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Auto collision technology program helps students gain multiple skills

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The auto collision technology program has been a part of Amarillo College for three years. The program has existed before but went into a break for a long period of time. Eddie Casias, a 23-year industry veteran, leads the program.

“Kids can come in and learn to do body work like painting,” Casias said. “Some students come in and want to do it as a career and others to help their parents on their own family business.” Courses involve painting, welding and general auto body repair.

The program lasts two semesters, and it does not require students to have any knowledge about auto body repair. When students enroll in the program, they do not have to buy any books. Students enrolled in the program describe the hands-on experience as better than reading books because they get physical with what they are learning.

According to program coordinator Brian Jacob, there are more job opportunities for auto body technology majors than in the past. Few new people are entering the auto collision business to take the place of people who are retiring. Casias said he is ready to take students and make them job-ready for any body shop.

For more information, check out the video at

Panelists discuss concerns regarding open carry policy

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Amarillo College’s Legal Society sponsored an open carry/campus carry discussion on the Downtown Campus April 22.The discussion included four panelists: Jim Bodkin, a state licensed LTC instructor; Sgt. Brent Barbee, a 37-year veteran of the Amarillo Police Department; David Kemp, first assistant county attorney for Potter County and an instructor at AC as well as at Wayland Baptist University; and Mike Warner, an attorney who has represented citizens and corporations throughout the Texas Panhandle of Texas and the city of Amarillo for the past 26 years.

The discussion covered topics concerning open carry laws that have changed recently in Texas as well as concerns about campus carry regarding the new laws. Each panelist shared his thoughts concerning the new laws and discussed how things will change as well as where students might see guns on campus. With that being said, the panelists addressed their beliefs that not much will change with the new laws.
Bodkin explained that in order for someone to open-carry in Texas, the person will have to obtain a CHL/TLC license.

It is a license for which the state “licenses individuals to carry handguns within Texas and evaluates the eligibility of applicants through criminal history, background checks and monitors those currently licensed to ensure their continued eligibility,” according to Along with that, an eligible applicant would need to be at least 21 years old.

All four of the panelists explained that although the state did make the legislative decision to allow open carry, it is up to the college as well as the college board to make the executive decision to allow guns on campus.

Barbee and Bodkin explained that in order for the school to indicate where the guns are not permitted, signs would have to be posted correctly in accordance with the new laws.

Kemp said he was upset that state officials felt they knew what is best for students when in fact, he believes the colleges know what is best for their students.

AC has yet to make a decision on where to allow guns on campus. The school has until Aug. 1, 2017, to make the decision of whether to have a gun-free campus or to have gun- free zones. Either way, administrators will have to take the necessary actions regarding correct signs to carry out the policy.

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

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Written by | SAVANNAH TARBET |

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.

Ask Agnes

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Dear Agnes: What do people usually wear under their graduation gowns? Does itmatter? My best friend dareme to “go commando,” but I’m not sure…? First off, I definitely have to veto your friend’s dare to “go commando”! Those graduation gowns can be fickle, and with the unpredictable wind of Amarillo, you never know who you would be flashing. As for what to wear, I think it really only matters if you plan to take photos afterward. Most girls wear a nice summer dress, something cute but comfortable. Most guys wear a button-down shirt with a tie. Wear something that you feel comfortable in, and if you’re the type to wear heels, be careful! Heels can very easily be too difficult to walk in, and you don’t want to have to worry about something like that when you’re walking across the stage. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! Whatever you wear, you will look fantastic.

Dear Agnes: I’m about to complete my first year at Amarillo College and I’m ready to get my own apartment instead of living with myparents, but they don’t want me to move out. In fact, they say that if I move out they won’t give me any
more financial support. Even though I have a job, I really need their help to pay for books and part of my tuition, but I am tired of living under their rules and being treated like a child.
What should I do? I know too many people who are in this predicament. Objectively, you need to look at whether or not you can financially support yourself without any assistance from your parents. If the answer is “no,” then I don’t think it’s the best decision to move out. If the answer is “maybe,” then you need to really sit down and look at a budget. Look at how much rent, utilities, tuition, books, car, gas, food, internet and every other bill that will show up every month are. It’s a lot, and if you cannot wholeheartedly say that you can financially support yourself, then you may have to stay with your parents. Now, if you are absolutely confident in your finances, then you also should look into how it will affect your social and academic life. If the only way you can support yourself is by working 50 hours a week, then you’re sacrificing social time and study time. That is a sacrifice you will have to weigh out by yourself. Bottom line, you may have to stay with your parents just a little while longer. My advice to you is to not rush into living on your own. You have the rest of your life to live on your own, so if it looks like it’d be more beneficial to stay with your parents, just hang in for a few more years. They’ll fly by, I promise!

