New Mexico Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school serving students in grades 4-12 across New Mexico, celebrated 166 graduating seniors last Friday, the largest graduating class in the school’s history. While graduates were unable to walk across the stage to receive their diploma as tradition holds, school administrators and teachers honored the graduates with proper pomp and circumstance during the online graduation ceremony.
With the virtual graduation, family members, friends, teachers and administrators were still able to gather in the digital setting to commemorate this milestone and celebrate the many accomplishments of the Class of 2020. Fortunately, due to the school’s full-time virtual curriculum, seniors at New Mexico Connections Academy were able to finish their semester and complete all courses despite the public health crisis.
The Class of 2020 is comprised of graduates residing in cities across the state including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Carlsbad and more. Among the graduating class, 42% plan to attend two- or four-year colleges or universities, 19% plan to enter the work force and 10% plan to attend vocational or technical school. Collectively, the graduating class earned more than $320,000 in scholarship funds.
Benjamin Reed, of Truth or Consequences, NM is one of the graduating seniors this year.
Among the other graduates is valedictorian Alyssa Sanchez, who came to New Mexico Connections Academy her freshman year of high school seeking a more challenging curriculum. Sanchez will attend Central New Mexico Community College in the fall, with the intention of transferring to the University of New Mexico to study business marketing.
“New Mexico Connection Academy gave me the flexibility to work at my own pace and get ahead,” said Sanchez. “I was able to have more one-on-one time with my teachers, which was extremely valuable. I always felt supported and they were diligent about checking in to make sure I was doing well.”
Another accomplished member of the 2020 graduating class is Carmen Corley, an Albuquerque resident who was able to graduate a semester early in December 2019. Corley is currently enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, where she studies business and is a member of the women’s tennis team. As a competitive tennis player throughout her high school career, Corley says New Mexico Connections Academy allowed her to achieve success both academically and athletically.
“I came to New Mexico Connections Academy seeking a program with flexibility that would allow me to travel for tennis,” shared Corley. “The school allowed me to go at my own pace, create my own schedule and work around that. My teachers were welcoming and helpful and definitely played a big part in my success with the school.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s graduating class,” said Sandy Beery, New Mexico Connections Academy executive director. “These incredible students demonstrated strength and determination to have a strong finish to the school year when the world was facing some very difficult times. With the support of our incredible staff, I’m confident these students are prepared academically, socially and emotionally to take on any and all future endeavors. I wish them the very best on this next chapter of their lives.”
New Mexico Connections Academy currently serves approximately 1,100 students in grades 4-12 across New Mexico, providing them with a complete public school experience online through opportunities to develop social and emotional skills in addition to critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration abilities so they’re prepared to succeed now and as they progress through college, career and life. New Mexico Connections Academy’s scheduling flexibility allows students to arrange their daily schedule at times that work best for the whole family and benefit their ability to learn.