Teenage Difference Makers New Voice for AHS Show Choir Bulldogs with Greater Purpose Outstanding Teenage Nominations Chamber News & More!
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FROM THE EDITOR
FROM FOOTBALL TO KART RACING THIS GIRL SHOWS NO FEAR
ADVICE TO TEENS: DON’T WAIT TO ACT
ON A MISSION
A SERVANT’S HEART IN THE MIDST OF ADVERSITY
AHS SHOW CHOIR GIVES THE BULLDOGS A NEW VOICE TO BE HEARD
CHANCE MITCHELL, FFA OFFICER
THE MANY TALENTS OF JHARYSS GRANGER
BULLDOGS WITH A GREATER PURPOSE
A FRESH FACE IN JOURNALISM
WHO WOULD YOU NOMINATE?
ARTESIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS & RIBBON CUTTINGS
TEENAGE DIFFERENCE MAKERS ARE ON THE MOVE
ABOUT THE COVER
Four very different kids have their own unique stories. Read about each one’s journey. (FROM LEFT) Davon Collins, Layken King, Ali Mauritsen, Abigail Blackwell
Photo by Devon Carlo Staci Guy, Editorial Director - Kristy Crockett, Advertising Photography by Staci Guy , Jennifer Coats, Devon Carlo, Kyle Marksteiner & Submitted Photos Special Contributors: Kyle Marksteiner, Holly Delgado, AHS Journalism Students, Alice Herrington, Maisy Burton, Deonna Hoy, Jaegen Bruton, Davon J. Collins, Ajaycia Warren, Caroline Huggins, Kiara Herron, Rylee Peak, Nic Jenkins, Mackenzie Hoy & Andrea Munoz FOCUS ON ARTESIA IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY AD VENTURE MARKETING
Ad Venture Marketing, Ltd. Co. • 866.207.0821 • ad-venturemarketing.com All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Every effort was made to ensure accuracy of the information provided. The publisher assumes no responsibility or liability for errors, changes or omissions.
FALL 2016 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
from the editor
Fill in the blank:
Kids today are
FOCUS ON ARTESIA
PHOTO (ABOVE): Abigail Blackwell, Ali Mauritsen, Layken King and Davon Collins share a laugh
at the Heritage Walkway during a recent photo shoot for the cover of Focus on Artesia. Photo by Devon Carlo Photography
Did you say something like “lazy” or “selfish?” Maybe you went the “technology-obsessed” or “apathetic” route. Or did “ignorant” or “clueless” top your list? Regardless of what word you used to fill in that blank, if it’s negative, chances are they’ve already heard it. Kids today are well aware of the way in which older generations perceive them. Not only do we convey it with our actions and the ways in which we treat them, but we do so with our words as well. We flat out tell them: “When I was your age I didn’t have a cell phone…I played outside all day…I treated my elders with respect…I didn’t have Google to tell me everything I need to know…” We are quick to tell kids these days just how great our generation is and how horrible or messed up or selfish their generation is. It’s just what we do, and we do it well. Really though, we are no different than every other generation that has come before us. Each generation tends to think it is somehow “better” than the next. Think about it for a minute; when you were growing up,
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
did your parents or grandparents “get” everything you said or did? Did they like your music? Did they understand what the big fuss was all about when your favorite game or TV show or toy came out? Probably not. I’m 38 and I’m pretty sure my mom and dad didn’t think the New Kids on the Block were nearly as dreamy as I did when I was a kid. I’m sure they didn’t understand the appeal of Troll dolls or fluorescent-colored everything, and I’m certain they didn’t see the need to pay good money for that allimportant Trapper Keeper which was entirely too big to fit in my backpack let alone my little school desk. Sure we played outside all the time, but we also indulged in the occasional game of Pac-Man on the Atari, and when we got a little older and the technology gods smiled up on us, Super Mario Brothers and Zelda on the new gaming system called Nintendo! No, my parents’ generation didn’t get us
and we knew it, but we didn’t really care. And I’m no mind-reader, but I’d venture to say my grandparents didn’t get my parents, and my great-grandparents didn’t get my grandparents. That’s the beauty of generations—each one is different and has something different to offer. As always, it was an honor and a privilege to put together this issue of Focus on Artesia. It allowed me to peer into the minds and lives of a younger generation, and do you know what I learned? I learned that despite all our differences, there is still plenty that I can relate with. They struggle with peer pressure and fitting in just like I did when I was their age. They have busy schedules and learn very early on the importance of finding balance in their lives. They love to socialize and they cherish their down time just like I did. They have hope for the future and a deep-seated desire to make a difference just like I did. Do yourself a favor and read the stories we have put together about some extraordinary young individuals in our community. You might be surprised to find out how they spend their spare time, how they view the world, and how they are going to make a difference. You might be delighted to know their hobbies extend beyond the remote control or their iPhone. The young men and women (or “boys and girls,” if you prefer) that I had the privilege of writing about and getting to know for this issue renewed my hope for our future. I have absolute confidence that they will do and accomplish and contribute great things to our community, our nation and even our world—mostly because they already have! Best Regards, - Staci Guy, Editorial Director A B O U T T H E E D IT O R
Staci Guy is the editorial director of Focus on Artesia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Difference Makers by Staci Guy
When adult volunteers donate their time to a cause, we tend to see immediate benefits, such as full stomachs, shelter or relief from hardship—benefits that are visible, tangible. What we often do not see immediately, however, is the seed their efforts are planting in younger generations who have witnessed such acts. Several years ago Lindsey Givens encountered a young woman who was in desperate need of assistance; she was homeless and suffered from mental illness. Givens was not willing to walk away from the hurting woman without offering assistance even though many of her closest friends encouraged her to do so. She stayed and she helped, thus beginning her journey of providing assistance to homeless members of the community, which in turn led to the creation of the On the Move organization. As the mother of five daughters, Givens diligently carried out the work she felt God was calling her to do. Eventually, her granddaughter Alyssa Palomin followed suit, joining her grandmother on the volunteer front. “Alyssa has a really good heart and is
willing to help people that need it,” Givens gushed about her granddaughter. “It’s gratifying to help people,” Palomin expressed. “I enjoy it.” Like most teens, Palomin is fully aware of the stereotypes attached to her generation, yet she seems undeterred. “A lot of people think badly about us, like we are going to end up ruining the world or something,” she grumbled. “We are not what they paint us out to be. They think we are lazy and only focus on ourselves and technology, but we are driven and goal-oriented; we think about the future.” Like Palomin, brothers Jake and Luke Nelson have grown up in a family that believes in giving back and making a difference. Their grandfather, Don Shell, also volunteers with On the Move, and by his example Jake and Luke have realized the importance of giving back. Luke is outgoing and outspoken, and he enjoys the time he spends doling out clothes and food with On the Move. “It’s nice to help people out; it feels good,” he emphasized.
Younger brother Jake, the shy, selfproclaimed homebody, revealed that volunteering with the organization has given him a chance to step outside his comfort zone. “I like helping people once I get out of my shell,” he confessed, which his mother, Dena Nelson, agreed with. For Shell, one of the most important lessons he can teach his family has been carried out through his actions—the act of giving back. “It really is true that it is more blessed to give than to receive,” he asserted. “It’s a cycle, and when they see people giving, then they will turn around and give, too. We believe in giving back, and we want to teach them to give back.” And what better way to see and understand the need to give back than by getting out into the community and putting a face to a need for shelter and food. Being face-to-face with someone that has no home, minimal clothing and a scarce food supply has a way of putting things into perspective, even for teenage boys and girls. “There are times when you watch someone come up and you can
It really is true that it is more blessed to give than to receive
PHOTO (LEFT): Alyssa Palomin sorts through piles of donated clothing that On the Move donates
to local homeless individuals.
