Some students thrive with extra on their plate

Eric Norwood Jr.: Portales News-Tribune Diana Ruiz plays the alto saxophone during Thursday’s Portales High School band practice. Ruiz is entering her senior year at PHS, and has been in band since sixth grade.

Eric Norwood Jr.: Portales News-Tribune
Diana Ruiz plays the alto saxophone during Thursday’s Portales High School band practice. Ruiz is entering her senior year at PHS, and has been in band since sixth grade.

This is the first in a weekly series this month on students entering their senior year of high school.

By Eric Norwood Jr.

PNT staff writer

enorwood@pntonline.com

The last year of childhood and the preparation for life as an adult can have any senior nervous about the future. Social lives, grades, future plans and extracurricular activities can be demanding on an adolescent. However, there are those who seem to thrive with extra on their plates.

Diana Ruiz is one of them.

“I don’t like to waste time, so I figure if I have to come to school, I might as well do things right,” said Ruiz, who sports a 3.8 grade-point average. “Plus, I really like to learn.”

She is a member of the Portales High School band, where she plays the alto saxophone.

“I’ve been in band since sixth grade,” said, who has also played the flute.

Besides band, Ruiz is also involved in her church, Bethel Baptist Church. She serves as the president of the youth group church and devotes much of her time to planning activities for the group and working with the children’s ministry.

“We planned everything for VBS (vacation bible school), the whole youth group. We also do kids club every Tuesday night, where I teach classes for kids,” Ruiz said “I want to be a missionary, too.”

Ruiz plans to attend Eastern New Mexico University next year and wants to major in psychology. Besides becoming a missionary, Ruiz also wants to be a translator for Spanish-speaking people.

“I really like to translate. I think that would be a fun job.”

Christian Garcia also sports a 3.8 grade-point average at PHS and plays in the euphonium band.

“I take private lessons with (Dustin) Seifert, the director of bands at (Eastern New Mexico University). “We play the same instrument,” says Garcia. “Over the course of our lessons he asked me if I wanted to march with ENMU. I had to get my high school band director’s permission, so now I make time for both.”

In addition to band, Garcia participates in his school’s track and tennis programs.

Eric Norwood Jr.: Portales News-Tribune Christian Garcia, 17, plays his euphonium during Thursday’s Portales High School band practice. Garcia is a senior to be with a 3.8 grade point average.

Eric Norwood Jr.: Portales News-Tribune
Christian Garcia, 17, plays his euphonium during Thursday’s Portales High School band practice. Garcia is a senior to be with a 3.8 grade point average.

“I went to state last year in the relay,” said Garcia, who also took up tennis last year, something he got from his family.

“My family plays a lot of tennis, so I decided to join.”

Garcia wants to go to ENMU as well, and also plans on trying out for the cross country team as well as continuing to march in the band.

He plans on majoring in music education and said wants to become a music teacher at the high school level or above.

“He (Garcia) is a great kid with a fantastic personality,” said Assistant Band Director Shannon Gormley. “Diana brings a lot of dedication to the band. The other students look up to her. She has strong leadership qualities. You couldn’t ask for two stronger kids on your leadership team; they are both fantastic.”

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