May 2, 2012 COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prize Giveaway Offers Sweet Ride for Young Recipient
2002 Winner Ready for May Graduation
CANYON, Texas—Eleven-year-old J.D. Newman didn’t realize he’d walked away with one of the best prizes of the night when his name was drawn for a giveaway at the opening of West Texas A&M University’s new event center back in January 2002.
In fact, Newman’s mother Beverly tried to put the prize in perspective for the youngster, telling him that the four-year tuition scholarship he’d won was like winning a car.
Yep, 10 years ago Newman won a scholarship from the WTAMU Foundation at the grand opening of the University’s new event center. He was excited about the basketball doubleheader against Abilene Christian University and eagerly put his name in for the prize drawing designated for those 12 years and younger.
“I was 11, but my birthday was just a few months away so I put my age down as 12 on the form,” Newman said. “When they pulled the winning entry and said the winner was 12, my parents were like ‘awwww’ until they heard my name announced.
“I’m competitive and wanted to win, but I had no clue what I was winning.”
Fast forward nine years and Newman, a senior speech communication major from Amarillo, is preparing for May graduation from WTAMU. And he definitely realizes now the value of that prize he won as an 11-year-old.
“It’s been a sweet ride,” Newman said. “I’ve been very blessed to find such a positive environment.”
Kind words from someone who wasn’t even sure he wanted to attend WTAMU. He really wanted to go to another university down state well known for its spirit and tradition.
“I thought I’d go to WT for a year, do really well and get a scholarship to go somewhere else,” he said. “I decided if I was going to go to WT though, I was going to live on campus.”
And that is what did it for Newman. He credits his resident assistant (RA) Joel Enriquez for making the difference for him. He said Enriquez was a great mentor who showed Newman he could be a leader and helped him spiritually as well. Enriquez’s positive example prompted Newman to apply to be an RA, and the rest is history.
“It was a cool progression,” he said. “I spent one year here, and it really opened my eyes. I fell in love with the school and saw that WT has spirit and tradition."
Newman has contributed to that spirit and tradition, too. He is co-founder and president of the University’s Maroon Platoon and the reigning 2010 Homecoming King. He followed in Enriquez’s footsteps as an RA and is currently the Jones Hall coordinator. Newman is active in the Attebury Honors Program and Lambda Pi Eta honor society. He also found a home at the Wesley Foundation on campus and speaks highly of the support and positive influence he found there.
It’s definitely been a great experience for Newman, and he is grateful to the WTAMU Foundation and the many generous donors who made the four-year tuition scholarship possible. There’s no doubt that Newman won the best prize that night back in January 2002—one that was even better than a new car but still gave him a sweet ride at West Texas A&M University.