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
PHOTO (RIGHT): Jake and Luke Nelson pose for a quick photo next to a giant pile of carrots they were sorting through, which were later distributed to local families in need.
Our generation is definitely more open-minded We are dramatic...
PHOTO (LEFT): Artesia High School senior Alyssa Palomin, 17, is following in her
grandmother’s footsteps by volunteering her time to help the homeless.
PHOTO (BELOW): Jake Nelson, an 18-year-old senior at Artesia High School, says volunteering with On the Move has helped him “come out of his shell” and opened his eyes to the needs of others.
FALL 2016 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
In other words, the young volunteers who devote their evenings and weekends to helping the homeless don’t view themselves as the self-obsessed, lazy kids that society often portrays them to be. They view themselves as open-minded and willing to help, sure of what they want and cognizant of their role in shaping the future. They communicate their feelings better than previous generations and view technology as a vital tool rather than a nuisance or inconvenience.
see how bad off they are…,” Jake said with a pause. “It just really makes you realize how blessed you are.” As a mom, those types of comments are exactly what Dena, a social worker for the school system, likes to hear, and those experiences are the ones for which she is grateful they are sharing with one another. “I want them to learn early that they really should give back to the community,” she pointed out. “It’s good for them to see that there are people out there that haven’t had the breaks they’ve had, and I hope I’ve instilled in them the importance, when they see a need, when God’s people are hurting, to fill that need.” “We are commanded to do that!” Givens interjected, agreeing. “We are commanded to give to the poor and needy.” Like Palomin, Jake and Luke are also aware of the stereotypes attached to their generation, but they seem undeterred by them as well. “Older people tend to think we are spoiled, and I guess that’s true to an extent,” Jake observed. “But there’s more to us than that. I think we are more tolerant [than older generations] for sure.” Luke added, “Our generation is definitely more open-minded. We are dramatic…We make a big deal out of things, and sometimes that can get annoying, but it’s also a good thing because it helps us let out our feelings.”
Other than volunteering with On the Move, 18-year-old Jake enjoys playing golf, lifting weights and reading. In the summers and on school breaks he works for his uncle, a local painter, and attends West Main Baptist Church. He was the Rotary Club’s Student of the Month for September this year. Luke, 16, plays basketball for the Bulldogs, enjoys lifting weights and also plays on a traveling basketball team. He also attends West Main Baptist Church. Palomin, 17, also manages to keep a busy schedule outside of school. She teaches fitness classes for kids at a local gym, works in her church nursery, and enjoys lifting weights. In fact, Palomin is a powerlifter and has broken two national records and three state records. She, too, was selected as September’s Student of the Month for Rotary Club, and she recently began volunteering with the Big Brothers Big Sisters. One thing is for certain, the multigenerational volunteers that make up On the Move serve to remind people that giving back to those in need isn’t limited to any one age group. We all, whether young or old, have something we can contribute to a greater purpose than ourselves—for it truly is in giving that we receive. PHOTO (ABOVE LEFT): For 16-year-old sophomore Luke Nelson, one of the perks of
volunteering with On the Move is being able to do so alongside not only his older brother but his grandfather, Don Shell, as well. Topping off the family affair, the Nelson brothers’ uncles, Caleb Shell and Gary Nelson, also volunteer with the organization.
PHOTO (ABOVE RIGHT): Palomin enjoys powerlifting and has won numerous state and
national titles for her efforts.
It's gratifying to help people 8
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
On The Move
Organization What began as a local citizen offering assistance to a homeless woman suffering from mental illness has expanded into an entire organization aimed at doing the same. Several years ago Lindsey Givens encountered a young woman in need of help. Her faith and her heart told her to do what she could to assist the woman, even when many of those around her advised otherwise. “People told me to stop doing it because I was going to get hurt,” she confessed. “But I said that I would not stop until God tells me to stop.” Her reasoning was simple: “That’s what we are commanded to do: give to the poor and help the needy.” With the help of other volunteers like Don Shell, Mark Silla, Paula Givens, Michelle Hudson, Pamela Mann, Dana Morton, Julia Ferguson, and Shirley Murphy, Givens has formed a non-profit organization called On the Move. The organization distributes food and clothing to those in need, and they help find shelter in the form of hotel rooms for those without a home. But their long-term plans are much greater. “We have exhausted every penny we had because hotels get expensive fast, even at $55 a night,” she pointed out, adding, “The community has been very supportive as far as donating clothing and what-not, but not so much for the monetary donations.” The money they do receive, she said, is now being earmarked for a homeless camp—something she knows the community is not entirely behind. “Overall, people are not real receptive to the idea of a camp,” she acknowledged. “They don’t want them to stay; they want them to move on. But you know what? They can be a benefit to the community if they stay.” She said there will be strict rules enforced, a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy and 24-hour security. “They would pay $30 a month after the first month. Even though they are homeless, they can work at least part time somewhere, and they can afford $30 a month, which will help pay for the port-a-pot and security. They will have jobs to do around the camp, too.” She went on, explaining, “There are ways to make it safe for our community, and those things will be implemented. We aren’t just going to pitch a few tents and say, ‘If you’re homeless come out here and stay.’ There will be guidelines.” The camp will consist of tents, but Givens is adamant that it will be a safe and comfortable place when “going home” is not an option. “It’s not going to be the Legacy Inn with a hot breakfast, but it will be a place where they can be. It will be as comfortable and dry and clean as they make it and as long as they follow the rules they can stay. If they have a place to go and they know they can stay, they aren’t going to be out harassing people; they aren’t out there scrounging through people’s trash and breaking into houses because they have a place to stay.” She revealed that crime rates are actually down in places like Seattle, where they have homeless camps. Currently, the camp is in the infancy stages, but Givens and the other volunteers are hopeful that the community will be open to the idea and help make it a reality. They always welcome donations of any sort and especially volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. She concluded, “If you look at [the book of] Isaiah, how else can you look at it? It says, ‘This is what you must do…’ It’s not a suggestion, not if you feel like it; you must take care of these people.”
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From Football to Kart Racing,
This Girl Shows No Fear by Kyle Marksteiner
Layken can throw. Layken can run.
And, you better believe it, Layken can race. Layken King is a soft-spoken sixth grader, but as soon as she dons a helmet—any sort of helmet—she swiftly transforms into a football and racing superstar. She’s certainly not afraid to compete against the boys.
King earned her first face burn a few months later while trying to do a wheelie. She began riding motorcycles a year later and by age five she was taking first place at races in Tularosa.
In fact, she doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything.
That’s when she earned the name “Loco Layken,” which she still uses as her online username to this day.
“She’s always been crazy,” laughed her mother, Jennifer Mendoza. “We knew she was going to do something when she literally rode her bicycle without training wheels two months before she turned three.”
“Due to her jumping a tabletop and having a pretty bad wreck, Mom pulled the plug on the dirt bikes,” added her stepdad, Jason Mendoza. “She settled in and accepted the kart and mini stock racing world.”
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
Winning on the track wasn’t enough, however, and King also began playing football in the second grade, with Jason and her uncle, Jacob, serving as coaches. She played quarterback, running back and receiver and said she was inspired in part by her cousin, Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Landry Jones. “As a family we’re really into football,” she remarked. But weekend racing is what keeps King really busy, and that’s something she enjoys doing with her father, Joel King, as well as her stepdad, mother and all of her siblings. “She got into Outlaw Kart Racing and we do a winter series,” explained Jason. “It’s a new thing back in the Midwest, but it’s moving this way.” The caged kart concept began in the early 1980s and has gradually evolved over time. Cages are designed to fit the individual driver, and racers of all ages compete on oval dirt tracks.
