Family Weekend brings relatives to experience ABAC

On Oct. 5 and 6,  ABAC’s Residence Life and Housing hosted Family Weekend, which is a weekend that provides the opportunity for friends and families of students to see where their students live and take part in some of the activities the students take part in throughout the week.

Planning for this year’s Family Weekend began after last year’s Family Weekend. One of the things that changed this year was the student’s families receiving t-shirts, which caused a huge challenge because of people wanting to order shirts after the deadline. This year, the families were given green drawstring bags containing sun glasses, water bottles and a cardholder.

Throughout the weekend the families were able to do many activities. On Friday night, the families had the opportunity to either attend the AET Truck and Tractor Pull or go see the play “Stop, Thief,” which is the first play ever performed by the Baldwin Players. Then, on Saturday morning, there were more activities for the families to attend.

These activities consisted of Dr. Lane’s critters in the lake class, a farm tour and Dr. Marcus Johnson’s talk about cognitive learning. In Dr. Lane’s critters in the lake class, the families were able to talk about the different ecosystems in Lake Baldwin, while gaining the opportunity to help Dr. Lane check traps for turtles. After she checked the traps, Dr. Lane used a metal detector to see if she could find any fish hooks inside the turtles. After Dr. Lane checked the turtles, she allowed the families to help return the turtles to Lake Baldwin.

On the farm tour, the families were able to see and learn about the deer pen, the nature study area and the different research plots. Then, in Dr. Marcus Johnson’s class, the families were able to learn about cognitive learning.

After the classes, the bookstore opened up for the families and lunch was provided at the Dining Hall. Once the families were done with lunch, they had the chance to go to the Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

At the Georgia Museum of Agriculture, the students were able to get in for free while the parents were given tickets at a discounted price. Later that night, the families had the choice of playing bingo, attending “Stop, Thief” or the AET Truck and Tractor Pull. On Sunday, a list of churches was provided to the families and on the bottom of the list it said: “Take your students to lunch and have a safe trip home.”

In the future, ABAC plans to keep the option for families to attend the AET Truck and Tractor Pull or the play on Friday nights. Then, on Saturday, keep the classes, but try to have some of the other schools get involved instead of there only being ag classes. But overall, Family Weekend was a success!


ABAC celebrates 15 years of Hispanic Heritage

     From the confines of a small venue to one of the biggest celebrations of the semester, the Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration has a history on ABAC’s campus. This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the event. When CAMP and HEP first started there was nothing at ABAC for these students. CAMP coordinator Dr. Doris Roundtree said, “We need to do something to showcase the students’ contributions and some of the things that they do so that they can feel appreciated.”

     With the guidance of Roundtree, ABAC held their first Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration. The event was small and took place in front of the steps to the library. The event only consisted of dances and food.

     The event has grown in size as well as other aspects. The Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration is now part of a week-long event called Hispanic Heritage Week. There are keynote speakers, the Parade of Flags, dancers, panelists and food. The speakers are usually Hispanic Americans that have contributed to academia or human rights in some way.

     Multicultural Education Director, Olga Contreras said, “each year we showcase either art, health, science, something that would interest students in an academic area.” The celebration has had many guest speakers in the past including Dr. Norma G. Cuellar, Dr. Miguel Angel, Dr. Israel and Dr. Raymond Moreno where they held a discussion called Improving Rural and Latino Healthcare. The event has also featured a speaker from Washington D.C. a speaker working with ThinkTank, and a speaker with Education Excelencia. They have also had artist Simon Silva give a speech called Breaking Barriers through Education, Pride, and Art. The event has also given ABAC’s art students a place where they can showcase their work to a broader audience.

Ronnie Rodriguez, Associate Director of Engineering at NASA Kennedy Space Center speaks at Hispanic Heritage Day. Photo Credit Alyssa-Marie Behrendt.

     This year Ronnie Rodriguez was the keynote speaker. He is the Associate Director for engineering at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At 10 a.m. Rodriguez leads a discussion on what NASA has planned for the future. Then at 1 p.m., he shared his personal story and experiences as an immigrant in the United States and the obstacles he had to overcome to be where he is today.

     The Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration has come very far from where it once started. The event is always educational and fun for everyone. Hopefully, it will continue to grow and prosper in the future.


Miss Fiesta Del Pueblo

     As part of Hispanic Heritage week, Miss Fiesta del Pueblo pageant sponsored by The Howard Center happened at the Howard Auditorium on Sept. 22. The eight contestants were judged by five categories: interview, introduction, Mexican artisan attire, evening gown, and on-stage questioning.

     The event had performances from Tifton’s Dancers Pointe, former Miss Fiesta del Pueblo, Daliani Frometa, and Adriana Beltran. As usual, many of the contestants have never participated in a pageant until this one. Magdalena Valencia, a contestant, participated because of the encouragement of others.

     She says, “They saw potential in me that I didn’t see in myself. I also wanted to prove to my cousin, who looks up to me, that you need to love yourself and take chances you’re afraid to take!”

     Samantha Rodriguez received the People’s Choice Award, which is when the public votes for their favorite candidate on social media by liking her photo on Miss Fiesta del Pueblo’s Facebook page. Julie Ramirez won 3rd place and Sophia Suarez won 2nd place. Both contestants took home gift certificates from Angel’s Touch, El Metate, El Cazador and Fresco Italiano. Magdalena Valencia also received these gift certificates and took home $1,000 as the 2018 Miss Fiesta Del Pueblo.

