SPC and Me: Anthony Guebara

Growing up was hard. My father was a kingpin, and our family had it all until we lost it, in a split second. I guess that’s why I spent a good part of my life in trouble, always searching for answers about my dad.  Who was he?  I was an angry kid and did not recognize that anger came from instability in my home. I didn’t understand the ways of the world; how money works and that money creates opportunities for others but that sacrifices are often made to provide money. Looking back now, I see that the route I was on was leading to my own destruction.  I never understood what my dad meant when he said,

“I would drop it all to have the opportunity to watch you kids grow up.”

Through maturing and the grace of God I understand what he meant now and feel like I have a greater sense of purpose.  My purpose is my children and my family, so I’ve stopped doing what others wanted me to do and I started doing what was best for myself and my family. Unfortunately, it took me sitting in a federal prison to realize this isn’t the life I want to live, but I now feel like I am on the road to success!

I received my GED in prison and needless to say that’s the best decision I’ve ever made.  While I was in a halfway house, I accepted the opportunity to apply for college and I’m so glad I did. Applying for college helped me stay out of trouble, I didn’t turn back to the streets. I tried numerous times to encourage one of my loved ones who was in the halfway house with me to choose the road to success too.  I changed and grew up but my friend couldn’t break the cycle.  He was lost and just a few years after both of our releases, both of our lives drastically changed. I started college and he went back to the road of destruction. Knowing what he became has been really hard for me, but it motivates me to strive harder, to push forward and go farther in this journey called life. I finally understand that life is not about money or material things, it’s about the memories we make throughout our life and the people God has placed in our lives. I think that’s what Jesus is talking about when he says,

“What’s it to gain the world and lose your soul.” Mark 8:36

I was fortunate enough to walk away with my soul intact and still have people that genuinely love me in my life.  I feel richer than most, but I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of SPC and to better my life.  I’m blessed to still share good memories with my loved ones.  I’m eager to learn more and would love to continue my education.

My time at SPC was life changing.  I graduated from SPC in 2019 in Cosmetology. I thought there wasn’t going to be a way out of the lifestyle I was used to living, but all I needed was one opportunity and SPC gave me that opportunity.  I am now able to provide and take care of my family.

One thing that I want the knuckleheads out there to know: Education is to better your life even if it seems boring! A few years of schooling for a lifetime of opportunities sounds a whole lot better than a lifetime in a cell or in a grave.

SPC and Me: Jordan Flores

Jordan Pic

After high school I was nervous about starting college. I knew I wanted to go to Texas Tech University, but I didn’t believe I was ready as a freshman. My older brother attended South Plains College a few years before me and spoke about the interaction with his fellow students and professors. I decided South Plains College was the right place for me to start. The first semester I only attended classes at the Reese center, but as I moved further towards my Associate of Arts degree, I started attending classes at the Levelland campus. I quickly felt at home, and I realized my older brother was right. I was able to interact with my professors and enjoy student life. I really enjoyed my time with David Etheredge in his non-major Biology course and Daniel Bunye’s Government course. These professors were great at stimulating the curiosity of their students. I participated in a few club intramural activities and even won a few competitions. I enjoyed my time as a student at South Plains College. Now, I am honored to be back at South Plains College as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations and excited to utilize the education I received at SPC while hopefully helping others who are in the same position as entering freshman. I attended SPC from 2008-2010 and transferred to Texas Tech University where I obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts and later attended Wayland Baptist University where I finished my Master’s in Business Administration.

In my spare time I coach girl’s league volleyball and enjoy traveling with my beautiful wife, Amanda Flores.  Amanda is also an alumna of SPC, and we are excited to welcome our first baby, a future Lady Texan, in July.

SPC and Me: Honoring Sgt. Joshua Bartlett

joshua-bartlettKenny Burns, SPC Professional Services and Energy Department Chairperson and Law Enforcement Academy Coordinator, helped us with a story you won’t read anywhere else and shows a glimpse into the life of this true hero from the viewpoint of a close friend.

“Josh began SPC as a student in 2001. After the events of 9/11, he felt the calling to enlist in the Army and left SPC to serve his country. After his first tour in Iraq, he requested a second tour where he was a team leader with the 10th Mountain Division. He and his team made hundreds of high -risk entries into buildings in the urban areas of Baghdad looking for and capturing suspected terrorists. Little did he know that this would prepare him for the exact same position he would earn later with Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office. During his time in Iraq he was wounded and later received a Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

Upon his return to the United States, Josh went to work for his father and enrolled as a full- time student again at SPC in 2010. Once he completed his academic requirements for graduation, he attended and completed the 2012 Summer Law Enforcement Academy where he instantly took the role as an admired leader for his entire class. Josh insisted on leading team building “cadence” runs and ruck marches that instilled morale in the Academy.  Many [then] took this to their respective agencies when they graduated.

