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10 Pecos seniors also Luna grads

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By Mercy Lopez

They walked the line during a college graduation prior to their own high school commencement exercise. Earlier this month roughly 22 percent of the Pecos High School graduating class received their associates certificate or degree from Luna Community College prior to their high school diploma courtesy of a dual enrollment program. Then last weekend they received their high school diplomas.

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They are Alexis CdeBaca, Deanna Maestas, Lauren Sandoval, Antonio Vigil, Katelyn Flores, Jason Eichwald, Julissa Archuleta, Gracie Valencia, Nicolette Gonzales, and Angelica Ortiz. Pecos High School Gear Up Coordinator Bernadette Rael said several graduated from Luna Community College with honors including Ortiz with summa cum laude honors, Gonzales and Sandoval with magna cum laude honors, and Archuleta with cum laude honors.

“The hands on participation has contributed greatly to an increased knowledge of what college life looks like as well as of the campuses and their program areas.” Rael said.

Students are bused on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the school in Pecos to the local campus. There they attend college classes. Maestas received an associate’s degree in liberal arts, a 64 credit hour program. The others received a general education certificate, more than 36 credit hours.

“The Tuesday and Thursday involvement has helped students make positive, informed choices, which has helped to increase the success rate of students succeeding and continuing on through their first semester away at college after high school graduation,” Rael said.

The current program has more than 55 students taking dual enrollment classes through Luna Community College and New Mexico Highlands University.

“Pecos was one of the first high schools to begin dual enrollment almost 12 years ago and today the program continues to thrive and grow,” Rael said.