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Luna Rough Riders ride it out

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By David Giuliani

Luna Community College students crossed the stage Saturday morning to celebrate their 2008 commencement.

About 700 audience members cheered on the 141 graduates who walked the line, with 73 members of the class graduating in absentia.

The Rev. John C. Brasher of Our Lady of Sorrows gave the invocation.

“We ask health for the graduateseeso that they themselves can always serve you faithfully in their chosen fields,” Brasher said. “May they prosper with the work of their hands all the days of their lives.”

Interim Luna President Sigfredo Maestas welcomed the graduates and audience, as well as made introductions for the Board of Trustees and President-select Pete Campos. Campos gave a pre-inaugural address.

“It’s all about professional persistence,” Campos told the graduates. “Succeed and fail, succeed and faileefailures are necessary — they’re life experiences. Take them and use them.”

New Mexico Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil offered words of advice as the commencement speaker. Vigil is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and a professor of family medicine.

“A lot of the graduates are younger, which is wonderful because you see the future in their faces,” he said.

Vigil spoke about his first jobs and previous patients and how those experiences have shaped his life. He also talked about education and its importance.

“As you know, Las Vegas has been a center for academic excellence in northern New Mexico for many, many years,” Vigil said. “Many of our leaders were educated right here in Las Vegas.”

Student achievement was recognized after the commencement address. Vidal Martinez, vice president of academics, presented Crystle Chavarria and Phillip Romero with medals for outstanding academic achievement with a Phi Theta Kappa All-USA award and scholarship. Chavarria received her degree in nursing summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average, while Romero received his degree in criminal justice with a 3.8 GPA, also summa cum laude.

Students of the semester were also recognized. William Wilson and Pamela Romero were selected as the fall 2007 and spring 2008 students of the semester. Wilson received his degree in liberal arts with a 4.0 GPA. Romero received her degrees in electronics engineering technology and manufacturing technology with a 3.85 GPA.