The Path January 2024

An Albuquerque Academy Community Newsletter


Computer Science Department Revamps Offerings | Academy Students Earn Dozens of Scholastic Art Awards | Serving the United States from Far Beyond Its Borders | It’s Time to Think Summer | Re-Enrollment Contracts Coming Soon | Upcoming Events | Save the Date for Alumni Weekend 2024: September 13 & 14 | Campus Spotlight: Science | Middle School Students Advance to State Bee | Nominate a Charger for Alumni Council | Library Display: Cinema and TV Pop Culture Moments | Alumni Gather for Holiday Events | Photo Gallery

Computer Science Department Revamps Offerings

Our faculty is always keeping a watchful eye on the interests of our students and the educational trends that will serve them best. While new courses will be available across nearly every academic department next year, computer science will introduce the most new offerings for the 2024-25 school year, reflecting the growing interest in these skills and topics among a diverse range of Academy students. See next year’s Curriculum Guide for more information.

Academy Students Earn Dozens of Scholastic Art Awards

The New Mexico Art Education Association (NMAEA), in conjunction with the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, recognized several Academy students as Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention winners in a number of categories – digital art, drawing and illustration, painting, photography, printmaking, art portfolio, ceramics and glass, film and animation, and mixed media. The New Mexico Scholastic program is an art competition for middle school and high school art students. See the full list of Academy winners here.

All artwork will be on display at the African American Performing Arts Center in March, starting with an opening reception on March 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Award-winning pieces can also be viewed on the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards online gallery.

Serving the United States from Far Beyond Its Borders

In honor of 50 years of coeducation at Albuquerque Academy, Alumni Council member Ted Alcorn '01 is telling the stories of women alumni.

By Ted Alcorn '01

Laura Hochla ’97 was about to introduce America’s highest ranking military officer, General Mark Milley, to the pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis. But she was thinking about her seventh-grade teacher Randy McCutcheon.

To convey the practical skills of writing, Mr. McCutcheon had assigned his students to draft letters to public figures. Laura had written to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, and, weeks later, she received a reply.

“It felt very full circle to have written, in Randy McCutcheon’s English class, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs — and now to be running around Rome with another one,” she said.

Liaising between major powers is all in a day’s work for Laura, who is in her 19th year as a U.S. foreign service officer, currently as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.

Service is also in her blood. Her dad was four when his family was driven from Czechoslovakia, and America eventually received him as a child refugee. “The sense of the United States having given my family everything,” Laura said, “is at the core of who I am.”

She grew up in Albuquerque, where her dad was a psychiatrist with the Veterans Health Administration and an air surgeon at Kirtland Air Force Base. On account of his practice, he dropped her off at the Academy as soon as the doors opened, but the hour didn’t dampen her boundless energy. Her homeroom teacher, Dave Barney, who was also an early bird, dubbed her “the little ball of fire.”

Later in life she would attend other prestigious schools, but she says the Academy was more rigorous than any of them. “It pushed me to the limits of my ability,” she said. “I was never bored.”

In particular, she loved her Spanish classes, including those taught by Cristina Quiroga and Martha Mentch. She still vividly remembers when, volunteering at a downtown homeless shelter, she needed to communicate with a man who didn’t understand English and made use of her budding language skills. “It was the first time where something that I learned in the classroom worked in my day-to-day life.”

The school’s experiential education program was also formative, she said, although she ruefully recalled the discomfort of her first overnight trips in the woods. “I cried, I was homesick. I couldn’t hold it together.” To the program’s credit, it turned around her perspective of nature. By her senior year, she was leading trips to the Philmont Scout Ranch.

Laura sees the program’s influence in the peripatetic lifestyle she’s now embraced as a foreign service officer, where every three years she is posted to a new location and her family has to pack up their lives and make a new home. She’s served in Kosovo, Colombia, the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and Spain — where her husband hails from — as well as domestic tours in Washington, D.C., at the State Department and the White House. “I love serving my country, but the food is better in other places,” she joked. “Except for New Mexico.”

The more she lives in places where national identity is tethered to ethnicity, religion, race, or language, the more she appreciates the unique character of the United States. “We're a country founded on a set of ideas and ideals and values. And that is pretty radical,” she said. “And just how remarkable that is, and how fragile it is, has really come into sharp relief for me.”

