ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Several dozen non-traditional students are proving it doesn’t matter if you walk across the stage in May or July — as long as you get that diploma.
This weekend, more than 200 of those students did just that.
For Antoinette Chavira, it was hard watching the typical high school graduation season come and go year after year and not getting her diploma.
She is 21 years old now. At 18, she put her high school graduation plans on hold to raise her baby daughter.
“I was having like a lot of difficulty graduating. I was in and out of school, in and out of homes,” Chavira said. “And I just wanted to succeed for my daughter and myself and my new family,” Chavira said.
It took years to catch up in school. Chavira credits her family’s support. She said many pushed her to get a GED.
“I kept turning them down. I’m glad I did because I’m finally here, I made it,” she said.
Chavira is one of the many APS graduates who have now earned their diplomas after taking summer courses.
“It’s amazing. I’m so excited,” she said.
“These are really committed people to their goals and reaching their goals for graduation,” said Laura Valdez, APS Instructional Manager for Secondary Summer Learning. She said, completing credits in the summer is not easy and also not free.
“So if I didn’t have the Nusenda scholarship for summer school, I would not have been able to pay for it and their scholarship just really saved me,” Chavira said.
“She’s a survivor and she’s a really really amazing person,” Valdez said about Chavira.
She shared her story of perseverance, as the chosen commencement speaker.
“I feel really accomplished now and that I can actually do it,” Chavira said. She said she will start classes soon at CNM and hopes to transfer to UNM.
She wants to pursue a degree in psychiatry.