     She is still surprised that she had won. “Honestly, it has not hit me until now! It was so unexpected, but when I got crowned, it felt amazing. I tried so hard to hold back the tears of joy until I saw my mother,” said Magdalena. “Being Miss Fiesta del Pueblo 2018 is such an honor and I can’t wait to be an example for younger Hispanic girls who would like to be in the pageant in the future.”

     Miss Fiesta Del Pueblo pageant continues to evolve throughout the years. This year, Aguilar introduced the Woman of the Year award which was given to Olga Hernandez for her dedication and leadership to the Hispanic community in Tifton. It is important because it allows young Latina women to overcome insecurities such as self-image and the stigmas that surround the Latino community by allowing them to feel confident about themselves and proud of their heritage. The pageant kicks off La Fiesta Del Pueblo which gives the community an opportunity to experience Latino culture first hand.


The Stallion Shop opens

     The bookstore on ABAC’s campus changed its name and its brand this semester. On Sept. 19, the bookstore announced that it would be changing the name from “The ABAC Bookstore” to “The Stallion Shop”.

      The employees at the bookstore hosted a ribbon cutting event, where they announced the new name, as well as door prizes, food, and drinks for the students that attended. During the event, students were able to enjoy cupcakes and fruit punch while they waited for the event to start.

      Tracy Dyal, The Stallion Shop’s manager, planned the brand change with help from the school. “We decided that we really wanted to focus less on textbooks and a little more on all the other things that we do,” Dyal said, “We wanted to showcase to the students that we’re not just a bookstore, that we do other things for the campus and try to be involved with the things going on campus.”

     The Stallion Shop not only changed its name but also added a new feature into the store. The new Item of the Week has started this semester. Each week, the employees will feature one item from the store they think will help students out more, whether it be school supplies or one of the many clothing items they offer. Dyal says it’s another way for the students to be more involved with the other items in the store.

     The students that attended were able to enter their names for special prizes, such as a Bluetooth speaker, wireless earphones and even a Yeti cooler. With each entry, the students were allowed to spend the prize wheel, which gave them a chance to win a pencil, an ABAC cup, a tote bag, 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent discount off of any one item in the store. This seemed to attract the students to the event.

     ABAC Student McKenzie Lewis said, “The promise of the $20 gift card and the promise to be able to win made me want to come to the event. There is a lot of cute stuff in here and I don’t have the money to always afford it.”

     Jachi Fletcher followed the trend of students attending, “I was gonna go play ping pong when I saw two CA’s I know from Lakeside headed over here. They said The Stallion Shop was giving away free stuff and food so I was like alright. Let’s go.”

     The Stallion Shop is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Students register to vote as deadline approaches

     Last week was National Voter Registration Week, where thousands of students around the nation registered to vote. It signaled the approach of state elections all around the country later in the fall. This year’s election race is especially gripping, with Georgia House Representative Stacey Abrams and Secretary of State, Brian Kemp campaigning against one another. Students at ABAC should remember that the deadline to register to vote is October 9th for the November elections.

     There are many issues that the two have approached. While the two parties have argued about controversial issues, such as abortion and the legalization of marijuana, many other issues surfaced as well. Mass-shootings all around the United States caused politicians from both parties to address their solutions. Abrams pushed for universal background checks and banning assault weapons while Kemp suggested the solution should be arming teachers kindergarten through twelfth grade, according to The Times newspaper.

     Immigration rhetoric was not only something that propelled Trump into the White House, but its issues have been greatly contested and defended. Abrams believes in a clean DREAM Act and providing legislation for a path toward citizenship for undocumented people in the country. Kemp believes in ending DACA, something he believes provides amnesty to “illegal immigrants many of whom… [have a] criminal background,” although DACA by name and by policy secures childhood arrivals from deportation. Kemp also promised to “round up criminal illegals,” in an ad in the primary election.

     As President Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese products, many farmers around the U.S. became concerned as to whether financial aid would alleviate the harm imparted by the trade war. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the two candidates’ take on the economic sanction that harmed farmers. Abrams believed it was a terrible idea to harm the operation of business while Kemp, who at the time was endorsed by President Trump, was hesitant to criticize the economic policy and instead supported his decision.

     Abrams stated that she was a “staunch defender of reproductive choices when it came to abortion while Kemp stated that he would “sign the toughest abortion laws in the country”. Both, however, believe in funding education K-12.

     Voting is an absolute responsibility for youth transitioning their life into young adults in the “real world.” Voting is a right that many take for granted. According to the Pew Research Center, Georgia had a population of almost one million Latinos in 2016. The demographics look much different in Georgia compared to twenty years ago. Only around two-hundred-ninety thousand of those Latinos are eligible to vote, however. And though over a fifth are eligible to vote, only one hundred twenty-seven thousand Latinos are registered to vote. This is a surprising contrast compared to seventy-eight percent of white Georgians who are eligible to vote. The contrasting ratio between eligible Latino voters compared to other demographics can be greatly explained by considering the vast number of Latinos in the state who are undocumented. During the past state and national election, major policies have been tossed that affect the undocumented community, ­­­­­­—people who do not have a say about their lives. For my community, it is important that the youth vote for those who cannot because real policies are constantly brought to the table that has an impact on our lives at home.

     Remember, to register to vote, you can simply go to, a website where you can also check if you have registered in the past. Contact your local Student Government Association member if you have any questions about absentee ballots or registering to vote. You can make a difference!