Tucumcari High School seniors, Jamie Pender and Nicole Crocker, recently received recognition from the New Mexico Department of Education for getting high scores on their ACT, a national college admissions exam, and maintaining a 3.5 grade point average or better at the same time.
The two students received letters of recognition from the education department, and they will be receiving certificates from the department during graduation ceremonies. The education department’s criteria specified that a student had to score a 26 or higher on his or her ACT. Crocker scored a 26 while Pender scored a 32.
Crocker said she studied dilligently prior to the admissions test. “I worked so hard to get that 26,” said Crocker. “My mom and dad were so proud of me.” Crocker said she plans to attend the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
“I will be entering the nursing program at UNM,” she said. “The recognition from the Department of Education is kind of an added bonus.” Crocker may be attending classes with Pender in college because Pender will be undertaking a pre-med course of study at UNM.
Pender scored a 32 on the exam, but said she had lots of practice under her belt. “My mom made me start taking the test in sixth grade,” said Pender. “I got used to taking the annual test. I wasn’t very nervous this last time I took it.” Pender said the challenge for most students in taking the ACT is that so much is riding on the outcome. “Some people taking the test think that if they do poorly, they might ruin their chances of going to college,” she said. “That’s what makes them so nervous about the test.”
Pender actually met UNM’s qualification standard when she was in the eighth grade. “I scored a 22 on the ACT when I was in the eighth grade,” said Pender. “A 22 is enough to be accepted by UNM. I plan to eventually attend medical school at UNM. I’ll probably be taking undergraduate courses with Nicole (Crocker) since she is going into nursing.”