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Mayfield High grad is presidential scholar; will attend Harvard this fall


Sánchez-Maes was the 2020 Mayfield valedictorian and honor graduate.

“Now that I've graduated, I'll be participating in Google's Computer Science Summer Institute, a summer program typically held at Google headquarters (now held online) for historically underrepresented college students in computer science,” Sánchez-Maes said. “I was also chosen by the National Youth Science Foundation as one of two New Mexico delegates to participate in a series of interactive seminars and lectures traditionally held at the National Youth Science Center in Davis, West Virginia (also now online).”

This fall, Sánchez-Maes will attend Harvard University with a full scholarship to study computer science and molecular/cellular biology. 

“I'd like to pursue an MD/Ph.D. and eventually perform clinical research to benefit New Mexico's medically underserved populations,” she said.

“The students of Las Cruces Public Schools can accomplish incredible things with the right support,” Sánchez-Maes said. “I've had many really amazing teachers and mentors throughout my four years in high school – both at Mayfield and within the Las Cruces community – who deserve a big thank you. So many of my endeavors would not have been possible without their support.”

“I was the principal of Albuquerque Academy’s high school division for nearly 20 years before retiring to Las Cruces last summer, so I have known scores of incredibly talented kids over the years,” said Sonya Roth. “I met Mireya early last fall and she quickly became my absolute favorite of all time because she is not only brilliant and extremely talented, but also genuinely kind, modest, funny and thoughtful toward others. She’s the best.”Mayfield High School 2020 graduate Mireya Cosima Sánchez-Maes was one of two high school seniors named a New Mexico presidential scholar this year. The other recipient is Zachary J. Auster of Albuquerque Academy, against whom Sánchez-Maes competed in numerous speech and debate competitions in the past few years.

Sánchez-Maes took first place in humorous interpretation and second in both congressional debate and informative speaking and was named outstanding speaker in Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the New Mexico Championship Speech and Debate Tournament, held Feb. 29 in Albuquerque

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 scholars in the arts and 20 scholars in career and technical education. 

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 to recognize and honor the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as presidential scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

Raul Casillas of Mayfield High School was named a 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program distinguished teacher in New Mexico. He was nominated by Sánchez-Maes.

For more information, visit www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/index.html.