Martin qualified as a finalist, along with 10 other middle schoolers, who were all chosen based on their grade point averages and how they answered a questionnaire.
Eighth-grade teachers then chose students to go through an interview process. Once all the candidates completed interviews with counselors and administrators, a final applicant was chosen.
Martin, who is President of the BETA Club and makes straight A's, has already taken the ACT test once, scoring a composite of 16. Martin says she has plans to take the test again soon.
"I think the fact that I am very active in community service helped in my being chosen as a finalist," Martin said.
She and her mother have started a Buddy Program where they take an underprivileged child and do fun things with them, like go to the movies. She also participates in the YELP program, which gathers dogs from animal shelters and finds them new owners.
Martin says she also visits nursing homes. "I like to talk with the elderly...it really brightens their day, and it makes me feel good in return."
In addition to the service work she does in her spare time, Martin is a member of the youth group at Galilee Baptist Church. She and the other kids there recently began a babysitting service for children and mothers in the community.
For fun, Martin says she enjoys writing and the arts and is currently rehearsing for her part in Beauty and the Beast, Jr., a Disney production of the classic at NMS.
She's also a member of the Playmakers of Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Little Theater.
"I want to be an engineer because I really enjoy math or become a veterinarian," Martin says when asked what she plans to be when she gets older. "And I would like to do some acting on the side."
Martin already has an agent and was recently part of The 48-hour Film Festival in New Orleans. The production she was a part of won Audience Favorite, and it will go on to the Baton Rouge Film Festival.
Her family, teachers and friends are all very supportive of her, Martin says, and were really excited when they found out she was named Student of the Year. "My mom started crying, she was so excited," said Martin.
Up next for the Duke/Johns Hopkins student, will be her preparation for the state interview as student of the year. Drama teacher Paula Swilley will help with that process, Martin says.
"It means a great deal to me to have been chosen to represent my school in this way," Martin said. "It means that I have the opportunity to do something great."
The 10 additional Northwestern Middle School Student of the Year candidates were: Skyller Castello, Adam Clark, Connor Gibbon, Karli Hall, John-Paul Hardin, Joseph Harkrider, Stephanie Schlorke, Ashley Soileau, Faith Varnado and Zach Wall.
Martin is the daughter of Kathy and Kirk Martin, and she has a younger brother, Peyton, who is 11.
Good luck, Ashleigh, we know you will represent NMS and Zachary well!