Native American Cartoonist Ricardo Caté Speaks at 2016 Graduation, May 14

SFCC Announces Native American Cartoonist Ricardo Caté to Keynote Class of 2016 Graduation
Saturday, May 14 at 2 p.m.
Event will be at Pueblo Pavilion at Santa Fe Indian School, 1501 Cerrillos Road

SANTA FE, NM– SFCC students have earned 893 degrees and certificates this year, and approximately 300 of the graduates who earned the credentials are expected to participate in commencement ceremonies on Sat. May 14, 2 p.m. at the Pueblo Pavilion at Santa Fe Indian School, 1501 Cerrillos Road. Popular cartoonist Ricardo Caté (Kewa/Santo Domingo) will address the graduates.

Caté creates the only Native American cartoon that appears in a daily mainstream newspaper. In addition to loyal newspaper readers, he has thousands of Facebook followers from around the globe.

Regarding his cartoons, Caté said, “My Dad always said, ‘Don’t speak unless you have something to say.’ My cartoons have something to say.” His cartoons are known for their wry, poignant humor. “Some people speak out by protesting and carrying placards. I let my cartoons state what I have to say about issues.”

“Through my cartoons, I also want people to know that Native Americans have a voice, we’re funny and intelligent. I base a lot of my cartoons on real interactions I have with my family and friends,” Caté added.

Caté said he’s excited about speaking at commencement because he values education and enjoys sharing his story on how his persistence led to getting his academic degrees.

Kyle Pacheco, who received an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts in December, will give the student speech. The Kewa/Santo Domingo resident is the sous chef at the college’s student-run East Wing Eatery and recently won first place at the New Mexico SkillsUSA competition in the culinary arts category.  The 22-year-old grew up speaking his tribe’s native language Keres. His very traditional family instilled in him the value of his pueblo’s foods and cooking. He credits the culinary arts faculty for mentoring him to his success. “Chef Michelle Chavez has stood by me since I came to the college and I wouldn’t be who I am without her. Chef Patrick Mares saw my potential and he’s molded me into becoming a leader. As the sous chef, I’ve had to order ingredients and get the staff to work as a team. Attending the college has changed my life,” Pacheco said.

Also speaking at commencement is Antonieta Portillo. The 17-year-old will graduate with a Certificate of Academic Transfer from SFCC one week before her graduation from The MASTERS Program on the SFCC campus. While she is a U.S. citizen by birth, she said, “I grew up in fear through most of my childhood that my parents who came here from El Salvador might be deported. But that whole experience made me a stronger person.” She is the first person in her family to go to college in this country. She plans on returning to SFCC to earn an associate degree in Business.

The public is invited. No tickets are required; people are encouraged to arrive early because seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Santa Fe Community Television (SFCTV-16 on Comcast) will air the graduation ceremonies Tues., May 17 at 7 p.m., Wed., May 18 at 10 a.m., Fri., May 20 at 8 p.m., and Sun., May 22 at 1 p.m. DVDs will be available for free 30 days after graduation at the SFCC Bookstore.

Fast Facts on 2016 SFCC Graduates

    • This year there are 745 graduates. The total number of awards (degrees and certificates) is 892 compared to last year’s 850. About 300 will participate in commencement. Of those graduates, 119 will receive more than one degree, an increase from last year’s 82 multiple recipients
    • .


    • The youngest graduate in the class of 2016 is 17, while the oldest is 76.  The number of military veterans in the graduation class more than doubled from 12 last year to 25 this year.


    • This year marks the first year that students will receive an Associate in Arts Film (2) and an Associate of Applied Science in these areas of concentration: Allied Health (1), Automotive Technology (2), Building Science and Construction Technology-Adobe Construction (1) and Welding Technologies (2). The following certificates will be awarded for the first time: Adobe Construction (1), Commercial Photography (1), Community Health Worker Training (10), Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary (1), Fine Arts Photography (1), Law Office Administrative Assistant (8) and Legal Secretary (8).


    • The college sees a trend in preparing individuals for emergency medical services and health careers. The greatest growth is in the number of graduates earning a certificate for a Certificate in Emergency Medical Technician-Basic – (40) almost double (23) from last year. In a related field of study, the number receiving an A.A.S. in Paramedicine jumped from two graduates last year to nine this year. Certificates in Medical Assisting will go to (35) compared to 28 last year. Among the highest number of awards are those for the (72) nursing assistant certificates.


    • The Business and Accounting program also continues with strong numbers of graduates. There are 61 grads receiving an A.A. in Business Administration (the highest number of associate degrees given in an area of study this year). This year the number receiving an A.A. in accounting has grown (from 28 to 39).


    • In the area of education, the number of Early Childhood Education Teacher Certifications has more than doubled (from 7 to 18), as well as Special Education Teacher Certifications (from 8 to 19).
    • While 74.25 percent of the 2016 graduates are from Santa Fe, students come from many of the pueblos, as well as cities as far-flung as Alcalde, Tularosa, Las Cruces and Hobbs. This year there are also graduates from Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Texas.


  • Reflecting the diversity of the student body, it is of note that 52.22 percent of the graduates identify their ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino. Graduates who identify themselves as American Indian or Alaska Natives represent 5.10% of the 2016 graduates.

Santa Fe Community College celebrates its 40th Anniversary as the pathway to success for individuals and the community. SFCC provides affordable, high-quality programs that serve the academic, cultural, and economic needs of the community. The college welcomes over 10,000 students per year in credit, noncredit, workforce training, personal enrichment, and adult programs.
A “Best for Vets” and a “Military Friendly” school.

Visit or call 505-428-1000.

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