Josh then briefly went to work for the Ralls Police Department while applying with Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department. In a bold move to surpass the requirement to work in the jail before being allowed to work in the Patrol Division, Josh applied straight for Patrol. He got a call from the division Chief asking him to come visit with them. Afraid that his bold move immediately caused him to be rejected, he was instead asked to not only skip the jail AND patrol and go straight into the full-time SWAT/ Warrants Team. Perplexed, Josh asked why this was happening and they replied, “You have done more high- risk building entries than anyone on the current team combined.”

After attending SWAT school in South Texas, Josh came back and, in a short time, instilled the same leadership and morale that he did in his academy. Within 3 years of beginning his advanced tour on the Sheriff’s Department SWAT team, Josh was promoted to Sergeant and Assistant SWAT commander where he honorably held these titles until his untimely death.

Josh spent hundreds of hours over the past 9 years volunteering himself and several others from his team to help with every SKILLS USA competition, trained every single academy since his graduation in 2012, and, most recently, he was appointed to serve on our Advisory Board with other very distinguished members such as Border Patrol Chiefs, Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, and Texas Rangers.  He loved SPC and had tremendous respect for the Law Enforcement program.  He deserves full honors for his contribution to our program in the short 9 years he has been an alumnus.  I have not seen anyone give so selflessly to the Law Enforcement program in the 14 years I’ve been here. 

Josh also served as one of my best recruiters often talking to young men and women when he was stopped in grocery stores and other places and always took time to talk to them and connect them with the SPC program. In addition to his volunteer service to SPC, Josh worked with Law Enforcement students at Frenship and Lubbock ISD teaching them skills needed to not only succeed at the regional Skills USA competition, but also resulted in them attending and winning the state competition. Josh was known to volunteer to help churches and other non-profits assess and complete security audits among other things that many consultants would charge inflated fees to do. On one occasion during the early stages of COVID-19, the current academy was suspended and quarantined for eight weeks, some of them having jobs waiting on them. With several skills still needed to be taught, Josh suggested he and four of his members come and help us complete these advanced skills in one, long ten-hour day that would have otherwise delayed their time til graduation by at least another week or two.

Josh was killed in a situation involving an armed, barricaded subject in Levelland, TX on July 15, 2021. Levelland was not even his community to serve but when even Levelland officers were pinned down under fire and could not help themselves, Josh and his team responded within 20 minutes to assist them. Josh was killed in an attempt to get Levelland officers and his own deputies to safety when the situation suddenly changed. He would not have it any other way.

Josh Bartlett lived a true reflection of John 15:13-“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He is survived by his wife, Rebecca and children Zachary, Christian, Logan and adopted children Logan Cassidy Laws and David Haigood.”

Josh graduated from Midwestern State University with a BAAS in 2015 and intended to begin a Masters program in 2022 to fulfill his dream of working as a faculty member for the SPC Law Enforcement Program. The Sgt. Josh Bartlett Memorial Scholarship has been established and the scholarship will benefit select law enforcement students with $500 a year toward their studies. Anyone who would like to donate to this scholarship fund may call the SPC Development Office at 806-716-2019 or make your donation online by clicking the “Donate Now” button below.

SPC and Me: Jacob Tucker

When I made the decision to come to SPC back in the Fall of 2004, I thought I would be here for two years and bounce right out just like my older brother did. I came wanting to major in Mass Communications and be a public speaker or do public relations for some big company somewhere, but it was in a Media Writing class with Charlie Ehrenfeld where that idea got completely turned on its head. I got bitten by the writing and reporting bug, and I changed my major to Print Journalism and worked on the Plainsman Press for two years.

All of the professors wanted to see me succeed and they poured into me and my other classmates to make sure that we did. Their care made college feel more like a 13th grade than actual college, and that was a HUGE help for me. I came from a class of 30 in little, bitty Paducah, Texas. When I became a Campus Ambassador in 2005 that was my selling point to those starry-eyed high school students; this place makes you feel like you’re at home.

Following my degree here, I finished a BA in News/Editorial Journalism at Texas Tech University and nabbed a job at the Levelland News-Press. Even though I was a little removed from campus, I always loved getting to go back to cover a Regents meeting or to do a n interview with Dr. Sharp. It always felt like I never left.

