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NMSU to dedicate classroom for young children

Longtime Mesilla Valley teacher Erma Dicks Carter was a "special lady with an enthusiasm for learning that was contagious" says her granddaughter Andrea Carter Everett. Everett, her husband, Carl Everett, and friends and family will celebrate Erma's passion for early childhood education at New Mexico State University's Myrna's Children's Village Saturday, Oct. 14.

Erma Dicks Carter (Courtesy Photo)

as an 'early childhood educator' before the term was ever used," Everett said. "We are blessed to have an opportunity to recognize the university as an important part of the community and to honor the legacy that my grandmother left in the Mesilla Valley."

The dedication of the Erma Dicks Carter Classroom for Young Children will begin at 10 a.m. and include a presentation from Betsy Cahill, who holds the J. Paul Taylor Endowed Professorship in Early Childhood Education at NMSU's College of Education. Cahill will discuss the state of early childhood education in New Mexico and introduce some of her graduate students who will present short summaries of their research.

"If my grandmother were here today, she would have been very interested in what is going on in Myrna's Children's Village," Everett said. "She would be thrilled by the learning opportunities that are available through the village. Having been a working mother and student herself, she would have a real appreciation for the child care and family services being made available to faculty, staff and students."

Carter attended high school in Las Cruces and received her teaching degree in education at New Mexico State Teachers College in Silver City. After marrying Virgil Carter and having four children, she completed her master's degree at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (NMSU). She spent most of her career teaching "pre-first" and first grade. She passed away in 2004 at the age of 97.

"She kept her mind active until the day she died," Everett said. "She would have taken great pride in having a classroom named in her honor."

Several family and friends will attend the dedication including all four of Carter's children - Virginia Roach of Las Cruces, Lois Jarvis and Sue Bason, both of Hillsboro, N.M., and Bud Carter of Albuquerque. There also will be several grandchildren, great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren in attendance.

The family also would like to extend a public invitation to any former students of Carter's who would like to attend the event.

NMSU's Myrna's Children's Village, located in a section of Cervantes Village at the corner of Sam Steel Way and Williams Avenue, opened its doors in October 2003 and provides care to more than 140 children, mostly the children of NMSU's nontraditional students.

The Everetts have been longtime supporters of the university and received honorary doctorates at the December 2005 commencement ceremony. Carl received a bachelor's degree in business administration from NMSU in 1973. The same year Andrea earned a bachelor's in elementary education at NMSU. They reside in Austin, Texas.

For more information about the dedication ceremony, call Pat Conn, NMSU College of Education assistant dean for advancement, at (505) 646-2130.