SFCC Fall 2019 student speaker Leslie Orena Quintana Ayala

SFCC’s Fall 2019 student speaker Leslie Orena Quintana Ayala, 20, received a Certificate in Early Childhood Development. She was born in Guatemala and moved to Santa Fe when she was 14. She chose to study with the Spanish-speaking student group to pursue her studies.

The Santa Fe High graduate works full time as a server at Mampuku Ramen while enrolled in evening classes. She is taking classes in English to earn an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at New Mexico Highlands University.

“I chose Early Childhood Education because my best memory of a teacher in Guatemala was a pre-k teacher who taught me that you can have fun and learn at the same time.”

She said, “I’ve learned at the college that how you treat and teach a child will have an impact that lasts a lifetime. If a child has a traumatic childhood, it can lead to serious problems throughout that person’s life.  If you give a child a good experience, that child could someday become the president or a leader in the community. I’m grateful for all I’ve learned.”