Tag Archives: Tashana Hughes

New ‘vendateria’ saves school money,angers some students

February 15, 2012

By Tashana HughesRanger Reporter


Controversy is still  in the air when it comes to discussing the cafeteria being replaced with fast-serving vending machines.

Toward the end of the spring 2011 semester, the cafeteria, which employed Great Western Dining, was officially closed.

“We were having to pay the staff because it wasn’t bringing in much money,” said Lynn Thornton, director of administrative services and human resources.

The vending machines are provided by an outside vendor, although Amarillo College receives a percentage of the sales as commission.

“From September to December, AC is up about $4,000 in commission from vending sales,” Thornton said.

Not all students feel the changes were positive.

“Personally, I liked the cafeteria because you had more of a healthier variety, and you didn’t have to drive off campus to get an actual meal,” said Susan Hartfelder, a forensic science major. “You didn’t have to wait in a long line because there are only three vending machines to use.”

So far, AC has saved about $100,000, which is the amount it would have paid Great Western Dining for cafeteria services.

“I think they should have kept the cafeteria, because some people might want to have their lunch made hot in between classes and not just junk food,” said I.V. Shaw, a radiography major. “Us as students should have had an option.”

The cafeteria now houses a variety of machines that supply everything from tuna fish sandwiches to sodas. Each machine also is equipped with a credit card slot. Microwave ovens also are available for use.

Nursing one of many options on West Campus

February 8, 2012

BY Tashana Hughes| Ranger Reporter

AMARILLO COLLEGE’S West Campus offers a variety of programs such as licensed vocational nurse, associate degree nursing, dental hygiene, emergency medical services, surgical technology and criminal justice.

The Student Nurses Association is an integral part of the AC nursing department, according to www.actx.edu. It is a program guided by faculty advisers but driven by students.

SNA is designed to provide students with an opportunity to get involved in activities that support and complement their academic experiences.

West Campus also is home to AC’s criminal justice department and police and fire academies.

Students can pursue a law enforcement certificate as well as an associate degree in law enforcement, which is designed to transfer to a four-year university, through the criminal justice program.

“We train for law enforcement for the top 26 counties in the Panhandle,” said Toni Gray, director of criminal justice programs.

Training is provided for individuals who are court-ordered to take certain classes, such as the driving while intoxicated repeat offender program, alcohol education for minors, anger management and defensive driving online or on-campus.

The programs are offered to the general public as well.

Continuing education also is offered on the West Campus.

“We register about 6,500 to 7,000 continuing education students a semester,” Gray said.

For more information about the programs and others being offered on the West Campus, call the college’s general number at 371-5000.

Gray can be reached at 354-6083 for information on the criminal justice programs.

Law changes financial aid rules, causes problems


Ranger Reporter


On July 1, 2011, new laws were passed by the federal government that changed the way a Satisfactory Academic Policy is reviewed and students who are receiving financial aid through Pell Grants, federal work study, student loans and other avenues are facing the consequences.

The new law requires financial aid eligibility to consider a student’s pace, maximum timeframe/mathematically unable and cumulative grade point average.

Notices were sent out to students via email with a copy of the new guidelines.

Notices also were posted on the financial aid webpage at www.actx.edu.

Pace is used to measure a student’s progress.

There must be a 67 percent cumulative completion rate at the review period.

Failure to meet that requirement could result in financial aid suspension.

Maximum timeframe means a student’s hours cannot exceed 150 percent of what is required in their degree plan, or that it is mathematically impossible to complete a degree in the allotted timeframe. The cumulative GPA now is being decided by an overall average of all classes taken rather than by semester.

“The new rules that were put into effect we had to implement at the end of the fall semester,” said Kay Mooney,  financial aid director.

When figuring in all completed hours, remedial courses are counted as well.

Any remedial course that a student has to take is also counted in those hours, and financial aid is only allowed to pay for 30 hours of remedial courses combined.

When a student is placed on suspension for being mathematically unable, they are allowed to submit a suspension review request with a typed statement and an academic plan from an adviser.

The board then can look at it and determine if they can continue to receive financial aid.

“We work with them a lot, and we take some off, but there are some that we can’t take off due to the federal guidelines,” Mooney said.

If a student is denied financial aid and they are not on academic probation or suspension, there is a committee on campus that they can appeal to. Students must send the required information to the financial aid office and the committee will be given the information.

Whether they uphold the decision or overrule, financial aid must abide by what the committee rules.

“I think it makes it hard on students that have a hard time learning,” said Latonya Westmoreland, a child development major. “It puts a lot of stress on them worrying about their grade average and not focusing on their school work.”

At the end of the fall semester, there were 887 students given a financial aid warning. 330 students placed on suspension for not maintaining their cumulative GPA.

Records show that 329 students were placed on suspension for exceeding the maximum time frame and 345 students placed on suspension for being mathematically unable.

“We are looking for completers, and if we can get students on the right track they will progress through their degree plan,” said Mooney. “We are here to help.”

Five ways to keep the Faith

Tashana Hughes - Photo by Mike Haynes

Opinion By Tashana Hughes


Being a faithful Christian takes strength and courage.

When you enter into the college world, you meet various types of individuals.

Some may share your beliefs, and some may have a different viewpoint than you.

Many people seek to gain the world’s approval rather than seeking God’s approval because it seems like the easy thing to do.

According to crosswalk.com, in order to stand firm in your faith, you need to maintain your Christian disciplines:

1) Have daily prayer. Nothing can make you feel better than when you talk to God on a daily basis.

