The Future Teachers Association’s 1st Annual Masquerade Ball

The Future Teachers Association’s masquerade ball was held on October 7th, 2017 in Eagle Hall. This is the organization’s first major fundraising even in their efforts to attend of teacher conference in Boston, Massachusetts in the spring of 2018. It was a night of dancing, laughing, and revel. Eagle Hall was blacked out with the sparkling lights adorning tables and the stage area to offer a tone appropriate for the occasion- the romantic and mysterious lure of a masquerade ball.

Black, white, and gold streamers fell to the floor as you entered Eagle Hall. Plenty of tables with Pinterest worthy center pieces with dimly lit candle pieces, black bejeweled trees, and sparkles covering the tables, revealed the hard work put into this affair.

The dessert bar had fudge, cake pops adorned with tiny masquerade masks and sprayed painted gold, a variety of cookies, and fruit. The main attraction of this dessert selection was, of course, the cotton candy machine. The younger guest took advantage of this feature!

The girls worked through Friday night in order to prepare Eagle Hall. Everything was color coordinated, organized, and presented in a fashion that could only be done by the coordination of teachers. Everyone joined in on the dancing, even the professors who came to show support. The turnout was successful for the organization’s first major fundraising event at the college.

Their silent auction had many bidding wars occurring on popular items such as the metal crafted sign, movie baskets, and sunglasses donated from Texarkana Eye Associates. Everything was sold and the organization appropriately gave kudos to their donators, even having water bottles labeled with a thanks to their sponsors.

This was an event that will hopefully happen again next year. If it does, be sure to go support the Future Teachers Association that work hard to bring events like this to our campus.

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.

Masquerade Ball

The Future Teachers’ Association will be holding a Masquerade Ball on October 7th, 2017 at 6:30pm-10:00pm in Eagle Hall. Tickets will be $15 per person/$25 per couple, and all are welcome. Formal dress attire is encouraged. There will be a silent auction featuring items such as jewelry from Micah’s, Racquet and Jog merchandise, and local gym memberships.

In addition, there will be a buffet of light refreshments, including a dessert bar. Come dance and get a photo from the photo booth for a selfie! It is the perfect place to take a date or meet new people. This is a major fundraising event for the Future Teachers Association; they have had various fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for a teacher’s conference taking place in Boston, Massachusetts on February 2018. The funds raised will go to registration and travel expenses.

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1643783719000241/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%2222%22%2C%22feed_story_type%22%3A%2222%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D&pnref=story

Nowhere But Up!

It is hard to believe that there are seven billion people in this world yet somehow, we are all connected in some way. I can’t fully explain this connection, but obstacles are placed before us in which some people overcome, share their stories, then someone, somewhere, somehow is able to personally relate because they too experienced a very similar situation. There are some things in life that many of us will never endure and it’s easy to judge a person when their social norm is different from ours. It is during these times that we should get to know them.

Monday, September 25, 2017, I had the opportunity to have a sit-down interview with one of the residents at the Randy Sams’ Outreach Shelter in downtown Texarkana, TX. Tommy Aubrey, 40, is one of those residents. Growing up Mr. Tommy was the oldest of three and suffered from dyslexia along with a speech impediment. As a child, he imagined that one-day he would grow up to go into the Marines he was fascinated with law enforcement, and forensics was something that interest him most, but challenges were forced upon him and life takes him on a detour. He settled back in Texarkana, AR after moving away from Oklahoma, he quickly explains that the reason it’s been hard the last two years is because he had a hard time asking for help when he needed it most. “If I can’t get it on my own, it was meant for me not to have it,” Aubrey says.

