Getting to Know your Neighbor 

Noelle Chavez is the co-owner/director of H2 Academic Solutions and the municipal judge of the city of Rio Communities. A resident of Rio Communities, she is the daughter of John and Holly Chavez, and mother to Rayven, Katerina, Liam and Anastasia Ward. 

Q What do you think about when you are alone in your car?  

A “I think through lists of things I need to get done and preplan future conversations I need to have with different people.” 

Q What’s a myth about your profession you’d like to bust?    

A “In the role of judge, I think there is a needed perception for coldness in the courtroom. I can’t speak for other judges, but when I leave the courtroom, I do think about the people I saw that day a lot and sometimes even into the following days.  

“Although people are coming to resolve an issue, life circumstances usually reveal themselves and the amount of need our community has.”  

Q What were you like in high school?    

A “I was very reserved and kind of awkward. I didn’t have a ton of friends and I tried to fly under the radar at school. I was very involved in community projects through church and various volunteering with younger youth. It was volunteering with youth where I learned to develop a public voice.”   

Q What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom?    

A “I think over the years I have received a lot of good advice and I think most of it has come from my dad. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the specifics of it, but he helped me think through some of the challenging parts of life.” 

Submitted photos 

Noelle Chavez, right, and her mother, Holly, co-own H2 Academic Solutions in Belen. 

Over the years, Noelle Chavez has received good advice from her father, John Chavez, which has gotten her through challenges in life. Noelle is the municipal court judge in Rio Communities, and John is a Division II magistrate court judge in Belen. 

Q What did you want to be when you grew up?    

A “In elementary school I wanted to be an entomologist. In fourth grade, my teacher finally reached the max level with my obsession and banned bugs and insects from her classroom. I had a habit of carrying around live critters in my backpack, pencil case and desk, and she could no longer handle them escaping into her classroom. My parents bought me a few water snails hoping it would stop and it maybe helped a little. I can remember still sneaking things home though.”  

Q Who inspires you?   

A “Our community inspires me. I think about the people in the community who show up for others in need even when they do not have a lot themselves. Every community project I have had the privilege to coordinate has come down to other people saying ‘yes’ and willing to help make a change. I don’t think it can get any better than that.”  

Q If you could work any other job for one day, what would it be and why?   

A “I would love to work at a publishing company. I want to know what goes into the selection of books, how they work with authors, edits, basically everything from start to finish so I could replicate it as a future business opportunity.”  

Q What do you do in your free time?    

A “My free time consists of binge-watching Netflix TV shows, reading, occasional art projects and a lot of chicken cuddling. I highly recommend that everyone invest in a few chickens for chicken therapy. If my mother/business partner would approve, we would have two at the office.”  

Q What’s something about you most people don’t know?   

A “I think most people who I am around regularly know me. I feel like an open book. However, if you come to my office, be prepared for organized chaos, it is how I think and I know where everything is at.”  

Noelle Chavez, at age 7, and her sister, Rosemary, age 9, on Normandy Beach. 

Q What three books would you to take to a deserted island?    

A “I am going to cheat and select a series because I can finish a book in a day. I would take ‘Thrown of Glass’ by Sarah Maes, ‘Arcana Chronicles’ by Kresley Cole, and the ‘Fever” series by Karen Moning.’ 

Q You find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?    

A “I have a few organizations I would be writing checks to, and then I would buy an animal sanctuary and live on it with as many chickens and cats as the local ordinance would allow.”  

Q Who is your best friend and why? 

A “I have several people who I consider best friends to include my mom, Holly Chavez, my boyfriend, Wayne Bodmer, and Jenna Rael. All of these people have been there for me in different ways at different times and I appreciate all of them! Special thanks to all of these people for letting me vent the hard times and cheering me on during the best times!” 

Q What’s your favorite song to sing when you’re alone?   

A “I like to sing ‘Oh Holy Night.’ It is fun to play with the vocals and it is a song that I first learned with my dad as a child. He used to sing songs with us when we were riding in his truck due to the lack of radio. In fact, if you want to hear a great rendition, definitely ask him!” 

Noelle Chavez says her boyfriend’s, Wayne Bodmer, koi pond is her happy place. 

Q  Where is your happy place, and why?   

A “My boyfriend has a pond in his backyard with koi fish and a shaded sitting area. I could sit out there all day and have had plenty of Saturday Zoom calls in that spot.”  

Q Have you had a life-changing experience that led you to where you are today?   

A “I think my most positive life changing experience happened in college while getting my MS degree. I was reading one of my psychology books and found something that said if a person is of average intelligence, there is nothing they cannot accomplish with dedication and practice. It may seem small, but I thought about this for a long time, and it resulted in me completing a young adult novel.”  

Q What teacher had the greatest impact on you?   

A “Cynthia Bejarano from (New Mexico State University). I first came across her when I enrolled in her victimology class. She is the person who hooked me into criminal justice. At

the time and, maybe still now, she was working on feminicides in Juarez and trying to bring attention to them. After taking that one class, I made sure I had a class with her every semester.” 

Q What is your favorite movie scene and why?    

A “I actually don’t know. I love watching movies but have no memory for them. The great news is I can re-watch something every year and it feels almost brand new again.” 

Q If you could have dinner with one famous person — dead or alive — who would it be and why?   

A “I would love to meet the director of New Wave Feminists, Destiny (Herndon-De La Rosa), who is out of Texas. She does high impact work at the board to include a shelter project for unhoused mothers, Bottles to the Board, baby boxes and so many others. Her funding is completely based on community donations, and she has been able to accomplish so much just in the few years I have been following her. Hopefully, I will make it down at some point to meet her in person.” 

Noelle Chavez’s children — Anastasia, Rayven, Liam and Katerina, pictured here in 2018 — have taken on leadership roles in the community as they’ve gotten older. 

Q What are you most proud of?   

A “In the last few years, my children have been signing themselves up for opportunities and getting involved in community in their own way. I am proud of their leadership and willingness to step up.  

“Overall, I love passionate people with a cause, and I am glad that my kids have found their own.” 

Q How would you like to be remembered?   

A “I hope future generations can look back and know that anything is possible if they want it. I hope they are inspired to continue a path of positive change.” 

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