Leslie Orena Quintana Ayala, 20, will receive 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 group to pursue her studies. The Santa Fe High graduate works full time as a server at Mampuku Ramen while enrolled in the evening classes.
She’s now taking classes in English to earn an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. Then she would like to continue to get her 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.”