Adelicia Realivasquez, a sophomore at ACE Leadership High School, has it all figured out.
Though she’s only 16, she knows what she wants to do when she graduates high school — go to trade school, and become a welder.
So when she heard that Central New Mexico Community College had a welding program, she figured the school’s annual “College Day,” which was held on the school’s main campus on Friday, would be a great opportunity to soak up as much as she can about her future profession.
“It’s very interesting to me,” she said. “It’s pretty cool to learn from them, for them to give me tips.”
Some 1,800 students from 35 schools showed up to the recruiting event, CNM Outreach Manager Meredith Tucker estimated, where they were greeted by people involved in programs they may have been interested in, building tours and food trucks.
“It really is an opportunity to expand high schoolers’ idea of what life is like after high school, what college is … versus the idea of what college is, getting them excited about those possibilities,” she said. “And, hopefully, getting them really excited about CNM.”
CNM students in the welding program — like 24-year-old Alyssa Copeland — put on a show for the high schoolers, giving live demonstrations and letting them get some hands-on experience.
“I love inspiring young people, especially young females to join — we need more females,” Copeland said. “But just watching all these, young, bright people get so excited over welding, I’m like, ‘This is me, five years ago, when I came for my College Day.’ ”
School and CNM staff alike agreed that the day was important to showing young students that the possibilities before them can be endless.
For Mission Achievement and Success Charter School math teacher Praveen Kumar Tapsi, that meant leading by example for his students — even if that example was a long shot to beat — by setting a planking record of over seven minutes at the exercise science table.
“They can explore so many activities,” Tapsi, winded, said in an interview. “It’s not a particular field they (must) stick to — whatever their interest, they can explore (it), and they will get a proper platform.”