Lea County’s educational facilities are a source of pride for residents. Each of the five cities has one public high school, along with numerous junior high schools (middle schools), elementary schools and day care centers. Church-sponsored and supported schools of all denominations, along with private schools, are also available in Hobbs and Lovington.
Hobbs High School is considered a Leadership School and has received several national awards for “Program of Excellence.” Hobbs Municipal Schools is ranked in the top 300 school systems in the U.S. by Newsweek and participates in both the Advanced Placement and Core Knowledge Programs. All of the public schools in Lea County have DSL (digital subscriber lines), which connects them to the Internet and to ELIN, the Estacado Library Interactive Network. ELIN provides access to libraries at New Mexico Junior College and the College of the Southwest, as well as the public libraries at Hobbs, Jal and Lovington. In addition, the entire county is part of a consortium to provide interactive televised distance learning opportunities. Many of the high school seniors in Lea County graduate from high school with as many as 30 hours of college credits.
New Mexico Junior College (NMJC), a public two-year community college, serves the residents of Lea County with a traditional liberal arts and technically-applied curriculum, which grants Associate’s in Arts, Associate’s in Science and Associate’s in Applied Science degrees. NMJC also offers several specialized programs. In fact, the nursing program has received numerous accolades for its quality instruction, high standards and phenomenal graduation rate. In addition, the new Technology Training Center prepares students for professional careers in the automotive industry through a unique partnership between General Motors (GMC) and Ford Motor Company (FOMOC). A true community college, NMJC offers a variety of vocational training programs and continued educational classes for the non-traditional student. NMJC recruits student athletes from all over the world, making it a truly multicultural campus. Its low in-state tuition and campus dormitories help make it one of the most attractive educational opportunities for its 4,500 full-time students.
The University of the Southwest is a private four-year liberal arts college, which bases its curriculum on Christian values and the ideals of the free enterprise system of business and government. In fact, College of the Southwest students have won several awards in the annual Students in Free Enterprise competition. With its generous financial aid package, Southwest appeals to the 500+ full-time students who seek a solid value-based education in both Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. In addition, the College of the Southwest hosts the well respected “Jack Maddox Distinguished Lecture Series,” which brings renowned speakers from all over the world to the campus and community, and adds to the cultural richness of our area.
Both the University of the Southwest and New Mexico Junior College feature dynamic athletic teams, strong performing arts departments and respected academic programs accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Many people move to Lea County because it is the perfect place to raise a family, go to school and to work. The five cities have local control over their school systems, benefiting parent and teacher involvement with the superintendent and school board in providing an excellent quality of education at all grade levels. In the push for academic excellence, test scores in Lea County are rising. For example, Hobbs students recently ranked above the other counties in the state on their ACT and California test score results. Through a countywide consortium, all high schools in the county have access to duel-credit college credit through the Advanced Placement (AP) Program, which is another way to earn college credit through a high school program geared to higher learning.
All five cities boast of statewide and even national honors in competitive involvement in music, debate, agriculture, science, math, essay writing and all varieties of sports including rodeo, football, basketball, golf, baseball, swimming, soccer, tennis, track and wrestling. Many of the area churches also sponsor numerous youth activities to build leadership and team participation. Recently, the City of Hobbs opened a new teen building dedicated to providing a safe and staffed facility for the area youth. The City of Eunice and Lovington have youth facilities for all ages that are open year-round to provide a healthy environment for their youth. The Boys and Girls Club has buildings in most Lea County communities and provide an after school and Saturday program for children in that area.