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NMJC Student Honored at State Capitol

NMJC Student Honored at State Capitol photo 2/26/2007 10:16:58 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. When it comes to academic excellence at New Mexico Junior College, Shannon Watkins is the real deal.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Watkins, the daughter of Harrison and Brenda Watkins of Hobbs, was honored February 21 in Santa Fe in the State Capitol's Rotunda, along with 32 other outstanding members of Phi Theta Kappa (the national honor society for community college students) from New Mexico's 18 community colleges. The students made up this year's New Mexico All-State Academic Team, which is presented annually by the New Mexico Association of Community Colleges and New Mexico Independent Community Colleges.

Prior to the recognition ceremony, Watkins, who serves as president of the NMJC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, was the guest of honor at a private breakfast at Inn of the Governors that included state legislators and college dignitaries. Senators Gay Kernan and Carroll Leavell, along with Representatives Don Bratton, Keith Gardner, and Shirley Tyler were in attendance, along with NMJC President Dr. Steve McCleery, Vice President for Instruction Dr. John Gratton, Vice President for Student Services Dr. Regina Organ, and Phi Theta Kappa sponsor Professor John Klepper.

During the ceremony, Lt. Governor Diane Denish congratulated the honorees, calling them "New Mexico's elite academic team." She also challenged them to stay in New Mexico and lead the state to greater honors through a personal dedication to "edu-conomy," or the steady path of progress that begins with education and ends with a better quality of living.

Other highlights included Speaker of the House Ben Lujan's official proclamation of February 21 as Community College Day and a cultural performance by the Cedar Lodge Drummers from the University of New Mexico-Gallup.

This May, Watkins will receive two degrees from NMJC, an Associate of Science in Biology degree and an Associate of Arts in General Studies. Upon graduation, she plans to attend West Texas A & M University where she will work toward a degree in Pediatric Physical Therapy.

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