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Normal School Alumni to Break Ground on Memorial Wall in El Rito

The Northern New Mexico Normal School Alumni Association will break ground May 21, 2015 to begin construction on a memorial wall on Northern New Mexico College’s El Rito Campus.

The El Portal del Águila Memorial Wall will honor and celebrate the lives and accomplishments of the graduates and the rich history of the El Rito Normal School. It will be located at the southwest corner of the campus and will be visible from the main road. The area also features a memorial orchard where family members can plant fruit trees in honor of alumni who have passed.

The groundbreaking ceremony is open to the public and will coincide with Northern’s Board of Regents meeting taking place on the El Rito Campus May 21. The memorial is set to be unveiled at the NMNSAA annual reunion on August 22, “La Celebración de La Historia y Las Memorias de La Normal”.

“This is something that we want to leave as a legacy,” NMNSAA President John Romero (class of 1962) said. “This is to signify our presence on that campus and the education we received.”

Romero said that the association has more than 600 living alumni who attended the school between the years of 1945 and 1969.

Three years ago, under the leadership of Contractor Ernest Santistevan, (class of 1961), the alumni association began planning El Portal del Águila Memorial Wall and will officially gift the structure to Northern upon its completion.

Established in 1976, the NMNSAA is a 501 (c)(3) corporation with a mission to advance the cause of education by providing scholarships for New Mexico high school students, to preserve the property on the campus of the former Northern New Mexico Normal School and to conduct other functions that serve the common benefit and general welfare of the association’s membership.


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