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Standing up for Luna

Luna Community College deserves to keep its accreditation

by Jesse Gallegos
SPRINGER — There comes a time in your life when you have to stand up for what you believe in.
I’m sure all of us, at one time or another, have regrets for not speaking out on something.  I know I do.
Luna Community College is working hard to show the Higher Learning Commission that we deserve to keep our accreditation.  It’s really simple: Luna is too important to many people in this part of the state not to stay accredited.  It’s vital, not just for today, next month or next year; this school should have its doors open for decades to come.
Students that are not even born yet can benefit from a school such as Luna, just as those that have benefited over the last 50 years.
What we do today will have ramifications down the road.  Luna is a special place and with a little tender love and care, this school can prosper.
I’ve had the privilege to join interim President Ricky Serna during our service area tour and hear what the great people in these small towns have to say.  I haven’t heard anyone even remotely mention they want to see Luna go away.  Sure, they would like to see improvements on certain things, but they want us.  They understand the importance of a quality education at an affordable price for rural New Mexico.
Las Vegas and northern New Mexico would not be the same without Luna.  Luna needs northern New Mexico just as northern New Mexico needs Luna.
I wanted to share my comments to the Higher Learning Commission to all of you.  This is how I feel.
My name is Jesse Gallegos.  I am currently the Public Relations Coordinator at Luna Community College.
I previously worked at Luna for 7 and 1/2 years.  I left for 26 months and came back to work for Luna in November 2017.  From the moment I left Luna, I knew I had made a mistake.
Luna is a special place where many employees and students come to work and school every day and give a great effort.
Over the course of the last three months, I have seen Luna grow in spirit and confidence.  It’s one of the most amazing accomplishments I have seen in a workplace.
People have and continue to make a diligent effort to make this college better.
Our interim President Ricky Serna has pulled people together and has led by example.  Our board of trustees have made significant strides in better understanding their roles and responsibilities.
I came back to Luna because I missed our students.  Our students, most of them poor and many of them fragile, look at Luna for an opportunity.  Luna not only provides them a quality education, but the courage and confidence to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Has Luna made mistakes?  Sure it has.
My hope is that we have learned from them and move forward to make this place bigger and better.  Another hope is that the HLC will see improvements that we have made and allow us to keep our accreditation. Our students need Luna.