Serving the High Plains

Mesalands holds in-person graduation

About 60 students participated in Mesalands Community College's spring graduation ceremony Friday at Tucumcari High School's Rattler Gymnasium.

Mesalands Interim President Allen Moss, noting it was the college's first in-person graduation in four years because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, said it was "a time for celebration."

In addition to recognizing graduates, Moss also lauded Mesalands' faculty and family members who provided support.

In addition to those who receive associate's degrees, the college recognized dual-enrollment students, including those from Raton who received wind-energy certificates.

The keynote speaker was Carlos Marquez, a pharmacist at Mesa Winds Pharmacy in Tucumcari and a former Mesalands student.

Marquez noted he was standing in the same stage where he received his diploma from Tucumcari High School nine years before.

He said MCC's courses proved useful to prepare for his future college career at New Mexico State University, as he was the first member of his family to attend college.

Marquez said he encountered challenges while taking higher-education classes and raising family. At one point, he considered going on to medical school, but his application to the University of New Mexico was rejected.

Though he was devastated at the time, in retrospect, he called it a "so-called failure."

"Without failures, I would not be enjoying the life I'm living," he said.