Perfect Pumpkins

Corn mazes, scarecrows, and turkey. Oh My!

It may not feel like Fall has arrived in Texas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the fun activities it comes with. One of the most popular things to do this time of year is carving pumpkins, but knowing where to begin might be a challenge. Let’s learn how to pick and carve your perfect pumpkin.

Step one is the search. It can be as simple as going to your local grocery store, but one of the best parts about fall is visiting pumpkin patches. These are perfect setting for drinking apple cider, maybe iced apple cider here in Texarkana, and taking fun pictures. There is a perfect patch on Moore’s Lane right in front of the William’s Memorial Methodist Church. When your hunting begins, find one that is symmetrical and flat-bottomed, this will ensure good balance. Keep in mind that the lighter skinned pumpkins will be easier to carve because their skin is softer, but the darker ones will last longer.

When you get it home, wash and dry the outside, and store it in a cool area until you’re ready. Next you will want to cut the lid so you can clean out the inside. After carving a circular top, use a scoop to clean out all the guts. Be careful not to get too close to the sides, leaving about an inch of smooth skin to work with.

Next you will transfer your preferred pattern with a marker onto the outside of the pumpkin as a guide for your carving. If you’re at a loss of ideas check out the website below, there are over 700 free templates to choose from.

Now it’s time to carve away. Tools are up to your discretion. The easiest way will be using a clean, sharp knife. While following your pattern, cut in a steady, continuous motion. When you’re all done, you can preserve your creation by spraying it with bleach.

Happy Carving and Happy Halloween!

Come Home to A&M-Texarkana!

October 9-14 Texas A&M-Texarkana Eagles gear up for Homecoming 2017! There will be plenty events for students, faculty, and community members to take part in.

Preliminary voting for Homecoming Court opens Monday, so be ready to cast a vote for your favorite nominee! Our 2016-2017 Homecoming King Brian Huynh described opportunities he had during his reign by quoting Michael Jackson’s famous lyrics, “I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life. It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference…” Throughout the year he was presented with different opportunities to represent our university in positive light. He ended the statement with “Go vote for Homecoming Court!”

Tuesday there will be a Homecoming Spirit Banner Competition. This event is an opportunity for organizations on campus to show their school spirit. Banners will be judged based on creativity, originality, appearance, and relation to soccer and homecoming.  The organization that wins will be awarded a pizza party during one of their meetings. Judging is at 12:00 p.m., so get your creative juices rolling!

Wednesday will consist of “Rally on the Lawn” and “Chalk the Walk” from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on the University Center Lawn. Come hungry, because there will be Chick-Fil-A! Wax hands, air brush tattoos, and bubble soccer will also be open to students. Organizations and individuals can compete in chalk the walk, and all materials will be provided. During the rally, your 2017-2018 Homecoming Court will be announced.

On Thursday, Homecoming King and Queen voting will open. That evening, we will also welcome back Eagle Alumni to our University at the “Eagle Round Up Distinguished Alumni and Faculty Celebration.” Wear your jeans and cowboy boots, and be sure to brush up on your two stepping! We will feature a live band and BBQ. At 8:00 that night, our seniors will have their bonfire and torchlight parade.

Friday night, Invisible Man will be showing at 6:00 p.m. in the U.C. Lounge, and there will be a Homecoming Glow Run at 8:00 p.m. beginning on the U.C. Lawn. Don’t worry, you don’t have to run it if you don’t want to. Wear as much white as possible, because you will be sprayed with color throughout the course.

Saturday wraps up the fun-filled week of events with a chili cook off beginning at 9:00 a.m. The women’s soccer game begins at 3:00 p.m. and the men play at 5:00 p.m. Between games, your new homecoming king and queen will be crowned.

Don’t miss out on these festivities! Student Life Coordinator Michael Stephenson says, “We have had an increase with participation in the banner competition and I hope this is foreshadowing for the upcoming week. This is a great opportunity for us to come together and celebrate the Eagle family and rally up to support our soccer team.” Check your ace mail for more information on how to register for events.

Local Church Does Million Dollar Remodel

On August 27th, 2017 more than two thousand people, members and non-members, gathered at First Baptist Texarkana. Their newfound curiosity? A sanctuary with a renovation ringing up a whopping 1.4 million dollars.

The campaign “To the King” began in February 2017. After worshiping in the same room for 32 years, leaders of First Baptist agreed it was time to bring the room up to date. The carpet in the church was frayed and pulled up in multiple areas, the pews had carvings in the wood, and the paint was old. The church made a bold statement that honoring God included taking care of “His House,” which meant fixing what looked unpleasant. This would involve a new sound system, new flooring, stadium style seating, added railing in the balcony for safety, and fresh coats of paint. To do it right, the church had to raise 1.4 million dollars in donations. After several weeks of prayer and offerings, the total sum amounted to $1,535,408.