Later, my wife (who I met at South Plains College) and I moved into youth and college ministry with our church at the time. Once again, we found ourselves on-campus in a place that we loved so much. We got to interact with coaches, dorm “moms” and “dads,” faculty and staff. It was family all over again.

South Plains College will always have a special place in my heart. Most of my best memories have been made because I came here. I met my wife at an on-campus Bible study. I met my current employer through Campus Ambassadors. I made life-long friendships here that would not have happened if I went anywhere else. I got to minister to students from all over the globe because of South Plains College.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a Candidate Forum during my run for City Council. It was held in the Sundown Room on campus. I talked about my love for the college and how I wanted to serve the needs of the community as well as the college. Dr. Satterwhite thanked me for saying such good things about the college. I will always have great things to say about the great place that has played such a pivotal role in mine and my family’s life. Thanks, SPC.

2020 Distinguished Alumni Honoree: Terry Hill, Class of ’80

Terry Hill practically grew up across the street from South Plains College. As a youngster, he would come to the college to play with his friends and swim in the Natatorium. He would often spend time roaming the halls with his mother who served as a dorm supervisor.

Although he was familiar with SPC, the Levelland native said he was filled with the same doubts as his fellow classmates as he weighed his choices about what to do following graduation.

After his time at Levelland High School, Hill began his academic career at South Plains College. While he wasn’t certain of his field of study, he was confident that it was the best choice for him and enrolled in general study courses.

“I think we all have people in our careers and in our lives that are pivot points who turn us and put us in the right course,” he said.

He credits the college’s faculty and staff for encouraging him to excel in science and challenging him to become a better student. During his time at SPC, he developed a passion for learning. Retired Instructor Jim Leggitt, former Science Department Chairperson R.E. “Bob” Beck, and Richard James, retired professor of mathematics, were pivotal in guiding him throughout his time at SPC.

“I just took a general chemistry course under Mr. Beck and I really liked science,” he said. “I didn’t know what that meant growing up in West Texas; I thought it meant a chemical engineer or petroleum engineer or a doctor. I just knew that science was a way for me to start a career.

Hill said he soon developed a life-long passion for learning. He said there were two nuggets of wisdom that he learned during his time at SPC – keep an open mind and learn how to learn. That wisdom greatly influenced the remainder of his academic quests.

“Not only were they teaching me chemistry, but what they were teaching me more importantly was how to learn,” he said. “I will tell you that yes the subject is important but what’s more important is learning how to learn.”

After completing his associate of science degree at SPC in 1980, Hill went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in microbiology at Texas Tech University.

Hill has worked as a distribution executive and advisor and has amassed more than 30 years of experience in the chemical distribution and sales industry. As an industry consultant, he has developed commercial strategies yielding impressive company growth in the United States, Europe, China and South America. He identifies market trends, crafts strategy and creates business models that set the bar for industry innovation.

He guided the development and execution of a commercialization strategy at Univar for 17 years, where he held leadership roles including U.S. president of field operations, chief commercial officer and executive vice president of industry relations. Under his leadership, field operations developed critical hubs across the country, streamlining operations and enabling more efficient movement of products across the company and increasing service levels.

In 2015, Hill formed his consulting firm Apex Distribution Consulting, LLC, to share his expertise about opportunities in chemical distribution. He produced market trend insights and strategies to suppliers and distributors navigating changes in the marketplace and facing diminishing returns.

He is an affiliate member of the National Association of Chemical Distributors and invests in the future of the industry as a board member of the Chemical Education Foundation. Hill is a member of the American Chemical Society, a board member of the National Association of Chemical Distributors and the Alliston Community Christian School as well as a member of the Houston Chemical Society.

Currently, Hill serves as the CEO of Maroon Group, a leading specialty chemical distributor. Maroon Group supplies specialty additives, resins, pigments and packaging to North American manufacturers in plastics, composites, graphic arts, rubber and lubricants industries.

“I was the first generation in our family who actually went to college,” Hill said. “For me growing up in Texas, education was really the doorway that led me to take my God-given talent and it really opened up the world to me.

“South Plains College reaches out and takes everyone at their own abilities and helps them build value,” Hill said. “SPC provides opportunities for people to help themselves and their families. It’s a ripple effect.”

