Stereotyping: Don’t judge a personality by its color

KHANDICE HORN 
Staff Writer

Why can’t you be your own person? People are so stereotypical these days.

If you’re black you must be ghetto, if you’re Mexican you must be illegal, if you’re Asian you must be smart and if you’re white you must be snobby and hate every other race and so on.

It doesn’t matter what race you are. There will be somewhere you don’t fit into society’s view of what you should be. It is very frustrating when you do something and someone is whispering in your ear asking, “Why are you doing that. You’re not black, or white or Mexican.”

Why should that matter? If I want to do something, let me do it. I don’t care if it is not normal for a black person to do, so why should you?

I have heard many people talk about how I should act or what I should do, saying, “You talk white.”

Do I talk white because I am well-spoken or is it because I’m not loud? I speak how I was taught in school. Another thing I hear is that I’m not black because I don’t eat fried chicken very often.

I’m sorry. I’m trying to be healthy. I don’t want to eat fried, fattening pieces of chicken all the time.

A guy from my high school was in utter shock when I told him I didn’t know how to roll a joint. He told me, “All blacks roll joints and that they are the best joints.”

What world are you from? I don’t even do drugs, let alone know how to roll a joint.

Just because you see a lot of black people doing something does not mean every black person in America does that.

I get tired of people always assuming I should be something just because of the color of my skin.

When I was younger, I used to be ashamed of who I was because people told me that I was not what I was supposed to be.

But I realize God put my soul in a black body for a reason. I hear all the time, “You should have been born white.” No, I should not have! God knew exactly what he was doing when he made me. Maybe He did it to teach stereotypical people that a person should not be confined by society’s views or by the color of one’s skin.

Khandice Horn is a freshman business communications major from Longview.

Research & Vote: Election participation vital for younger voters

Those between the ages 18 and 30 are the least likely to vote in the presidential election. Many of us don’t educate ourselves on political or economical matters. We don’t research. We don’t listen. We just don’t pay attention.

Many of us are in what seems to be a bubble, a bubble that is immune to all that is happening in the world. Our focus tends to stay centered on our jobs, sometimes school and our social lives.

We don’t stop to consider that something as crucial and important as the presidential election will have a tremendous effect on our generation.

What’s more is that we have the power to help change the course of any election if we will only practice the right we so freely take for granted.

The Pew Research Center reports young voters are significantly less engaged in this year’s election than at a comparable point in 2008. This age group now lags far behind older voters in interest in the campaign and intention to vote. The share of voters younger than 30 who are following campaign news very closely is roughly half what it was at this point four years ago (18 percent, down from 35 percent).

Kelly Gillit / THE FLARE

For voters under 30, Pew polls show 61 percent are highly engaged in the 2012 campaign, down from 75 percent four years ago.

Our generation seems to follow a herd mentality. It is so easy for us to vote in favor of a certain candidate because that is who our parents or friends are voting for. We urge you to establish your own convictions this year.

Research both candidates. Find which views fit your values. Form your own opinion from what you have learned, not based on what someone else says.

Frankly, at this point in our economy, our generation has the most to lose.

Our livelihoods are going to be dramatically changed by this election.

So get out, research and vote. It’s the least you can do.

Shape up

Illustration by Kelly Gillit / THE FLARE

A long day of classes, late night study sessions, random eating habits, coffee, energy drinks and a lack of sleep describe your average college student’s life in all the wrong ways.

With so little extra time, focusing on eating habits and exercise may seem impossible, but the first two years of college very crucial to your health and overall well-being.

Preventing weight gain ultimately comes down to making healthy choices.

Keep reading for our five ways to get you on track to a much healthier, happier lifestyle.

 

1 Save your money

We understand that time is precious to college students and sometimes it’s just easier to take the easy way out, but this isn’t always the best way, especially when it comes to what kind of food you are putting in your body. Instead of wasting money on a meal through the drive-thru or going to a gas station for a quick snack, think about packing your lunch instead. Yes, we know this is old school and you probably haven’t packed your lunch since middle school but give it try next time. Buying all of the groceries you need and packing your lunch the night before or the morning of, will save you so much more time and money.