Members had the opportunity to stake a claim to one of the old pews if they wished, and those not claimed were donated to churches in need. A day was also dedicated for people to sign their names and write thoughts and prayers where the new flooring would be laid. In a sense, they had the opportunity to leave their mark on history.

The overhaul took 83 days, and a few changes had to be made for this to happen. Sunday morning service was held in three different areas of the church. As if this wasn’t hectic enough, these rooms still didn’t have the capacity to hold the usual Sunday crowd. So, there were two different times offered for services.

Without a baptistery accessible, no weekly baptisms were held. However, FBC made the best of it and hosted a summer celebration. Everyone who had been saved during the summer renovation was baptized outside on the church softball field. A little untraditional, but hey, there was free food and sand volleyball! While it was interesting to have a change of venue, members were glad when everything settled back down to normal. An anonymous member even joked “It’s nice to be back in the sanctuary. I just hope people know I hold season tickets to this row of seats.”

All in all, First Baptist Texarkana did a wonderful job. Even though they updated the room to give it a modern feel, the original stained glass is still intact. If you have a Sunday morning free, you should add making a visit to your list of things to do. Deacon Bill Gordon says, “While the remodeled sanctuary is truly beautiful, it is only so because it honors God”

For some, visiting a church might not be a priority. If that is you, there is a YouTube video to check out that is worth watching. You will feel like you are a part of the action.

Athletic Budgets

Rebekah Drennon

Middle School Jeremiah Crawford. Abandoned by his father, lives with his grandmother who does the best she can, a detention regular who barely passed his classes. High School Jeremiah Crawford. Varsity athletics all three years, he doesn’t even know the definition of junior varsity. All State Football Player his sophomore year, all district basketball player, baseball player, track star, and B Honor Roll. Jeremiah Crawford. Currently a junior at Mineola High School, and one of the top 3A recruits for college football.

I am sure most of us have participated in some form of athletics during our lifetime. This could be anything from football, to tennis, to cross-country. I am also sure that sometime during your participation in this activity, you have heard someone say that too much money is invested in this area and that budgets should be cut.

Athletics is so much more than wearing cute uniforms and winning medals. High School athletics to Jeremiah is, and I quote, “My lifeline, probably kept me out of juvie.” Athletics is beneficial to school systems, and the budgets should most certainly not be cut. Athletics improves academics, students who participate tend to be healthier, and athletics teaches good morals.

 Our first benefit of athletics is that it improves academics. Now, wait a minute. Don’t sports take up a ton of time? The answer to this is yes. So, if sports take up time, wouldn’t that mean students have less time to focus on school? Yes, and no. A study done by the University of Missouri accessed April 2nd on talks about skill sets that are directly relevant to classwork. The study shows that sports require “memorization, repetition and learning. The determination and goal-setting skills sports require can be transferred to the classroom. “From this study we gather that the skills learned on the field and court can also be applied sitting at a desk. These skills help student athletes learn how to focus and, therefore, they can pay better attention in class and receive better grades. As you can see, even though time is taken up by these events, the quality of time spent on academics is actually enhanced.

Students who participate in athletics also tend to be healthier. We all know, obviously, that it helps decrease the amount of obesity. So that is not what we are going to cover. What you might not know is studies have shown that participating in physical activity prevents diseases.

According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development accessed April 2, 2016 – “Physical activity… contributes to developing healthy bones and efficient heart and lung functions.” Athletics helps prevent chronic diseases including cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, and depression.

We have seen how athletics improves academics and health, but one of the most important qualities to me, is that athletics teaches students good morals.  Athletic Director Joe Drennon from Mineola ISD has been coaching for more than 25 years. He said, “Athletics is a big part of a student’s life in the fact that it helps prepare them for the real world and teaches them how to earn their way everyday. That nothing is a given. It teaches them how to be thankful for their victories, and learn from their defeats.” After almost every sporting event fans observe both teams shaking hands and telling each other good job. This might not seem like a big deal, but one of those teams didn’t come out top. They had to learn how to accept their defeat and move forward. They had to learn how to improve so they could fix their mistakes and compete better the next time.

As you can see, athletics is more than just throwing a ball down a field or kids “looking cool” in jerseys. And according to the National Federation of State High School Associations accessed April 2, 2016 – “more than 7.6 million high school students, 55% of our student population, participates in athletics.” The funding going towards athletics provides for more than just sports. It provides an opportunity for students, some like Jeremiah, who would have otherwise taken a completely different path. He is on the fast track to college, whereas in middle school, he wanted nothing more than to drop out. Athletics provides classroom enhancement, health benefits, and good morals. So before you think about cutting athletic budgets at your local schools, remember the 7.6 million, remember the benefits, and remember Jeremiah.

