celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news
 

Class of '07, where are they now?

By Brenda Bernet
brenda.bernet@amarillo.com

In 2007, the Globe-News profiled many graduates, each with a compelling story to tell. Today, we catch up with three of those students as they complete their first collegiate year.

Justin Cates, Amarillo High School

Justin Cates spent his first year after high school attending Amarillo College and working as a teller at the Happy State Bank branch on Bell Street.

"It's been fun," he said. "It's been crazy. I'm out on my own. It's a different world."

For the first time, Cates is living on his own. He is renting a house with a friend.

Independent living came with some adjustments, including learning to pay bills on time and learning to wake up on time without Mom's help, Cates said.

"I miss food and Mom's cooking," he said.

Since graduating from high school, he has learned to cope with "the real world."

"Times might be a little stressful and a little hard, but you'll get through them," Cates said.

College offers some advantages over high school.

"I don't have to go to school until 3 (p.m.) every day," Cates said. "It's nice just only having three classes a day."

Cates goes to classes in the mornings, he said.

Cates hopes to finish his education at Sam Houston State University and pursue a career in criminal justice, he said.

"I'm trying to save up," he said. "I really just want to get my basics out of the way."

Colt Molloy, Memphis High School

Colt Molloy went from being a star pitcher on the Memphis High School baseball team in 2007 to pitching for the baseball team at Seminole State College, about 45 minutes east of Oklahoma City.

Though he misses his parents at times, Molloy said this is a new phase in his life. He is the only one from Memphis at Seminole, but the baseball team provided him with about 30 friends.

"At first, it took a little time to get used to," Molloy said. "(But) I'm having a blast."

Molloy spends most of his time either in class or playing baseball.

Molloy said his college classes require him to study more, whether in hotels and on buses or in the early morning or late at night.

"You've got to buckle down to do the sports," Molloy said. "It's really tough to do anything. I miss three to four days a week going to games."

Molloy's classes start at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. each day and finish by 11:30 a.m.

He has just enough time to grab lunch before noon baseball practice begins.

Practice and workouts for baseball last five to six hours, even on Saturdays and Sundays.

That doesn't leave much time for anything else.

"You've got to love baseball with everything you have," Molloy said.

"I'm getting quite a bit of playing time. Playing baseball's fun to me."

Silvia Montanez, Randall High School

In high school, students knew they would receive detention or get in trouble for skipping classes, Silvia Montanez said. High school teachers would let them know about tests and projects.

In college, instructors leave attendance up to students and expect them to keep up with assignments and tests as outlined in a syllabus, Montanez said. Sometimes, instructors do not remind students about important test dates.

"No one holds your hand anymore," Montanez said.

Montanez started taking prerequisite classes at Amarillo College this year so she can apply to the dental hygiene program. The program accepts only 28 students, so grades are important, Montanez said. At the same time, she has some choice about the classes she takes.

"I am learning about stuff I really wanted to," she said.

In her anatomy class, she had the experience of dissecting a human cadaver, she said. The experience provided a much greater learning opportunity than a textbook.

"I am learning so much about the human body," she said. "I went in very fearful. If anybody could ever do it, I would highly recommend it."

For Montanez, the class schedule also varies from high school. This spring, she had a 7:30 a.m. class on Mondays and Wednesdays, two classes that went from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and no Friday classes.

Montanez still lives at home. She also doesn't have so many school activities, so she has more time to spend with her family, to work at her part-time job at Joe's Crab Shack and even to play co-ed softball.

calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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