 

Concentrate on Sleep

Late night studying, work or staying out with friends can make it challenging for us to get the proper sleep we need. Most college students should be getting about seven to nine hours of sleep a night to function at their best for the following class day. Sleep is absolutely essential to the body. Lack of sleep hurts academic performance, limits your body’s ability to restore energy, and creates an overall negative attitude. Listen the next time your body tries to tell you something. It may be wise to cut  a couple hours from your evening plans a couple hours.

 

Try water on for size

Blended coffees and sodas have rapidly gained popularity among college students for their caffeine boost, but their caloric count and lack of health benefits have caused an invisible problem. The average daily caloric intake is about 2,000 calories. The average frappe weighs in at 500 calories and the average canned soda is 190 calories. Try water as an alternative. Water has zero calories and is an essential staple to any healthy lifestyle. It helps to keep the body hydrated, flushes out unwanted toxins, and replenishes the fluid your body loses through urination and sweating.

 

Focus on Fitness

Instead of taking your stress out on greasy fast food, take it out on a treadmill. The Parks Fitness Center is free to all KC full-time students and offers great hours. If you’re not a treadmill person, try different exercise classes and figure out something that works for you. The average student should get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Walking to class and even using the bridge instead of driving across campus increases your heart rate and can add to that 30 minutes.

 

5 Eat several times a day

Eating a small meal every three hours is a great way to keep your metabolism high all day. When your metabolism is high you burn more calories throughout the day. Rather than eating two or three large meals a day, try eating small, healthy snacks every three hours. These snacks don’t have to be bland. Try a handful of nuts, a granola bar, fruit or a cup of yogurt.

Get up and  get moving. You may be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Suicide watch: Everyone needs to be involved, aware

DILLON SANDFIER
Staff Writer

Every year, 34,000 Americans take their own lives. Why?

This statistic should not be accurate, but it is.

I would actually bet that we all know at least one person who has considered suicide–possibly even attempted it.

Perhaps you have come to a point in your life where nothing seems right; you do not feel that your life is relevant to anyone or that all of your loved ones would be better off without you. It could even be that you are just tired of living and you are mentally, physically and emotionally drained, and you wonder, “Where do I go from here?”

For those of you who feel this way, know this: there are people out there who love you and who want to help you succeed. I know life can get hard sometimes, but never take it upon yourself to end it.

There are so many resources out there just for you. The trial you are currently in is just a bump in the road of your life; do not let anyone make you believe that this situation is worse than it actually is. There is always hope.

If you are feeling this way, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit the website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You can also talk to a friend or relative or even go see a counselor.

For those of you who have never felt suicidal, this message is also for you. It is your job to notice when people are hurting.

My whole life I have heard people say how selfish suicide is, and to an extent, I agree. However, isn’t it also selfish of us not to pay enough attention to notice when someone is being distant or when someone has pretty much just given up on life? We get so plugged into our own lives that we become completely oblivious to the things happening around us.

Within a 10-mile radius of my home in Joaquin, I know of four deaths by suicide in the last few weeks and also of an attempted suicide. Keep in mind that this is a town with a population of about 1,000 people.

Suicide is becoming more and more common, and we have got to do something about it.

Dillon Sandifer is a sophomore journalism major from Joaquin.

Student life assistant director seeks special student section at games

There is nothing in college sports like the home-field advantage. A loud crowd can definitely make the difference in a game.

While the atmosphere of the stadium is based on all of the fans, it all starts with the student section and KC needs your help to create one.

“Rowdy Rangers,” a name suggested by Ross Costanzo, assistant director of student life, is the first step to creating the student section we should have.

Student sections have become a global phenomenon among college athletics and we think that this is just what KC needs as our athletes continue racking up victories this season.

Becoming a “Rowdy Ranger” would include T-shirts, posters, towels, local business discounts and special seating at sporting events. All proceeds would go back into student life in order to provide other activities and equipment for students.

We believe the fans are just as important as the players on the field and we proudly support Costanzo’s attempt to involve our students.