I just like to drive and compete
The karts are supposed to arrive assembled, but Layken and her family wound up having to put everything together on their own due to a shipping error. They must have done something right, as she placed second in her first big kart show in Levelland, Texas. Throughout the winter series, family members travel to Odessa and Slaton, Texas and up to Oklahoma to watch her compete. She is also a regular at mini stock racing at the Cardinal Speedway in Eunice. “I just like to drive and compete,” she declared, noting that she placed third in her two most recent races. A highlight has always been racing with her brother, Garrett, and spending time on the road to events with her two older sisters and youngest brother. Her father and stepfather are both avid racers as well. Over the summer, she experienced a significant setback when she broke her arm riding her hover board at a nearby park and was out for six weeks. Interestingly, she devoted her extra time on the injury list learning to play the flute. She would have played football in pads this year were it not for her injury, but she does anticipate joining the school’s volleyball team. While she’ll miss football quite a bit, it was the forced break from racing that really upset her. With her arm healing rapidly, she said she expects to be back into racing by mid-September. It’s very clear that the injury itself has not interfered with her brand of casual courage. It will be another few years before she is eligible for a driver’s license, but she doesn’t think passing that test will be too much of a challenge. After all, when you are already a regular trophy winner at tracks around Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, hitting the streets just doesn’t seem that hard. In the meantime, be on the lookout for Artesia’s fearless racer, Layken King. PHOTO (LEFT): Layken King, pictured at her home in south Artesia PHOTOS (RIGHT - FROM TOP): Layken King has been racing since she was three years
old, and she says it is a good bonding activity with her family members; Pictured with one of her many trophies; Racer Layken King, she competes regularly in Outlaw Kart Racing across the Southwest
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Advice to Teens:
Don’t Wait to Act
by Staci Guy
She was very up front with her two-part message. PART ONE: “I want it to be very clear that I do everything for God.” PART TWO: “My main message is that young people shouldn’t wait to act.” As cliché as it is, we can make a difference.” For anyone who knows 17-year-old Alexandra Mauritsen, or Ali as her friends and family call her, it probably comes as no surprise that she came into the interview for this story with a specific direction in mind. She will be the first to tell you that she has “bossy” tendencies and a strong, persistent personality. “In preschool I was the ringleader, and I told my little friends ‘When I do this, it means come here,’” she recalled with a chuckle as she made a beckoning signal with her pointer finger. “I’ve always been very Type A.” Like most Type A personalities, Mauritsen has been an overachiever since the day she was born. “I used to call it ‘being the best perfectionist,’” she admitted. “It’s something I’ve had to work on.” She excelled in elementary school and broke reading records in intermediate school. Junior high and high school were not much different; she excelled in her studies and pushed herself to take as many Advanced Placement (AP) classes as possible, with the initial mindset of “getting into a good college.” “My mindset has always been that ‘I can’t wait to become a doctor so I can help people,” she shared. “But I’m realizing that you don’t have to be a doctor to help people.” That’s not to say she no longer plans to become a doctor; just the opposite,
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
advances and doing great things, even though they are only 16 or 17 years old,” she revealed. “It opened my eyes that there’s no reason I can’t do that, too!”
actually. In the summer of 2015 she attended a conference in Boston, the Congress for Future Medical Leaders, designed for higher-achieving students from across the country who have expressed an interest in the field of medicine. Ali Mauritsen fit the bill. She knew early on that she wanted to study medicine, and her academic endeavors were nothing less than exemplary. “Throughout the conference there were continuous themes of ‘not waiting.’ They brought in kids who are making big
She experienced a shift in her mindset after returning home from the conference. It was a life-changer. “Over time it’s been mulling around in my mind… Every person has their niche in the world, and finding your niche doesn’t have to wait until you have a job!” she proclaimed. She realized that she had been so busy packing her schedule with courses that would prep her for college and working toward becoming a doctor that she was missing out on the here and now. With that in mind, she made decisions that added to her quality of life, like joining Bulldogs for Christ as a student leader, and sharing her gift of music by joining the school choir. In addition, she is involved with her youth group at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, also serving as a lector and altar server, as well as a member of the AHS cross country and basketball teams. She does everything she can to find joy and fulfillment outside the classroom as well as inside. Leading up to the conference in Boston, the director would send out emails to the students who were slated to attend, and one such email caught the attention of her parents. He mentioned a medical internship to India scheduled for the following summer. “Honestly, it wasn’t FOCUSNM.COM
I’m realizing that you don’t have to be a doctor to help people Ali Mauritsen poses for a photo with a statue of Mahatma Gandhi during her trip to India for a medical internship.
something that was high on my list of priorities at the time because of the timing,” she expressed. “The conference took place right before my [junior year] of school, and I just wasn’t really wanting to think about planning a trip for the next summer.” Her parents, however, were excited. They saw the future trip as a building block in their
daughter’s long-term plan to become a doctor. “They took a lot of the initiative,” she maintained. “The sign-up period was during the conference in Boston, so they stood in line, paid attention to stuff like that...And then over the course of the next year we got everything ready for my trip.”
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This past summer their efforts came to fruition when she and about 80 other students from around the world set off for a life-changing trip to India for a twoweek internship. “I was under a different impression,” she explained. “I thought I’d do more internship-type things, but it was more of a very close-up form of shadowing,
"Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others."
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although we did do quite a bit of hands-on stuff, especially when we would do our college sessions in the afternoon.” Their handson learning came in the form of holding human body parts and working on human cadavers. “I got to work on cutting away layers of skin, and because of that I’m taking anatomy this year (in high school),” she noted. Since returning from her trip, people often ask her if working on human cadavers or cutting away layers of skin scared her or made her queasy. Being quintessential Type A, she had a response already prepared: “It was part of my discernment if I wanted to be a doctor and if I could handle it. Fortunately it didn’t bother me at all!” During the same summer that she traveled to Boston in 2015, she and her family—mom Clara, dad Alec, and brothers Hans and Bjorn—traveled to Paris for a family vacation. This past summer, in addition to interning in India, she also traveled to Ireland and Scotland with a group from the high school. To say she is welltraveled for a 17-year-old would be an understatement. “The more I travel, the more I want to travel. It really has opened my mind,” she exclaimed. Traveling has made her more aware of stereotypes and has helped her realize there is no generalization that can capture “the whole.” “Because I’ve been around people whose ideas are different than mine, I have become more open-minded. It’s important for me to have an open mind, but also be very grounded in my faith, so I don’t stray but can see different perspectives. It was a manifestation of my faith.” She has discovered, she said, that being open-minded does not mean she has to be separated from her faith. In fact, she has learned different things about her faith “through avenues that might not even be related.” Since experiencing the Congress for Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Mauritsen has grown by leaps and bounds as a student and in her faith. “My mindset has always been that I have to take all these college classes now to get ready, but I’ve come to understand that the point of college and the point of high school is to be an educated person. The goal of high school is to learn and be enriched as a person, which is what college is for anyways,” she reasoned. “I’ve always been the kind of person that says, ‘I’ve got to get a 100 on this test,’ but this past year I am more inclined to think, ‘I should get a 100 on this test because I know what’s on it, and if I miss something, then I know I need to work on it.’” If you’ve been skimming through the story at this point, now is the time to sit up and take note. I am about to share something with you that will likely have you saying, “Hey, I remember reading something about that a few years back. Ali Mauritsen is actually making it happen.” And if that happens, I hope you will remember you heard it here first! She has an idea that could quite possibly change the way in which we offer aid to developing and third-world countries.
