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High school students qualify for national conference after competing at NMSU

Forty-five students from across New Mexico have qualified for the national Educators Rising conference in Boston this summer after competing at the state conference, which took place last month at New Mexico State University.

Photo of three people posing for a selfie
David Morales (center), the 2016 New Mexico Teacher of the Year and a history teacher at Mayfield High School, poses with Kelsey Armijo (right), a teacher at Mayfield High School, and Christina Diaz, a senior at Mayfield, at the New Mexico Educators Rising State Student Conference in February. (NMSU photo by Adriana M. Chavez)

About 100 high school students attended the first New Mexico Educators Rising State Student Conference, hosted by NMSU’s College of Education at the Corbett Center Student Union. Students participated in 11 competitions at the state conference, including Children’s Literature and Lesson Planning. Students who placed in the top five of each category qualified to attend the national conference June 24-27.

Karen Trujillo, director of K-12 Outreach for The Alliance for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at NMSU and one of the organizers of the state conference at NMSU, said she hopes at least 20 of the students who qualified to attend the national conference will be able to attend. The students who qualified are raising funds to pay for the trip.

High school students from school districts in Aztec, Questa, Pecos, Magdalena, Espanola, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Gadsden, Bernalillo, Deming and Las Cruces attended the state conference, along with teachers from Roswell, Rio Rancho and Cuba who wanted to explore the Educators Rising organization, Trujillo said.

State Sen. William Soules spoke at the awards ceremony, and 2016 New Mexico Teacher of the Year David Morales delivered a keynote speech. Representatives from the University of New Mexico, NMSU, Western New Mexico University and Eastern New Mexico University were available at the conference to answer questions about their programs. Betty Patterson of the National Education Association New Mexico and NMSU College of Education Dean Donald Pope-Davis also attended the conference.

“I think it sets what I believe is an important tone about rising up for the opportunities that teachers play and the role that you can play in our state and our community,” Pope-Davis said during his opening remarks at the conference.

Educators Rising is an organization that encourages high school students to consider careers in education. Morales gave an inspiring keynote speech at the NMSU conference telling students that although teaching has its ups and downs, it is a rewarding and important profession.

“I’m not the best teacher. I will say that out loud and proud,” Morales said during his speech. “But I have been chosen as a representative for teaching because I want to uplift our profession and make people remember why they need us.”

During the conference’s closing ceremony, Soules, a former teacher and school administrator, told students at the conference that they shouldn’t give up on their aspirations to become educators even if others tell them to explore a career other than teaching.

“Don’t let people talk you out of what your dream is because you’re too smart,” Soules said during the conference. “We need the best and brightest in education.”

New Mexico Cooperative Education Services was the major sponsor for the conference along with the Alliance for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

For more information about Educators Rising NM or how to start a chapter in your school, pleae visit http://educatorsrisingnm.nmsu.edu or contact Trujillo at ktrujill@nmsu.edu or 575-646-1555.