Class of 2003 high school graduates (counter-clockwise from bottom left) Brenda Grado, 18, Daniel Aguilar, 18, Andy Garza, 18, Isaac Arzola, 18, and Ashley Sanders, 18, will begin their college careers Monday as classes start at CCC.
By Gary Mitchell
Friona High School graduates Daniel Aguilar and Andy Garza as well as Texico High School graduate Brenda Grado are blazing new educational trails for their families.
They will be the first in their families to attend college when Clovis Community College starts its fall semester Monday.
“I’m the first of my family to graduate from high school,” said Garza, 18. “My family was just happy I graduated. They wanted me to go to college.”
“That’s true for me, too,” Grado said. “My family wanted me to have a better life than they had. By going to college, I hope to find a career, something I enjoy doing.”
Another Clovis Community College freshman Ashley Sanders, an 18-year-old Clovis High School graduate, said she’s attending college “to make something of myself.”
“I’m going into dental hygiene, and eventually I would like to become a dentist,” said Sanders, who has already taken six classes at CCC through the concurrent enrollment program between the college and the high school.
“It’s more one-on-one here than going to a university,” she said. “I’m still able to be close to my family and my friends.”
Michelle Schmidt, dean of student services at CCC, said there are 3,366 enrolled for the fall semester as of Friday, including 243 first-time freshmen.
Isaac Arzola, 18, a Friona High School graduate and friend of Aguilar and Garza, said he chose Clovis Community College because of its location.
“I was going to go to West Texas A&M University, but I decided not to go,” he said. “I wanted to stay at home another year. Besides, the (CCC) commercial says the teacher knows your name.”
Another factor for Aguilar, Arzola and Garza is the sharing of transportation costs from Friona.
“We car pool,” said Aguilar, who’s majoring in radiology. “It saves on money and gas.”
“We’re all best friends,” Arzola said. “Monica Sanchez in student services worked it out for us to have all our classes the same.”
Sanchez, who serves as director of recruitment and retention, said she was glad to help.
“We were able to get their classes scheduled,” she said. “We can do that with anyone who wants to have classes with a friend or a family member.”
Grado, who had already taken three classes as a high school student through the college’s Technical Career Center, said she chose CCC because of a good financial arrangement.
“I got a scholarship that pays my tuition, so I decided to come here,” said the criminal justice major said.
Garza, who is majoring in computer information systems, said he was “excited” about attending college.
“It’s closer to home, and it fits better with my work schedule,” he said. “I only come Tuesdays and Thursdays to school. It’s already different from high school. It’s bigger, and there are a lot of different people.”
There’s only one drawback to the college, Grado said.
“There’s not any competitive sports or cheerleading here,” the former Texico cheerleader said.