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
“I wonder why developing countries haven’t developed. I have an idea that will unite all of the areas, such as sanitization, education, health care…unite existing companies and raise the level of living in developing countries,” she asserted. In other words, she would like to take all the different aspects that encompass a country, break it down, and bring in people specialized in each area in order to unite all of the various parts as a whole. “I will look for solutions that are simple, cost effective and effective in general, something I learned about in Boston.” She also noted that most third-world countries do not have access to medications that we do, which means it will be important to be well-versed on natural remedies, such as chiropractic, herbal medicines and utilizing “common knowledge of the area.” Mauritsen knows what it means to work hard, but she is now learning how to balance that hard work with things that bring enrichment and fulfillment. “I know what I have to do and I’m pushing toward it,” she emphasized. “Not for the sake of college, but for the sake of learning from it.” After high school she hopes to attend one of her top three university choices—Harvard, Johns Hopkins or Stanford “because of their prestigious medical programs”—and then attend medical school. She plans to become a general practitioner, rather than a specialist, so she can travel to and work in third-world countries. “This year I will be working on my business plan and moving toward making it a botanical thing. You can get a lot more help starting a business in school rather than after,” she noted. “Hopefully I can get it off the ground and possibly be one of my own researchers.” All the planning and traveling and studying would not be possible, however, without the support of her parents, who “play a huge part in all of it. Having international parents just kind of shrinks the world,” she acknowledged. Because her family is not from this country, she has relatives in “most of the European world. When you have a mom from Africa, it doesn’t seem so strange to go to the other side of the world!” she reasoned. Her parents met when her dad was an exchange student in Tanzania and attended the same university as her mother. His job as a geologist took them all over the world until they decided to lay down their roots in Artesia, where he took a job alongside his uncle, Mark Mauritsen, at Yates Petroleum. By their example she has learned the importance of obtaining an education, working hard, and keeping her focus on things that truly matter, such as her faith in God. “I give all the glory to God. I’ve been naturally born into things that not everyone has,” she pronounced. “Everything I do is for Him.” PHOTO (TOP LEFT): Ali Mauritsen shares a close relationship with her younger brothers, Hans and Bjorn. PHOTOS (TOP RIGHT): Ali Mauritsen, far left, said her parents have played an integral role in her life, instilling in her a strong sense of faith and family. Pictured with her during a trip to Stanford University are her brother Hans, mother Clara, brother Bjorn, and father Alec.
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On A Mission by Staci Guy
If you’re a loyal reader of Focus on Artesia, you might recall seeing a picture of Abigail Blackwell with her parents and two siblings on the cover of one of our early issues. The Blackwells shared their story, which centered on their decision to adopt Abigail, her sister Holly and brother Rexton. It was a remarkable story of heartache, doubt, self-discovery, faith and ultimately, joy beyond imagination. So you might think of this edition as a “part II” of sorts, where we get to peek inside and see their remarkable story as it is today.
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Ukraine I had the distinct privilege of meeting Abigail through church and I have known her parents for quite some time. I didn’t really get to know her, though, until last year when we both attended a mission trip to Ukraine, an eastern European country that was once a part of the Soviet Union.
Abigail accompanied her father, Michael, on the trip, along with about 20 other people from our congregation. On that trip, I was able to get a better idea of what Abigail is really like; not the “Sunday morning church” Abigail, but the little girl who, like all little girls, is complex and beautifully flawed. I got to see the Abigail that finds comfort in her father, yet strives FOCUSNM.COM
to find honor and favor with our Father. Sure there was “grumpy, tired, ‘we’ve been traveling for two days to a foreign country and I just want to sleep’” Abigail, but there was also, “compassionate, vibrant, serving” Abigail. I got a glimpse of the life that her parents had been so faithfully helping her build over the course of her nine short years on earth. She not only survived serving in a foreign country where none of the other children spoke the same language she did, but she thrived. She formed bonds and friendships that she still cherishes today. But that would prove to be only the beginning of her service in the mission field. If you’re curious how a then-nine-year-old girl ended up in war-torn Ukraine, the answer is simple: “My mom asked me if I wanted
start exposing our kids to the world and to the needs beyond our country. I want her to see that the world extends beyond Artesia, and what better way to experience the world than by serving?”
to go, and I said, ‘Yes.’ Not just ‘Yes,’ but ‘Yes, yes, yes!’” she exclaimed. “Actually, she asked what Ukraine was, and then she said, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’” her mother, Arlas interjected. But why? Why ask her young daughter if she wanted to go on an overseas mission trip? Well, quite frankly, the answer can be found in their belief system. “Her dad had gone a couple of times, so we knew what to expect; we knew she would be in a protective group with the church,” Arlas began. “But really, we want to
While serving in Ukraine, Abigail and her group were responsible for helping run a Bible school for a church which many orphan children attend. She was tasked with helping on the game front, a favorite of the children attending camp. During the course of our interview, she shared plenty of memories from her trip ranging from the games they played to the food she ate. Still, a year and a half after her trip, she lights up when she talks about the experience and the friends she made along the way. “She came back and said she made two Ukrainian best friends, not even knowing their language!” Arlas marveled. And if you know most nine-year-old girls, making a best friend is something special—not just a friend, but a best friend! When Abigail learned she would not be going back see her friends in Ukraine this year, she told me she cried. She missed her friends and wanted to go back to see them and to serve the community again. Her tears were short-lived, however, because she was soon presented with another opportunity to travel and serve.
PHOTO (OPPOSITE PAGE): Abigail Blackwell photo by Devon Carlo Photography PHOTO (TOP LEFT): Abigail Blackwell stands outside the gates of the children’s home in which she and her mother, Arlas Blackwell, served this summer in the Philippines. PHOTOS (TOP RIGHT): Abigail Blackwell, bottom row, far left, and her father, Michael Blackwell, top row, center, served together on a mission trip to Ukraine in the summer of 2015.
FALL 2016 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
I want her to see that the world extends beyond Artesia, and what better way to experience the world than by serving?
The Philippines Michael and Arlas Blackwell will tell you that by their standards, they are late to the game in terms of serving on mission trips. It is something they are working to remedy with their own children. “She is already experiencing things as a child that I am only now
experiencing,” Arlas expressed. “We will expose all of our kids to that when we feel they are ready.” Last year Michael had the opportunity to serve alongside their daughter, and this past summer it was Arlas’ turn. She and Abigail, along with a smaller group from their church, traveled to the Philippines to serve and share the love of Christ. “My mom asked me if I wanted to go, and of course I said, ‘Yes!’” Abigail beamed. Unlike Ukraine though, Abigail had slightly more knowledge of the Philippines before she went; Aaron Romo, a family friend, serves as a missionary to the island country, located in southeast Asia. Upon the advice of her husband, Arlas decided to extend their stay by a few days. “Michael suggested taking two weeks so we would have at least ten days in country, but the group we were going with only had four days in country,” she explained. “So Abs and I went up a week early. I think it was the only way we could really get the feel of it.”
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Taking Michael’s advice, Arlas and Abigail set out by themselves for the Philippines a week before the rest of their group. “It was hard because we were there by ourselves without our team, but we learned it; we just figured it out,” she shared. “Abigail was a trooper. She was good at being flexible and just jumped right in.” Right off the bat Abigail made a friend, a visitor from New Zealand. I allowed my mind to wander for just a moment as I thought about what Abigail’s life will look like down the road. I mean, she is going to have friends all over the world! As Abigail told me about her trip, her energy was contagious and her passion shone through like the brightest of lights. Our conversation about the Philippines was a juxtaposition of sadness and joy—sadness about the deplorable living conditions, hunger and extreme poverty on a scale that we, as Americans, cannot begin to fathom. But as quickly as the sadness crept in, joy would take over. Arlas and Abigail quickly came to love people in the orphanage and the community in which they served. “You know…they were always FOCUSNM.COM
slightly changed. Her shoulders slumped ever so slightly. “It made me feel guilty,” she admitted.
guilt and, to an extent, even disgust. “It’s hard to come back to a country like ours and see how we live after experiencing that,” Arlas revealed. “It’s tough. We have no idea.”
I sat up a bit straighter, my attention now piqued, as she explained further. “We always feel like we need or want more, but really they are the ones that need more; we have more than enough. I don’t know…it just made me feel really guilty.”
