New Mexico Academy for the Media Arts

Class of 2023 Survives Pandemic, Zombie Apocalypse

May 22, 2023 1:28 pm/By Jonathan Dooley

“I Resemble a Famous Musician” by the Class of 2023

Our senior class highlights include:  

  • The Class of 2023 is the final senior class to complete the media pathways, as next year we are transitioning to portfolios. The media pathways are represented by the cords upon their graduation garbs. 

White represents Master Completer of the pathway courses.

Black represents Honors with a 3.5 GPA and above

Gold is for the National Honors Society

And, Grey is for Film production

Blue represents Programing and Design

And, Red is for Visual Arts 

Additional senior highlights include: 

  • One senior has completed all three pathways, ten seniors have completed two pathways, and eight seniors completed one pathway. 
  • 84% of our seniors have completed an internship.
  • Our seniors earned 74 high school credit hours worth of dual credit courses, which is approximately 220 college credits. Way to go! 
  • 7 seniors are members of the National Honors Society. And, 3 of those seniors are graduating with a 3.5 GPA and above
  • 4 seniors have been at NMAMA since their 6th grade year. 
  • And, of course, many seniors have won NMAMA Gala Awards including Gabriel Baca, Jonathan Dunn, Raymond Garcia, Sean Hinzman, Erich Mueller, Jonathan Theiss, Sylvia Wright, Grant Wilds, as well as Colbie Boyd who has won Advanced Media Artist of the Year for two consecutive years.

To all our seniors, you are amazing people and we want to celebrate your future endeavors, beginning with: 

  • Mason Anderson, Mark Arnaudville, Heaven Chavez, Michael Chavez, Maya Howard, Zane Lovato, and Dante Williams who are all planning to attend CNM.
  • Gabriel Baca, who is planning to attend UNM or CNM, was awarded the CNM Bridge Scholarship.
  • Colbie Boyd, who is planning to attend ENMU, was awarded an ENMU Film Department Scholarship, as well as three other Eastern academic scholarships.
  • Jonathan Dunn: who is planning to attend CNM, was awarded the CNM Bridge Scholarship, as well as an academic scholarship from both UNM and NMSU.
  • Raymond Garcia is planning to attend either CNM or UNM. He was also nominated for a Rocky Mountain Emmy for a film project his junior year.
  • Both Michaela Cortez and Sean E. Hinzman, who are planning to attend CNM, were awarded the CNM Bridge Scholarship
  • Angelica Mascareñas is planning to attend Job Corp.
  • Erich Mueller, who plans to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts, was also awarded three academic scholarships from ENMU
  • Jonathan Theiss is planning to attend DigiPenn Institute of Technology in Washington state.
  • Kylie Todd is planning to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts.
  • Grant Wilds, who is planning to attend CNM, plans to continue his work as a State Senior and Master Councilor.
  • And, Sylvia Wright, who is planning to attend UNM.

I would like to give a shout out to: 

  • Jonathan Dunn and Angelica Mascarenas for completing the Senior Class Canvas, which will be hung in the New MAMA CTE building as a memento to the senior class. Thank you to Mr. Lopez for providing all the materials. 
  • Raymond Garcia for writing, composing, and singing the Senior Class Song, and Sylvia Wright and Michaela Cortez for providing background vocals. 
  • Colbie Boyd and Sylvia Wright for completing the Senior Class Video. Both Colbie and Sylvia were instrumental in the completion of this video. 
  • And, Maya Howard who came up with the Senior Class Motto: “I can’t believe we made it to the playoffs.” 

And to all our seniors who successfully completed any credit recovery. You did it!! A special thank you to Lopez, Coates, Berlat, and Richardson for giving the space for them to complete this. 

In closing: To the Class of 2023, you are amazing, way to go!! Everyone, please provide a round of applause to our seniors and a standing ovation for their hard work, determination, and achievements. 

Valedictorian Address, Jonathan Dunn:

Hello and welcome to New MAMA’S 2023 graduation ceremony!  As you just heard my name is Jonathan Dunn and I’m the valedictorian of the 2023 graduating class! I’d first like to take this time to thank Mr. Dooley not only for that wonderful introduction but also for his years of work here. He’ll be retiring and moving into the unknown just like us seniors. I’d also like to thank everyone in attendance for coming and showing your support and care for our graduating class!

This isn’t gonna be your traditional valedictorian speech. After all, this isn’t a traditional school. I’m not gonna use some popular movie or book quote. I wanna keep this speech short and sweet, we do have 2 other speakers after all, so don’t want to steal all their thunder and time with my amazing speech.

If there’s one thing I want every senior to know and get from my time speaking up here it’s that they should be proud. Not only for the past year, but the 12+ years of schooling we went through. This ceremony isn’t just a celebration of our senior year, but a celebration of stepping out of the k-12 system in general!

It’s remembering the past while celebrating our future! No matter what we do with it, whether we continue our education, enter the workforce, join the military, or even take time off. The diploma we receive today is proof of our hard work over the years. And we all should feel a sense of pride and honor with it.

I know I said before that I wouldn’t use any quotes but this one feels right. These past few years we have been training and preparing for this moment. So “can’t believe we made it to the playoffs.” And I look forward to the games we have in the future.

Once again on behalf of all of the seniors here. Thank you for coming and showing your support! And I hope the friends and family here today can continue to support us in the future!

Salutatorian Address, Erich Mueller:

Thank you Mr. Dooley, my name is Erich Mueller and I am a graduate of the New Mexico Academy for the Media Arts. 

            High School is hard, there were many points where I felt so overwhelmed and like it was all just too much. This included times where the workload was immense, the pandemic as a whole, the switch to online learning, and quarantine, which worsened my already terrible social anxiety. Adjusting back to in person learning, the changes and experiences we had in high school were far from what pre-pandemic graduates may have experienced. While it is so easy to focus on the troubles we faced, there was also a lot of good. We succeeded in our classes, filled our minds with knowledge, but for me,  the biggest positives are the relationships I’ve formed.

            These relationships include not only my friendships, but also the experiences I’ve been given by the faculty. Of course we’ve all learned math, science, english, and languages. But I truly appreciate the teachers who have allowed us to learn how to do things that will be particularly useful post high school. Ms. Berlat and Ms.Kilman taught us life skills like how to change a flat tire or to file taxes. Mr. Meeker has taught basic handyman skills. Our media teachers – Mr. Richardson, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Conforti, Mr. Barrow, and Ms. Biggart – have taught us career skills that we will carry forward into our chosen careers. Thank you for that.

What I will cherish the most about high school are the memories I’ve made with my friends. Lunchtimes in Ms. Kilman and Dr. Mueller’s rooms, movie nights, epic D&D campaigns that never end, cooking with Colbie, and game nights at Empire. These are the experiences that have helped me stay grounded, survive the pandemic, and have helped me become the person I am. These friendships I hope will continue for the rest of our lives. Or at least until we finish this campaign in D&D.

            And so, to the class of 2023, thank you for sharing this bumpy ride with me. To the staff, thank you for providing us with the space and guidance to become almost adults. And to our families, thank you for your unwavering love and support. We couldn’t have done it without you. 

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