Focus on Faces
Lovington Valedictorian Credits NMJC with Jumpstart on Education
5/28/2008 4:57:47 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. Just one year. That's all it has taken Bridgette Davis to complete her education at New Mexico Junior College, thanks to the dual-credit program. As if graduating from Lovington High School as Valedictorian wasn't enough.
In her junior year of high school, Bridgette was approached by a counselor to take ITV (Interactive Television) courses through NMJC. At her mother's encouragement, she took these dual-credit classes during her junior and senior years. By the time she had finished high school at 17 years old, she had accumulated 24 hours of college credit through these courses. "I liked that you could take college classes without having to take a full load," said Bridgette, in response to her experience with the dual-credit ITV program.
With that many credits already acquired with NMJC, Bridgette's choice for her first step in college was easy. "NMJC is close to home, and I like that it is close-knit," she said. "Big schools can offer a lot, but you are basically just a number. Here, you have a one-on-one relationship with your professors, which is really the best."
So with her jumpstart on a college education, what did Bridgette want to go for? "I really didn't know at first," she said, "but my dad suggested a degree in business." She says Robert Guthrie, professor of accounting at NMJC, has been instrumental to her progress. "He has supported me in my classes at NMJC, and now he is encouraging me to go on to a bachelor's degree in accounting from Eastern New Mexico University. I'll be able to take 90 hours through the program they have here at NMJC."
She added, "Mr. Guthrie has also urged me to join the Phi Beta Lambda programs this summer." Not a bad idea, especially since Bridgette is already a member of the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and recipient of the 2007-2008 Outstanding Student award for Business Communication.
Bridgette says her time at NMJC has gone by quickly. Over the past year she has taken 16 to 17 credit hours each semester while also working at the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame as a student work-study. The Museum has provided her with the opportunity to be involved with several projects. She helps with setting up for events and greeting visitors at the front counter as well as with area students who come on field trips to the Museum.
"At first," she said, "I was a very shy student; I didn't want to leave my comfort zone." During the summer of 2007 she took some courses at the college, which gave her confidence to become a full-time student in the fall. According to her that made the difference. "The classes are challenging, but within reach and worth the effort. NMJC has helped me deal with change and get out of my comfort zone."
"The professors know you by name, which can be good and bad," she joked, "because they always know if you're in class or not." It's doubtful Bridgette has to worry about that, because the ambitious eighteen year-old pushes herself in all areas. Every day she commutes to Hobbs from her home in Lovington. In addition to classes and work-study, she is also very involved with her church.
Though other family members have attended college, Bridgette will be the first to complete a degree. She is excited that while earning her bachelor's in accounting and taking honors' courses, she will be able to work, so that when she graduates with a four-year degree, she will also have two year's work experience under her belt. She credits her time at NMJC as helping with this.
Academically ahead of the pack, spiritually stocked for the future, emotionally equipped to handle change, and psychologically prepared to leave her comfort zone, no doubt that wherever Bridgette Davis ends up, she will excel. After all, that is what Valedictorians do.