In order for other students to experience the same opportunities Hill did while at SPC, he and his wife Shari established the Hill Family Scholarship endowment in 2017. The endowment provides scholarships for students seeking to pursue a career in science-based disciplines. Hill also returned to the college to serve as the keynote speaker at the annual Scholarship Recognition Banquet in 2017. In 2019, the Hills were named to receive the Pacesetter Award for exemplary philanthropic support of the South Plains College Foundation.

Hill lives in Redmond, Wash., outside Seattle, where he also spends time serving people affected by cancer and those in need through his church ministries.

2020 Distinguished Alumni Honoree: Dereesa Purtell Reid, Class of ’81

For 23 years, Dereesa Purtell Reid has forged a career as a health care administrator. She began her academic career in accounting at South Plains College where she took classes that would build a foundation for higher learning.

The West Texas native grew up in Brownfield and was very active in her high school. Focusing her time as a member of the school band and an avid baton twirler, she says she enjoyed participating in extracurricular activities. Although she said she did not believe herself to be an outstanding student, she appreciated her time in the classroom and learned to be a more diligent student in college.

Three months after graduating from Brownfield High School, Purtell and her fiancé, Jim Reid, were married. She still had goals of pursuing higher education. After honeymooning in San Antonio, the couple settled down in Terry County where Reid farmed cotton.

“Four days after getting married, I started at South Plains College,” she said. “I’ve always been committed to goals. I’m very grateful that my father told me at a very young age to ‘Be something and be different.’ That’s probably why he picked this unusual name, Dereesa.”

Reid said she has always understood what it meant to apply yourself, reach your goals and be in it for the long run – chess, not checkers.

“Going to South Plains I felt that I was stacking the odds in my favor for success,” she said. “I found it to be a great pathway from high school.”

While attending a mathematics course taught by Kieth Mixon, Reid said she was told she was not applying herself to her full potential. This reminded her of a time when her high school mathematics teacher delivered the same criticism. This time, however, Mixon’s words resonated with her and changed her outlook on her approach to her coursework.

“Something just changed because I liked him as a person and his approach to it,” she said. “I was actually surprised when I did pretty well in his class. Math wasn’t something that I was passionate about, but I gained confidence.”

In addition to finding her confidence in math, Reid developed an interest in writing during her studies at SPC. While in an English class taught by Norma Boggs, Reid submitted a paper about women and their impact and vision in scientific topics and career paths. The paper challenged her writing skills and sparked her interest in research and communication. Reid said she still journals daily.

“I still today enjoy writing, and all of the attention she gave us,” Reid said. “I think I still have this grammar book that she had us use in class, and it taught me the mechanics of really good writing.”

After graduating from SPC in 1981, she enrolled at Texas Tech University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in accounting. She then obtained a master’s degree in business administration. Reid received a Texas license as a Certified Public Accountant, bringing her academic career to completion.

Reid began working as a cost accountant for Texas Instruments, Inc., a Lubbock semiconductor manufacturing plant in 1996. One year later, she became a Senior Clinic Administrator and Assistant Director in Clinic Administration at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She merged two private practices into a new satellite clinic. She also managed the entire academic department and built a positive cash reserve.

In 1999, Reid began working for University Medical Center in the area of Strategic Planning and Business Development before moving into the Managed Care, PPO Development and Health Plan Administration where she served as the division director in Managed Care Contracting. From 2001 to 2005, she served as the vice president for Managed Care and Strategic Planning.

Reid began working for Covenant Health System in 2005 and remained there until 2011. She established the Orthopedic Service Line with Strategic and Operations Management. She grew the in-patient volume by eight percent and implemented the Joint Replacement Program’s standardized clinical protocols from clinic to post hospital discharge. In 2007, she received the HealthGrades Award for Excellence in Orthopedics.

Reid achieved outstanding performance on numerous levels as the assistant vice president for the Covenant Neuroscience Institute and Rehabilitation Services from 2005 to 2009. She helped design, build and staff the Neuroscience Patient Education and Resource Center, implemented a tele-neurology stroke consult service and also helped develop the region’s only epilepsy service and neurology residency program in collaboration with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

She accepted the position of chief operating officer for Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, Calif., where she led hospital operations and finance from 2011 to 2013. She served as the chief executive officer for three years where she helped build the nationally recognized hospital and top-ranked orthopedic institute known as one of the premier value-driven organizations.

While working in Irvine, Calif., Reid became a co-founding member of Notable Systems, Inc., in Denver, Colo. Notable is comprised of a group of technology and healthcare experts who build cutting edge technology products that free clinicians to spend more time delivering patient-centered care while health data is seamlessly captured and recorded.