He went on to describe what the first night was like for him being homeless, he says “It was hard, because I have a lot of pride issues and I believe in myself so much that sometimes you try to hide things until you get it together, I didn’t want anyone to know I was homeless.” Mentally he felt hopeless, but quickly understood what it felt like to sit and sleep on the sidewalks. Aubrey says, “It made me understand, and gave me an idea of what those people were going through. It’s kind of hard to understand a homeless person unless you are put in that situation.” Despite everything he went through he has no regrets, he went on to describe them as “growing pains” he says that “this experience allowed me to understand where I can survive at and let me know where I am weak. The weak part is I can’t do everything on my own.” He was quick to make light of the situation by telling me how he would’ve never known what it was like to camp out had he not been homeless sleeping in the woods.

I couldn’t help but to wonder, ‘how is Mr. Tommy able to remain so positive and hopeful that everything will one day work out?’ He responded, “I believe in the self.” Both his grandmother and mother taught him to not feel sorry for himself, to stand tall in the midst of any storm and he has done just that! Mr. Tommy emphasized on being a risk taker, trusting the decisions you make for yourself, and not being afraid to go with the unknown. I learned that not everything is going to be easy in life but as he said, “I believe everyone has to go through something in order to know where they are going.” Now being 40 years old he has experienced enough of life to know that the things he cared about when he was younger just don’t matter anymore. He has truly inspired me in a way that will always leave this lasting impact on my life. That day, he taught me that everything truly does happen for a reason even if we don’t understand the reasoning at that moment. I’ve always wondered and questions the obstacles of my life, why was I of all people handed certain stumbling blocks while others seem to have it a lot easier than myself?

Mr. Tommy taught me that as “bad” as your life may seem, there’s someone dealing with a struggle that you may not ever endure in a lifetime. I learned that we all go through tough situations but you must learn that struggles are necessary in order to get to where you are going. Society should be less judgmental of people who have less than them and that life don’t have favorites, that at any given moment the life you have now can be taken away and you could be in the position that you said you would never be in. So, the next time you see a homeless person let me tell you now, they are humans and they have feelings.

Stepping Up: Arkansas High Theater

Allison Hall

Arkansas High, of all things, is probably least known for its theater program, but I have a feeling that that is about to change. In 2014, a new instructor was introduced and he couldn’t be doing a better job. Since the arrival of Mr. Hamilton, set design, casting, cast and crew chemistry and much more has blossomed. The most recent production, performed four times from April 21 to April 24 by both a white cast and a red cast, blew my mind having one of the most energetic casts I have seen in a while. I attended the white cast performance only, yet it is clear to see that there is a lot of new and eager talent moving up the theatrical ladder at Arkansas High.

Harvey, an original 1941 piece, was performed amazingly by the white cast. Upon entering the student union at Arkansas high, the audience was swept away by melodic notes of what is assumed to be songs of the era. The atmosphere was great. Sitting in eagerness, the audience is greeted by a very vivid and optically pleasing set as the curtains open at seven. Differently than typical shows, the music didn’t stop. It continued and followed a light footed maid around the set. The really cool thing about the set was the fact that it was double sided and rotate friendly. The curtains never closed. While scenes changed music played and the audience got to experience the creation of a new area, which, to me, added to the elegance of the show. Everything ran so smoothly and gracefully. Even the characters seem completely natural.

Speaking of characterization, the cast was phenomenal, particularly James Hodges playing as Elwood P. Dowd and Semaj Harris who played Judge Omar Gaffney. Hodges did exceptionally well in creating this quirky, smooth, and lovable Elwood that made the audience chuckle and aw at his innocence. Elwood came across as this pure child-like man and the audience fell in love. It really worked in contributing to the idea of the imaginary bunny (sort of an imaginary friend that a kid would have) and the thought of Dowd actually being mentally unstable (kind of a coping mechanism for whatever the issue may be). Spoiler alert, in the end Elwood is fine, but Hodges’ use of swift arm gestures and naturalized interaction with a rabbit that’s obviously not there kept the audience guessing. It felt magical. Mr. Harris was a different story. The audience had love for him, but for completely different reasons. His over the top stereotypical judge persona and use of a typically authoritative klutz accent sent the audience over the edge. It was funny. And I don’t mean funny like I just heard a joke about the economy and chuckled. I mean funny like I just saw another flying lawnmower video pared with random music and laughed until I cried. His timing is impeccable. This added so much to the comedic vibe he put off. He paused at just the right moments to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Venturing from these two, the entire cast was really incredible.

