IAIA announces graduation speaker

Renowned artist Roxanne Swentzell of Santa Clara Pueblo has been selected to give the Institute of American Indian Arts’ 2019 commencement address at 11 a.m. May 18. The ceremony will be held in the Dance Circle on the IAIA Campus, 83 Avan Nu Po Road, on the south side of Santa Fe. The public is welcome to attend.

In addition to delivering the commencement address, Swentzell will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities.

As a child, Swentzell struggled with a speech impediment that prevented her from communicating, according to a news release. Unable to articulate her emotions through words, she began to make miniature figures in clay to convey her feelings. While still in high school, Swentzell attended IAIA and completed the program in 1979.

Swentzell’s first public exhibit was at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market in 1984; two years later, she won a total of eight awards for her sculpture and pottery at the same event. A decade later, Swentzell won the market’s Creative Excellence in Sculpture award. Her sculptures have shown at the White House, and some of her permanent installations are at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Cartier in Paris, the Santa Fe Community Convention Center and the Museum of Wellington in New Zealand.

Fourth-graders get national park passes

The Santa Fe National Forest worked with Santa Fe Public Schools to provide every fourth-grade student in the district with an Every Kid in a Park pass that provides free access to hundreds of national forests, parks and waters for them and their families.

The forest handed out 1,073 passes to students in 19 schools, while the Pecos National Historical Park provided 65 passes to kids at El Dorado Community School.

Congress recently reauthorized the Every Kid in a Park program, re-naming it Every Kid Outdoors. By targeting fourth-graders, the program ensures that every child in the country has the opportunity to visit public lands and historic sites by the age of 11.

College to hold forum on El Rito campus

Northern New Mexico College will hold a public forum from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Alumni Hall and North Dorm Building on its El Rito Campus. The focus of the event is the landmark Senate Bill 431, which has been signed into law and paves the way for Northern to operate a branch community college in El Rito.

The new school’s curriculum would be limited to vocational-technical programs, career education, trades programs and continuing education leading to the acquisition of associate degrees or certificates.

Tuition rates at the proposed Northern branch community college would be lower than those for courses offered in other disciplines at the main campus. The operation would depend on voter approval of property tax to fund it.

Panel members at the event include Northern President Rick Bailey, teacher’s union President Tim Crone, Española Public Schools Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez and others.

Highlands names professor of the year

New Mexico Highlands University has named biology professor Sarah Corey-Rivas the Professor of the Year for 2018-19. Corey-Rivas earned her doctorate in evolution and ecology from Ohio State University in 2009, and in 2010 she joined the faculty at Highlands, where she established a molecular ecology laboratory.

She teaches classes in advanced ecology, macroevolution, molecular ecology and general biology. She said research is an important component of all her classes.

“Research is how students develop critical thinking through problem solving,” she said in a statement. “It’s also exciting, fun and creative because it’s on the edge of mysteries we don’t know.”

Schools presents “Ode to Joy”

On Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe Public Schools will present “Ode to Joy” — an annual showcase of students’ musical talent. The event features 240 musicians, dancers and artists, including bands, choirs, rock music, world music ensembles, a string orchestra and more. The master of ceremonies will be Superintendent Veronica García.

Proceeds will help support music education in the public schools. Regular tickets are $10 and VIP tickets are $25. Tickets can be purchased at lensic.org or by calling 505-988-1234.