celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

PD senior sets bar high

Grandmother: Grad 'impresses me by trying'

By Brenda Bernet

Mickie Sena, 17, excels in her classes, works part time and competed in Austin with the Youth in Government Club this year.

She will graduate May 31 from Palo Duro High School.

Sena is excited about graduating and admits to having a little "senior-itis."

"I'm almost free," she said.

Sena attended Tascosa High School from the ninth through 11th grades, but transferred to Palo Duro this year to save money on gas.

The change meant making new friends in her last year of high school, but she had fun, she said.

At Palo Duro, Sena found enjoyment in the Youth in Government Club. Club members went to Austin for a mock trial competition.

Sena served as a witness in a mock trial of a man accused of killing a woman he dated. Students played the defense and the prosecution.

The team advanced to the finals, she said.

Sena's course load was easier this year at five classes a day, which included senior English and calculus.

Jina Pesqueda, Sena's English teacher, described Sena as a smart, kind, conscientious student who found life lessons in her studies.

"She is always well-composed and has a gentle, soft-spoken nature," said Pesqueda, a teacher with more than 25 years of experience.

"I think people want to hear what she has to say."

Sena will attend Amarillo College in the fall, though she does not know what careers interest her.

Sena said her major influences were her mother, Belinda Sena; father, Baron Sena; grandmother, Adelina Medina; and her aunt, Anna Martinez.

Sena had a challenging year, her grandmother said. Sena struggled when her parents were divorced but still kept up with school and her job as a customer service representative for Sitel.

"She impresses me by trying," Medina said. "We're very, very proud."

Medina and Sena share a close relationship, especially because Sena has lived with her "nana" for part of her life, including this school year.

"We go out to eat, talk a lot and share," Medina said. "She tells me about the guys."

Medina said graduation marks a bittersweet time for her.

"I'll cry through the whole thing," she said.

"I love all my grandchildren. (Sena's) double special."

Celebrate Education is a yearlong community project to encourage lifelong learning and help raise the education level in the Texas Panhandle.

Editor's Note: The Globe-News is profiling a student a day from May 9-29 as part of its 2008 graduation coverage. Students were nominated by Globe-News readers.

calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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