kayce’s mom wanted the best for her girls. Soon Kayce met her Marine husband while in California and when his tour-of-duty was over, he opted to return to Massachusetts. Kayce went with him to marry and start a new life. The couple had three children who are now young adults. She is no longer married but in a good relationship with an admirable fellow.
“My mom never remarried,” said Kayce, “she was all about us, her daughters. She wanted to ensure we would all be okay and make good lives for ourselves and our own families. I was the second oldest and the only daughter to emigrate. It was an interesting beginning for me. My aunt in California ran a children’s daycare center so I helped with everything, cooking, cleaning, and minding the children. I met my future husband through a cousin who knew him. When we decided to move to Massachusetts, my mom became very worried for me. She felt that moving 3,000 more miles away from her was way too far but I took the opportunity.”
When she arrived in Massachusetts, she accepted a position in a bakery and enjoyed the work there. She baked, she cleaned, and she washed many, many pots, pans, and dishes. After a year or two baking, Kayce took a job at Nypro (since acquired by and now known as Jabil, Inc.) in northern Worcester County. Nypro is a medical device manufacturer. She stayed for fifteen years working her way up the job ladder. “I began as an inspector/packer,” stated Kayce, “and since I enjoy learning and wanted more education, I was promoted to Group Leader, then Quality Inspector.”
Nypro offered classes to its employees and Kayce enrolled immediately. She took as many classes as she could and soon became a Quality Technician in the document control area. She then progressed to Quality Supervisor and managed the entire floor in her department. A true Horatio Alger/American dream story. Kayce speaks with great feeling about Nypro. “It’s where I got my start,” she says, “the company owner really cared for his employees and we gave him back what he gave to us. A real opportunity to better ourselves. It was a great place to work with excellent company benefits.”
She worked twelve-hour shifts, had three children, and did a lot of homework for promotion. “It was hard but I knew I was making a better life for my family,” she said. “I knew I couldn’t support myself on the wages I began with so realized that I had to work my way up to get somewhere and get a better paycheck. I always tell my kids that in this country you can always be what you want to be if you work hard enough for it. There’s a big difference between being poor in America and being poor in Mexico. In Mexico, you see poor young kids in the streets and there is no help for them. In America at least the government helps you get on your feet with many wonderful programs. In America you get the government’s assistance until you can better yourself. If you apply yourself, you can be whatever you want.”
Kayce Martin currently works as the manager of the Quality Assurance Department in a neuro-surgical hardware company. Her position entails ensuring strict adherence to ISO guidelines and processes, personnel training, and FDA compliance. The company sells its products internationally and she is proud to be a part of its success.
“Don’t wait for opportunity, create it.” George Bernard Shaw