By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
There are more than 50 students who graduated from local high schools will be receiving another diploma Saturday, this time from Eastern New Mexico University and they said they wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of family, friends and ENMU staff.
New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish will be the commencement speaker and the names of Portales High School graduates like Emily Partin, Dawn Idsinga, Terence Sharpe, Caleb King, will be read during the graduation ceremony. They are just a few of the approximately 367 students who will receive degrees at 10 a.m. at Greyhound Arena.
Delia Freeman will be accepting her diploma, sad because one of the people who inspired her will not be there. Freeman’s husband, Larry Freeman passed away in April of 2000. She says it’s also a happy time because other family members who helped inspire her will be there Saturday.
Freeman said she graduated from Portales High School in 1985, but didn’t go to college immediately. She worked with children at the Headstart Center in Portales before going to ENMU.
“My husband was my inspiration,” a sad Freeman said. “He kept me going and helped me study. I wish he could be there.”
Freeman said she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to succeed in college, but Larry and her family kept inspiring her. Freeman said one of those family members is her mother, Abundia Diaz of Portales.
Freeman will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in Spanish. She said she is traveling later in May to Merida, Yucatan, in Mexico and will be there for four weeks.
Freeman said she is interested in doing missionary work.
Jeff Howard, a 2001 PHS graduate, played football for the ENMU Greyhounds and will be receiving his bachelor’s degree in biology as cum laude. Howard said he decided to attend ENMU because of family and he attended ENMU with his girlfriend Laci Lee, and the couple has since married.
Howard’s father, Mike, is the offensive coordinator for the Greyhounds.
“It (ENMU) was a place where we could go together,” Howard said. “She received her degree last May.”
Howard said going through the biology program with Laci was helpful to the both of them. It made them more disciplined to study.
Howard said he is receiving his biology degree with an emphasis in pre-med.
Ashley Dawn Ferguson, a 2002 PHS graduate, will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in elementary education as summa cum laude Saturday. Ferguson attended the teacher’s fair on the ENMU campus Tuesday and visited with officials from the Roswell School District. Ferguson said she will be moving to Roswell in July.
“I’m going to be saddened (about graduating),” Ferguson said. “I had a lot of fun and learned a lot of things from the college experience. The staff from the education department was very good. They were very helpful and helped me succeed.”
Ferguson said she plans on either taking online classes or classes on campus at ENMU to receive her master’s degree.
Brooke Parker, a 2002 PHS graduate, was born and raised in Portales and after getting her degree in business adminstration and marketing she aspires to move to Dallas and work there, where her aunt lives. Parker said family members from Dallas, Denver and Nebraska will be making the trip to Portales for ENMU graduation.
“I’m going to miss so many people and the friendships,” Parker said. “I’ve always been around family, but I think it (move to Dallas) will be good. I’m going to miss my family.”
Parker said the four and a half years of working as a customer service representative for Yucca Telecommunications and her two years working as an ENMU President’s Ambassador will be helpful experience for her resume.