Sister Trio Graduating Together from CNM on Saturday

December 9, 2015 -- Three sisters – all the first in their family to go to college -- will be walking in Saturday’s CNM graduation ceremony.

Dec 09, 2015

But their mom and dad only know that two are graduating. The third is going to be a surprise.

“I told them I was ineligible to graduate and have to work on Saturday anyway,” said Sonya Haskey. “They will be shocked when they see me walk.”

The three sisters are Sonya Haskey, 28, Shawndale Haskey, 21, and Shaldonna Jim, 32. They are Navajo and come from the small town of Lukachukai, Ariz., in the Four Corners area.

Each graduating student has a different story to tell about how she arrived at CNM.

Shaldonna worked in a department store right out of high school. She didn’t like the hours and having to work holidays. She then worked as an administrative assistant, which wasn't up her alley either. She realized that to get a better job she needed to go back to school. After her husband left the Marines, they and their two children moved to Albuquerque where she enrolled at CNM.

“It was hard at first, but eventually got easier.” Shaldonna said. “I had to schedule my classes around my two girls (now ages 13 and 8) in order to be there to take them to school and pick them up. We lived on the Westside and I went to the Westside Campus, which was really convenient.”

She’s earning an associate degree in Accounting and a certificate in Payroll, and is now looking for a job. She hopes to go back to school for a bachelor’s in Business Administration at UNM’s Anderson School of Management.

Sonya, a business major, first went to Diné College, a tribally-controlled community college located in Tsaile, Ariz. She decided to follow her older sister to Albuquerque where she enrolled at CNM. She attended classes at the Westside Campus and got a job with CNM Faculty Support at the Westside Campus. She is scheduled to start at UNM this spring where she plans on pursuing a bachelor’s in Business Administration.

“I am so excited about graduating and starting at UNM,” she said.

The third sister, Shawndale, started at CNM right after graduating from high school and moved to Albuquerque to attend the college “because I thought I would get a better education here.” She majored in Early Childhood Education and plans to attend New Mexico Highlands University to get a teaching degree. This is her second associate degree at CNM. The first was a degree in Integrated Studies, which she received in August.

“Where I lived there was only one school and I wanted something different,” she said. “Coming to CNM was a good choice. The teachers give clear assignments and sit down with you and talk to you one on one.”