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News from 2020-2021

Posted: April 9, 2021

AHS Student Accepted Into Two Ivy League, Two Other Prestigious Schools

Nena Dorame is choosing among Yale, Harvard, Stanford, plus the historic women's college Mount Holyoke.

Nena Dorame has some serious thinking to do.

The Albuquerque High School senior was accepted into four prestigious colleges -- Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and Mount Holyoke, one of the Seven Sisters women's colleges once known as the female equivalent of the formerly all-male Ivy League. 

She'll have to choose one of the schools by the first week of May. As of mid-April, she said she had no idea which school she will attend in the fall. 

Nena earned those impressive acceptance letters by being a good student, musician, athlete, and contributing member of her school, city, and native communities. She is a member of the Navajo Nation. 

Nena says she is interested in pursuing a degree in planning and urban studies and architecture. Last summer, she interned with UNM's Indigenous Design and Planning Institute, where she worked with native architects. She also participated in College Horizons, a free college program for Native American students that helped her prepare her college applications.  

"I always want to give back to my native community and the Navajo Nation," she said, "so whatever I study, it will connect back to them."

She said all four of the colleges she was accepted into have strong Native American student communities. "I think it's important to help create change in those institutions. I want to be one of the Native American kids who can add to their communities," she said.  

Nena admits to studying a lot, having spent much of her childhood at UNM's Zimmerman Library, where her mother, Monica, is a librarian. All that studying, plus lots of good grades in 19 honors and AP classes, helped her earn a 4.7 GPA. 

"I studied a lot, but I also put a lot of time out on the field with band, at football games, basketball games, always practicing," said Nena, who is a flute and piccolo player and the drum major for the AHS marching band. "I've had a blast in high school. We made the best of it." 

Nena also is a tennis player who won the Metro Championship in doubles as a sophomore. The pandemic canceled the season last year, but she's back on the courts as a senior. One of the things she likes about Mount Holyoke, she admitted, is that she could continue playing tennis there, which isn't an option at the other three schools.

Nena also works as a tennis coach at the city of Albuquerque's Jerry Cline Tennis Complex. And she is co-president of the National Honor Society and a member of the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council.

One influence on her decision could be her sister,  Dinée, who graduated from Yale University in 2015. But Nena isn't admitting to a special allegiance to her sister's alma mater -- at least not yet.

Their father, Doug, the athletic director at Albuquerque High, gives much credit for Nena's success to her teachers over the years at Monte Vista Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School, and AHS. "APS really shaped her as an individual. She had really good experiences," Doug said.

Nena is one of many Native American students who will graduate with honors from APS schools in May. The APS Indian Education Department created a special edition of its newsletter, Storyteller, featuring several of those students who earned Stole and Seal Awards. 


Tags: Core Schools