Valedictorian Ary Jaquez and Salutatorian Darrian Greenwood have a desire to become doctors.

Jaquez and Greenwood are this year’s top students of Socorro High School’s Class of 2019. The duo will be honored at this year’s commencement exercises to be conducted at 7 p.m., Friday, May 16, at Socorro High School.

Jaquez is the first member in her family to go to college. She has been accepted to attend New Mexico Tech and plans to pursue a degree in Biomedical Sciences. After New Mexico Tech, her plans include being accepted into the medical program at the University of New Mexico.

She began her academic rigor while attending Midway Elementary School in Lemitar where small classes proved to be of her liking. Once entering Middle School, the academic rigor became a bit exciting.

“It was really challenging, but it didn’t stop me from working hard. I wanted to make my parents proud and be a role model for my sister,” she said.

Jaquez is especially grateful for the Upward Bound program at Socorro High School which helped her gain a better grasp of what college life will be like in the years ahead. She also has fond memories of her anatomy classes, as well as studying Chinese.

She's grateful to her parents who were always supportive and extremely positive about everything their daughter did. “My parents always told me to study hard to try to achieve my goals,” she said. “Because at the end of the day, all I have is my knowledge to take me places.”

Ten years from now Ary hopes to put her medical degree to good use helping people in New Mexico. “I want to come back and help my community,” she said.

Darrian Greenwood chose his future profession for two reasons: medicine and his hometown.

“I want to be a doctor and involved in sports medicine,” the salutatorian said. After having three different knee surgeries and a nose surgery, Greenwood found the compassion he was extended to as a patient memorable. “The impact those doctors made on my life is something I want to do in other people’s lives in the future,” said Greenwood.

Being among the best in his class is something he aspired to growing up. While his favorite thing about elementary school was recess, he also said the enrichment classes for the Talented and Gifted program pointed him in the right direction with additional studies in math, science and language arts.

At the high school level, Greenwood enjoyed his English classes taught by Ms. Mauldin. “Her class was very student friendly and made her curriculum interesting and enjoyable.”

He also cited Coach Ernie Lopez as having a positive influence in his life. “He was my freshman and sophomore basketball coach,” he said. “He also was a great world and U.S. history teacher.”

An active student athlete, he credits his parents for making him a well-rounded student. “My mom, Dora is a teacher and my dad, Kenneth is a police officer,” he said. “Mom was a big influence in making certain I was on task. My father was not only was my dad and my basketball coach but a life mentor to me.”

As he begins his new chapter in life as a student, Greenwood is only one of 28 students in the state of New Mexico accepted into the prestigious BA/MD program at the University of New Mexico. Students first earn a baccalaureate degree through the College of Arts and Sciences in a challenging four-year curriculum specifically designed to prepare them for medical school and, ultimately, to practice medicine in New Mexico.

And like Jaquez, Greenwood wants to come back to Socorro to practice medicine. “I was born and raised here and I want to come back home to work with athletes in the local community,” he said.