Tag Archives: graduation

Bidding AC Adieu

By David Do

David Do          It feels strange to be looking back at Amarillo College. AC is no longer my school, but a stepping stone towards my future. I remember my first day at AC–I was driving around all the different parking lots for fifteen minutes looking for a parking spot, before I eventually parked on Wolflin Avenue and walked ten minutes to my first class. I remember wondering if I had made the right decision in choosing AC. Little did I know that AC would take me leaps and bounds ahead of where I would have been had I decided to begin my education at a university.

My first involvement with extracurricular activities at AC was through the Presidential Scholars Program. Whether it was setting up the table for Fall Fest and Badgerama or organizing Honors Expo and community service projects, the Scholars Program forced me to get involved. I also attended every event that was offered–from ballet and opera to hikes in the canyon. These activities also prompted me to learn time management—something I had not really needed to deal with prior to college. Along with learning some important life lessons, I was also making connections with my fellow scholars in a way that I had never done before. In the past, I had always been the quiet kid and, although I had friends in high school, I never really became too close with them. At AC, I made real connections with the Scholars and felt like I belonged in that community–in that family.

My involvement in Scholars inspired me to become active with Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the national two-year college honors society, and interview for (and accept) a position in the Blue Blazers—a group of students hired to serve as college ambassadors. I also decided to join the AC Student Government Association and became the treasurer and interim Vice President of Service for PTK. That was when I experienced firsthand the definition of “busy.” If that weren’t enough, I began working as a tutor, so I was on campus from eight in the morning until at least eight at night, sometimes even later. Despite my busy schedule, I enjoyed what I did. I was on campus, making a difference, enriching people’s lives. I tried reaching out to anyone I could and AC gave me the freedom to do so.

As a second year member of the Presidential Scholars, I began to fully assume my new position in the group as a mentor and I started to notice that people stopped to listen whenever I talked. That was something new for me. I had never had listeners when I talked–mostly because I didn’t talk much to begin with. Now I found myself being more outspoken and began stepping up as a leader, especially after attending a student leadership retreat.

That November, I ran into some family trouble that hit me pretty hard. I couldn’t focus on anything I was doing and people noticed. I started opening up to others and realized that I had built myself a support system here at AC. I wasn’t alone. I had people on my side who would help me get through anything. That level of support inspired me to do the same for others and motivated my outreach efforts. It wasn’t until that difficult moment that I really began to branch out and reach out to others to enhance their AC experience. I started working harder for each club and even joined another one, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society (MATH). I realized I was now doing for others what others had done for me.

During my time at AC, I traveled with the college to Dallas, Fort Worth, Nepal, India, Waco and Washington DC. I won several awards including Who’s Who among Students in American Universities & Colleges, Coca Cola Gold Scholar, the Campus Life award and my inclusion in PTK’s Division II District I Hall of Honor. I conducted research, attended and presented at conferences and workshops and participated in several leadership retreats. Those opportunities and honors would not have been possible without the support of the family that I surrounded myself with at AC. When I felt like giving up, their never-wavering belief in me and inspirational stories kept me going and drove me on to success. When I felt like dropping everything, they made me see the benefits of working hard and making it through to the end. Their continual support lifted me up when I was down and made me a better person, both professionally and personally.

Attending Amarillo College was the best decision of my life. I was kept busy, but I loved every minute of it. If I could go back, I would do it all over again. I will cherish all the memories that I have made with my AC family as I move forward in my college career.

David graduated in May 2016 with a degree in physics and will continue his studies at Texas Tech. This summer he was chosen to participate in NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars program at the Johnson Space Center.


My Experience at AC

by Presidential Scholar Hannah Lang

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” The experiences we have in each part of our lives help to shape who we are and what we are passionate about. I can relate to these words as I think about graduating from Amarillo College. The last two years have been filled with friendships, opportunities, and humbling experiences that have shaped who I am and who I want to be.
While at AC, I have had the privilege of experiencing the camaraderie that is specific to student life at a community college. The Presidential Scholars program has allowed me to meet some of my best friends and mentors. Despite different aspirations, each person in the program is driven to succeed. The determination and commitment that each person has to their future is contagious and inspiring. Involvement in this learning community feels similar to a family and I cannot express my gratitude for every opportunity it has brought me. Not only have I met some of my best friends in the program, but I’ve found the support of three great mentors. Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Gibson, and Mrs. Ingham are the glue to the Presidential Scholars family. From supervising trips to Dallas to writing last minute recommendation letters, they go out of their way to make the Presidential Scholars program an awesome experience. I have also made so many friendships through Blue Blazers and Phi Theta Kappa that I will cherish forever.
AC has also given me more opportunities than I could have dreamed of. Last May, I got to travel halfway around the world with the Presidential Scholars. Visiting Cambodia was a life-changing opportunity that I never would have had without AC. It inspired me to use my life and career in ways that make a difference in my community as well as the world. I have also gotten to travel to Austin and San Antonio with Phi Theta Kappa. Aside from travel, AC has given me other opportunities to get out of my comfort zone. Being on the radio in AC Honors classes was a nerve-racking experience but a fun one as well. Being in AC Honors has also taught me the value of public speaking- something I dreaded before getting into the Presidential Scholars Program.
Lastly, the experiences I have had at Amarillo College are truly humbling. Amarillo College has an atmosphere that is focused on student success and serving others. Working in the AC food pantry, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and making water filters in Cambodia are only a few of many service experiences I have had at AC. I have also had the privilege of working with Marcie Robinson, who has taught me a lot about what is important in life. Getting to help other AC students, faculty, and people in the community and around the world has changed me for the better.
The time and investment that AC has put into my life and education is priceless. The last two years have been filled with so many amazing friendships, experiences and opportunities that have created so many memories. Looking back on the investment AC has made in my life makes me sad to leave, but I look forward to taking the things I’ve learned at AC and using them to make the world a better place.