Season Two of 'Live Here' set to debut
By John Kanelis
Here's a statistic that might blow your mind. It did mine when I heard it.
Seventy-four percent! That is the percentage of Amarillo College students who are the first generation of their families to get a post-secondary education.
Nearly three out of every four students at AC have no familial experience on which to draw as they prepare for college. No one at home can explain to them how to register for class, tell them what to expect when they start their college career, give them guidance on college life.
"Live Here," Panhandle PBS's public affairs program that debuted last season, is back for another run beginning Oct. 1.
The debut segment is titled "First Generation Students" and it will present the faces and voices of several young college students who tell us of their struggles and, yes, their triumphs as they blaze a trail for their families -- just by enrolling in college.
"It's become a big focus at AC," said Panhandle PBS General Manager Chris Hays. "We learned that these students don't have the resources. No one in their family has knowledge about what these students can expect," Hays said.
Amarillo College Russell Lowery-Hart tells of how AC is extending a hand to these students, seeking to increase their comfort level as they do what no one else in their families have ever done.
"Many of these students apply to just one college," Hays said, explaining that they often don't realize the multiple opportunities that await them if they were to seek entrance into other colleges or universities. AC is asking the question, Hays said, "How can we help them?"
Panhandle PBS stays with its education theme for the second week of its new "Live Here" season when, on Oct. 8, it broadcasts interviews with current and immediate past superintendents of the Amarillo and Canyon independent school districts.
"LIve Here" recruited someone with vast experience working with former AISD Superintendent Rod Schroder: Anette Carlisle, newly elected to the AC Board of Regents, served many years as an AISD school trustee and will talk one-on-one with the former superintendent.
Hays said Carlisle will explore "Schroder's tenure and what he thinks are the district's challenges in the future."
AISD Superintendent Dana West -- who was promoted from her post as director of the Caprock High School Cluster -- also will be interviewed; "Live Here" will gather from the new superintendent her expectations for the district.
Canyon ISD's administration also changed top hands, with Superintendent Darrell Flusche making the move from Frenship ISD to CISD in what amounts to a homecoming for the Amarillo native. He succeeds former Superintendent Mike Wartes, who -- like Schroder -- worked for decades as an educator and administrator in the school district from which he has just retired.
Stay tuned. There will be plenty more to come as we learn why we "Live Here."