No one is asking for this to be the greatest student section of all time, but it can go a long way toward establishing an identity where the “Rowdy Rangers” could start their own tradition.

A student section is an important part of a school’s fan base and a significant contributor to home advantage.

The “Rowdy Rangers” can help ensure a game is the centerpiece of a fun, positive atmosphere for our students.

We have three weeks to get organized, while the Rangers are on the road.

Contact Costanzo at 903-988-7504 or rcostanzo@kilgore.edu to participate.

Remember, showing up to the game is an important and strangely overlooked first step.

The next home game happens to be Homecoming on Oct. 20. What better way to start the “Rowdy Rangers” than on such a special occasion.

So come early, wear blue, be loud and help us support our KC Rangers.

Adoption makes way for gift of new life, new family

JOY DRAPER
Staff Writer

Sometimes parents don’t have enough money to care for their child. Sometimes parents are ill and are unable to raise their child the way they see fit. So they choose to place their beloved child in someone else’s hands, in someone else’s household, for one simple reason: love. They love their child and hope to give the child a better life, maybe better than their own. That is what my birth parents did for me.

I was born in Jangjheung, South Korea, on July 20, 1994, with a cleft lip and pallet which required several surgeries to be properly fixed.

I don’t really know the reason my birth parents put me up for adoption, but I couldn’t be more thankful or more blessed by their decision. If it weren’t for their decision, I wouldn’t be here,  and I wouldn’t have met my parents, the Drapers.

Somewhere in Longview, a couple by the name of Jim and Toni Draper, chose to adopt. That decision soon changed my life in every way possible. They had already adopted a Korean girl from Seoul, South Korea, and God had placed another desire in their heart to adopt. That is where I came in.

After searching for a child, through an adoption agency, they found me and after praying and discussing the situation, they chose me. The long process of adoption then began.

During the process, WFAA, a  TV station for the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex,  was running a special for International Adoption on Mother’s Day weekend.  The WFAA helped move up the adoption process for the Drapers, and sent a camera crew to document the whole process.

Soon my mom, with a friend and the camera crew, boarded a plane to South Korea. She came back with me, to be greeted at the airport by my dad, two brothers and sister.

I landed in America on March 30, 1996. I was 20 months old, but my life had just begun. I was so blessed to be in a family where love was so evident. I grew up thanking God for such a family.

I was too young to remember any of South Korea, my birth parents, my previous surgeries in Korea or the language. I’ve been asked many times if I would like to go back to South Korea and the answer is yes. I’d love to study the culture, and learn the language, if possible.

Although I owe my birth parents everything and I want them to know how grateful I am, when asked if I want to try to contact them, I always answer no.

My life was better because of their hard decision. Many parents have to make that decision without knowing the outcome. Somehow I hope my birth parents realize I am happy because of their choice.

 

Joy Draper is a freshman journalism major from Longview. 

Country pop star center of student’s solar system

ASHLEY MORALES
Staff Writer 

Most people know Taylor Swift for her signature blond spirals, sparkly personality and her self-written brutally honest country pop songs about heartbreak and relationships.

Swift captivated the country music scene in 2006 when she debuted her self-titled album, “Taylor Swift,” with independent label Big Machine Records.

With high hopes at age 11, Taylor had convinced her mom, Andrea Swift, to take a trip to Nashville’s famous Music Row. Taylor would jump out of the car, run into a record label company, hand the receptionist a CD and excitedly asked them to call her.

“I thought, ‘You know, if Nashville is the town that lets you be yourself and do things like that, and be different, then that’s where I need to be,’” Swift told Rolling Stone.

She never got a phone call, but Taylor didn’t give up.

Scott Borchetta, former executive at DreamWorks Records, started his own record label–Big Machine Records–and Taylor became its first artist.

Her first single, “Tim McGraw,” released on June 19, 2006, brought notice to Taylor, not just to the Nashville music world but also the pop industry.

On Oct. 24, 2006, “Taylor Swift” was released and “Tim McGraw” rose to No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and four other singles followed on to the chart.

Rolling Stone calls her, “One of the few genuine rock stars we’ve got these days, with a flawless ear for what makes a song click,” and I couldn’t agree more.

