AC student organizations bring home 33 state awards

COURTESY PHOTO AC’s student government association took 21 members to Dallas and came home with 9 awards.


Staff Reporter

Two Amarillo College student organizations brought back awards from state competitions. 

AC student media won 24 awards, including four first-place prizes from The Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) convention held March 23-26 in Fort Worth, Texas. Approximately 300 students and advisers from 35 colleges and universities attended the event. 

Shawn McCrea, Raygan Lopez, Rylee Moore, Jordan Nuner and Daniel Antillon attended the convention, as well as Maddisun Fowler, student media coordinator, and Jill Gibson, media, arts and communication department chair. Gibson also serves as the vice president of TIPA and Fowler serves as president of the companion organization, the Texas community college journalism association. 

During the convention, students got to compete in live journalism contests. “To compete was nerve-wracking at first but I knew I had the support from my advisers and staff,” Raygan Lopez, a mass media major and editor-in-chief of “The Ranger,” said. 

Students were able to participate in a job fair with working media professionals and had the opportunity to get their work critiqued by professional journalists. “The overall trip was an unforgettable experience,” Lopez said.

This is the first TIPA convention that has been held for more than two years due to the COVID pandemic which makes it the first time some students have been able to attend the event. “It was so interesting and amazing to witness so much creativity in one room,” Lopez said. 

Daniel Antillon, a general studies major, won honorable mention in the video news and radio announcing live contests. The other awards were given out for previously published work. 

First place prizes given for previously published work went to Shawn McCrea, a photography and graphic design major; Lance Hooper, a mass media major; and Cailey Dinga, a mass media major. Additionally, the staff of “The Ranger” won first place for in-depth reporting. 

During the convention, TIPA honored executive director Fred Stewart, who retired in 2020, and inducted him into the TIPA hall of fame. The annual adviser of the year award went posthumously to Kelley Lash, from Rice University. Lash’s sudden and unexpected death left students and fellow advisers shaken. “Seeing Kelley recognized brought tears to my eyes,” Gibson said. “Kelley trained me to be a student media adviser and she was an amazing example of the kind of person every adviser should be.”

Additionally, AC’s student government association took home nine awards, with five coming in first place, at the Texas Junior College Student Government Association (TJCSGA) convention that took place over the same weekend in Dallas.

The convention is an annual meeting of community college student government organizations. The association is governed by students along with an adviser elected during the annual meeting to represent their districts on the TJCSGA’s executive board. 

The convention allows student government members from across Texas to come together and compare each other’s work on their campuses and come up with new ideas according to Odie Padilla, an education major and SGA member. “It’s a very family-like community,” Padilla said. 

Three AC students were named to the TJCSGA’s region 1 executive board. Mark Soto, a diesel technology major, was named as the board’s president. Jocelyn Baca, a nursing major, was named vice president; and Marcus Benefield, a psychology major, was named as the board’s parliamentarian. 

During the convention, students were able to attend workshops on topics like the importance of local government in fighting climate change, public speaking and maintaining a healthy local student government association. “It was the most fun experience of my life,” Nathan Diaz, a business administration major, said. 

The awards won by SGA include first place “Chapter of the Year,” first place “State” and “Sweepstakes” an award given to the school with the most high ranking in other awards as well as a high level of participation.

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