Freshman Places in Creative Writing Contest with “Southwest Granny”

As graduation approaches, it’s important to reflect on the hard work and dedication that went into each student’s achievement of their goal by listening to a student whose academic journey is just beginning.

Freshman Ashlei R. Garcia won the prose category of the WNMU creative writing competition. She started her study program once her children were in school themselves. “My youngest is six years old. My eldest is nine years old,” she said.

So far, Garcia has surprised herself by making the WNMU Dean’s List. “In high school, I was a bad student,” she said. “My whole mindset has changed. I’m doing this for my kids so they can have a good future.

Considering a career in education, Garcia said she never thought of herself as a writer. “Writing has always been a challenge, but I just like to use my imagination.”

Garcia’s inspiration for the piece she submitted to the competition, which she entered for extra credit, was her grandmother. “She was my second mother or a father figure in a way,” she said.

An excerpt from “Southwest Granny” by Ashlei R. Garcia
My grandmother has always been the heart and soul of the family. She was always someone to look up to, brave and never afraid. She was a nurse, so she knows what real patience and encouragement is. I can describe her as someone who has been through a lot of historical events and a bit of invention. The main thing I loved about her was her outspoken and brutally honest voice. She wasn’t afraid to say how she felt. In the late 90s, on Kelly Street in historic downtown Silver City, I was playing on this cement rock wall and picking apricots from a tree in my grandmother’s garden. The cicadas chirped in the blazing southwestern summer day that would be chilled by the afternoon monsoons. She would sit on the porch smoking Paul Mall reds and drinking her coffee from her signature white mug while we played.