CNJ Staff Photo: Andy DeLisle
New Mexico Secretary of Education Veronica Garcia speaks at Saturday’s Lincoln-Jackson Family Center Open House.
By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
Education is a three-piece puzzle, according to Clovis Municipal Schools Community Relations Director David Briseno. Under the roof of a building rich with history those three pieces — parents, students and teachers — came together for the grand opening of the Lincoln-Jackson Family Center, he said.
Once an arts academy, once a K-6 school, once a segregated school for black students, Lincoln-Jackson is now a center for families and young students.
“This is a celebration of yet another reincarnation of this wonderful school,” Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm told some 60 people who gathered Saturday at Lincoln-Jackson for the grand opening.
Several programs are now housed at the former school, including classes for 4-year-olds and parenting and after-school programs. The arts academy merged with Bella Vista Elementary to become the Bella Vista Arts Academy.
Present to celebrate the grand opening of the Family Center, New Mexico Secretary of Education Veronica Garcia stressed the importance of families in education.
“Schools can’t do it alone,” Garcia said.
In her recent travels across the state, Garcia said, she “heard over and over from some people … they felt more welcome at Wal-Mart than they did at their neighborhood school. That’s sad,” she said.
“That’s our challenge,” she said, “to figure out how to engage parents so they can become our partners.”
Garcia lauded the family center as a model for other school districts in the state.
“I know,” she said, “Lincoln-Jackson will be a place that nurtures families.”
She told parents, “This is your center— take ownership of it. Your role is so important. You are the ones who will make a difference in the children in your community, the children of New Mexico.”
Father of four and grandparent of two, Nigel Jefferson attended Saturday’s celebration. He said the family center is poised to make an impact in the area.
“Parenting,” he said, “is a learning experience.
“I think the center will be very helpful.”