It’s Time to Think Summer

Registration for Summer Classes and Camps Opens February 14 at 9 a.m.

We understand that many of our families need good options to keep their children busy with engaging activities during the summer, so our Think Summer program continues to evolve. There are loads of new classes – Flamenco Guitar & World Music, Sunrise Swim Lessons, Rise & Shine Camp, Disc Golf, Archery for Beginners, Cartooning & Comics, Geometry FUNdamentals, Apothecary & Medicine Making, and much more. If you are looking for summer activities for your children, see the Think Summer catalog to read about the opportunities available this summer from June 10 to July 19.

Online registration begins February 14 at 9 a.m. The registration link will be provided before registration opens. Please submit a Mail Request form on our webpage if you have not already done so to receive the registration link prior to registration day.

Prepare for registration day by checking the Think Summer catalog, asking our team any questions beforehand, and using the Scheduling Tool to pick first, second, and third choices. Take time to review the Registration Guide for important information. Plan ahead to ensure a smooth registration process as it happens quickly!

Re-Enrollment Contracts Coming Soon!

On January 31, we will launch the annual re-enrollment process for students who will be returning to the Academy community in the fall. Contracts are due on February 15.

To remind you of the February 15 deadline and to thank you for re-enrolling, faculty and staff will be greeting families in the drop-off lanes with a special treat on Valentine’s Day morning. Please look for them as you drop off your student that morning.

Upcoming Events

Transgender Cultural Fluency Training Event with Adrien Lawyer | Tuesday, January 30, 6-7:30 p.m. | Simms Center for the Performing Arts | Get more details and reserve your spot here.

LunarFest | Sunday, February 25, 1:30-4 p.m. | Simms Center for Performing Arts | Get more information and register here.

Bay Area Regional Reception | Friday, March 8, 6-9 p.m. | Foreign Cinema | 2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA | Register by February 27.

GrandDays | Monday, April 8 (Grades 6-7) & Tuesday, April 9 (Grades 8-12)

Spring Day of Giving | Wednesday, April 10

Save the Date for Alumni Weekend 2024: September 13 & 14

Start making your plans now! Alumni Weekend 2024 is scheduled for Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14. It will be a fun-filled weekend with lots of events – reunions, Homecoming sports, the Alumni Awards and Hall of Fame dinner, a balloon glow, and much, more more! Current families are welcome to join in the fun as well.

Campus Spotlight: Science

Middle School Students Advance to State Bee

Two Chargers are moving on to the state spelling bee! Congratulations to Keith Lee '29, who took first place at the district bee, and Max Berger '30, who took fourth. For Keith, this was a repeat from last year when he went on to compete at nationals in Washington, D.C., and eventually placed in the top third. Both of these spellers will participate at the state level next for a chance to represent New Mexico at the national bee later this spring.

Nominate a Charger for Alumni Council

Nominations for Alumni Council membership are being accepted for the 2024-25 school year. Nominations are reviewed from January to March, and three-year terms begin in July. The council seeks to have a membership that represents the diversity of the Academy community from various decades, social identity groups, professional and educational backgrounds, and skill sets to realize the Alumni Council's mission.

The council hopes to identify new members from each decade but particularly seeks representation from the 1960s, 1970s, 2000s, and 2010s. The one essential qualification is a love of the Academy. Self-nominations are welcomed. Submit a nomination for the Alumni Council by March 1.

Library Display: Cinema and TV Pop Culture Moments

Allies, Friends, and Parents of LGBTQIA+ Academy Council invites you to stop by to see and interact with the LGBTQIA+ Cinema & TV Pop Culture Moments display in Simms Library from Tuesday, January 16 to Friday, February 2.

Alumni Gather for Holiday Events

It was heart-warming to see Academy alumni over several events that took place during the Academy’s winter break.

Class members play a key role in ensuring a strong turnout at any alumni gathering. If you are interested in serving as a representative for your class in class, team, or club reunions, please contact This service to your classmates and school plays a critical role in our engagement with our graduates and the success of Albuquerque Academy.

Photo Gallery

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