In the end, Harvey was fun and family-friendly and actually entertaining. I’m still in awe. I can’t wait to see the next show in the fall. I urge that you do the same!

Alcohol at Chuck-E-Cheese

Hope Hawley

As some of you may have heard, the local Chuck-E-Cheese has put in an application  to serve beer and wine at its location at Central Mall in Texarkana. I wanted to write about this from the perspective of a college student.

First let me just say I do not have kids but I do have nephews and nieces whom I love to take to Chuck-E-Cheese, so with that being said, I say not just no but Hell no. Chuck-E-Cheese is not designed for adults; it’s known as “A place where a kid can be a kid.” How are you supposed to be a kid if you have a drunk parent running around? This just puts the establishment, employees, and other customers in danger. Now I know people are saying, well, beer and wine isn’t hard alcohol; you are correct, it is not, but it is to light- weights who can’t handle it or who can’t cut themselves off. Chuck-E-Cheese is simply not a place for adults to be drinking. I mean, why would you want to, anyway? If you are bringing your children there, it should be about their having fun, not you. As a college student I understand the struggle of having nothing “fun to do” in Texarkana but as a mature adult I also have enough common sense to know that mixing alcohol with a kids establishment is just flat out crazy.

There are plenty of places for adults to go and have a drink around town. Multiple restaurants, bars, clubs, and even the bowling alleys serve alcohol. At the bowling alley you can have fun bowling and drinking, which makes far more sense than playing games at Chuck-E-Cheese with two- and three-year olds running around while you’re sipping on a Budweiser. Some places that you may want to look into to have a good time while drinking that are adult friendly: Fat Jacks, Holiday Bowl, College Bowl, Stages, Buffalo Wild Wings, AppleBees, Electric Cowboy, Club Primetime, etc.

Yes, this is just the opinion of a college student and a young adult who likes to drink. Even I realize how crazy it would be to have a drunk person running around at Chuck-E-Cheese. Their slogan has always been “A place where a kid can be a kid,” but when you mix alcohol in, it’s taking that completely away. There are not many places in Texarkana where young kids can simply run around and be a kid so don’t take one of the few spots that are still around.

Seeing No-bunny

Allison Hall

Have you ever wanted to be involved with a seemingly insane man and his imaginary bunny? Well has Arkansas High got the show for you! Coming this spring, a carefree and charming, family friendly comedy about a high society man and his 6 foot tall mystical companion named Harvey hits the stage of Texarkana’s own Arkansas High School. More specifically, Harvey (1941), written by Mary Chase, is the second show of the year for Mr. Wyatt Hamilton, Arkansas High’s theater director, and his students. This show is centered around a Mr. Elwood P. Dowd, played by James Hodges and Victor Vargas, and focuses on a central message of wholesome friendship, or, as Mr. Hamilton puts it, “love your friends for who they are and all of their quirks”.

For this 2015-2016 school year, Mr. Hamilton has chosen to run with a fall drama and spring comedy as opposed to Arkansas Highs prior fall play, spring musical due to lack of male interest of the musical form. Even the smallest of theatrical musicals require an abundance of strong, dedicated, and interested patrons. In addition, Hamilton has chosen to employ two full casts for a sum of four shows as opposed to the prior two. He believes that not only will this open up more opportunity for show attendees, but also for performers in being able to have 21 students involved in a 12 role script. The push for this show seems to be individual creativity and involvement, which will promote positivism and encouragement, a good note for the modern age teenager or anyone else for that matter.

