Motivated senior graduates in 3 years |

Motivated senior graduates in 3 years

Cindy Ramunno

When Battle Mountain senior Maricela Morales began kindergarten at Red Sandstone Elementary, she missed a semester ” which set her back a year. “We went to Mexico and I missed a lot of school that first year, so I had to do it over,” explains Morales. After finishing her elementary grades and then finishing at Minturn Middle School, a thought enter Morales’ head: “During my freshman year at Battle Mountain, I wondered if I could graduate in three years, but had no idea if it could even be done,” explains Morales.

At the beginning of her sophomore year, Morales decided to do something about it. She went into the school’s counseling department with her mom and sat down to discuss options. Morales will graduate this month and will be attending classes at Colorado Mountain College this fall.

And it wasn’t easy. A full load during the school day in addition to work after school helped make up the necessary credits for Morales. There was no room for mistakes and no room in her schedule for elective courses at Battle Mountain. Morales received her elective credits through the School-to-Career program, working at Grouse Mountain Grill. Morales will also work at the Grill this summer before college. She also earned credits by working at Avon Elementary after school every day.

Morales played soccer for Battle Mountain her sophomore year and was inducted into the National Honor Society at the school. Her older sister attends Johnson and Wales University in Denver and she has two very young brothers. “The advice I would give my brothers is to get involved in sports and activities in high school. Don’t ditch class and think for yourselves,” says Morales, who didn’t have the luxury of missing class or being involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities herself. This bilingual senior also adds that her parents helped her by handing out good advice. “My parents always said ‘don’t make mistakes ” make good choices the first time, because sometimes there’s no turning back,'” says Morales.

One of Battle Mountain’s counselors at the time was Judy Caliguiri, who is now at Red Canyon High School. “Maricela is such a sweetie ” she took a bad situation and succeeded through sheer perseverance,” says Caliguiri, who adds, “She followed her plan to a tee and had complete support from her family. She’s a very motivated young lady.”

Support Local Journalism