Decision America Tour 2016

Rebekah Drennon

“America is at a crossroads, and I believe we should take every opportunity to stand up for the things of God and His Word.” –Franklin Graham

April 12th at 7 a.m., I forced myself out of bed to go sit on a van for 3 and half hours as the only college student amongst 100 other members of First Baptist Texarkana. The destination? Little Rock Arkansas. At 11:30 a.m. my grandma and I managed to weasel our way to the front row in a crowd of over 5,000 people gathered on the steps and lawn of the Arkansas State Capitol. Why? To hear Franklin Graham, speak, and to gather with other Christians and pray for our Nation.

Franklin Graham is a Christian evangelist and missionary from North Carolina. He plans on traveling to all 50 states in 2016 to host prayer rallies. His purpose? To encourage Christians to live out their faith, even within the political realm. His challenge was to live out your faith at home, in public, and at the ballot box.

Before we prayed, he gave a message over Nehemiah 1. He used the crumbling walls in this chapter as a metaphor for our Nation. Everything I took from this follows. Just like the walls of protection crumbled in Nehemiah 1, so our walls as a Nation are crumbling. We as Christians should not withdraw from politics, rather, we should influence and be a part of it. Too many teachers and political figures today are more concerned with political correctness than God’s truth. To truly be One Nation Under God we have to stand for truth. It starts locally. With you. From school board members, to mayor, to President. Every elected office matters. Let’s bring Christ back into our government.

It is important you know he and his team are not by any means supporting a single candidate or party. He emphasized that the only hope for our country is to pray about whom we are to vote for. He feels “this may be the most important election in the history of our Nation.” After the rally was over, he encouraged us to sign an electronic pledge that said we would pray for our state and country.

For more information on Franklin Graham, or Decision America and how you can be an influence in your community, click the links below!

Pray. Vote. Engage.

Posted in A&M

Power Hours

Rebekah Drennon

“I call this meeting of the Texas A&M University at Texarkana’s Student Government Association to order at 8:40 pm on March 2, 2016.”

SGA “serves as the official voice of the student body; act as a liaison between the student body and faculty, staff, administration, and community members; protect and preserve students’ rights and responsibilities; and promote student leadership (” Every year the student body elects representatives they feel best represents their class. The elected body then makes decisions they feel will benefit our university. For example, SGA is responsible for the sidewalk on the Bringle Lake Village side of the University Center, as well as the picnic tables that are soon to be put out.

On the first Tuesday night of March, the Student Government Association of Texas A&M University at Texarkana gathered in Eagle Hall for a three-hour meeting. They discussed ways to better the organization in and of itself, and the campus. Fuzzy’s was provided accompanied by an icebreaker, the group participated in a S.W.O.T. Analysis, and committee meetings were held.

After the group enjoyed tacos and queso, they got down to business. Keith Beason started off the meeting with a S.W.O.T analysis; Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. Students were asked to list different things that pertained to these categories. They discussed how to use strengths to better weaknesses, used presented opportunities to generate new ideas, and tried to figure out how to fix possible threats. One of the major points brought was that the student government body was going to try to be more active and make the organization known on campus. SGA Communications Specialist Erin Beach said “After an in-depth SWOT activity, Student Government has grown together to be a better voice for the student body of TAMUT.”

After the S.W.O.T. Analysis, SGA split up into their separate committees: Environmental, Public Relations, Policy, Budget, CSAC, Campus Life, Events and Fundraising, Administration, and Apparel. They set up regular meeting times to enhance progress. Just a reminder, even if you aren’t an SGA Representative, any student is welcome to be on a committee. If you are interested, contact President Heath Coston.

Travis Garvin said “I had stayed up past my bedtime…” However, everyone agreed that staying up past their bed time was well worth the progress that was made.

Posted in A&M

“To Infinity and Beyond”

Rebekah Drennon

Have you ever dreamed of having a job at the “Happiest Place on Earth?” Where going to work means putting smiles on faces young and old? Then after a long day, lying back and watching some of the most extravagant firework shows in the world? As Cinderella famously put it, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” If this sounds like a dream you’ve been having, your heart could be wishing for a spot as a cast member in the Disney College Program! By the way, this opportunity is open to ladies AND gentlemen out there!

