It is never too late to determine how a young life is going to be. How a youngster is formulated in life determines the attitude and altitude in which a child rolls as they get older. No one represents that more than Dr. Barbara Ryan who has made it her mission to offer the highest education possible.
It is apparent that Dr. Ryan will reach back to help pull her students higher and pull them forward to the future they don’t know they can have.
Dr. Ryan on Wednesday invited former Pecos Elementary student and current University of New Mexico basketball star Jaedyn De La Cerda to come back and talk with the kids, shoot hoops and sign autographs during summer school.
Jaedyn knows the value of setting goals and having a dream as she is living it now, having won a New Mexico state basketball championship and being on scholarship at the school of her dreams, University of New Mexico.
Jaedyn is in midseason form as her shots went swish, swish and swish through the net in a game of horse and around the world with one of the faculty members. The students sat on the floor and cheered as she hit nothing but net. Her former teachers were there and proud of her as they told the students that anything was possible if they applied themselves.
“I wanted the students to see someone that had gone to Pecos,” Dr. Ryan said, “went through high school and is in college and is being successful. Jaedyn is fulfilling her dreams.”
Dr. Ryan feels like having Jaedyn come back made an impact on her students and that they felt like they could achieve what Jaedyn has done. Dr. Ryan feels like it is never too early to plant the seeds of success and goal setting in her students’ minds. She feels like the students see Jeadyn being a hoop star and the kids know that she started right at Pecos Elementary School like they are and it is possible.
“I believe that our kids need to have a dream,” Dr. Ryan said, “then they will have goals. Otherwise, there is no point in staying in school and if the kids have a goal, they have to get goods, you have to stay in school and if they’re going to be an athlete, they have to stay fit.”
Jaedyn has not forgotten where she has come from, but it took a 6 a.m. phone call from her mother, Tara, to get her to come back on an off day from basketball practice. Not only is Jaedyn working hard to secure a starting spot on the Lobos basketball team this season, but her team is also getting ready to leave for a trip to Europe to play international competition against teams from Florence, Rome, Paris, Venice and Greece. Jaedyn sees the trip as a way for the team to bond and become closer.
Jaedyn started five games and played in 30 games last season. She played well against San Jose State University, scoring 31 points while making seven three-pointers and grabbing seven rebounds. She made a jump in her sophomore year where she played on 2.7 minutes a game to where she played a key run in the Lobos tournament run last season, playing 18.6 minutes a game off the bench where she was counted on to provide instant offense.
Jaedyn has grown in more ways than one since she has graduated high school. One of the most notable things is the tattoo on her left arm, and she is not done yet adding more to her arm. Jaedyn noted that she wasn’t allowed to get any tattoos while living in her mom’s house, so she waited until she went to college. He mother found out on social media that Jaedyn got a tattoo.
The tattoos are a tribute and reminder of her grandmother, Dolores Sanchez, who was taken from her when Jaedyn was young. The tattoos are of wings on her left forearm of an angel and flowers.
“My grandmother was taken from me at an unexpected moment,” Jaedyn said. “It really hurt me and ever since that moment, it has encouraged me to be a better person, better athlete and all-around type person. I will be adding on to the back of the tattoo, her name and another piece.”
Jaedyn feels like she has improved in her mentality and she has become more aggressive and more of a dominant player on the court. She is looking for her shots more and is not afraid to take the big shot after two years in the system. She feels at ease playing basketball and the game has slowed down for her, but it has taken almost two years to make the jump from Roswell to Division I.
“My freshman year, I was the slowest person on the court,” Jaedyn said. “Not being able to play motivated me and made me want to play more. I played all summer last year. I played my sophomore year. This junior year, I have a big role to fill and it’s going to be fun.”
A couple of her goals this year was to be more consistent on the court and to be a good teammate. One of the biggest things Jaedyn had to adjust to is that at Division I, everybody is great. There are no easy practices or games and there are no sorry players, everybody is there for a reason. Jaedyn feels like every game, she has to compete and be ready.
Dr. Ryan remembers in Jaedyn’s first game to Pecos, when Jaedyn’s mother, Tara, was the school nurse. At lunchtime, Jaedyn used to eat McDonald’s and fast food in the office with her mother. Dr. Ryan didn’t think Jadeyn was going to make it.
“It means a lot to me to come back to Pecos,” Jaedyn said. “The principal (Dr. Barbara Ryan) has been here since I was here, and she’s doing a really good job. I appreciate her for having me come back.”
Looking back, it seems that Dr. Ryan’s concerns about whether Jaedyn was going to make it was ill-founded, now that Jaedyn was New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year, and led Roswell to a state championship, as she gets ready to start for the New Mexico Lobos as a junior.
Dr. Ryan has reached back to get her students to reach forward to their potential in life.