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ENMU-Roswell’s Adult Education Program travels graduation path

Student Speaker Tyler McQuary of Roswell. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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By the time the Adult Education Program graduates of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell cross the platform to accept their high school equivalency degrees, they often have traveled paths that are atypical, difficult or unusual.

Graduates, university officials and speakers fill the stage of the Performing Art Center at Eastern New Mexico University-
Roswell Thursday night for the 29th annual Adult Education Graduation. Keynote speaker state Rep. Candy Spence
Ezzell is standing third from left. ENMU-R President Shawn Powell is to her right. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

At the 29th annual Adult Education Graduation held Thursday night at the Performing Arts Center on campus, about 50 of the 70 adults who graduated from the program in 2019 celebrated with families and friends.

Student speaker Tyler McQuary, 18, said he wanted to encourage his classmates to continue striving for college and educational pursuits. He is studying now at ENMU-R for his associate’s degree in business administration, with an emphasis in accounting.

“I want to encourage them to continue expanding their knowledge, growing and helping themselves,” he said.

McQuary — who experienced illness during his high school years that often made him unable to attend class — said he was advised not to leave high school and pursue the adult education path. But he said he found what he needed.

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“When I did enter this program, there was a lot of help, there was a lot of support,” he said. “While I don’t think it was for everyone, I do think it was for the people who need the extra support. It was just a really good experience for me.”

Hilda Pacheco-Peeples, adult education director, said McQuary received a $500 scholarship from the Workforce Youth Program, which she said has helped the program and its students in many ways during the year.

She expressed her pride in the students this year.

“They are all wonderful,” she said. “The good thing about this group is that they have already begun their college courses.”

Another student receiving recognition was Cynthia Flores, who earned honors for her performance on the equivalency exams.

The featured commencement speaker was Candy Spence Ezzell. A New Mexico State Representative for Chaves County and District 58 since 2004, Ezzell is also an owner of the 2 C Slash Ranch. She has been involved in agriculture since childhood, growing up in Cottonwood near Artesia. She also is known as a mentor to youth, both as a parent and as a 4-H leader. A graduate of Artesia High School, she attended New Mexico State University, where she studied pre-veterinary medicine, and ENMU-R, where she majored in accounting.

Since 1986, ENMU-R has issued more than 4,000 high school equivalency diplomas.

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