Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Levi Romero

Levi Romero, New Mexico Centennial Poet Laureate in 2012, is the author of Sagrado: A Photo poetics Across the Chicano Homeland, UNM Press; A Poetry of Remembrance: New and Rejected Works, UNM Press; and In the Gathering of Silence, West End Press. He is from the Embudo Valley of northern New Mexico. Romero is a bilingual poet whose language is immersed in the regional manito dialect of northern New Mexico with its 17th century archaisms and melodic registers. His work has been published throughout the United States, Mexico, Spain, and Cuba. Romero's writing is a narrative tapestry of formal poetics woven through a palette of Nuevomexicano colloquialisms and the poetic richness of vernacular language. His poem, “De dondeyo soy,” was published by Scholastic as part of a nationwide educational project and his radio interview by Taos journalist Tania Casselle won several regional and national press awards. A Poetry of Remembrance was a finalist in the Texas League of Writers’ Book Awards and listed as a Best Books of the Southwest. He teaches in the Chicana and Chicano Studies and the Community and Regional Planning programs at the University of New Mexico.
      Writer Sandra Cisneros noted: “how come nothing in the great American poetry anthology/reads like the America I know?” Levi Romero asks in one of the poems from his upcoming holy and heartfelt collection “A Poetry of Remembrance. The America of Romero's poetry is New Mexico, and not the postcard New Mexico either, but the real thing spoken from the real poets--old folks in old people's homes, lowriders and farmers, the born-again and the walking wounded. Stories told with a beer at the river, “stories... bound to other stories…” This collection is a testament to the folks whose lives are poems. The workers and the women, the down-and-out and the outright foolish. He honors them all, remembers them all. So long as Levi Romero remembers, this America can never die.”
Rudolfo Anaya, perhaps best known for Bless Me, Ulitma, said that “Levi grew up steeped in the language of el norte, the Rio Arriba gente. Language is the hallmark of his poetic strength…Levi reveals family life and teenage years, in rhythmic Spanish and in-your-face bilingual Spanish—all levels of language serve the poet. Levi’s duende spirit is restless, and it smolders with true poetic intent… The spiritual essence of the Rio Grande corridor and its tributaries shines in every poem. From the loco to the sublime, Levi’s poems are a blessing on our heads.”
     And Luis Alberto Urrea, said that “Levi Romero is a strange kind of wizard. He can walk up a New Mexico arroyo and come back with a mysterious object full of quotidian magic. Like a rusted tobacco can the grandfathers used to roll their smokes. And when you pry open the lid; you can hear their laughter and gossip coming out. That's what he does in poem after poem. I read his work and I learn again how to love this life.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Middle College High School Receives An “A”

The Middle College High School, a unique charter school housed on the UNM-Gallup Campus, announces it received an overall rating of “A” on its 2014 school report card as issued by the New Mexico Public Education Department.  The Middle College High School serves 68 students in grades 10-12 and operates in partnership with UNM-Gallup to provide a seamless educational continuum that benefits students as they move from high school to post-secondary education. 

The collaboration with UNM-Gallup allows high school youth an opportunity to self –direct their learning with the support of an enriched curriculum and  individual programs of study based on their aptitudes and interests.  The MCHS mission is to support the educational goals of students by easing the transition to higher education and career technical education.

According to Middle College High School Principal and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Walter Feldman, “This is the second year in a row we have received an A for our school.  We would like to thank all of the UNM-Gallup faculty and staff for their hard work in teaching and providing services for our students.  It is through the dedication of the UNM-Gallup branch that our students are getting a heads-up on their education and receiving a first class education.”

The Gallup McKinley County School District is the charter school authorizer for the state of New Mexico.  Through a unique combination of high school and college level coursework, students are able to complete requirements needed to receive their high school diploma while working towards a certificate or degree from UNM-Gallup.  One third of the graduating class of 2014 received both a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree.

The charter school is directed by a governing board consisting of President Tony Major and members Laverne Chischilly, Lisa Bracken, Dale Buser and Tara Lucio.  Mr. Feldman is assisted by Assistant Principal Connie Torres and instructors Joanne Snowdon,  Francis Pawlowski,  Gwen Carla, and Mike Starr.   