Additionally, in 2016, Reid joined Avant-garde Health, Inc., in Cambridge, Mass., as an advisor. She continues to work with both agencies. After a one-year term as the interim senior vice president with The Innovation Institute in Newport Beach, Calif., she joined Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland, Ore., in 2018 as an administrator. This is the position where she is presently employed.

Throughout her career, Reid has been recognized for her contributions to her profession and community. She received the Corporate Honoree by the Arthritis Foundation of Orange County, Calif., in 2016; she was a nominee for the Women in Business Award by the Orange County Business Journal in 2015; and she was the recipient of Becker’s Healthcare Leadership Award in 2013, among others.

Reid resides in Vancouver, Wash. Despite the hectic demands of her job, she said she takes comfort in viewing the scenic sites of Oregon including Mount St. Helen, Mount Adams and Mount Hood. From her vantage point, her successful life began in West Texas where the sunsets are beyond comparison.

Missy Passmore: SPC Alumni Coordinator

Hi! I’m Missy and I am thrilled to be here at South Plains College! I grew up in Levelland and graduated from Sundown High School. Although I am a new staff member here, I am an SPC Alumna! I attended classes in 2004. One of the many amazing things about our Alumni Association is that you don’t have to be a graduate of SPC to be alumni! If you’ve attended a course at SPC, you’re in! I just love how South Plains College embraces everyone. I’ve heard it said many times, but now that I am here I see the truth for myself, SPC is a family! I am truly inspired by the legacy our alumni have left behind, and even more in awe of the future the alumni continue to help build upon at South Plains College. There is no place I would rather be than right here with my alma mater.

A few things about me: I am a beloved wife of 7 years and have a 4 year old son. I have spent the past 10(ish) years as the Manager of the Levelland Main Street Program. Although I grew up here in the “806”, I’ve lived as far away as Los Angeles, CA and Canyon, TX and as close as Littlefield, TX and Lubbock, TX. I received my Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry in 2010 from Wayland Baptist University, at the Lubbock Campus. I’ve worked as a Children’s Director for a church, an Executive Assistant for a Documentary Production Company (ever heard of Grizzly Man, 😉) and a Barista at a Coffee Shop. My background is broad and the diversity of my past has enhanced my skills for today. From event planning to program coordination, administrative assistance to customer service, all of my past experiences have one come denominator – people. Building relationships is still by far my favorite thing. I stay connected with many of the people I’ve met during all the seasons of my life and I look forward to the new relationships that lie ahead.

A fun fact about me: I’ve owned three, yellow Volkswagen Beetles: 1971 Super Beetle, 2001, and 2012! So if I have the opportunity to host you in my office, you’ll know why my decor boasts an affinity for cute little “Bugs.”

My predecessor, Stephanie Smith, made stepping into this role an easy decision to make; her accomplishments in getting this program started have been tremendous! I am thrilled to be on this journey and look forward to keeping Stephanie’s passion alive by moving the program forward. I am so very honored to be given the opportunity to be part of the SPC family.

SPC and Me: Tania Moody

SPC has felt like home to me for 32 years. Back in 1989 I saw a show in Lubbock of a touring ensemble called Country Caravan.  There were lights, professional sound, costumes and performers doing what they loved before a huge crowd. I was hooked. For years I would take Performing Arts, Sound Technology and Broadcast Journalism Classes. These would serve me well as I had passionate and inspiring professors that would encourage me at every turn. I am still in communication with many of those today. 

In 2006, I would find a 15 year, and counting, career in radio. From on-air talent to sales, to management to finally purchasing the station in 2012, Cute Boots Broadcasting, llc – KLVT Radio would become my home. This station has and continues to give me a great platform on which to serve this community. I love the relationships I have formed. From my clients to my interview guests, I am grateful to have cultivated the knowledge and skills this avenue has afforded.
The culmination of my radio career has certainly been in receiving the prestigious 2019 Texas Association of Broadcasters, Radio Broadcaster of the Year for the entire State of Texas.

That leads me to the present. As in every life, a little rain must fall for continued growth and renewal and myself and KLVT Radio are no exception. The pandemic and business shutdown, certainly took its toll and hard decisions needed to be made to keep KLVT as the local station it has prided itself on being. Opportunities sprung and a new venture presented itself.  I couldn’t be more pleased to get to continue to serve this community with both KLVT Radio and now as the new Levelland Main Street Manager for the City of Levelland. It is thrilling to know that my time at SPC prepared me for the path ahead, from public speaking to business, to honing a creative skillset and finding the joy in service, SPC inspired me from the start to find ways to give back. I have been fortunate as an alumna and community partner to serve on SPC committees as well as area service clubs, organizations and volunteer for countless community endeavors.  It is with great pride I tout being a graduate of South Plains College and look forward to what the future holds.

