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Northern's HEP and ABE programs give students a second chance

by Stephanie J. Montoya

José Roybal walked excitedly down the hallway, smiling as he showed off his proudly earned GED certificate. "Look what I got!" he said.

Looking at him, one wouldn't guess that this average-looking seventeen-year-old kid overcame some incredible odds to get where he is now.
At age 14, Roybal developed a Heroin addiction and dropped out of high school.
"I tried ninth grade for like a week," Roybal said. "The drugs kind of took that motivation away to go to school.
Roybal enrolled in Northern's High School Equivalency Program this year after a referral from drug court. He said he wanted to get into the program for a while, but didn't have the confidence until now.

"I just got tired of the lifestyle that I was living," he said. "Going to school was hard at first, but fighting my addiction was harder."

In September, Roybal wrecked an ATV, causing him to be airlifted to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque and suffered from bleeding to the brain. Despite life-threatening injuries, he recovered in a few short weeks and returned to school.

"It just made me come back and try harder. I would have graduated from high school this year, but I got my GED instead," he said.

Roybal will be entering Northern this year seeking a B.A. in Information Technologies, a degree he intends to use as a computer technician or software engineer. He says he stays tough on his younger siblings to stay in school and make sure they are on the right track.

Roybal said he was thankful for the caring staff and instructors at Northern who helped him achieve his goal. Northern's High School Equivalency and Adult Basic Education Programs have helped eight students obtain their GED this month, six of whom will continue their education at the college.

When asked what advice he would give others, he smiled, a scar still visible on his forehead and said, "If I can do it, anybody can. It could be the best thing you ever do, and it just feels really good."  


Congratulations to the growing list of students from Northern’s HEP and ABE programs who have earned their GED. 

Anthony Arrietta (ABE)
Matthew Fernandez (HEP)
Reece Griego (ABE)
Antonio Maestas (HEP)
James Munkres (ABE)
Stephanie Pacheco (HEP)
Jose Roybal (HEP)
David Trujillo (HEP)


To Learn More about Northern's HEP and ABE Programs, Contact:

Shari Jobe                                               
HEP Director
Northern New Mexico College
921 Paseo de Onate
Espanola, NM  87532
(505) 747-5441

Jessica Bryant Klagmann
Adult Basic Education Director
Northern New Mexico College
921 Paseo de Oñate
Española, NM 87532
(505) 747-2196