Among things that are remaining the same are ticket prices, show times, location, and concession. Tickets with be on sale at the door for five dollars and concessions with be available, namely sodas, chips, and brownies, at varied prices. The play will take place in Arkansas High’s Student Union (a.k.a cafeteria) from April 21-24 with a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday showing at seven o’clock p.m. and one Sunday showing at two o’clock p.m. Harvey is expected to run approximately two hours, including a 10 minute intermission. It is also worth noting that the Arkansas High theater department plans on more fundraising for show support. If you have any questions or ideas for fundraising endeavors, you can contact Wyatt Hamilton at (870) 774-7641 or email him at Wyatt.Hamilton@tasd7.net.

All in all, Harvey will be a great experience for people of all ages and worth a viewing. You can’t beat five dollar entertainment. If nothing else you will get a good laugh, and who doesn’t need that from time to time?

 

The Commencement of the Rest of Your Lives

Alyssa Bertrand

“May all the students of the class of 2015 please stand” is what everyone will hear at a graduation. These words mean more to each person than the people of the audience. These words will last forever in their minds. They know they were able to complete one-step of their lives and are now able to see what the rest of their lives has in store for them. Graduation is a special ceremony for all the students that have completed the required elements. There are some items that people fail to mention, when speaking about graduation, and that is the behind the scenes work that the staff does in order for graduation to run smoothly.

Texas A&M University-Texarkana has two main people in the graduation department. Kristie Avery and Karen Dukes are the ones who put in a ton of hours outside the office. To make sure the processing and the real ceremony is correct and able to run as it is supposed to. More staff members help of course. Avery and Dukes are the women behind the curtain. The process is long but these woman are the best in town.

Applications start flowing in at the start of the semester, and some before that. From the moment the first application is sent, the physical time of TAMU-T staff is filled. Avery has expressed that she spends many hours on graduation work outside the office, however she would never miss an important event with her family. She makes sure she is still able to help her daughter with homework, or make it to school events.

When it begins, there are many items that one must to keep in mind, when processing the application. First, one has to make sure the application is correct and every part is filled out. The next step is when the hard part starts to happen. After printing the application, they first look at the major of the applicant and print out the individual’s DegreeWorks. One must make sure that they have all the credits they are supposed to have and look at how many upper level division hours one has. The credits are important, but making sure one has all the classes one needs is harder than finding the credits. Sometimes, one may have the correct number of credit hours, but may be missing one or two classes. The graduation staff have to make sure that the applicant has the correct number of residence hours, which is the number of hour and time spent enrolled in the university.

After checking, the application, the reviewer, will call if they have a question about the application. The staff will work and try as hard as possible when making sure that every detail is in place. There have been times when a student may have all the credits but are missing one class. In this case, they will either try to put them in that certain class or look at the DegreeWorks and see if the student has taken a previous class that would equal the class needed.

DegreeWorks is an online processing page that allows someone to get access to his or her classes. It makes it easier to see what classes one needs to take and tells them what they already have taken as well. This site will also allow the student to see the percentage they are to their degree and how many credit they are lacking. Avery says, “I didn’t have DegreeWorks when I graduated (Web for Students was just really getting started and there wasn’t an email program like Ace Mail when I graduated). DegreeWorks works, so that’s one thing that makes the process easier.”

A graduating student must consider their GPA in three different parts they will need to see if there is any hold on the accounts and see if there are any outstanding balances on their accounts as well. There could be a part that will need a transcript so one will have to see if one will need to be sent to the graduation office.

Elaine Willis has recently graduated from TAMU-T; she explains that it is very stressful but would not change that for the world. Her friends from the university helped and motivated her to help finish the class she needed and she did. She says the process was long and stressful to make sure everything is okay with the application. One part being incorrect or have a missing part it could mean you either graduate or do not. Now, she could not be happier with her life. She wears her class ring every day.