As magical as this program may be, getting in isn’t as easy as “Bippity Boppity Boo.” Each year there are a whopping 50,000 students that apply, and only 5-10,000 are accepted. However, this doesn’t mean to go into this process with an Eeyore attitude! In fact, Texarkana’s own, Jordan Tidwell, just returned from this very internship.

“What should I do before I apply?” is the most important part of the application process. Even though this is an awesome opportunity, be aware that you could be moving up to 1,600 miles away from your family for up to eight months. So if you are a daddy’s girl, like Belle, or a mama’s boy, like Tarzan, this might be something worth evaluating. Keep in mind that colleges have different requirements for the program, so talk to your academic advisor before beginning the process. Disney recommends only taking up to two classes at a time, preferably one online class through your college, and one class offered at Disney. The “Disney Look” is a big deal for many people. They require cast members to look clean, polished, and natural. This means no crazy hair colors, and wild makeup is NOT acceptable. You can review exact requirements at Also, take into consideration that there is a fee you have to pay within ten days of your acceptance. The Orlando fee is roughly $400, while the Anaheim fee is in the $900 range. More importantly than all of these, ask yourself if this program is right for you. Will you benefit within your major or your future career from participating? If the answer is yes, I cordially invite you to continue reading.

Congratulations! You have decided to be one of the many to take a shot at this chance of a lifetime. So when do you apply? Spring applications open in August and close in October, and Fall applications open in February and close in March. So be on the lookout, because Disney never gives the exact date! Let’s go over some of the job opportunities. Some of the most popular roles as a college program cast member are attractions, custodial, character attendant, lifeguard, and merchandise. Before applying, check out all positions offered!

Let’s move on to the application process. To begin, go to and click the big green button that says APPLY NOW. It will have you create an account and then your application appears. It will ask you some pretty general stuff like your name, college, major, and etc. After this, you will be asked to select which jobs you are open to having on a scale of highly interested, moderately interested, and not interested. Some advice from Zoe Iscas, a former cast member is, “Even if you would prefer not to work a job, select it anyway. You can create magic with any role given at Disney. Recruiters like openness. By the way, custodial isn’t as bad as it sounds. You get to walk around the parks freely all day, and talk to guests as much as you want without a script.” Then comes the part that matters most. You will be asked to list all of your work experiences and how they benefitted you. Each application is reviewed thoroughly before they offer you an opportunity to move further in the process. So list every job you’ve ever had. From community service to working as a hostess at your local restaurant. Now it’s time to click submit! Usually within a few hours you will receive a response email. It will say either “Thank you for your interest (that’s the email you don’t want to get)” or “Immediate Action Required Web-Based Interview.”

“Hooray!” You have made it to the next step, a web based interview. You are expected to complete this within three days of the email. It is suggested to complete it the day upon receiving. Allot at least an hour and a half for this section. The Web Based Interview is basically a way for Disney to figure out if your personality and work ethic would correspond well with the company, so answer honestly. The biggest advice from former applicants is to use strong answers. Disney likes you to be sure of yourself. For example, if you are asked “Are you generally a positive person?” Either put “Strongly Agree” or “Strongly Disagree.” Don’t settle with “Agree.” However, if your answer to that question is “Strongly Disagree,” Disney might not be the best fit for you. Also, don’t over think or freak out. Yes, this portion is timed, but, they give you an ample amount of time to complete it. Some say this is the most stressful part of the process, because you are immediately denied or accepted for continuation upon completion.

If you have made it to this point, you are probably doing a happy dance in front of your computer, or running through the house full of joy. Why? You have been asked to schedule a phone interview! This is the final step before you take your carpet ride to the Magic Kingdom. Recruiters can call 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after your scheduled time, and interviews last 15-20 minutes. This means you need to allot at least an hour for your interview. Schedule it for a time of day you have your best attitude, and when you will not be disturbed. When they call, answer with an upbeat voice. “It sounds silly, but make sure to smile during your interview. It gives off a good vibe, and your recruiter can tell,” this advice from a former cast member. Also, always remember to call your recruiter by name. Be open to suggestions, seem invested, and DO NOT sound scripted. It is okay to research possible questions, but don’t keep answers fully written out. You want responses to come from your heart, not paper. Last but not least, have a super fantastic answer for “Why do you want to be a participant in the Disney College Program?” This will define your entire interview. Once you hang up the phone, there is nothing more you can do. You could be waiting for a final decision for up to a month. Keep in mind that this process is one long waiting game.

If you are not accepted, don’t be discouraged. You can re-apply during the next recruiting season. Always remember, like Mulan, you will bring honor to your family no matter the outcome.

After all of this, if you are accepted, get ready to go “to infinity and beyond!” for an internship you will remember for a lifetime.