The New Mexico Public Education Department scores all public schools based on performance indicators such as subject area proficiency, graduation rates, college and career readiness and student growth.  Schools receive a grade in sub-categories as well as an overall grade.  Mr. Feldman noted that in addition to an overall grade of “A” they also received an “A” in the subcategory of “Growth of Highest Performing Students.”  For more information, please call (505) 722-9945 or visit the website at

Monday, June 2, 2014

UNM-G 2014 Graduation

The 2014 graduation ceremony was held on Monday, May 19th and UNM-Gallup was proud to honor a total of 470 graduates. About 350 of those were in attendance and walked across the stage to receive their hard-earned certificates or degrees.  The wind may have been howling and stirring up dirt on the floor of the Red Rock Park Arena, but the spirits of the UNM-Gallup Class of 2014 could not be dampened even as the graduates struggled to keep their mortarboards from blowing off of their heads.

The graduates were led into the arena by Grand Marshals Dr. Matthew Mingus and Dr. Lewis Gambill. The local Veterans Helping Veterans group assisted with the Presentation of the Colors while Executive Director Dr. Christopher Dyer sang the National Anthem.   Master of Ceremonies for the event was Dr. Neal Mangham, Dean of Instruction.  Commencement speakers included Dr. Dyer, Mr. Edwin Begay (advisory board chairman), the Honorable Ben Shelly (President, Navajo Nation), the Honorable Arlen Quetawki (Governor, Pueblo of Zuni), and Cody Jansen (Miss Intertribal Indian Ceremonial Queen and UNM-G student).   Other platform guests included Dr. Tomas Aguirre (UNM Dean of Students), Dr. Monica Orozco-Obando (Vice Provost, Extended University), Ms. Heidi Overton (UNM Board of Regents), and Dr. Wynn Goering (Special Assistant to the President for Branch Affairs).

The students honored at the ceremony included those receiving New Mexico High School Equivalency Diplomas, Middle College High School graduates, and recipients of  Certificates, Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.  In his keynote speech, Dr. Dyer delivered the following words to the graduates, their families, friends and guests:

“Welcome, Kenshi, Yatahey, Bienvenidos:  It is a sincere pleasure to welcome you all to our 46th graduation ceremony.  It is my great honor to preside over this joyous event for so many of you who may be the first in your families, the first in your generation, first in your community to earn a higher education degree, certificate, or GED at UNM-Gallup.  This accomplishment is one of many that make up the flow of life – our path from creation to creator.  I would like to share with you some points of this flow – points that I think can be wisdom we can share, keep in our hearts, and pass on to others.

· Being Born:  your soul and where it comes from

· Getting raised – parents and family

· Learning your culture and language

· Becoming a real person: Live by kindness, respect and trust

· Being open to the teachers in your lives – parents, siblings, school teachers, coaches, friends, even nature itself.  All teach us the ways and pulses of the world and life as true human beings.
· Education is a life-long adventure, a journey that never ends.  To quote Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’
· Finding your passion – do not let the ‘nay sayers’ of the world put out your life flame.

· Use today as a bridge to tomorrow and thank all those who have come before.  Our ancestors live in and through us.

· Celebrate yourself.  Let your mind and body live in happiness every day.  Walk in beauty every day.

And as you seek your future remember these two quotes from two great leaders.  To again quote the great Mahatma Ghandi,  ‘Become the change you would like to see in the world,’ and in the words of the great basketball coach Jimmy V (Valvano) ‘Don’t give up-don’t ever give up.’  Thank you all, congratulations and live a full life!”


Dinners for 12 Strangers

The “Dinner for 12 Strangers” program was started this spring as a means of giving UNM-Gallup students the opportunity to connect with alumni, faculty staff and supportive community members in a casual setting.  There is no agenda for the evening, but there are ample opportunities for communication and sharing of ideas. 

There were two Dinners to date, and both offered attendees the chance to meet new and interesting people connected to UNM-Gallup.

The first dinner was hosted on Friday, April 4th at the home of Wyatt and Janine Stiger.  The Stigers opened their home for a Southwest History themed evening which included a wonderful Mexican buffet as well as a display of southwest artifacts and a fascinating talk from Wyatt (Student Services Advisor) on how his degree has impacted his life and inspired a passion for history. 

The second dinner was co-hosted on Saturday, May 17th by Ken Van Brott and Ara Green.  This event had a theme of Fine Arts and was attended by local artists and others interested in promoting culture and arts in the area.

If you would like to host or attend any of the future “Dinners for 12 Strangers,” please contact Marilee at or 863-7770.