By RUTH MARTINEZ
Blue Blazers is one of many Amarillo College student clubs and organizations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The organization was founded in 1929, the same year the college was opened. Blue Blazers are student ambassadors who are nominated by professors every year. The students are interviewed and go through training before every school year. To qualify, a student must have a high grade-point average, be involved on campus, and actively participate in their classes.
Blue Blazers help future students get enrolled and give guided tours to those who want to visit the college before they apply. COVID-19 changed the organization for the 2020-2021 academic year. “The pandemic has really affected both the recruitment of Blue Blazers and the retention of Blue Blazers,” Cassie Montgomery, the director of outreach services and Blue Blazer club sponsor, said.
In the academic year of 2019-2020, Blue Blazers had eight members, but at the end of the year the organization ended up with only two members. Nominations were supposed to go out in the spring of 2020, but the pandemic caused the campuses to close down after spring break.
Montgomery said she understands that the organization needed to take a break just like the rest of the world. “We also didn’t want to pile on yet another expectation on our faculty while they were trying to juggle an alternative teaching style during the pandemic.”
This year Blue Blazers have different duties. They are expected to make a lot of outbound phone calls to people who are interested in Amarillo College and get a better understanding of how to recruit future students to the campus. Currently, Blue Blazers only has four members: Maci DeArmond, Ruth Martinez, and returning members Kimberly Guerrero and Mateo Mosqueda.
“It’s been a long-term goal of mine to be a Blue Blazer, so when I officially got the call that I was invited to be one, I cried honestly because it’s so exciting,” said Maci DeArmond, a business administration major and Phi Theta Kappa president. DeArmond said she also understands that the organization has to be limited due to COVID. Being safe is the most important thing that the college cares about for all students, she said.
Moving into the spring semester, this group of students is going to continue to serve at the Student Service Center during their one-hour time slot every week. Spring semester recruitment events will most likely be virtual and the organization will be recruiting additional members, Montgomery said.