More than 140 students from Socorro’s ISD early high school programs celebrated their milestone achievement in earning an associate degree while still in high school with special ceremonies throughout the month of December.
Mission Early College High School, Rams Early College at Montwood High School, Socorro Early College at Socorro High School and Trailblazers Early College at Americas High School honored their fall 2021 college graduates by awarding them their stoles signifying in-person achievement and virtually events.
Students also took to the stage at the El Paso Community College graduation ceremony to collect their college degree on December 10 at the Don Haskins Center.
Mission Early College High School
Forty-eight Mission Early College high school students received their stoles in a special theft ceremony on Dec. 1 at the SISD District Service Center, where family, friends and MECHS educators gathered to celebrate the success of the students.
“As we all know, over the past two years our students have gone through a lot of adversity and overcome a lot of obstacles,” said Benjamin Ortega, Director of MECHS. “This group of students is especially special because they earned their associate degrees while facing the hurdles that the pandemic presented, and they still managed to make MECHS and SISD proud.”
The students, who are part of the 15th batch of graduates from MECHS, were also proud of their outstanding achievement.
“Just knowing that I was able to accomplish something that many high school students couldn’t say they did makes this moment even more special,” said Julian Medina, senior at MECHS. “It’s a blessing to have this opportunity, I think every student should take advantage of these opportunities if they can.”
Rams Early College
Thirty-three students from Rams Early College have completed their Associates Degree and are ready to pursue their education and career aspirations.
REC staff, faculty, administrators and family members recognized their students in an in-person flight ceremony on December 3.
“It’s a blessing to see what the students have accomplished, especially now during the pandemic. They stayed the course and learned a lot on their own while working remotely, ”said Orlando Hairston, deputy principal of Montwood High School and principal of REC.
This is the fifth celebration of theft for REC students who have completed the program.
“Today I feel great, but it’s a little unreal because I never imagined myself in this position,” said Ariadna Perez, senior of the REC program. “I always knew I wanted to continue my studies, but this is going to help me a lot financially, help it to be a faster process, and it will be a better experience overall.”
The students felt honored to know that their hard work had paid off.
“It shows that if you work hard there is always a price in the end,” said Oscar Sanchez, senior at Rams Early College. “No matter how difficult things can be with ambition and hard work, you can make it.”
Socorro Early College
Twenty-six students from Socorro Early College celebrated receiving their stoles in a virtual ceremony on December 9. This is the seventh group of students to earn their stoles at Socorro High School.
“Although they have faced everything that is happening with the pandemic, arriving at this moment is a testament to their courage, resilience and commitment to their educational journey,” said Ignacio Estorga, principal of Socorro high school. “I couldn’t be more proud of them because they are going to learn a lot from it and they are going to come out stronger.”
Parents placed the stoles and cords on their children as they received a brief camera spotlight during the virtual ceremony.
“I was really excited for today because it’s a celebration of my accomplishments,” said Carla Corral, a senior with the SEC program. “It means a lot to me to achieve this goal because I want to make my loved ones really proud.”
For Simon Hernandez, senior at Socorro high school, it was not only a special moment for him but also for his little brother. Hernandez hopes to set a good example for his brother by becoming the first member of their family to pursue higher education.
“It is extremely important that I have the opportunity to show him that education is a great path because it is a gateway that opens millions of doors to opportunities in the future,” Hernandez said.
The pioneers of the first college
Thirty-five students from Trailblazers Early College received their stoles in a special virtual ceremony on December 16. The school celebrated its third cohort of students to earn their stoles.
“It’s a fantastic thing to see, especially as an educator,” said Carlos Sandoval, deputy principal of Americas High School and principal of TEC. “Earning an associate’s degree at such a young age is exceptional. “
Timilehin Adeniran, a senior in the TEC program, said he wanted to scream at the top of his lungs after the feat.
“I love that feeling of being able to start something and finish it,” Adreniran said. “This is how I feel saving time and money with this program and I also feel like setting a standard for my younger siblings. “
Socorro ISD was the first district in the region to open its first high school, Mission Early College High School, in 2006.
The district then opened three other early college programs over a three-year period, Socorro Early College in 2015, Rams Early College in 2016, and Trailblazers Early College in 2017.
SISD, in partnership with EPCC, offers the area’s earliest college programs with a program at all comprehensive high schools in the district, including MECHS.
SISD opened Falcon Early College at Eastlake High School, Empire Early College at El Dorado High School, and Pebble Hills Early College at Pebble Hills High School in July 2019.