We survived midterms. At least, we assume. So far, the halls remain full. Seats – for the most part – are occupied. Those still dedicated hit the books and keyboards, write paper after paper, take quiz after quiz and drink cup of coffee after coffee.
Procrastinators sit idly by, waiting until pressure finally lights the fire under their butt. We could say we do our homework in a timely manner. Then again, if such was this case, you would have been able to read this last week.
But, as per usual, the thriving campus of WTAMU is a rush hour of events. Pertaining to our department, Friday night, October 21st, witnessed the honoring of those in our field at the Communication Hall of Fame Banquet and Ceremony.
For the Rising Stars, those blazing a path of greatness, Paola Albarran, David Meraz and Erin Hartigan found themselves humbled in front of educators, peers, colleagues and guests.
Former WT professors Dr. Butler Cain and Lori Westermann received the Eternal Flame Award for their game-changing contributions to the Communication Department and WT.
Dr. Jerry Hudson, Dr. Paul Matney, Ann Shofner and Misty Mayo Price were inducted into the Communication Hall of Fame. But before we continue, it has to be stated that the Advanced Video crew did an outstanding job. To keep you in the know, prior to each recipient actually receiving the award, a video which highlights each inductee’s history/ accomplishments/ achievements and so forth was shown. Our media professor, jammin’ bassist and fearless digger Randy Ray led this crew. They shot, edited – the whole 9 – these videos. True, it was for a grade; however, upon viewing, you can tell there was more than that fueling the showcase. Call it talent, creativeness or genuine interest in the recipient in question, there existed a dedicated drive, but more on that lately. We have to move forward if we want to go back.
To close the evening, our silent yet strong broadcast engineer, Johnny Story, created a video for the final recipient of the evening. The late A.J. Swope was bestowed The Legacy Award. Despite his short life, he accomplished more than we could dream and influenced the lives of those that were lucky enough to cross his path. No amount of words can do the video justice. We ask you watch for yourself. The link to this video and the others is below:
So, where are we going with all of this?
Destination: DJ of the Week.
If you tune into the station – which you shouldn’t have to because your dial should be locked there – you will get a plethora of personalities. Wednesdays, 9 to 11 in the morning showcases one of our quietest yet strongest. Yes, we have a Killa’ on the loose, as her DJ name boasts. That’s right, DJ Killa’ keeps you company between breakfast and lunch. And we couldn’t be more proud of Keila Valdez.
To earn DJ of the Week, however, it takes more than vibrant jock breaks and manning the board. Such a prestigious honor inside our humble station is not handed out to anyone. We have standards. And those standards require you to “dig in.” Yes, that’s the famous Randy quote. And it’s used often for a reason.
Keila did, does, and will continue to do just that. She shows up to events, promoting KWTS and our partner-in-crime chapter, NBS, where she holds the title of Events Coordinator. We would say she has her plate full, but it’s more like she is carrying a buffet. Ms. Valdez works with Media Minds (under the Business Department), as Lab Assistant and Live Crew on top of classes and whatever life throws at her.
She considers herself an “old soul trying to live out all of my amazing opportunities.” As a first generation student, she moved from one small town to another (go Canyon, Texas!!!). She spends most of her waking hours in the Fine Arts Complex, making her words the truth. No hour seems too early or too late, as we always see her doing something.
As a DJ, we feel you need to have a love for music. It’s an unarguable requirement. Keila’s is strong, diverse. Name a classic R & B, jazz, rock, Spanish, or hip-hop song, and she’ll sing along, music or not.
As for her future, sports – more specifically basketball – will play a significant role. We us “will” because we have faith she will make it happen. No need to doubt. One day she will become a media team member or join an advertising campaign for the NBA or WNBA. Why not both? Of course this job is not without travel. Some of the national hotspots she’d like to visit include Chicago, Portland, and the Big Apple. Of course, international travel is always welcome at her doorstep. But one jock break, one event planned at a time.
So how does this involve the Communication Hall of Fame? We did write we would circle back.
Those inducted and honored at Friday’s event have accomplished great, outstanding things. In their respective fields, they are top, the go-to people for those of us wishing to one day be in that seat. But, if you listen to their history and rewind their memory banks, you will learn they were once students. They walked the halls of WT, lugging overpriced books from class to class. They pulled all-nighters, downed coffee and ingested a semester’s worth of information in order to pass the comprehensive final. They sat in the pilot’s chair, cracked the mic, and welcomed listeners to KWTS, The One 91.1. They did what you did; what we are doing right now.
They gained their right to be called a Buff. They fought for the privilege to be called a Communication Graduate. They earned the awards they carried home with them that night.
And we have been extremely humbled and are forever indebted to this handful of pioneers for enriching West Texas A and M’s grand history.
Keila will no doubt be one of these greats. Her start is just that, an origin to a bigger, more extravagant story. It’s not a race, more like an adventure. But as with any amazing journey, there’s always that first step.
Keila is on the move, traveling towards her unique horizon, yet her feet walk upon a familiar path.
AJ, Dr. Cain, Dr. Hudson and the rest are up ahead, silhouettes standing strong in the distance.
With all our heart, our spirit, and Buff pride,
Thank you for leading the way.