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National organization honors Goddard High School senior

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The National Society of High School Scholars have inducted Mary Garcia into their organization because one of the staff at Goddard high school recognized her hard work, dedication and respect for education. Garcia plans to become a Speech Therapist at Eastern New Mexico University at Portales after high school. (Submitted Photo)

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The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) has recognized Mary Garcia, of Goddard high school for her superior academic achievement.

“A counselor or a teacher would have recommended me to the NSHSS because of the work I’ve done and my grades,” Mary said. “I’ve always loved to help people. When I go to college I’d love to be a Speech Therapist. I’m starting here at ENMU-R, then I plan to transfer to Portales. They have an excellent SLP program. I spend my spare time with my brother. He had a bad motorcycle accident.”

Mary’s mother Donna said her daughter has made the tragedy tolerable.

“He had a leg amputated,” Donna said. “She’s the most awesome nurse, she takes excellent care of him.”

Mary said she was inspired to become a speech therapist by a friend from church.

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“A friend from my church was in a bad car accident years ago,” Mary said, “and she told me that the person she remembered the most from her recovery was her speech therapist.”

Since that time she’s found support and set her sights high.

“My friend’s mom is a speech therapist and she’s talked to me about the work,” Mary said.

“For now my top priority is getting the best education I can with the time that I’ve got before I think about getting married or having children.”

Mary was selected by the NSHSS to become a member. Memberships are offered to high school students across the nation in recognition of outstanding leadership, scholarship and community commitment. NSHSS founder and chairman Claes Nobel, grand-nephew of Alfred Nobel, and senior member of the Nobel family, founders of the Nobel prize announced her award.

“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Mary has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence,” Nobel said. “Mary is now a member of a unique community of scholars – a community that represents our very best hope for the future.”

James W. Lewis, president of the NSHSS explained the work their organization does.

“We are proud to provide lifetime membership to young scholars to support their growth and development,” Lewis said. “We aim to help students like Mary build on their academic success by connecting them with unique learning experiences and resources to help prepare them for college and meaningful careers.”

The moment a new member is inducted into the NSHSS, they become a lifetime member. From high school, through college and on into their career they can count on NSHSS to connect them with resources they need to develop their strengths and pursue their passions.

Mary counts literary interests and visual arts among her passions.

“I love to read,” Mary said. “I’ll read anything. I’ve read from such an early age. I’m always reading. I’m always entering reading competitions at school and at the library. From a very young age my mom always read to me and had me read to her. The first book I remember reading was Charlotte’s Web. I’m sure there were plenty before, but it’s one of my favorites. I love photography. I’ve taken every class I could at Goddard.”

Donna called her daughter a sunset chaser, and talked about the passions she shares with her brother.

“I read to her when she was in my belly, Donna said. “Her brother is the same way so he’s turning her onto new books, and they they like to watch horror movies together.”

Donna is very proud of Mary, and knows she can rely on the young woman.

“She has been my partner ever since I started volunteering at Poor Claire’s monastery five years ago,” Donna said. “She’s learned how I shop for them so that when my son had his accident she would take their grocery list and shop for them. Any time they called she would say yes. Sometimes they would send her looking for things that were hard to find, but she’d go looking, she’d call me sometimes asking where to find something, but she never said no.

“The sisters told me that Mary is pure and beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. They’ve asked if she would join their order.”

Mary has said she plans to pursue her career wherever it takes her.

Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.