Abigail found her niche during the trip and quickly settled in as the all-important “baby feeder.” Arlas explained, “The shift change at the children’s home was 6 a.m., and we were a block away. We got up at 5:20 every morning and headed over there. The babies were all up and eating, and they needed help feeding the babies. Abs learned how to feed babies and loved on those little ones every morning, even on the weekend. It was very fulfilling for her.”
I glanced over at her mom and saw tears welling up in her eyes. Sure she was proud of her daughter and what she learned while serving in a third-world country, but it was more than that. They were shared feelings of
happy, even though they had nothing,” Abigail reminisced. “They were always joyful, and they didn’t judge people by what they looked like or if they didn’t have clothes on,” (a situation they witnessed more often than not). The moment Abigail became even more endearing was when I asked her how it made her feel to see so many children with no homes and no clothing; nothing to call their own. I was expecting to hear something along the lines of “bad” or “it was sad,” but that’s not what I heard. She paused, and her demeanor
“I loved it!” Abigail chimed in. To date, Abigail has now served on two mission teams and has no plans of slowing down. “I really want to go back, like soon!” she beamed. Her mom agreed, joking, “I’d move there if could!” In all honestly though, Arlas and Michael realize the role they are playing in shaping their children’s lives, and it’s a role they take seriously. “We will give all of our children opportunities to serve on mission trips, and we realize the ramifications of that,” she shared. “It may mean that one day she may leave—like, really leave—but that’s okay. Wherever God plants them is where we want them to be.” The original story about the Blackwell family appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Focus on Artesia. Visit FocusNM.com/ articles, then search for “Blackwell” under the “Search FocusNM.com” tab. PHOTO (OPPOSITE PAGE TOP): Abigail and Michael Blackwell pose for a photo at Glory of Keiv Park in Ukraine with a group of fellow church members during a mission trip in July 2015. PHOTO (OPPOSITE PAGE BOTTOM): Abigail holds two plastic cups used to scoop out and serve food to people in the Philippines during a recent mission trip. PHOTO (TOP & BOTTOM LEFT): Abigail said her favorite part of the mission trip was feeding and loving on the babies at the children’s home.
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A Servant’s Heart in the Midst of Adversity by Holly Delgado
When you hear the name Jessie James, do you immediately think of the notorious outlaw from the late 1800s? Well this article is not about the outlaw, but rather a young man by the name of Jessie James Cano, also known as J.J., who is far from an outlaw! Cano is a simple kid with a quiet strength about him. As a senior at Artesia High School, he is enjoying every minute of life while holding down a part-time job at Henry’s Barbecue and working hard in his studies to meet graduation requirements. You see, he spent his 2013 and 2014 school years at home unable to attend school due to an illness.
possible solutions. He had his gallbladder removed in hope of relief, but to no avail. He stopped eating foods containing gluten, a wheat protein, because the doctors thought he might have celiac
In 2015, the Cano family’s perseverance paid off when he visited a doctor in Colorado who diagnosed J.J. with a paralyzed stomach and began to treat him accordingly. His strength began to increase as he was finally able to eat and function normally again. The unknown had kept them in a constant state of questions, so they were elated to finally have an answer. His mother stated that they could not have prevailed without the strength of God, their family and the prayers and support of their church family, for which they are all extremely grateful.
As a younger adolescent, he participated in Bible Drill at First Baptist Church, a program that teaches children scripture memorization and how to navigate the Bible. It was in those years that he chose his favorite scripture, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust Him” (Nahum 1:7). Little did he know at the time, that particular Bible verse from Nahum would become one he would wholeheartedly rely on to get him through illness. Around Thanksgiving 2013, J.J. became chronically sick to his stomach. He was unable to keep any food down and his stomach was upset all the time. With no relief or success in diagnosing the cause of this illness, his parents had no choice but to pull him out of school. He lost weight and strength due to his inability to keep foods down. His young teenage life consisted of going from one doctor’s appointment to the next with only “let’s try this” or “it may be that” as
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more appointments but no answers. It was during this time that he clung to his favorite verse. In the midst of his pain and uncertainty, he persevered through a roller coaster of emotions, relying on his faith in God to get him through.
disease. That was no help either. Even the simple task of walking was a struggle some days. The family went through bouts of stress and anxiety when there were only
J.J. was able to reenter the public school system, and where other kids his age may complain about school or homework, he is grateful to have the opportunity to be back at school where he says his favorite subject is chemistry. He was also glad to be able to attend his church’s youth group again where he could continue pursuing his passion of helping others through acts of service in mission projects. One thing that is evident from J.J.’s actions is his heart for God and his passion for FOCUSNM.COM
showing people God’s love through serving others. He sees serving not as a chore but as an opportunity to show people God. In a generation where youth can get caught up in attitudes of entitlement, he stands out by his own statement, “My faith in
Christ is the only reason I am where I am in my life. God has provided me with so much in my life from my family to my friends. I owe every good thing in my life to God because He gave me every single thing that I have.” He has shown his desire to help others through various mission trips and service projects locally and across the United States. His most recent mission trip was to Salt Lake City, Utah where he and others from his youth group worked alongside a local church in Ogden to host a neighborhood block party where they could share the gospel of Christ.
credit for teaching him how to be a hard worker with a grateful and uncomplaining heart.
His family, which consists of his dad Junior, mom Toni, older sister Tiffany and younger sister Emily, all agree on one thing about him: he’s a jokester and always makes them laugh! Tiffany describes him as a very generous person who would give you whatever he has or buy whatever you need. He loves that his family is very close-knit; it’s this closeness that is undoubtedly a key factor in the humble confidence he exudes in everything he does. He gives his dad
J.J. plans to graduate from high school and attend first Wayland Baptist University and then Texas Tech to obtain a degree in chemical engineering with a minor in business. His encouragement to others who may be battling an illness is, “Don’t go through it alone, and have faith because God loves you.” There is no doubt that this young man has a joyful, servant’s heart, a positive mindset and a faith that has carried him through a trying time and continues to carry him through life, and that makes him an outstanding youth that his parents, friends and family are extremely proud of. PHOTO (OPPOSITE PAGE): Jessie James (J.J.) Cano PHOTO (ABOVE LEFT): J.J. Cano enjoys serving up refreshing snow cones for families while on a mission trip with his youth group to Ogden, Utah. PHOTO (ABOVE RIGHT): J.J. is all smiles as he helps with Extreme Kidz Club hosted by First Baptist Church over spring break 2016. PHOTO (LEFT): J.J. strikes a pose with a fellow church member at a Sunday night small group session.
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AHS Show Choir GIVES THE BULLDOGS by Artesia High School journalism students Davon J. Collins, Ajaycia Warren, Caroline Huggins
a new voice to be heard
DEDICATION TAKES ON A WHOLE NEW MEANING THANKS TO THE TREMENDOUS EFFORTS OF THE ARTESIA HIGH SCHOOL SHOW CHOIR AND ITS DIRECTOR SUSIE PARKER
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Find out what you love
such as at elementary schools, corporate dinners and meetings of local civic organizations such as Lion’s Club. Show Choir members are encouraged to pursue their musical passions. “Find out what you love,” is an inspiring piece of advice offered by Parker to her students. The students involved in Show Choir seem to have no problem doing exactly that. Although many Show Choir students are involved in a wide variety of extracurricular activities and Advanced Placement (AP) classes, they always make time to practice their pieces whether at rehearsals, at home or during any free time in between. If they simply cannot make the rehearsal time, the students will go so far as to sacrifice a meal to practice during their lunch time. “I like to embrace the stress involved in being in Show Choir and AP classes. It pushes me to be a better person,” revealed Chase Smith, a dedicated choir member of three years. Despite the exhaustive workload, the students agree that they’ve never been closer to the people involved in any club like Show Choir. “It’s hard work, but you make a lot of close friends; you’re basically a family,” said Emily Zottneck, a two-year choir member.