Drennan Family Establishes Scholarship for Education Students at SPC

The South Plains College Foundation recently announced the establishment of the Amy Lynn Drennan Memorial Scholarship to assist SPC sophomore students majoring in education.

Since April 2019, the Drennan family has worked to create a scholarship to memorialize the late Amy Lynn Drennan. In addition to the endowed scholarship, the family is providing Impact Scholarships to make awards possible during the fund’s earning period.

“It was important to us and we wanted to honor Amy,” said Jody Drennan, Ms. Drennan’s sister-in-law. “I have first-hand experience with scholarships and how they work as far as the giving side. And we wanted to help with that.”

Jody Drennan formerly worked in SPC’s office of Development and Alumni Relations. Presently, she currently serves as the administrative assistant to the vice president for institutional advancement.

The Drennan family’s relationship with the college began when their sons Kyle and Trevor jump-started their academic careers at South Plains College.

“We already knew SPC was great when Kyle and Trev were students,” Jody said. “This is exactly where we knew we wanted to help. It just made sense.”

Amy was born on Sept. 8, 1975 in Littlefield. She attended school in Bledsoe and Morton prior to her graduating from Levelland High School in 1998. She grew up with her older brother Chad and her parents Terry and Sharon Drennan nearly 20 miles from Morton.

Amy and Chad would have as much fun as they could during his biweekly visits to his father’s house. Sharon said even though he lived with his mother, Chad and Amy were inseparable during their weekend visits.

“They were as thick as thieves growing up,” Sharon said. “Chad would try to put 14 days into those two days. From the time he got here on Friday night, they were busy all the time! At sun up on Saturday, they’d take off and come back in the evening. If Chad went hunting, she would go, too.”

Anything Chad did, Amy wanted to do too. Although Amy had amassed a huge Barbie doll collection, she would never play with them because she always wanted to be with Chad who was never interested in the dolls. Because the family lived in the country, Terry said the kids had to get along well because there were no other children around for them to play with.

When Chad was not there for Amy to play with, she would practice her teaching skills. She would tape a sheet of paper to the refrigerator with spelling words on it and then ask Sharon to quiz her on the words.

“Amy had planned on going to college and she planned on becoming a teacher,” Chad said.  “She wanted to teach sign language. She was a very special person.”

Throughout Amy’s life, she collected thimbles from every state they visited. Her dad’s friends helped, too. In addition, when Chad served in the U.S. Air Force, he and Jody would pick up thimbles in all of the countries he and his family lived or visited. Chad then would deliver the thimbles to Amy when he came home. Her eyes would light up because she was so excited to get a new thimble. In the end, Amy’s collection featured more than 160 thimbles.

“She was taken from us way too early,” said Chad. “She had a surgery in 1990 which left her handicapped.”

Amy passed March 20, 2010 at the age of 34. It was exactly 20 years from the date of her life-altering surgery.

The first recipient of the scholarship was Jessica Cruz of Lubbock. She plans to pursue a teaching career in either early childhood or junior high school. Cruz graduated from South Plains College in May 2020 with an Associate of Arts in Teaching, and is now a member of the SPC Alumni Association.

“I really appreciate the scholarship and I am so thankful,” said Cruz. “It’s a blessing that they’re giving back to help students. I’m truly honored.”

Amy was a very important person, Terry said.  She would be proud to know that she is helping students.

For more information on this scholarship, to make a donation or for more information about ways to support scholarships and students at South Plains College, contact Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations, at (806) 716-2020.

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce

Are you ready to take your BBQ to the next level? SPC Executive Chef and Program Specialist Patrick Ramsey shares a taste of Texas with this BBQ sauce recipe complete with a true Texan favorite: Dr. Pepper!

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 12-ounce cans Dr. Pepper
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ancho or New Mexican chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine-ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt



  1. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the flavors have blended. Continue cooking until the sauce begins to thicken, 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Let the sauce cool for about 10 minutes or until it is warm but no longer “boiling” hot. Puree with an immersion or traditional blender – this will make the sauce thicker. Let cool. The sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  3. Brush it on food 5 to 15 minutes before the cooking time is finished. If desired, serve extra on the side