I’m obsessed with Taylor Swift because she has this beaming personality that captures your attention and instantly makes you want to be best friends with her. Although the main subject of her songs is love, she also has songs that deal with other life complications and can easily relate to anyone and everyone.

She makes you feel like you’re not alone in having these feelings. I think this is a huge factor in her success. She has the ability to take a bad situation, and write a chart-topping song many can identify with.

I heard “Tim McGraw” for the first time the summer before seventh grade at a friend’s house. I had never experienced heartbreak or had deep feelings for someone, but that song made me feel as if I knew exactly what it would feel like, and I was only 12. My friend only listened to country music and I always complained of how slow and boring the music was until that day. From then on, I went home and switched from my mainstream radio station to a country one. Even going as far as watching CMT instead of MTV on Saturday and Sunday mornings just in case Taylor happened to make an appearance.

I was always ecstatic when she dropped a new single because I had just received my first iPod and was able to stay up just to buy and download the song at midnight.

The day that “Taylor Swift” was available in stores, I almost got grounded because I was rushing my parents to floor the car to Hastings.

I’m still like that, actually. Waiting until midnight on iTunes, speeding to the nearest Hastings or Target, and squealing every time I’m in a car, store or restaurant and I hear a Taylor song playing.

One thing that I love about Taylor is her dedication to her tour. She wants her vision portrayed as much as possible. She designs the set, plans out the lights and graphics among other things. Granted, she has help from professionals, but if you have ever attended a Taylor Swift concert, you feel like you’re in her fairytale themed head, or at least I do.

I’ve been to both the Fearless and Speak Now tours and they were both so magical. My favorite part of both concerts was when Taylor left the main stage for a rotating circular stage on the other side of the arena or center. She plays this set acoustically and it’s so personal. It’s just a spotlight, stool, Taylor and her guitar.

Taylor is teaming with VH1 and will travel to a winning college or high school this fall for a private acoustic concert presented by Chegg, the leading student hub, Papa John’s in partnership with COVERGIRL and American Greetings.

You might be thinking that KC is too small to win anything this major, but to level out small and large schools each schools votes will be divided by a number that is based upon enrollment numbers available to Chegg. Using the enrollment numbers, Chegg will round that number up or down to the nearest thousand.

In addition, the top five schools with the most votes will each receive a $10,000 grant for their music department from Taylor Swift and Chegg’s philanthropic program, Chegg for Good, which inspires students to be a catalyst for change on their campus communities and around the world.

This is a chance for something big to happen at KC, and all it is going to take is to log onto www.taylorswiftoncampus.com and vote.

 

Ashley Morales is a freshman communications major from Longview.

Technology: More help or harm?

Help

Illustration by Kelly Gillit / THE FLARE

 

It has come to no surprise that the technology/social media phenomenon is here to stay.If we think back 10 or 20 years ago, we are amazed how we ever did some of the things we are able to do now.

The five billion mobile users around the globe represent the largest social community in the history of mankind, that is more than twice the size of the entire Internet and it covers more than 90 percent of the world’s population.

Thanks to Internet-based social networking, text messaging and emails, people today are more connected to one another than ever before. Technology and social media have allowed a rapid flow of information to a large group of people, which in the case of sharing information the invention of computers and cellphones has brought economic and social change to the world.

Technology has allowed people across the world to connect and interact without having to fly thousands of miles to communicate with each other.

Digital information can be sent with the click of a button. Software, books, music and video files can be easily distributed to anyone, anywhere.

Technology and social media have begun to satisfy our wants and needs, so much so that our daily lives solely consist of using some type of technology.

Soon our ability to interpret personality and character is going to be highly supported by technology. Perhaps social skills can be enhanced by using technology and face-to-face communication. We believe we will be a lot more accurate in our assessments with a combination of both.

 

Harm

An overload of technological advancement has hindered the development of social skills in the current generation.  As technological advances appear on a daily basis there seems to be an escalating disregard for former social graces and basic literacy skills. Why invite  friends for lunch when you’re constantly focused on texting others or checking Twitter or Facebook for most of the time? It portrays loud and clear that their time and conversation is of no value.

