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Preparing racial-ethnic leaders through educational excellence

Christmas Joy Offering provides opportunities for future leaders

by Pat Cole | Presbyterian News Service

Gary Lucero. (Photo provided)

LOUISVILLE — Gary Lucero is following a family tradition that began a century ago. He follows in the footsteps of 28 family members who attended Menaul School (, a Presbyterian racial-ethnic secondary school in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Lucero’s family legacy at Menaul began with his maternal great-grandfather, the Rev. Jose I. Candelaria, a 1916 graduate. He became pastor of Albuquerque’s Second Presbyterian Church and helped start several congregations in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Joe Candelaria, Lucero’s grandfather, a 1950 Menaul graduate, worked for many years as a public school industrial education teacher. Menaul honored him with the 2017 Harper C. Donaldson Outstanding Alumni Award, citing his commitment to the values that Menaul seeks to instill through Christian education.

Two of Lucero’s paternal great-grandparents, Ofene Garcia, a 1934 graduate, and Carlota Romero, a 1937 graduate, met at the school and later married. Both were active in the Presbyterian Church throughout their lives.

Appreciative of the legacy he inherited, Lucero sees how the Menaul experience is shaping his future. “The small classes help a lot and the teachers and coaches are very supportive. I love it here,” he said. Lucero is a high-achieving student and is on the track and basketball teams.

Today, Menaul students are beginning bright futures of their own. About half of them come from homes where neither parent has attended college. And many families sacrifice to send their child to the school because of its reputation. Nearly every graduate moves on to higher learning.

Scholarships funded by the Christmas Joy Offering allow students like Gary Lucero to carry on a family tradition and your gifts will open doors of opportunity for more racial-ethnic students to begin their own legacies.

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