Adams State hosts Ortega Middle School students


Zeke Rangel studies Native American pottery in the Adams State University Luther Bean Museum

Zeke Rangel studies Native American pottery in the Luther Bean Museum.

Ortega Middle School eighth grade students participated in Adams State University Exploration Day, on May 25.

Curtis Garcia, visiting professor of Teacher Education, organized the event, with assistance from Elaine Wenta, administrative assistant for Teacher Education. Eighty middle school students divided into groups and participated in activities across campus.

The idea for the event came after Garcia was asked to serve as the keynote speaker for the 8th grade continuation ceremony, which was held the previous night, May 24, at OMS.

"Given that the next day was the last day of school for the eighth graders, we wanted to provide them with an experience that would encourage them to think about their futures," Garcia said. He coordinated with OMS Principal Denise Cordova to arrange the day and Tu Casa, who provided additional activities for the students in the afternoon.

Departments throughout the Adams State campus hosted the students, including the Luther Bean Museum. Dr. Nick Saenz, assistant professor of history, introduced the students on how to fully experience a museum and interpret the collection.

"I think that this event was a great opportunity for students to engage with local heritage," Saenz said. While in the museum, the students discussed the J. Noel Tucker mural tied to the naming of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, reflected the uses and design of Native American pottery, learned a little about blacksmiths and their relationship to farming and ranching, and examined several works of art by artists William Moyers and Stephen Quiller.

"The event was a success," Garcia added. He hopes to host the event annually and invite eighth graders from around the valley.