Although many of these developments have evolved to the benefit of mankind, many are used outside the realm of moderation and have become an addiction for some and a crutch for others.  The art of face-to-face conversation has been lost. Almost all communication is now conducted through email, texting and social media. Even phone calls have become rare. Staring at a screen spares the embarrassment or awkwardness of talking to another human being.

Letter writing, meaningful conversation and even looking up information in a dictionary or phone book – rather than instantly resorting to the Internet – really has merit.

It’s time to resurrect these endangered arts. Texting and email have become the new social life, global positioning systems have all but replaced maps, landline telephones have almost become extinct, Facebook and Twitter have blown up into the new blog spot for anyone and anything and the Internet has become the ultimate source for research.

So send a handwritten letter to a relative, use your landline to call a friend. Take the time to talk to an older relative – someone who remembers life as it once was –  and see what you can learn. They were not as privileged to have the amount of technology we have, but they turned out just fine.

Grandmother’s gift a life of inspiration, influence

MELISSA AOUAD
Staff Writer

I sat there crying, staring at a woman who had just taken her last breath, still, silent and finally free from pain. I cannot forget that day, Dec. 10, 2008, when my grandmother, Anne Fredua-Mensah, passed away in a hospice in South London, England, at age 72. None of us thought we would ever see her in the condition she was in before she died.

Two years prior, in 2006  before my mother and I moved to Texas, we were standing at Gatwick Airport in London, saying goodbye to a very healthy, beautiful, humorous, lovable woman in her early 70s, strong and full of energy. Who would have imagined two years later she would be weak, frail, small in size and barely conscious of her surroundings, cancer trying to take her life.

Grandma and I had a special bond from when I was a baby. My grandparents took me to Ghana, West Africa, for six months while my mother got back on her feet after giving birth to me. I look the spitting image of my mother; however, I also resemble my grandmother. My mother always said that there were some things that had skipped a generation and got passed down to me, like my grandmother’s love for the arts, theatre, drama, dance, teaching, the English language and chocolate. We even have similar characteristics. I count them as blessings.

My mother and I flew back from a vacation in Georgia to be greeted with news that my grandmother was on her death bed. This came as a huge shock to both of us. Naturally my mother immediately rushed to buy a ticket to London. I insisted on coming with her.

The day after we arrived, we went to see my grandmother at the hospital and I could not believe my eyes. This was not the grandmother I had seen all my life, with long hair and gray blue eyes full of life. This was not the woman whose strength encouraged us as a family even at our toughest times. This was not right. Instead, I saw a woman whose life had been extracted from her so quickly that we barely had time to stop and think. When did this all happen?

My grandma had such great class, and it was hard for her to let her children and grandchildren see her in such a weak state. However, there was no way we could be any less than supportive at that moment in time for my grandmother.

I remember being in my grandmothers’s apartment crying on my knees in front of the television. I could not believe I was witnessing someone die. I knew all I could do was leave her in God’s hands. I still had faith that she could live, but if it were her time to go, then I would accept it.

Grandma was a dedicated wife, mother, educator, actress and humanitarian, and even in her last days left simple but extremely crucial advice to my cousin and me.

“Always moisturize your hands,” she said.  That is exactly what I do, carrying hand lotion with me wherever I go. Knowing that you could be gone from this earth at any moment, yet find the slightest breath to encourage your granddaughters, is just a tiny token of the care that my grandmother continuously extended to us.

Many have or will lose a grandparent at some point. I encourage you to celebrate their life and remember the advice given to you or the moments you shared with them. The little things that touch your heart make a big difference.

 

Melissa Aouad is a sophomore communications major from London, England.

Take a walk on the East Side

Many students are not aware of the abundant resources the college has available to them, mostly due to the fact that they are ill-informed. A seamless line of communication between the entire campus would help bring valuable information to students. There seems to be a disconnect, a lack of awareness keeping students from making the effort to visit both sides of campus.The bridge crossing Henderson Boulevard was opened on April 28, 1970, in order to connect the two sides of campus and to provide easier, safer access.

