EDWARDS — Numbers are fun, especially if you’re a Colorado Mountain College graduate.
At Friday night’s graduation, CMC honored:
• 11 bachelor’s graduates
• 90 associate graduates
• 185 students earning certificates of occupational proficiency
• Nine graduates with Spanish proficiency certificates
• 13 graduates who earned their associate degree before they graduate from high school, because they took dual enrollment classes. That’s more than double the annual local average and is a record at any Colorado Mountain College campus.
All 13 dual enrollment program graduates are female. CMC counselor Larry Dutmer said he is not surprised.
“All of them were very organized and focused on what they wanted out of the program,” Dutmer said.
In fact, three of Battle Mountain’s dual enrollment graduates — Marisol Garcia, Perla Guerra and Steffania Trujillo — reached that peak through the school district’s Advanced Via Individual Determination program. It’s designed to help students become first-generation graduates in their families, and aiming them toward college, said Daniel Lewandowski, a Battle Mountain guidance counselor.’
Students can take college-level courses while they are in high school. That makes it possible for them to graduate college early, which works out well because college is expensive.
“The high number of this year’s concurrent enrollment program graduates is at least partly due to increased awareness among local high schools,” Dutmer said.
Among this year’s baker’s dozen:
It’s a family tradition in the Beard clan. Jaycey Beard is the second in her family to earn her associate degree before her Eagle Valley High School diploma. Her older sister Haley accomplished the same feat in 2012.
She’s headed south to McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to study radiology, a field that drew her interest when she had a blood clot during her sophomore year — also the year she began her dual enrollment.
Then there’s Allyson Ludewig, of Gypsum, an Eagle Valley High School senior. Ludewig earned her Associate of Science degree and collected it on Friday, two weeks prior to her high school graduation.
Ludewig started taking dual enrollment classes in her sophomore year.
“If you can do this, you can better yourself in life,” she said.
Ludewig is headed to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to study to be an immunologist. She’ll also be part in the school’s U.S. Army ROTC program.
Nine CMC graduates earned Spanish proficiency certificates. They had to prove Spanish proficiency in composition, reading and speaking skills. These nine are the program’s first graduates.
When Vicki Pope and her husband moved to Eagle from California nine years ago, she decided it made sense to learn Spanish with so many Spanish-speaking residents in both states.
Vicki is a stay-at-home mom and community volunteer, who wanted to be able to understand and converse in Spanish, as well as learn about a different culture.
“It wasn’t just learning a new language, it was the interaction with the other students, exploring cultures and becoming aware of prejudices. It was a lot more than I expected it to be,” she said.
Stuart Rust has lived in Edwards for 28 years after relocating from Ohio.
Rust was working on his associate degree at CMC, took a Spanish class and was smitten.
“I became obsessed with everything about the Spanish language,” he said.
Rust, a former construction worker, said he’s looking for a career path where he can use his newfound language skills every day.