With a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas Tech University, Parker leads these extremely dedicated and talented students into a year’s worth of Bulldog excellence. From juggling the responsibilities of fundraisers and community outreach programs to late night rehearsals and budgeting for costs, Parker makes sure everything goes as planned and with an inspiring passion. “God put me here,” she stated as she elaborated on the minute detail work that’s done on and off the stage. The position of director requires many extra hours at the office doing paperwork and providing one-on-one instruction to Show Choir members on vocals and choreography. This year Parker and her students are crafting a music medley with tracks from the likes of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King while also regularly performing at community events
With traditions such as mid-rehearsal cream-cheese-frosted sugar cookie breaks and post-practice pizza parties, there’s really no family like Show Choir. “If you’re too scared or nervous to try out for Show Choir, don’t be,” first-year soprano Sarahi Maynez voiced, stressing the need to not be focused on judgment. The other participants advised that students who are interested in auditions should go in and do their thing; there’s no reason to be wary of the opinions of others. This tight-knit bunch of talent is supportive of all their new and potential new peers. A position on this exclusive team is definitely one to be held in high regard; the responsibilities and required skills cannot be taken lightly. In order to be a successful member of Show Choir, you must be able to do the following: match pitch, learn and execute choreography, sight-read music, hold a four-part harmony, contribute creative ideas, be open to constructive criticism and be able to cooperate efficiently with peers. If you are capable of the previously listed skills and have a passion for music, then Show Choir just might be what you’ve been waiting for. PHOTO: This elite group of singers at Artesia High School have met a rigorous set of criteria in order to earn a spot on the Artesia High School Show Choir, directed by Susie Parker.
FALL 2016 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
Chance Mitchell, by Artesia High School journalism students Alice Herrington & Maisy Burton
Everyone has potential sometimes; it just takes another person to see it in you
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and inspiring the members to get out and do more as students and FFA members. “Everyone has potential sometimes; it just takes another person to see it in you,” he declared.
On June 3, 2016, Chance Mitchell, a member of the Artesia Chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA), was elected state vice president for the New Mexico FFA Association (NMFFA) during the state FFA convention in Las Cruces. He will serve New Mexico and District V as a state officer for a one-year term. To become vice president for NMFFA, Mitchell had to submit an application to the state association, participate in an in-depth nominating committee process and be elected from delegates representing the chapters in his district. It was a rigorous process. Mitchell’s duties as the state vice president include presenting leadership workshops throughout the year, giving speeches and hosting the New Mexico FFA State Convention next June. He will be making presentations at Chapter Officer Leadership trainings across the state, the “Red Barn” at the New Mexico State Fair, the New Mexico Leadership Conference in Albuquerque and the FFA’s National Convention in Indianapolis, to name a few. Throughout the year he will have the opportunity to make chapter visits
He is also involved with National Honor Society and 4-H and ran cross country for four years. He has been lucky enough to compete at the national level several times showing lambs and judging. He has shown mainly market lambs, but he has also shown hogs and goats as well. He has had the opportunity to show lambs and judge at the New Mexico State Fair; Eastern New Mexico State Fair; American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri; North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky and National Western Stock Show in Denver.
to Carlsbad, Hobbs, Lovington, Artesia, Hondo, Hagerman, Dexter, Roswell High, Goddard and Cloudcroft. He reported, “I am super excited for my workshop and to see all of the ag students and FFA members in my district.” He has been in FFA since the beginning of his ninth grade year. He has had the opportunity to be around the association his whole life because his father is an ag teacher. In his many years in FFA, he had the opportunity to participate in events such as Prepared Public Speaking. In October he will be attending the National Convention in Indianapolis to compete with a speech titled “Farmer for President.” He also has participated in many team events, such as Parliamentary Procedure, Ag Sales, Ag Issues, Livestock, Meats, Dairy and Horse Judging. He noted, “I would say my leadership skills involve my ability to get to know people, my ability to speak in front of a crowd, and my drive and attitude. If you have a positive attitude and are willing to work hard, your peers will follow suit.” The officer team created the theme “Activate Ambition” for the year and Mitchell believes the difference that he is making as a state officer this year is motivating
Since he is currently serving as a state officer, Mitchell chose not to run for chapter office because of all of his responsibilities at the state level. He stated, “We have six awesome girls who are taking care of business, but I will definitely be around to help as much as I can!” After high school, he plans to attend college to receive a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree and PhD in animal nutrition. His goal is to become an animal nutritionist for a large animal health company. He also plans to judge livestock and meats at the collegiate level and maintain his involvement in FFA, continuing to be a part of the agricultural community. PHOTO (OPPOSITE PAGE): Chance Mitchell PHOTO (TOP LEFT): New Mexico FFA state officers Garrett Rutherford, Chance Mitchell, Jake Devine, Kynzi Creighton, Rebekah McCarty, Maddy Ware, Kristie Gallacher and Sherrie Ray PHOTO (ABOVE RIGHT): Eddy County Fair lamb judge (name unavailable), brother Ty Mitchell, Chance Mitchell, mom Staci Mitchell, dad Miles Mitchell PHOTO (LEFT): Miles Mitchell and Chance Mitchell
Many Talents by Artesia High School journalism students Deonna Hoy & Jaegen Bruton
Some people know him from choir, some from football and some from baseball. No matter how people know Jharyss Granger, his skills in every activity he is involved in are apparent. He is not just a great athlete and singer, but also very involved in everything that he does. “High School goes by quickly, so prosper in the moment, soak it all in and always be thankful,” he advised. Granger has participated in sports for as long as he can remember and has always enjoyed playing them. Starting at age four, playing Little League baseball was his introduction to the realm of sports. Little League was just the beginning for Granger. Over time, he built his abilities up as a player, which led him to start playing varsity his freshman year. The head baseball coach, Lee Johnson, spoke nothing but positive things about him. According to Johnson, Granger is determined, hard-working, talented, knowledgeable in what he does and always alert. His athletic skills are not just limited to baseball, however. He is also a member of the varsity football team at Artesia High, a position he has proudly held since his sophomore year. Jeremy Maupin, who has been coaching him since his freshman year, stated, “He’s a really good guy; funny, multitalented, a great football player and a great baseball player. He’s just a really overall good guy that can do it all.” Along with his athletics, Granger has also been involved in choir since his seventh grade year. He takes every opportunity to perform solos and sings at the Artesia High School talent show every year. He has had many opportunities to compete at All-State and various other competitions. His love and motivation of choir has not only been fully supported by his peers and teachers but also by his family. Now in his sixth year of choir, he has made many lasting memories and has built up a lot of
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experience, which has taught him values that will last a lifetime. Granger’s determination inspires everyone he interacts with. His classmates, teammates and even coaches look at him as a role model. His influence is not just limited to sports and choir, however, as he is involved in everything from community service to clubs. He has always been involved in many things since he was young, and he has always managed to balance his activities and classes successfully. He always works hard and shows his dedication on and off the field, never failing to always be thankful for what he has achieved. He continues to make Artesia High School proud and has represented the school with dignity through all of his endeavors. PHOTOS: Jharyss Granger is known to wear many hats—and a couple of helmets as well. This multitalented young man excels at everything from baseball and football to choir and just about everything else he sets his mind to do. Photos by Jennifer Coats
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Bulldogs with a by Artesia High School journalism students Kiara Herron & Rylee Peak
Bulldogs for Christ (BFC) is an organization created by Melinda Robson and fellow students at Artesia High School (AHS) that has now been going strongly for about a year.