Decades later, the bridge seems to have become the cause of a great divide between the east and west sides of campus.

Many times during orientation tours, prospective students and their families are given an extensive tour of the west side of campus yet only a brief description of the east side. Walking across the bridge is not always a part of the tour. Often there is no in-depth explanation of programs offered or location of buildings.

Many students complain about how long and how inconvenient it is to cross the bridge. On a pretend tour, we started on the west side of campus at the base of the bridge beside Old Main. We walked across the bridge to the east side, pointed out the  Porter Business Administration Building, walked through the Turk Fine Arts Center, the Communication – Automotive Building, the Technical Vocation Building, through the Whitten Applied Technology Center and walked back across the bridge. The tour took 10 minutes and two seconds. We viewed art and photography exibits and saw program displays.

We polled 145 students asking them if they had ever been on a KC tour that crossed the bridge and focused on the east side of campus. Seventy-five percent answered no and 25 percent answered yes.

Unless students are enrolled in a specialized program or core class (such as art or music appreciation, BCIS or speech) many have no reason or see no need to cross the bridge. But for students not to take the time to explore the east side is to cheat themselves.

The college has an extensive number of programs located in the departments on the east side. Programs include art, associate  degree nursing, automotive technology, business management, choir, communications, computer science, corrosion technology, drafting design technology, early childhood education, economics, English for speakers of other languages, graphic art, legal assisting, music, opera, photography, physical therapist assistant program, piano, process technology and petroleum specialty, radiologic science, speech, surgical technology, theatre and welding technology.

We encourage students to get more involved in their education and explore a part of the campus that may be unfamiliar to them. No matter your classification, it is best to ask questions, take the initiative and get involved in your college experience.

Walk across the bridge, explore, talk to people; see what KC has to offer.

Hey, you! Yes, you! Get involved to gain the most from KC

Illustration by Kelly Gillit / THE FLARE

What does the college experience mean to you? According to thecollegeexperience.net, it is engaging in “everything college life has to offer,” which would seem like an easy concept to grasp; however, if you were to ask yourself what your dream college experience would look like, what would your brain come up with?
Maybe you see yourself doing a double back-flip slam-dunk over the heads of the rival basketball team. Perhaps you fancy testing your valor in the Art Club, or maybe the movie Animal House comes to mind. Whatever your modus operandi may be, the only way to live your dream is to become involved.
“Meaningful human connection and interaction is a skill just as necessary as some technical ability, acquired knowledge or learned material,” said Dr. Bill Holda, KC president.
Just as one must work hard to receive a good education, hard work must also be applied to reap the benefits of a rich social understanding.
“So much of one’s college education (learning how to interact with different personalities, dealing positively with conflict, etc.) occurs outside of the classroom. Thus, students who do not engage socially miss out on an entire component of the overall college experience,” said Dr. Mike Jenkins, vice president of student involvement.
A common problem voiced most by students, especially in a community college, is that no one knows how to become involved.
So many students immediately leave campus after class lets out to play video games, watch television, etc. College is the time to leave the comfort zone developed in high school.
Most every college has a club for just about every interest imaginable. KC’s official clubs include everything from Rad Science to Texas Management and Marketing Association and everything in between.
The unofficial “groups,” which take a little searching to find, are a little more abstract. For instance, rumor has it that there is a role-playing group where Dungeons & Dragons enthusiasts meet to slay dragons, develop characters, etc.
KC’s Organizations Fair during KC Kickoff on Sept. 6 will offer a chance for students to learn more about extra-curricular activities. Student Life is planning to have representatives from each group on hand to greet students.
A social gathering exists for everyone, and having a like-minded support group is the key to success in college. Aristotle once said that “friendship is essentially a partnership.” Any cooperation one can maintain is very well capable of lessening the load of stress on the mind, and college does in fact tend to be stress inducing.
Find a support group. Be involved. Become supported by providing support. Live your dream college experience.

Potential for growth in college reaches beyond classroom

ASHTON JOHNSON 
Co-Executive Editor

College is a unique time of life, full of new experiences and new people.

