The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales grad did it all


May 22, 2019

File photo

Portales High School seniors Rebekah Christensen, right, and Maggie Land will graduate Friday. Christensen portrayed Cinderella in the school play, among other extracurricular activities.

PORTALES - The Portales High School track and soccer teams, band, choir, theater and National Honor Society will say goodbye to some of its members on Friday following graduation. In one case, they'll all be talking to the same student.

Rebekah Christensen, one of 150 students set to graduate from PHS as of Tuesday, participated in numerous extracurricular activities during her time as a Ram.

"Rebekah is one of those kids, she's got her hand in everything," PHS Principal Arturo Ontiveros said. "She's one of those kids that academically, she's tops, she scores very well on her tests, her GPA is through the roof, but she's involved in drama, she's involved in choir, she runs track, she played soccer and then she was a member of NHS, the list just keeps on going."

The importance of academics and extracurriculars was stressed by her mother Heather Christensen, a librarian and English teacher at PHS.

"We've always encouraged our kids to be balanced and try lots of different things while they're in high school and she's done that and it's been fun to watch her grow and develop her talents and her abilities in the different things that she's tried," Heather Christensen said.

Rebekah Christensen's hard work was recognized by the New Mexico Activities Association in February when she was awarded with a $2,500 Extraordinary Participation Scholarship. She was one of two students in the state to receive the award for excelling in academics, athletics and activities.

"It made it feel worth it because everything that I do takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of work just to do all of it because everything requires times and I have to find the time to put into all of it," Rebekah Christensen said of the award.

Rebekah said she participated in college level and honors classes at PHS, bringing her weighted GPA just shy of 4.48, with an unweighted GPA of 3.94. Those grades placed Rebekah fourth in this year's graduating class, an impressive feat for someone juggling that many sports and activities.

"There definitely were a lot of late nights but it just took a lot of communication with my coaches and my directors and everything to make sure that I was able to split my team evenly among all my activities because I would have to leave early on certain occasions," Rebekah Christensen said.

Next up for Rebekah is the University of New Mexico where she hopes to study English with a minor in music. Rebekah said she was first drawn towards English because of all of the reading she would do as a kid thanks to her mother's career as a librarian, and later in Michael Prokop's freshman English class at PHS.

"He had a lot of really good stories that made it interesting and the work was hard but it was interesting," Rebekah Christensen said. "It didn't seem hard because it interested me."

It's a bit of a bittersweet feeling for Heather Christensen to see the last of five children graduate this week.

"It's one of the reasons I took the position in the first place is I had two kids still at the high school and so it has been an absolute blessing to be able to be there with my kids and I will miss not having anybody there but I will enjoy the other kids that come and they'll just have to take their place I guess," Heather Christensen said.

For Rebekah, the toughest part of leaving PHS will be her athletic career coming to an end.

"I'm not going to be participating in athletics on any college teams at UNM so I think I'll definitely miss playing soccer," Rebekah Christensen said. "That was something that was really big for me that I've done since I was really young, so it's always been a part of my life and it's hard to accept that I'm not going to be playing that competitively on a college team or anything."


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