Dear Agnes: I’m about to graduate from AC and my plans were to transfer toa university in San Antonio, but my boyfriend still has another year at AC. He wants me to stay here and go to WT
instead. I really care about him, but I’m also ready to get out of the Texas Panhandle. Should I sacrifice my successful relationship, try to make things work long distance or enroll at WT?
Relationships can be a very powerful thing, and I in no way can understand the entire history of your relationship, but I immediately think that if a relationship is truly strong, then a year of long distance won’t hurt it. I am always preaching that people have to follow their dream. Not what their family’s dream is for them. Not what their boyfriend’s dream is for them. People have to go after the dreams they set in life, because at the end of the day, it is their life to live. I rarely give a legitimate “yes” or “no” answer, but for this one, I have to. Go after your dreams, get out of the Texas Panhandle and see how the long distance goes.

FM90’s ‘Tejano Throwback’ show continues to entertain

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Written by | Salvador Gutierrez |

Amarillo College, along with FM90, created a tradition inside and outside the Amarillo borderlines. From 8 p.m. to midnight each Saturday night, you can listen to FM90’s “Tejano Throwback” show. The show has been cutting-edge for years and plays a wide variety of popular Tex-Mex music. The show has been around for 13 years, and former AC student Steve G., better known as “El Cap-a-tan,” started it.

“Marcie Robinson was the program director of FM90,” El Cap-a-tan said. “I tell her about the idea of a Tejano show. She said she had a lot of PSAs in Spanish that she wanted to play on the radio, and so I say, ‘Let’s start a tejano music show and we can play the Spanish PSAs.’ It was a Tuesday. Marcie said yes, and she asked me when do I want to start, but she answered her own question. She said, ‘Let’s start this Saturday,’ and that’s what we did.” The “Tejano Throwback” show was named because by the time the show started, Steve G. and FM90 did not have any new releases of Tejano music and they played only oldies.

One of the most relevant characteristics of the TTS is that the show is not hosted in English but neither in Spanish. Spanglish has become the official language of the show, and current host Ondamaxx explained why they took the decision of using both languages. “To me, Spanish is very important,” he said. “When I started back in the ’90s, I noticed that most radio anchors hosted only in English, and so I thought, ‘How are we gonna play music in Spanish for Spanish speakers if we talk in Englsh? How are we going to tell them about the new artists and new songs?’ That’s why Spanish is important.”

Even when the anchors come and go between English and Spanish during the whole show, they never have received complaints from the audience. The show has become a tradition around the southern states of the country. Every Saturday night, the show receives plenty of calls of people asking for requests and greetings.

According to Steve G., the popularity off the show is thanks to the fact that FM90 never has changed anything in the show. It has been constant since the beginning, and the show has built a strong audience that every Saturday night is there to listen to what El Cap-a-tan and Ondamaxx have prepared for them.

Netflix continues to take over

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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 occasion. Her best advice to anyone who watches Netflix is to watch it in moderation.

‘Rebelde’ sparks interest from south of the border

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Bringing back the most poplar Hispanic teen series — not just in Mexico — but even in the United States is Netflix with Rebelde. Though it has been on Netflix since 2015, it’s pretty amazing to see and compare how much teen series have changed. Rebelde is about a group of kids who deal with being part of a private school with the majority of the faculty being hypocrites as well as having to deal with famous, high-class parents.

The great thing about the show is the music. All the music in the show is by the RBD band, which was created from the series. The music is very pop, old-school fun and makes you want to just jump and flip your hair. Humor also is something big in this show, and teens really can relate to some of the characters. Every episode makes you keep watching because the show doesn’t revolve only around lovey-dovey couples and the bad guy trying to take the girl. That is your basic Hispanic show, which can get boring.

It shows every character’s glimpse of life and how different the characters are but also how those differences make them stronger, and they help each other out.As I said before, this series does not compare to other current teen shows. For example, The Secret Life of An American Teenager has to be the worst teen show I have ever seen. All that show really talked about was sex.

Honestly, I feel that is why teen pregnancy is so high. Compared to Rebelde, The Secret Life only showed them dealing with issues related to how teens would react with that topic with friends or parents. It never showed the true side of what goes on in teenage life.

Rebelde shows some types of teen issues, from some girl having low self-esteem to one falling in love for the first time, finding out the truth behind a parent and having to see what a foster teen goes through. No Hispanic series has ever been as big as this one, and it’s truly sad that shows nowadays aren’t catching many teens’ attention anymore. To be interesting now, every show has to deal with sex, money, power or drugs.

New VP joins business affairs

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Written by | Randi Riggs |

Steven Smith never imagined, when he was giving a speech in Dr. Paul Matney’s Business and Professional Communications class about how to properly shoot a free throw, that 15 years later he would become the vice president of business affairs at Amarillo College. Smith started full time as VP of business affairs on April 15. His responsibilities consist of managing the financial operations of the college.