Willis and Avery both have graduated from TAMU-T and they both wish there was a way to make the process easier and better to work with. Right now, the process must be completed by hand. If the process were available electronically, it would make it faster and easier for the students and the staff. “Just making students more aware of their graduation status and prohibiting the phrases “I didn’t know…. ” Or “No one told me…” this is the one thing that Avery wants to happen in the future.

Student by Day, Worker by Night

Alyssa Bertrand

What is free time? What does time to relax actually feel like? For many, this is time to have fun or be able to just sit around the house and not really worry about anything. To an average college student, one may be able to experience this thing called free time. They can go out when they do not have class or have to worry about how they will study for a class. Being a full-time student and a full-time worker, is a different story.

Full time student means someone is taking 15-24 hours in one semester. A full-time worker is working 35 plus hours a week. With these times joined, time is very limited. Priorities is the key word. People have to make a list and know what MUST come first. To the people who are struggling, do not stress too hard.

Many students are also full-time workers and it is hard. It puts everything to the test. Your strengths and your weakness. What is more important to yourself as well as the other people around you. Free time is a rare gift that one gets to experience. This gift is something that is cherished dearly. Between work and school, the free time one gets is actually spent with a date with their bed. It is very exhausted when you go from work to school or from school to work.

Do not think that working and going to school is a bad thing or even the worst thing that could happen but it is actually a privilege. Even though the stress level increases daily, or not having much time to have fun and relax, but it shows the drive in someone. The most important part is to be motivated. The motivation that gives you the extra push is what one needs to look at all the time. Whether it is your past, the current struggle, or family that pushes you to succeed.

Take the no time as a good insight of what the future holds. If you are working and going to school, it means you are trying to make oneself better. The future is bright. Take it a roll with it. It will all pay off when the goal is reached.

ArkLaTeXmas!

Laney Davis

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It is time to enjoy your friends and family amongst the beautiful Christmas spirit atmosphere. There are many opportunities in and around the Ark-La-Tex to enjoy the Christmas season.

December 7 on Main Street in Downtown Texarkana starting at 4 there will be music, food, and shopping. There will also be an opportunity to see and pet camels and the Express Clydesdales. Starting at 7, the 31st Annual Christmas parade “A Magical Christmas” will kick off. Before the parade, there will also be the “Festival of Trees Competition” on Front Street, and the winner will be announced before the parade begins. As well as Christmas lights filling the streets of downtown there will also be horse drawn carriage rides throughout December.

Starting November 25 through December 31st, Tuesday through Sundays, Marshall, Texas, will host the “Wonderland of Lights”. They will offer beautiful lights, outdoor ice-skating, a carousel, Santa’s Workshop and Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, carriage rides, and train rides. On December 5, there will be a Jingle Bell run. The “Wonderland of Lights” will not be open on Mondays or Christmas Eve.

For more opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights you can visit Hot Springs, Arkansas. Hot Springs will hold a Christmas parade on December 7 starting at 6:30. You can also stopover at Garvan Woodland Gardens for the Holiday Lights exhibit. Enjoy over 4 million bulbs across the 17 acre garden.

The Shreveport-Bossier area will offer a firework show with included activities on December 5. There will be a beautiful 40 foot tall Christmas tree at the Boardwalk offered all of December. If you still would like to appreciate some Christmas lights view the “Holiday Trail of Lights” November 14 through December 24.

Lastly, Ashdown, Arkansas, will be offering their Christmas Parade, “A Christmas Story,” December 5 starting at 6. The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express is making its way to Ashdown on December 4 and will arrive at 4.

These are a few ideas of what is going on in the Ark-La-Tex this holiday season. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

For more information on the events provided:

http://www.mainstreettexarkana.org/2015-christmas-parade-a-magical-christmas/

http://www.marshalltexas.net/public/warrants/wonderland-of-lights

http://www.hotsprings.org/events/event/1612/

http://965kvki.com/check-out-all-the-holiday-events-in-shreveport-bossier-this-christmas/

http://kkyr.com/the-kcs-holiday-express-is-coming-to-town-with-santa-claus/