If you had asked me two years ago what I would be doing now, I might have shrugged my shoulders and told you I had no idea.

I am so thankful for my first year at KC. Aside from the book and classroom knowledge I gained, I learned a lot about life.

What have I learned? Here is some advice for incoming college freshmen based on what I gleaned from the past year.

Intentionally discover what you really love. Figure out your personal style, your biggest dreams, how you communicate, what refreshes you and how you handle conflict. Learn these things, grab hold of the best and be willing to work hard to change what you aren’t satisfied with.

I was skeptical about coming to KC because I had been surrounded by people’s opinions of the college for so long. I passed “Harvard on the highway” every day, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I thought my college career needed to be far from East Texas.

As the editor of my high school newspaper, my heart was pulled into the world of journalism and that is where I discovered The Flare, my new passion in life.

It’s been said that college is supposed to be one of the best times of our lives and I’m finally starting to see why. This freedom that initially scared me has now turned into one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

College has been and continues to be a whole new, exciting beginning for me as a writer, student and young adult. I now understand that with this new freedom I am able to grow and explore different interests and different opportunities.

It has become such a cliche, but the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” has proved itself all too true. College has been a great time to make new connections, so I encourage others to take advantage of every opportunity.

As I begin my sophomore year, I have begun to appreciate the school and all it has to offer. I couldn’t have asked for a better college experience so far. It’s already been filled with ups and downs and I can’t wait for more.

After all, KC is really what you make of it.

Ashton Johnson is a sophomore communications major from Kilgore.

Moving ahead, but never forgetting

KASI DICKERSON
Executive Editor

Have you ever noticed how after you choose your seat in class, you become very territorial of that little plastic chair? Well, I have.

Like it or not, we are all creatures of habit. We have our specific routines that we instinctively follow and we don’t like it when our patterns are altered. Unfortunately, they say “change is inevitable.” With graduation just two weeks away, I am doing everything not to listen.

Two years ago, I had no idea what I would be doing with my life. Yes, I knew I would be in college, but where and studying what was the question. Thankfully, I didn’t need to have a plan because God already did.
It was a typical August day, the sun was high and the breeze was faint. I was nervous for my first day of college and I had no idea what to expect. My 9 o’clock class went well, but when my 10 o’clock Reporting I class started, God winked.

Standing in front of about 15 wide-eyed students, journalism instructor Bettye Craddock introduced me to the college’s newspaper, The Flare, and since then my life has not been the same.

Since my first reporting class, I have been immersed in journalism and The Flare.

Writing, photographing, editing and designing for The Flare these past two years has been nothing short of a blessing. Advisers O. Rufus Lovett and Bettye Craddock have influenced my life in more ways than I can express.

Rufus’ humor, patience and love for photography inspire me never to take things for face value, but to always dig deeper, look at things from different perspectives and enjoy the simple beauty in the ordinary.

Craddock’s humble spirit, dedication, compassion and love encourage me to enjoy life’s stressful, crazy, exciting moments and everything in between. She has taught me to lead with grace and to always place others before myself.

I will forever cherish our crazy Wednesday Flare deadline nights when we realize it is midnight and we need to pack up and go home. I’ll never forget our trips to TIPA and TCCJA in the big white van listening to “Down by the Bay.” Remember, Mrs. Craddock, “No, you may not cry.” I know you say you are the blessed woman, but in my eyes you are the blessing.

As I close this chapter of my life, I want to thank my mom for her support. No matter how busy she is, she always takes time out of her day to help me with whatever problems I have. Her passion for journalism and her students is a daily reminder of why I want to become a teacher.

Thank you for always proofing my stories and challenging me to succeed. I know it was hard for you on Wednesdays when I couldn’t talk with you because of Flare deadlines, but you are truly my comfort in all situations. I love you so much.

Two years ago, I claimed my seat in Communications Automotive, Room 125. It was on the left side of the classroom second row from the front.

Now, I know I must leave the nest, but I will always remember that August day when I first became part of the Flare Family.

Kasi Dickerson is a sophomore communications/education major from Van.