Formerly called Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), AHS students decided to change the name of the group to be able to include every Bulldog, not just athletes. BFC members meet on Wednesdays at lunch in the white gym at AHS. Throughout the week they complete an independent Bible study, and on Wednesdays they come together and break into groups of three to eight students. Group leaders include Lauren Robson, Shaylee Fuller, Sydni Salamon, Ana Wageley, Ali Mauritsen, Brooke Soleman, Laci Taylor, Abby Lakeman and Alesa Anguiano. These leaders prepare beforehand by attending a leaders’ meeting on Monday nights to dig deeper into the lesson so they are prepared to teach it to the students in their group. A free lunch is also provided for students who attend the Wednesday group meetings.
it. There are many benefits to being a part of BFC. Johnathan Darnell, one of the founding members of Bulldogs for Christ, stated, “BFC is another opportunity to
Being a leader is not easy. To be a leader you need to be available during the week and provide encouragement to students. For the leaders, all the hard work is worth
Attending every meeting and being committed is how senior Shaylee Fuller was able to become a leader for BFC. Each student finds meaning with BFC in his
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
or her own way; for Shaylee, this special meaning is having a deeper understanding of being a Christian. Her favorite part of being in the group is being able to share the Word with other students at AHS. Bulldogs for Christ is more than just a Bible study on Wednesdays, however. In BFC you are able to build new friendships within the group and grow together. Lastly, BFC is a great opportunity to connect with other Christians in the high school.
have scripture poured into myself and others. My favorite part is that scripture is being taught in school.” He decided to join to be able to unite with his brothers and sisters in Christ. For every student, BFC means something different. Darnell emphasized, “It is extremely important because it provides an opportunity to share Jesus with others.”
There are not many groups like Bulldogs for Christ. In BFC there are stronger relationships built between leader, student and their faith. There are around 50 students who attend BFC, and according to leaders, the participation is outstanding. The leaders truly show a passion for working with the students in the organization, which is the kind of leadership we need in every organization at Artesia High School. Hard work and dedication truly pays off. Bulldogs for Christ will be a group to continue for years to come. FOCUSNM.COM
JS Ward and Son would like to thank the Artesia community for putting your faith in us and supporting us with your business for over 90 years. Thank you for your continued trust. We appreciate all of the friendships we have made along the way, and look forward to another 90 years of serving the Artesia community.
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PHOTOS (OPPOSITE PAGE): Pictured from left are BFC student leaders Lauren Robson, Laci Taylor, Abby Lakeman, Brooke Soleman, Sydni Salamon, Shaylee Fuller, Alesa Anguiano and Ali Mauritsen. Not pictured is Anna Wageley. PHOTOS (ABOVE): Sophomores, juniors and seniors at Artesia High School join together each Wednesday at noon to study the Bible, talk through study questions and eat lunch with their peers as part of a relatively new organization called Bulldogs for Christ. They meet in the white gym, lunch is free, and the non-denominational study is open to all AHS students.
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Davon Collins, an 18-year-old senior from Odessa, Texas, recently moved to Artesia to be with his dad. During his sophomore year of high school in Texas, he took journalism as an elective, but a school rule prevented him from taking the same elective again his junior year. After moving to Artesia, however, he saw the course offering and jumped at the opportunity to enroll in the class. Now, he is excited to have the opportunity again, and he said he is shooting to cover topics and write stories about things that aren’t as well covered. “I think credit should be given where credit is due,” he asserted, mentioning how football-oriented the high school can be. Some of the clubs and activities are less popular or too new to be well known, such as journalism, Mesa (Mechanics, Engineering, Science, Achievement) and other relatively small programs. Not a lot of students who attend Artesia High actually know what the staff of the Bulldog Voice, the school newspaper, does all day, for instance, and have questions about what the class entails. Collins wants to cover topics that, much like the journalism class itself, don’t get a lot of attention. When asked about pursuing journalism as a career, Collins answered, “Definitely!” He is absolutely interested in being a journalist after high school and went so far as to say, with a sweeping smile, that the subject “signifies my future.” Fortunately for him, journalism jobs are plentiful, with newspapers, magazines, TV news stations and dozens of other media outlets reporting current events to people across the world every day. Big press companies like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times release papers every day on international topics, and there is never a shortage of organizations to join in this field of work.
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
One thing that really draws him to the subject of journalism, he said, is how he is able to “use [his] own format and style.” Journalists can tell the news while maintaining certain creative freedoms, like how they get a point across. Since several of the students who are enrolled in journalism are looking to get college degrees in some form of writing, this isn’t surprising. The class provides an outlet to write that is less restrictive than many English classes while retaining the educational aspects. This helps students to develop their writing styles and become more professional sounding.
Overall, the Bulldog Voice staff ’s experience interviewing and learning about him was pleasant because of how laid-back he really is. With our new member on board, we have hopes that Collins will finish up his senior year and go on to become the journalist he aspires to be. Davon Collins, an 18-year-old senior at Artesia High School, has a goal and a plan, both of which involve the field of journalism.
Other topics that have piqued his interest are astrology and tie-dye. Defined as “the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs,” the astrological study of the stars has a lot to do with horoscopes today. Originally, astrology was used by the Egyptians and Babylonians to figure out what time of the year it was. They
could use it to figure out things like when crops would be ready to plant or harvest, or when the rivers would flood, and it was studied extensively. As for his interest in tie-dye? After looking into the process and history of tie-dye, who wouldn’t want to make something that nice looking? It turns out that tie-dye has actually been used since the sixth century in places like Japan, India, Indonesia and across Africa.
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Jonathan Darnell Outstanding Christian and swimmer. Excellent student, overall great teenager, extremely knowledgeable in the Bible. Loved by everyone he meets. Kind and helpful. Would give the shirt off his back if someone needs it. – Joyce Munoz
Riley Jones Pre-teen but a bright future ahead of her. (Sharon also sent a link to an article in the Roswell Daily Record which talks about a book Riley wrote and had published.) – Sharon Caldwell
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
Ali Mauritsen To try to describe her in words is like counting drops in the ocean. She is a phenomenal student, highly regarded by her peers and every adult is blessed to know her. Ali is precious, humble, and has the most beautiful soul I know. She will bless your heart BIG if you have the chance to interview her. – Monica Reyes
Kylie Kenney is a young woman who is fearless. She works at the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center in downtown Artesia. She is homeschooled and at the same time is learning a work ethic and customer service. Not only is she willing to work, she is finishing her senior year and she volunteers to help beyond her scheduled hours with community activities and the educational programming. Moving here from Texas could have created problems for Kylie, being an outsider, but she has chosen to tackle situations and issues beyond her years, both in her personal life and professional career. I am proud and blessed to work with such a beautiful, open, problem solving individual. Kylie Kenney is your gal! – Laurie Schotz
I think Taylor Null would be a great one. Vikki Acosta She just recently graduated. She is enlisted in the Marines, she’s daily training insanely to get ready to go! Her determination is motivating, she’s a gypsy soul that has transformed into the mind of a soldier. She’s fierce, strong, and welldriven. She’s young, fearless and ready to conquer life and its challenges. – Jessica Caballero
Not only is he the quarterback for football this year, he’s an outstanding young man. He always answers with a ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir.’ He’s a wonderful role model for younger kids and never turns his back when they want to talk to or take a picture with a Bulldog. He’s picked my kids up and taken them fishing or to the movies or for ice cream just because. He’s a Christian young man who sings at church and sets an example as one of God’s mighty children wherever he goes. He put in the work and dedication to play varsity sports as a sophomore last year and is an all-around outstanding teen. I can only hope my boys grow up to be half the young man he is. – Mandi Usherwood
ARTESIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
DIRECTOR’S NOTE I KNOW WE ALL ARE TIRED OF THE NEWS THESE DAYS. WHEN WILL THIS ELECTION SEASON EVER END? Listening to the presidential candidates may be enough to turn anyone off politics forever, but now it is more important than ever to tune in with your vote. Most certainly, the next person to serve as president may change the course of our country. You should feel compelled to be part of that process to decide who will serve. In our frustration, it may be easier to stay home on Election Day. Don’t do it! Please go vote. You must decide which candidate is most likely to support the way of life you enjoy, the jobs and industries that sustain our community, and the values that you hold dear. Listen intently to the candidates and think about it.
