Early graduate at alternative high school


    By Rosalind Marshall
    Special to The SUN

    Photo courtesy Ed Center Mireya Ortega, recent AHSDP graduate, and instructor Sheri Rochford Figgs, at the Archuleta County Education Center.
    Photo courtesy Ed Center
    Mireya Ortega, recent AHSDP graduate, and instructor Sheri Rochford Figgs, at the Archuleta County Education Center.

    Southwest Colorado Community College, a division of Pueblo Community College, administers an alternative high school at the Archuleta County Education Center.

    The Alternative High School Diploma Program (AHSDP) is a dropout recovery program designed for individuals 17-20 years old who are self-motivated and have not thrived in a traditional high school environment.

    For Mireya Ortega, the dream of obtaining a high school diploma and graduating has already become a reality. Ortega, 18, completed her components and received her high school diploma at a graduation party in December.

    After attending regular high school for a portion of her junior year, Ortega transferred to the AHSDP in January 2012. A year of hard work and dedication to her studies brought Ortega to an early graduation and ambitions for a bright future. Ortega has an interest in geography and a dream to visit Egypt. Her other career interests include being a teacher, perhaps biology or Spanish, or becoming a veterinarian. Ortega is looking at her college options, and planning to continue her studies to achieve her career ambitions.

    For Ortega’s graduation party in December, AHSDP students made a group effort to create a memorable graduation card for her, and attendees at the pizza party included Ortega’s family members and friends, fellow AHSDP students and Education Center staff. Other AHSDP students plan to complete their studies, and receive their diploma at the Pagosa Springs High School graduation on June 1 this year.

    Successful students at AHSDP earn a high school diploma, some college credits and a Workforce Skills Certificate, and students receive support and access to college admissions and financial aid services. Guest speakers and field trips are regularly scheduled, and classes are held Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The AHSDP schedule follows the school district calendar.

    For information about enrolling in the Alternative High School Diploma Program, call the Education Center or drop by to talk to instructor Sheri Rochford Figgs.

    The first of the Jewelry Making and Social Networking classes were almost full on Saturday, and classes were a big hit with attendees.

    The second and third opportunities for Jewelry Making will be Saturdays, Feb. 2 and 9, 10 a.m.-noon, and there are still a few places available.

    Social Networking will be repeated in March.

    Intro to Excel is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, 9 a.m.-noon and Intro to Word will be held Monday, Feb. 11, 6-9 p.m.

    Intermediate Excel will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6-9 p.m., and Advanced Excel on Saturday, Feb. 23, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

    Other ACEC programs include First Aid/CPR training monthly, GED tutoring and preparation and ESL (English as a Second Language) for adults.

    For more information, or to register for community education classes (at least three days in advance of the class), visit www.ArchuletaCountyEducationCenter.com, where you can register and pay with PayPal. Or drop by The Education Center office (264-2835) on the corner of 4th and Lewis streets. Office hours are Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

    Save the date for the Education Center’s 25th anniversary fund-raising luncheon, Wednesday, March 20. Tickets are now available at the Education Center office.