By William Thompson: Quay County Sun
– College days not over for some.
Mesalands Community College held its graduation ceremony Friday evening at Tucumcari High School Auditorium. About 100 friends and family members of the 38 graduates attended the ceremony.
New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands, Patrick Lyons, gave the graduation address. He spoke briefly of leadership.
“Tackle the tough issues, solve the problems and move on,” Lyons told the graduates. “As President John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable from one another.”
Twelve students received Associate of Arts degrees while other students received certificates in farrier science, nail technology and truck driving.
Diana Lynn Gordon, who came to Mesalands from Portales, received an Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in early childhood education.
“During my time here, I got to observe classroom situations in Tucumcari, Logan and Portales,” Gordon said. “My class size here was about ten students per instructor. I plan to transfer now to ENMU.”
Donna Garcia enrolled at Mesalands because of the small class sizes. Her Associate of Arts degree had an emphasis in criminal justice.
“I started out at New Mexico State,” Garcia said, “but there I was a number, not a name. Here at Mesalands you can talk to anybody and everybody has helped me in so many ways.”
Garcia said her criminal justice classes gave her the opportunity to visit prisons in Santa Rosa and Hobbs to see the current state of corrections in New Mexico.
“A big problem in today’s world is that we are warehousing the mentally ill in prisons,” Garcia said. “That’s an area I’d be interested in looking into.”
Garcia said she will continue her studies at New Mexico Highlands University, perhaps studying to be a social worker who will help prison inmates.
Mesalands president Phillip O. Barry told the graduates it was people like themselves who make Mesalands a growing community college.
“Mesalands Community College continues to grow and prosper,” Barry said. “The importance of this college is reflected in our graduates tonight.”
In addition to offering leadership advice, Lyons also told graduates to have fun and to remember what’s really important.
“My family and friends are the most important people in my life,” Lyons said. “Always keep that in mind.”