Graduates of CNM: Esmeralda Garcia Quezada

Esmeralda is a College and Career High School and CNM graduate who is well on her way to becoming a community business leader
April 27, 2022

Esmeralda Garcia Quezada already knows where she wants to be in 10 years. She plans to have an MBA plus a couple years experience with a corporate business firm. Then she wants to take all she’s learned and open a Mexican food restaurant where her mom can be the owner and head chef. 

She has all this planned, even as a 17 year-old, in part thanks to her time at the College and Career High School (CCHS) on CNM’s Main campus where she’s been a dual credit student that receives both high school and college credits. She’s graduating this month not only with a high school degree but also with an associate degree in Business

“After taking classes at CNM I feel incredibly prepared for my future,” Esmeralda says. “I not only learned a lot as a student, but I was able to figure out how to navigate a college campus and system and I’m already excited about my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.” 

A large part of Esmeralda’s success comes from her own drive. She’s motivated to succeed and likes to lead. 

“I’ve worked hard to be good at organization and I tend to take on leadership roles, including my current position as Senior Class President,” she says. 

Another part of her success came from the environment at CCHS and CNM. It was a lot of work to juggle high school and college classes, but thanks to CNM’s small class sizes plus immediate and constant access to her college instructors and advisors, she was able to easily figure out how to be an effective dual credit student.

“At larger universities you hear about how hard it is to get access to your professors, but at CNM that was not the case at all,” she says. “I always got really helpful one-on-one time when I needed it and the professors were absolutely focused on student success.”

When it comes to finances, Esmeralda and all her CCHS students are now ahead in an important way. Tuition and textbooks for CNM classes are free to all CCHS students and dual credit students. The CCHS graduating class of 52 seniors has successfully earned more than 2,600 credit hours and saved a collective $149,682 in tuition.

This financial mindedness is helping Esmeralda with her next steps as well. For her bachelor’s degree, she’s deciding between UNM and New Mexico State but waiting to see which one offers her a better scholarship package. She credits CNM with helping her get so far ahead with transferable college credits and money savings that she has choices and can be picky about where she studies.

Ultimately, she thanks her parents for pushing her this far. Both are immigrants from Mexico and told her that a quality education was the most important thing. Being able to follow through, be successful, and then return the favor of their support by helping them with a restaurant is a dream, but a totally achievable one.

“I want my parents to be happy and secure, and I want to show them that thanks to their help I can succeed as well,” she says.