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Malakoff, Texas
July 31, 2015     The Malakoff News
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July 31, 2015

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fv '~7 Page 6 - 777e - l:riday, July 31, 2015 @ i @ ositive 4 By Robyn Wheeler The News Stall" ATHENS-Trinity Val- ley Community College (TVCC) Director of Stu- dent Engagement Blake Williamson spoke to Rotarians about the ben- efits of becoming involved :in the Friends of the Car- dinals program at their weekly meeting at the Ath- ens Country Club July 23. "The more engaged our students are, the more suc- cessful they will be," Williamson said. "In the past, success was based on how many students en- rolled in school. Now we base success on outcomes such as graduation rates and transfer rates." The Friends of Cardinals program allows commu- nity members who may not have children or grandchil- dren in college to become a friend and mentor to col- lege students and feel con- nected to the community. "Many are away from home for the first time and do not have a parent or friend nearby to provide encouragement, make meals for them or give them advice," Wiiliamson said. "We want coaches and staff members to put students and athletes in a position tbr success. The Friends program is a holis- tic way to do that," he added. The program was devel- oped to help young adults adjust to college life such as living away from home, making new friends, taking on added responsibilities, managing their time, and focusing on academic and athletic performance. Athens Ro ary Club President Aaron Lemmon and his wife, Meredith, have been a host family to three cheerleaders for sev- eral years. "When we first started being a host family, I thought the only things cheerleaders did was per- form backflips and fill bal- loons. My scope was very !imited," Eemmonjokingly said. Since then, Lemmon has accompanied the cheer- leaders to the numerous sports events they must at- tend and said he didn't re- alize how invested he would become in their lives," Lemmon said, Lemmoo and his wife say it is interesting to hear about what things are of concern for a young per- son, as well as hearing about finals and finding their way in life. "The cheerleaders have attended our children's mu- sic recitals and have al- ready contacted us this summer," Lemmon said. "Eyen if it is just provid- ing these kids with a pea- nut butter and jelly sand- wich, it makes all the dif- ference to them." Rotarian Donna Bennett and her husband have been a host family for the past two years. "We began with THE NEWS PHOTO/ROBYN WHEELER 'TVCC students, host families and director of student engagement spoke to Rotarians about the many benefits of the Friends of the Cardinals program. Pictu 'ed are (from left) TVCC student Emmanual Harris, Rotary Club Presi- dent Aaron Lemmon, student Rex Printz, Rotary member Donna Bennett, TVCC Director of Student Engagement Blake Williamson and Rotary Club Past President Kelly Driskell. two football students. We acquired two more students after meeting a few of their friends so now we have four students," Bennett said. All four of those stu- dents are attending univer- sities this year. Being a host isnot diffi- cult nor a huge time com- mitment. Host families may provide simple ameni- ties such as inviting stu- dents over /'or a meal a couple of times a month, send a text reminding them to go to practice or giving them encouragement. "We make cookies and snacks for them during the year," Bennett said. "lt is a wonderful experience and interesting to hear about their grades or a sports practice or game," Bennett said. "It is nice to see a big, young man put a smile on his face because someone did something nice for him," she added. TVCC students Rex Pr ntz Emmanuel Har- ris accompanied Williamson to the lun- cheon and briefly told Rotarians how the Friends of Cardinals program has affected them in past years. "They took photos of me and 1 :felt important to someone even in the sum- mertime," Harris said. "I am their only student. I am lucky because I don't have to share them with any- one," Harris jokingly said. Printz said he was a mama's boy and very scared his first year at col- lege. "It meant a lot to have someone in my corner even if it is just getting a text saying 'We're thinking of you,'" Printz said. TVCC students and host families are invited to a Launch Dinner each year prior to the first day of school to match up families with students, and review the rules and parameters. "We try to keep the stu- dents withtheir same host families if possible. At the dinner, we talk to the fami- lies first and then let the students find them," Williamson said. The Launch Dinner for volleyball, softball and cheer students :is Tuesday, Aug. 18 and Thursday, Aug. 20 for football play- ers. The TVCC Student Ac- tivities office provides many fun and educational events for students includ- ing karaoke nights, skate night, and camping, canoe- ing and )liking trips, and much more. For more information on the Friends of the Cardi- nals activities or how (o be- come a host family, contact Williamson at (903) 670- 2691 or blake.williamson In other news, Rotarians heard: Greg Swyden wel- comed as a new member, Paul Harris Fellow re- cipients include Irv Jenkins, Donna Bennett, Donna Meredith, Cliff Barrett, Kelly Driskell (times two), Henry Pearson (times three), Chris Russell (times two) and Valerie Mace. THE NEWS PHOTO/ROBYN WHEELER Rotarians receiving Paul Harris Fellow award include (from left) Cliff Barrett, Dr. Valerie Mace, Donna Bennett, Donna Meredith, Irv Jenkins in honor of Sara Jenkins, Kelly Driskell (times two), Henry Pearson (times three) and Chris Russell (times two). Guns, Coins, Gold & Diamond Jewelry, W Silver, Rolex Watches .... ........... ........... Anything Of Value!!! Jewelry Repair and Watch Batteries .- 385 Highway 19 South - Canton 2 Blocks South of Hwy. 64 M0n.- Fri, 9:30-5:30o Closed Sat. & Sun. FREE Lifeline Service ! Available for Income-Eligible Residents .!i If you participate in public assistance programs or 'i meet month y ncome level guidelines, you may qualify for a free phone* & 250 minutes/texts. To apply visit i 1il, k p ,it rfl ~L,19Jl~'e ~whowJ~!ldll~ m~k~f~sest~te~engNo~fto~bta na H~e~ineb~'fi~~,~be Advanced Placement Educational Needs Study Techniques Learning Techniques College Prep Test Anxiety Study Smarten Learn Easier/ Currently Accepting New Patients East Texas Neurobehavioral Health PLLC Diane Gard, PhD, Licensed Psychologist Call (903)887-0697 122 S. (Old) Gun Barrel Lane, Suite 6, GBC I Ij , , THE NEWS PHOTO/ ROBYN WHEELER Rotary President Aaron Lemmon (right) and membership co-chair Blake Daniels (left) welcomes new member Greg Swyden to the Athens Rotary Club meeting July 23.