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East Campus breaks ground on new buildings

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east campus construction
By Natalie Villarreal, Ranger Reporter Amarillo College’s East Campus is growing thanks to donations from the Amarillo Area Foundation and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. The construction on the East Campus began July 11, 2016, said Megan Eikner, dean of technical education. The new additions will include a new diesel bay for the Automotive Building as well as an airplane hangar. “One of the biggest things for us is that we will have additional space for the diesel program that will allow us to apply for our National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation Certification,” Eikner said. This addition will greatly improve the East Campus, according to Eikner. “It will also open doors to more students, since we currently do not have enough room.” They are also planning to build a concrete taxi way and a helicopter pad. Terry Smith, aviation maintenance program coordinator and instructor, said the new additions will provide a safer learning area for students. “This will offer us a greater opportunity for safety, and provide a more conducive facility for our students.” With the new additions and increased room, Smith said he hopes to enroll veterans who can build upon their military pilot experience. “This will provide them with training for the things that they may or may not have done in the military,” said Smith, adding he is optimistic for the future of the Technical Education Program. “Some of our politicians are starting to see how important the vocational and technical education program is. They are starting to push Technical Education and it’s a great place to start.” Claudia Arnold, program adviser for East Campus said she is excited about the expansion. “We hope to see more aviation students and more diesel students to grow East Campus for the technical education we want to give to our community,” said Arnold. AC officials say they expect the construction to be completed by the fall of 2017.   Read more [...]

Common reader unites campus: Award winning novel focuses on romance and racism

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Encouraging notes from college employees are hidden within many copies of the book.
By EMILY PRISK Ranger Reporter An era of hatred and war; a love story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet; a conflict about race and cultural identity … the 2016 Common Reader plunges students into the story of Chinese and Japanese immigrants living in Seattle in the 1940s. Common Reader Coordinator Courtney Milleson encourages students to explore the best-selling novel “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford. Reading the book will help students realize the importance of discussing difficult topics, such as racism and family arguments, said Milleson. “I want them to engage with conversations and understand that sometimes those conversations aren’t fun to have and are uncomfortable, but they have a voice, and their voice needs to be heard.” The college uses the Common Reader to bridge the gap between students and faculty members, said Milleson. It is aimed especially toward incoming freshman, but also brings together the entire AC community. Several faculty members will incorporate the book into their classes. From analyzing the characters’ relationships to listening to the Seattle jazz music featured in the novel, professors will be using the book to engage students in critical thinking, said Milleson. “When cracking open your copy of the book, don’t be surprised if you find a few notes written inside,” she said. As the first effort to making students feel a personal connection to the AC family, faculty members have signed various pages, many with encouraging notes. Incoming freshman should receive a copy of the book at Badger Bootcamp and New Student Orientation. Other students will be able to pick up Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet at the Ask AC counter on the Washington Street campus or from their instructors. Several Common Reader events will be held throughout the year, including a visual arts competition and an appearance by the author. Ford will be speaking about the novel at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in Read more [...]

Washington Street construction is complete

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Exterior view of Ware Student Commons
By JENNA GIBSON Ranger Reporter After ten years, the construction on the Washington Campus has come to an end. The Ware Student Commons, formerly known as the Lynn Library, the second floor of the CUB and the mall area are now brand new and construction-free. What most students and faculty have viewed as a caution-taped obstacle on their way to class actually started as a bond project in December 2006. Bruce Cotgreave, director of the physical plant, has worked  closely with these projects and has overseen the construction. “We, in the Physical Plant, have been working on bond projects for the past, almost, ten years,” said Cotgreave. “It has been a real joy to watch the transformation of our campuses into modern state-of-the-art facilities. Facilities that are attractive and meet the needs of students and faculty.  Areas that attract students but are conducive for study and interaction with other students.” The newly designed Ware Student Commons was named after the Ware family, who own Amarillo National Bank. The longtime benefactors of AC and the Amarillo community donated $1 million to help with this project. The Natalie Buckthal Tutoring Center within the Ware Student Commons was donated by the W.P. Buckthal family. It was named in honor of Natalie Buckthal, a longtime member of the AC faculty. Buckthal also served on the AC Foundation board. The newly reconstructed mall area between the College Union Building and Ware Student Commons has been named the Oeschger Family Mall thanks to a donation from Larry and Sharon Oeschger. Sharon Oeschger served three terms on the AC Board of Regents and as a chair on the AC Foundation Board. “I think it looks amazing,” said Semet Sabri, a social work major. “It turned out really, really good.” “It looks a lot better. I like all the room that you can walk around in,” said, Evelynn Gleaves, a biology major. According to Cotgreave, all of these projects were completed on time and within Read more [...]

Mayor’s breakfast highlights day cares’ ‘No Excuses’ policy

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Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole announced Jill Goodrich, executive director of Opportunity School in Amarillo, as his Friend of the Year during a breakfast April 28 in the Oak Room of the College Union Building on the Washington Street Campus.

“Each year there is a national Young Child Week, and in honor of that we have been doing the Mayor’s Breakfast for Young Children since 1999,” said Mary Claire Munger, chairwoman of the Amarillo College child development department.

The mayor, in partnership with AC and other professional groups, chooses one person to honor each year and invites others who participate in children’s education to celebrate. Opportunity School provides part-day preschool and full-day learning to 80 children with bus transportation to low-income neighborhoods and space for 16 students to receive full-day care.

“One thing Jill discussed is the ‘No Excuses’ policy, meaning nothing should stop children from reaching their full potential,” Munger said.

“The Opportunity School is the first in the United States to practice the ‘No Excuses’ policy at a day care and pre-kindergarten level.”
Some day cares and pre-kindergarten classes have problems with overcrowding, resulting in some children lacking access to resources they need. The Opportunity School keeps classes small to accommodate each child’s needs.

“Amarillo College is the first public school that follows the ‘No Excuses’ policy, so we are proud to be honoring Jill, who follows the same policy,” Munger said.

Netflix continues to take over

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Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 9.02.34 AM
Netflix is one of the largest online streaming services available to people, and many Amarillo College students use its services.  The average Netflix user is using Netflix for roughly an hour and 33 minutes a day.  That translates to a person watching Netflix for 568 hours a year. With daily views of Netflix pushing ever closer to two hours, that can cut into the amount of time a student has for homework and focusing on classes. The hour and 33 minutes is the average; some students watch Netflix way more.  Colton Adams, an undecided major, watches three-plus hours of Netflix a day.  “I normally watch Netflix in between classes,” Adams said. “At night I leave a couple of hours open for homework.” Adams said that next semester, he will have to tone down the amount he watches due to having a job. Adams’ longest binge record was around 15 hours over New Year’s Eve. He and a friend binge-watched an entire season of Jessica Jones and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Carly Hurley, an EMT major, watches Netflix far less. “I put Netflix on at night and fall asleep watching it,” Hurley said.  She said she normally puts documentaries on because her boyfriend, a history major at West Texas A&M University, enjoys watching them. During Hurley’s weekend, what she normally views changes. She watches more movies during the weekend when she has time off. Zack Stubbs, a biology major, said he watches roughly eight hours a week.  “I have had to cut back on the amount of Netflix I watch,” he said.  Stubbs said his longest marathon was during the summer when he watched eight hours of Netflix in one day. Morgan Harper, a pre-law major, watches Netflix with her family at night.  “My family chooses a new show to watch every time we finish one,” she said. “It allows me to unwind with my family while we eat dinner.” Harper said she normally avoids binge-watching TV or Netflix because it has affected her grades and her social life on more than one Read more [...]
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