2) Have frequent Bible study and worship.

3) Evangelism. You never know who might be waiting on you to share your faith with them.

4) Service to others. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. That is not saying to go around washing everyone’s feet. It means humble yourself to bless others in some way.

5) Remind yourself constantly of the presence of God – even in the worst situations. Just knowing that his peace rests with you can make a big difference.

In order to stay spiritual and faithful in the world we live in, you have to figure out what that means to you.

Not what you hear a pastor say or what someone else says, but search within yourself and find out what it means to you personally.

There is a saying that goes, “No man is an island.”

You need to connect with like-minded people who can help you stay grounded in the Word.

Not everyone believes the same thing, and not everyone can help you in your walk with God.

Baptist Student Ministries at Amarillo College is here for the students. Get involved.

If being in a group doesn’t suit your needs, find a mentor.

Whether it be a college professor, a fellow student or a roommate, it can be helpful to find a spiritually strong individual who can help you in your walk.

Being a Christian is not meant to be a walk in the park.

You probably will be ostracized because of your faith.You will go through things you might not understand at that point in time,. But that is not the time to back down from what you believe in.

It is the time to take a stand.

Samuel Adams said, “What the world requires of the Christians is that they should continue to be Christians.”

For more information on how to remain spiritually healthy or to just read personal testimonies, visit www.crosswalk.com.


Originally published: Thursday, October 20, 2011

2011 Common Reader: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Image provided by actx.edu

By Tashana Hughes

Thousands of lives were lost on Sept. 11, 2001. To remember the victims of 9/11, the Amarillo College institutional theme this year is “Reconstructing 9/11,” marking the 10th anniversary.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, a novel written by Jonathan Safran Foer, is the Common Reader for the 2011-2012 school year.

It tells the story of 9-year-old Oskar Schell, who travels around New York City in search of a lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father’s belongings.

AC will host various activities in remembrance of 9/11. On Nov. 2, Foer will speak to AC students, faculty and staff.

The Student Government Association hosted a remembrance ceremony Monday on the Washington Street Campus to honor the 10th anniversary.

More than 3,000 flags were displayed around the clock tower for each of the victims who lost their life that day.

The Caprock High School Junior ROTC presented the colors, and the AC choir performed the national anthem and an original arrangement of “America” by Dr. Steven Weber, choral activities director.

Roaster’s Coffee was on campus giving out free lattes, cappuccinos, hot cocoa and coffee. Red, white and blue donuts were available during a presentation concerning the U.S. Constitution.

Late in the fall semester, the AC theater department will present, “Recent Tragic Events,” which takes place on Sept. 12, 2001, in Minneapolis.

The play shows that not every planned activity is completely serious.

The Common Reader, as well as the events taking place on campus, place emphasis on the tragic events.

The Common Reader is fiction, but it provides enlightenment into how some people have dealt with 9/11.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is in the process of being made into a movie starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. It is expected to open in Amarillo in January.

For more information about the Common Reader and the year-long institutional theme, visit http://www.actx.edu/institutionaltheme.


Originally published: Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Help: Powerful and Inspirational

Tate Taylor’s latest film shows how it takes only one courageous voice to change lives

Image provided by imdb.com

By Tashana Hughes

A large number of voices stay silent, a lot of cries go unheard, but it only takes one voice to change the lives of many.

The Help, which came out in movie theaters last month, shows how it takes courage to make a stand.

The movie stars Emma Stone as Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, an ambitious young woman who is more focused on making a career as a journalist than she is on settling down and getting married.

She helps two African-American housemaids share their stories.

Aibileen Clark, played by Viola Davis, is a courageous 53-year-old housemaid who defies the conventions of the early 1960s. Minny Jackson, played by Octavia Spencer, is known for her sassiness and good cooking and helps Clark and Skeeter speak up, not only for themselves, but for others suffering from racial segregation.

Then you have those who will do anything to be in control. Bryce Dallas Howard, as Hilly Holbrook, plays the manipulating “queen bee” of the young mothers’ social network in Jackson, Miss. She makes every attempt to destroy Clark and Jackson after she reads the story they have put together.

The outsider, Celia Foote, played by Jessica Chastain, comes from a different world. She is a little rough around the edges and marries the hottest bachelor in Jackson, prompting the elite group to shun her.

The movie is set in Jackson in the 1960s. As an African-American in those times, it was not easy to speak up without suffering from harsh retaliation. Everything was segregated.

Through the help of the aspiring writer fresh out of college, Clark and Jackson are given the courage to speak up about how they are being treated and share stories about raising 17 white children as housemaids.

Skeeter tells the stories of several housemaids in her book, sharing their hardships, tears and pain. Among the stories shared is how difficult it is making a 15-year-old girl quit school in order to work to help provide for the family.

Through everything Clark, Jackson and Skeeter experience, they do not back down from what they believe in.

This must-see movie, directed by Tate Taylor, has what it takes to show society that, regardless of differences and circumstances and no matter who you are, it takes only one courageous voice to change lives. The Help is a heartwarming portrayal of what it takes to gain the courage and strength to take a risk and stand up for those unable to speak out.

It is rated PG-13 for thematic material, and it is 2 hours, 17 minutes long. It is showing at the United Artists Theater at 8275 West Amarillo Blvd. and at Cinemark Hollywood 16 at 9100 Canyon Dr.

To learn more about the movie, visit www.thehelpmovie.com.


Originally published: Thursday, September 22, 2011