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Student to be Part of Two Graduations

Student to be Part of Two Graduations photo 5/13/2016 9:15:49 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. (Story by Dorothy Fowler - Hobbs News Sun)

When New Mexico Junior College graduates its class at 7 p.m. tonight, Teresa Anna Armendarez, 17, will walk the stage in her red cap and gown for the first of two graduations she’ll have this year. She’ll wear a black cap and gown on May 21 when she graduates from Hobbs High School. She’s the daughter or Migda and William Armendarez and one of a growing number of high school students who graduate from high school with either college credit hours or a certification award by a community college on their transcripts.

School officials have called the dual credit program a big win for students, offering them the opportunity to get certifications or cut as much as a year off their college career while in high school, all for no cost.

Teresa spent two years at NMJC learning the ins and outs of a specialty service offered in many day spas all over the nation. She earned certificates as a nail tech and aesthetician. Those certificates entitle her to take the state examinations that will allow her to sell her services as a manicurist or pedicurist or as person who gives people facials, applies make-up or wax treatments.

She will take the state tests in Albuquerque this summer.

“I want to stay in Hobbs and work while I earn my associate’s degree at the college,” she said last week. “When I go back to the college, I’ll be taking academic courses.”

Armendarez said although the course work for the certificates was relatively easy, “I am surprised at how much I learned about the human body.” Earning the certificate involved not only learning the tasks associated with providing the services. Armendarez also had to complete a project involving a “real life situation. We had to think about what we would do if we owned our own shop. What supplies would we need? How would we get laundry done? What kinds of equipment would we need? What kind of schedule would we need to set? There was a lot more to it than I had thought about,” she said. “Some people didn’t want to do the work for the project.” “Doing the project made me think about it being better to own my own salon. I wouldn’t have to be working under anyone else, and could set my own hours,” she said. She said she hadn’t thought about the possibility of hiring employees to work in a shop she owned. She has thought about her earning potential and although she won’t be able to work legally until after she passes the state boards, she knows that pay varies from salon to salon. Students in the certification class did not practice on paying clients the way students in the hairdressing classes do, she said. “Instead, we practiced a lot on each other.” Certification in a variety of areas is offered at both the high school and college levels. Courses designed to lead to certification are part of a renewed interest in preparing students to enter the job market soon after graduating from high school.

Dorothy N. Fowler can be reached at 575-391-5446 or education@hobbsnews.com .

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