Mesalands holds spring graduation

Mesalands Community College's President Thomas Newsom presents Tonie Martinez's posthumous associates degree to her daughter Mandi Martinez, grandson Marvin Reese and son Josh Martinez during Friday night's graduation.

Mesalands Community College’s President Thomas Newsom presents Tonie Martinez’s posthumous associates degree to her daughter Mandi Martinez, grandson Marvin Reese and son Josh Martinez during Friday night’s graduation.

By Thomas Garcia

QCS Senior Writer

Mesalands Community College’s student speaker Cynthia Anaya encouraged the 37 fellow students to use the accomplishment of graduating as the fuel to drive them towards their grand ambition.

Mesalands President Dr. Thomas Newsroom introduced Anaya as the student speaker for Friday’s commencement ceremony at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

Newsom shared with the crowd a portion of Anaya’s history as a student of Mesalands. From obtaining her General Education degree in 2010 to her earning a pre-nursing certificate at Friday’s ceremony.

Newsom said Anaya plans to attend Mesalands again in the fall for the new Certified Nursing Assistant/phlebotomy program. He said afterward she plans to attend college elsewhere to receive her full nursing degree.

“Anaya is reluctant to leave and were reluctant to let her go,” Newsom said.

Anaya said being only half of the way to reaching her goal of becoming a certified nurse might not seem like a means to celebrate.

“In looking at the glass as half empty, I have to come to the realization that we cannot let our grand ambitions get in the way of our small, but meaningful accomplishments,” Anaya said.

Anaya said for her and the other graduates, Friday’s graduation was a small step, but a step if not taken would leave them standing still.

Newsom introduced the commencement speaker, Richard Luarkie, former governor of the Pueblo of Laguna, who told the graduates they have a responsibility to pay it forward and to continue to grow and improve.

“Graduating from Mesalands has given each of you a tool,” Luarkie said. “It is a tool to look at the things differently.”

Luarkie said this gift would aid the graduates in the future as they look at the obvious. He said the graduates would be able to look beyond the obvious to find the opportunity that is hidden.

“Do not spend time debating if the glass is half empty or half full,” Luarkie said. “Instead, decide what to do with what’s in the glass.”

During the commencement, a special presentation was given for Tonie Martinez, a Mesalands graduate who died in a single-car accident on Nov. 1, 2014 on State Highway 469 near Logan.

Martinez had begun taking classes at Mesalands in the spring of 2012. She earned enough credits to receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration in the fall of 2014.

Martinez’s daughter, Mandi Martinez and son, Josh Martinez, accepted her degree on their mother’s behalf.

“It was a nice gesture by Mesalands to present my brother and I with the degree my mom had earned,” said Mandi Martinez.

Martinez said earning this degree meant so much to her mother, who, she said was always hard at work on school courses.

“My brother and I truly appreciate what Mesalands did on behalf of our mother,” Martinez said.

The final degree of the night was presented to Beth Sisneros, director of the educational services center at Mesalands. Sisneros received her Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Franklin University.

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