LCSN: Their View: Watch hatchlings spread their wings

January 6, 2013. Retrieved online January 7, 2013 from Claudette Ortiz, Las Cruces Sun-News

I took Preston Mitchell’s picture with his dad and grandpa in their drug store when all three generations were helping out during the short-handed holidays. With Greg Mitchell’s dad and son helping out at United Drug, and with Jim Whitlock’s son and grandson now running Jim’s Market and its tortilla factory, and with Teako and Josie Nunn’s daughter and son working beside them to someday own Sparky’s and The Franciscan RV, out-of-town motorists used to chain-stores might think they just pulled into Mayberry instead of Hatch. Or Maybarrio, as my smart-aleck Albuquerque friend calls my village.

Preston says when it comes to a family business, you start as soon as you are able; that’s just how it is. He also helps with the fresh chile business for his maternal grandparents, Bob and Judy Berridge, at Berridge Farms. He runs their website and targets a different customer with his own chile business that caters to those who want him to ship small amounts of roasted, chopped, frozen green chile.

Online classes through Doña Ana Community College gave Preston a jump-start with one and a half semesters of credit before attending NMSU and he will graduate with a triple degree in May 2014 in Management, Accounting, and Information Systems. He interns next summer in Albuquerque with KPMG (rated one of the world’s best employers) that agreed to let him start earlier than the other interns in order to be back in Hatch for the busy chile season. He is happy the prestigious firm worked with his schedule since KPMG picks only three or four interns a year, either from UNM or NMSU.

When talking about his own generation, Preston says he wants kids from small towns like Hatch to know they don’t have to be afraid of going off to college and losing their core beliefs. He also wants them to realize just how available college is to them now; to keep in mind that the school district offers college credits in high school and to take advantage of the fact that eight semesters of college are now paid for on the Legislative Lottery Scholarships if they go to college immediately after high school with a decent GPA. He also notes that it is an unprecedented opportunity that first-generation Americans can become college graduates. Taking college credits while in high school helps. The new Doña Ana Community College branch in Hatch will help.

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article

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