“My role at the college is to create plans and strategies that will allow us to use our resources responsibly,” Smith said. “I am thrilled to bring Steve back into the AC family,” said AC President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart. “His own journey mirrors those of many of our students; he understands their struggles and will help us adapt our policies and practices to better serve them.”

Smith said it took years to prepare for this position. In college, he set the goal that this was the position he wanted to achieve in his career. He chose a major that would help lead him to that goal, and he took classes that would help prepare him for this career. Banking and accounting also helped him have the work experience after graduation. Smith went the extra mile at work by asking for extra projects and responsibility so he could gain knowledge and experience before entering the work force.

Smith met his wife while they both attended AC.“I was working for Selena’s cousin as an assistant manager at a loan company while at AC,” he said. “Her cousin planned us a blind date. “We were both working students who had big dreams in common, and we were married while attending AC.”

Three children and numerous life experiences later, Smith is back at the college. He said he would like to give upcoming graduates a little advice: “Your graduation commencement will be a very special day for you and your family. I hope that each of you will take the time to attend the commencement and also take some time for reflection on what it took for you to get to this point.

“The graduation ceremony will be a very special memory in your life, but it hope that what you will really remember is the hard work and determination that it took you to get to graduation. “Graduation is one day, but the past years have made it possible. When things get tough later in life, in your job or with your family, I hope that you will remember what you went through. “Remember how never giving up, and continuing to always work hard got you to your goal. Your graduation is proof of that.”

Advising Center guides the way to transfer successfully

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Written by | AARON HAMILTON |

Students say transferring away from Amarillo College can be a new and exciting challenge. Many also find the transfer process overwhelming. Many things need to be done before transferring, and many students do not know where to start.

Holly Hicks, an AC adviser, said the process starts with a visit with an adviser. Ernesto Olmos specializes in advising transfer students. If a student is undecided about a major, Advising Services staff members are willing to help. Olmos encourages prospective transfer students to start by contacting the university they plan to attend after AC so they can figure out what classes to take.

Several universities send representatives to AC throughout the year, and students are advised to visit with them to learn about transferring. The two main colleges that come to campus are West Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University. Claire Lyons, a criminal justice major, transferred to WTAMU. Her main concern was whether the credits she had taken at AC would be accepted. According to Lyons, the best way to avoid stressing over transferring credits is to look at the credit transfer equivalences. Most universities have that information on their websites.

When transferring between schools in Texas, if all core classes have been completed, the university is required to accept the core as a whole. If a student transfers out of state, there is a higher chance that classes will not transfer and some may need to be retaken. When students first contact a university, they should have transcript information ready. AC can send transcripts to any college that contains information on all the AC classes a student has taken.

After starting the transfer process, the next thing a student should do is attend a transfer orientation at the university they are looking into. Much like AC, most universities have advising and transfer services that are able to answer questions that a student may have. Many universities recommend visiting with advisers in the student’s specific major. The AC Advising Center is in the student services suite 130. It is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. To help with registration, it will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 14.

Summer classes offer options for getting ahead on a degree

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Written by | MIKAELA CHAVEZ |

Some students like their summers off to get a break from college and to have some fun, but other students take summer courses to complete their schooling more efficiently. Summer courses at Amarillo College allow you to swiftly get through your classes at a faster pace. “I take summer classes because I am engaged to be married, and before I get married and start that new journey of my life, I would like to be done with school,” said Sydnee Thrash, a nuclear medicine major. “Also, I knew with the major I chose that it was going to take me longer to get through, so summer classes have been really beneficial for me.”

Kali Miskemen, an education major, is ready to finish school so she can begin her life and career. “I am taking summer classes because I am ready to move on to the next step in my life,” Miskemen said. “College is great, but I am more of a fast-paced person, and I am ready to put what I have learned to use and get my career started.”

Justin Savage, a fire academy major, said, “I knew if I didn’t attempt college and try to become something more that I was just going to end up working somewhere I hated. I don’t exactly like school; it’s not for everyone, and I don’t really think it is for me, but I take the summer classes so I can get through it faster and move on with life.” Jacob Badillo, an oral surgeon major, said he is prepared to put in the work to achieve his goals. “I knew with the field I’m going into, I will be going to school for a while, which is OK with me,” he said. “I think people should definitely take advantage of summer classes, especially if you are like me and have a lot of schooling ahead of you.

“If you can speed up the process, it’s only going to benefit you and get your career started sooner.” Colton Sparks, a culinary major, is ready for his future. “I honestly love the idea of having my future and living it already,” he said. “For me, school seems to take so long and you are doing the same things over and over, class after class. Summer classes are perfect to take advantage of and to get done early.”

Dori Chambers, a nursing major, is balancing family, work and college. “I take summer classes because I work and have a family and kids to support,” Chambers said. “I need to be there for them as much as possible. Having the opportunity to get through school faster is amazing. I couldn’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t take the opportunity to be with my family and help support them in better ways.”

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