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
Then, take your vote to the ballot box. This applies to every level of our government. While we are consumed with the race for the White House, local elections are occurring as well. State and county positions will be determined on the same day. While the president may set a course for the nation, we are able to interact with our local and state officials. Decide who will work for you and support them. Early voting opens October 22. You may early vote at the Eddy County Clerk’s sub-office. Artesia Chamber of Commerce has voter information readily available for you, including how to register to vote, frequently asked questions about how to vote, where and the rules associated with
voting, as well as a list of candidates that we voters in North Eddy County must decide upon. Please exercise your privilege and choose to be an active participant in the process. We are fortunate to have a voice! For more information, please call Artesia Chamber of Commerce at 575-746-2744. You may visit the Eddy County Clerk’s sub-office located at 602 S. 1st St. in Artesia or call 575-746-2541. - Hayley Klein, Executive Director Artesia Chamber of Commerce
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ARTESIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS OF THE MONTH PROGRAM Every second Monday of the month, Artesia Chamber of Commerce and Artesia Trailblazers recognize a local Chamber member business as Business of the Month. The program is a fun way to let our members know we appreciate the services they provide to the community and their commitment to keeping their doors open for Artesia in good times and bad. When you see the colorful decal on the door of a business you visit, please congratulate the owners and staff as a Business of the Month! Here are last quarter’s honorees...
Hotel Artesia was the Artesia Trailblazers’ June Business of the Month! Always looking to provide comfortable accommodations and exceptional service not only to their patrons but in community events and business partnerships, Hotel Artesia is very deserving of this recognition. Though much of what they do may be behind the scenes we wanted Hotel Artesia staff to know their hard work and service does not go unnoticed and is most appreciated. Hotel Artesia is conveniently located along Highway 285 and in downtown Artesia, just walking distance from Main Street shops and restaurants, making it a great place to stay when your travels bring you to Artesia.
Ken-Mar Furniture is one of Artesia’s longest running businesses and a fixture in our downtown district. The Artesia Chamber of Commerce Trailblazers recognized Ken-Mar as the July Business of the Month in honor of their long commitment to provide a service for Artesia and to being a part of our community. With the variety of brands of furniture they carry you are sure to find just what you are looking to make your house a home. And, they are happy to provide personalized service from selections to special orders and delivery to your home.
203 N. 2nd St. 888-746-2066 www.hotelartesia.com
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
302 W. Main St. 575-746-9402
MEET THE CHAMBER STAFF
Director of Administration
Events & Marketing Coordinator
VAN DER VEEN GROUSNICK
KELCEY McCALEB Membership Coordinator
Artesia’s Economic Development Director
WELCOME NEW CHAMBER MEMBERS! THE DESSERT STUDIO
314 W. Main St. • 575-736-7340
1407 W. Main St. • 575-736-3817
ROSELAWN MANOR APARTMENTS
Artesia Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development is pleased to usher in a housing development that offers affordable options for Artesians. Roselawn Manor Apartments will replace the long empty old Artesia Hospital on South Roselawn Avenue. It was a bittersweet time to see the demolition of the old hospital, but the new construction will offer a beautiful and useful replacement for those looking for nice, affordable housing. We are pleased to have partnered with Chelsea Investment Company to create this new opportunity for housing in Artesia. Construction is anticipated for completion by the end of 2017.
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JONATHAN SMITHJOHN MAXWELL COACH 800-261-0036 Jls_enterprises@earthlink.net
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SUNSHINE CAB COMPANY 575-748-5010 www.sunshinecabservice.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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Looking for a special way to commemorate an event, holiday or sporting event? Need new company shirts? Perfect Designs in Artesia can help you create an original design to create a great first impression or memory! Perfect Designs can place your special design on shirts, hats, koozies, and numerous other items. The Artesia Chamber of Commerce was proud to welcome them to Artesia and as a new Chamber Member at a ribbon cutting August 25. Perfect Designs also offers special pricing for nonprofits. Visit the store at 1407 W. Main St. or call 575-736-3817. Like them on Facebook!
TRACTOR SUPPLY COMPANY
MARTHA’S FABRIC SHOP & BOUTIQUE
Martha’s Fabric Shop & Boutique has re-opened with some of the old and a lot of new to see! The former Martha’s Fabrics and its owner, Martha Derrick, was a longtime downtown favorite. Twins Clarissa and Cassandra have re-opened, keeping their mother’s name on the store, but with a new twist. Now you can find unique collections of clothing, jewelry, home décor and, of course, they still carry beautiful fabrics. The Trailblazers celebrated the grand opening July 23, sharing memories and celebrating a successful future for our new addition to downtown. Visit at 316 W. Main St. or call 575-748-2231.
Artesia Chamber of Commerce and Trailblazers were happy to welcome Tractor Supply Company to our community, with a ribbon cutting June 28. As a company whose values so closely match the values that are important to our community Tractor Supply has been a great fit to provide a variety of supplies to our rural area. In the short time Tractor Supply has been open in Artesia, store management has already been quick to jump right in to support Artesia. We welcome Tractor Supply Company to Artesia. Open Sundays! Visit the store at 2793 N. 1st St. or call 575-748-8811.
MARTHA’S FABRIC SHOP & BOUTIQUE 316 W. Main St. • 575-748-2231 www.marthas-fabrics.com
412 W. Quay Ave. • 575-748-1381 www.sherwinwilliams.com
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FALL 2016 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE
Downtown Lowd ELISABETH JACKSON
As the air turns crisp we often look forward to pumpkins, falling leaves…. and of course, Halloween costumes. Come celebrate Halloween in downtown Artesia on Saturday, October 29!
This year Artesia MainStreet will partner with the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center and the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center for an afternoon full of tricks, treats, crafts and fun. The afternoon kicks off with the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. Stop by the museum between 1:005:00 p.m. for an afternoon of come and go activities, traditional refreshments and lots of fun. Crafting and handmade decorations have a long tradition in Día de los Muertos celebrations. Many communities decorate their loved ones’ graves with bright tissue paper flowers and other gifts. Elaborately decorated sugar skulls are displayed in shop windows along with necklaces, pins, hats, clothing, earrings and just about anything else you can think of feature smiling calaveras. The museum will have plenty of sugar skulls to decorate, masks and ornaments to customize, temporary tattoos to put on, fabulous jewelry to make, chalk art to create and traditional designs to color. They will have a selfie station set up for everyone to take their own photos of their cool look, so don’t forget to come in costume! For more information you can call the museum at 575-748-2390.
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2016
After you’ve decorated your own sugar skull, head to Main Street for some trick-or-treating. The Second Annual Trick-or-Treat Main Street will start at 5:00 p.m. and last until 7:00. The event will include free candy and trick-or-treating with downtown merchants, live music, a costume contest and plenty of games and activities for all ages. We hope to expand the event this year to include more downtown businesses and non-profit organizations. We are also asking for tax-deductible donations toward the purchase of candy. If your business or organization would like to participate please contact Artesia Main Street. Let’s make this a fun and safe Halloween for our community children! You won’t want to miss the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center’s spooky rendition of Sleepy Hollow. Performances are Friday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 29 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. For more information about Sleepy Hollow, contact the Ocotillo at 575-746-4212. One thing is for sure: downtown Artesia is the place to be for Halloween! For more information about Trick-or-Treat MainStreet or the Artesia MainStreet organization, call 575-746-1117 or like us on Facebook.
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