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Above and Beyond: Never missed a day

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By Don Pace

When it comes to school, Bonita Baca has always been marked as present. She’s never been a no-show since the beginning of kindergarten.

Not one single day.

“I just love school, I love learning,” said the West Las Vegas senior.

Baca is also a year into her college career, having taken dual-enrollment classes at Highlands University. She maintains a 4.1 grade point average as a senior, and has earned a 4.0 GPA in her studies at Highlands University.

West Las Vegas Principal Gene Parson said everything about this teenager is impressive.

“Bonita just wants to make a difference in this world and is very perceptive of everything around her. She is taking post-secondary courses and is doing very well there,” the principal said. “She takes her classes at West Las Vegas High School very seriously, and is probably in the top five, not the top 10, the top five. When it comes to academics, she is the cream of the crop.”

Parson said Baca’s interests go above and beyond the boundaries of her academic life in high school.

“Her involvement in her church and the community impresses me so much. Just a kid, and here she is very, very involved in matters outside of school,” Parson said. 

Patricia Segura, a West science teacher and a department head, chuckled when she recounted Baca’s extraordinary test scores at the university level. She said Baca has “scored so high on her tests she has messed up the scoring curve.”

“In the 22 years I have been teaching, I’ve never had a student with so many science skills and the love of science. Bonita is the most perfect science student a teacher could ever want. She wants to learn, she loves experimentation, I don’t think there is a subject in science that she doesn’t like,” Segura said.

Segura said for a teacher, having someone like Baca in her classes is very satisfying.

“She’s here every day. She always has a positive attitude. She’s a great leader at this school, a lot of students look up to her because of her leadership skills, and like I said, she wants to learn, she’s soaking it all up. We’ve challenged her as much as we can here at the high school. She is doing awesome in her classes at Highlands, so her next giant step will be to impress the people at the University of New Mexico,” Segura said.

Baca said she has been a West Las Vegas Don her whole life, and even after college will most likely remain in her beloved New Mexico. She said she wants to study earth and planetary sciences, and minor in forestry.

Baca says she is a bigtime video gamer and loves to draw cartoon figures and portraits. A number of her works are displayed at the school.

Bonita’s mother is Maria “Debbie” Macias. She has two brothers Santiago and Robert Macias, and said she considers her godfather, Raymond Baca, her father figure in her life. The family works the Baca ranch in Maes, N.M.