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Superintendent's News

Posted: May 15, 2023

Ready to Take on the World

In his weekly message, Superintendent Scott Elder thanks all the teachers and APS staff who helped the Class of 2023 in its journey to graduation.

Superintendent Scott Elder addresses College & Career High School graduates.

Superintendent Scott Elder addresses College & Career High School graduates.

One of the best parts of being Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent is that I get to participate in lots of graduation ceremonies this time of year. There’s nothing like watching high school seniors clad in caps and gowns walking across the stage to receive their diplomas.

It’s beautiful to see these young women and men mark the culmination of 13 years of hard work. You see a mix of emotions on their faces: joy as they contemplate what they have pulled off; sentimentality as they part ways with longtime friends; and excitement as they prepare to take on the world.

And as I see those students ready to head off to their next adventures I think of all the educators who helped mold them into amazing young adults, from their kindergarten teachers all the way up to their calculus teachers. It’s fitting that this is Teacher Appreciation Week because this is the time of year when teachers get to see the fruits of their labor.

We have amazing students graduating, like Abocha Ebakyelo, a refugee who fled war in Africa and enrolled at Del Norte his freshman year not knowing English. He is planning to attend Central New Mexico Community College and wants to become a police officer. And Evan Claar a National Indigenous Scholar from Eldorado High who is heading to Stanford. We’ve got Eleanor Hynson from Early College Academy who is moving to England to attend college and play soccer at Northumbria University. And over at College and Career High School we’ve got Jaqueline Ortiz, the daughter of migrants from Mexico who has already earned 91 college credits and is heading to New Mexico State University’s nursing program. Her ultimate goal is to become a midwife.

I’m just scratching the surface on this amazing class.

It’s important for us to take a moment to celebrate all of the teachers, along with counselors, office staff and other APS employees, who helped these students succeed. As amazing as these young men and women are, they couldn’t have done it without the support they received from their families and from the teachers and staff at their schools – from the second-grade teachers who helped them become better readers to the coaches and high school counselors who helped them navigate difficult setbacks in their lives.

Parents know how hard you worked for their kids.

One such parent reached out late last month to tell me about an Atrisco Heritage Academy High School counselor, Brenna Mc Jimsey, who went out of her way to ensure that her son would cross the finish line.

“I cannot thank her enough,” the woman wrote in an email. “She changed our lives.”

She went on to write that she suffered a major health crisis and that had a profound effect on her son. She said her father also died recently, and Ms. Mc Jimsey helped her son through that loss.

“I owe her a debt that I doubt can be repaid,” the woman wrote.

I’ve said this so often that I probably sound like a broken record right now, but it’s worth repeating.

The work that you, as educators, do day in and day out changes lives, whether it’s helping our refugee students navigate life in the U.S., or helping a struggling student deal with a personal crisis. We cannot ever forget that. So, to all of our teachers and to all of the others who work with our students, I thank you!