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News from 2022-2023

Posted: May 5, 2023

CCHS Opened up a World of Opportunities for One Grad

Mixed in with her biology, anatomy, and calculus classes were courses that earned the aspiring midwife an automotive certificate.

Jaqueline Ortiz

Jaqueline Ortiz

As the daughter of migrants and the second oldest of five children, Jaqueline Ortiz has never been one to shy away from hard work.

So when her mom brought up the prospect of College and Career High School, Ortiz latched onto the idea and never looked back.

College and Career High School is a dual-credit APS magnet located a stone’s throw from Isotopes Park. It’s on the main campus of Central New Mexico Community College, and its students simultaneously earn a high school diploma and a two-year college degree, certificate, or credits toward a bachelor’s degree.

“She really liked that you can get ahead, that there was opportunity in this school,” Ortiz said, referring to her mom, Elvira Cuevas.

Ortiz has certainly taken advantage of those opportunities.

She graduated from CCHS on April 28, having also earned an integrated studies associate, a pre-health science associate, a general studies certificate, and a health and wellness certificate.

Her ultimate goal is to become a midwife, but she’s heading to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces in the fall to pursue a degree in general nursing. She then plans to return to Albuquerque and specialize in midwifery at the University of New Mexico.

Ortiz has already earned 91 college credits, having taken classes in anatomy, biology, and calculus, among many others. She has also distinguished herself as the first female student at CCHS to earn an automotive certificate.

At times, she admits, it was awkward to be one of only two or three women in her automotive courses, but she said her peers were welcoming.

While she’s not necessarily planning to pursue a career fixing vehicles, she has already put the skills to good use, replacing part of her vehicle’s brake system. Beyond that, she said she wouldn’t mind working in a garage while pursuing her degree and she likes the idea of being able to help family with their vehicles and of having a skill to fall back on.

“One thing that really drives me is to learn how things work,” Ortiz said. “That’s really interesting to me. It’s one of the reasons why I also like anatomy, it’s to learn the basics of how things work and function together.”

Ortiz was a member of CCHS’s first freshman class. Prior to 2019, the school had only accepted sophomores, juniors, and seniors. CCHS had 61 graduates this year, 49 of whom also earned a degree or certificate from CNM.

Ortiz credits a freshman seminar class with helping set her class up for success because it prepared them for the deadlines and other expectations they’d have to meet in their CNM courses. She’s also grateful to all of the CCHS teachers, who, she said, went out of their way to help her and her classmates succeed.

But her biggest inspiration is her mother, the woman who always prioritizes education and who insisted that Jacqueline and her brothers and sisters read and continue to learn even during summer breaks.

“She had five kids, she’s working, and she’s in school (at UNM),” Ortiz said. “It’s really an inspiration for me.”

Visit our Class of 2023 graduation page for more information about graduation, to watch ceremonies, and to see the graduation schedule.