By Robert Nott, Santa Fe New Mexican
Sept. 19, 2022

It was his first day of school and J.J. Vasquez wanted to look his best.

The 3-year-old looked both like a scholar and an athlete ready for a day’s activities at the new early childhood day care center housed in the Joseph Montoya state building. He sported natty white sneakers, a purple-and-black T-shirt and short pants, and had his hair freshly groomed and parted.

The name “Vasquez” was imprinted on the back of his T-shirt, too.

“He picked everything out,” said the boy’s mother, Chantel Larrañaga, as her son picked up books to read, played with miniature cooking set utensils and engaged with anybody or anything within range. “I’m so proud of him. He was so excited to be out of the house and enjoying other company.”

Vasquez was one of about 15 history-making kids in a new program that provides day care services for state employees.

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