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PJC’s first DragonFest a success

Published or Revised September 10, 2014


The DragonFest crowd stands at attention (top) as the National Anthem is sung. PJC registrar Rita Tapp (below, right) shows off her first place trophy in the Ice Cream Freeze-Off Contest for her homemade strawberry ice cream. The three top finishers for men and women in the 5K were awarded medals and they are, from left, Michael Carlton (2nd), Matthew Lamonica (3rd), Emily Lamonica (1st and overall winner), Heather Unruh (2nd) and Sydney Chadwich (3rd). Not pictured is men’s winner Chad Collar.

More than 50 people took part in an early morning 5K run and Poker fun walk at Paris Junior College’s first DragonFest on Sept. 6, with the PJC women’s basketball team directing the route for the run and walk.

PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin welcomed attendees to the event with ceremonies held on the steps of the Math & Science Building following the conclusion of the run and walk. The Boy Scouts of America Paris Troop 2 presented the colors, posted the U.S. and Texas flags and led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance. PJC student Cody Rice sang the National Anthem.

“I want to thank Student Services Vice President Dr. Curtis Hill and the committee that worked with him to organize DragonFest,” said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin. “They’ve spent a lot of time planning this and it’s going to be a great day for us.”

Following opening remarks, the winners of the 5K race were announced. In the women’s 5K, Emily Lamonica was first (also overall winner), second was Heather Unruh and third was Sydney Chadwick. On the men’s side first place went to Chad Collar, second to Michael Carlton and third to Matthew Lamonica.

Many groups and organizations hosted booths at the DragonFest. Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, gave out temporary tattoos of the PJC dragon, Pyro. Other PJC student groups included the Student Government Association, African American Student Union, The Blend Club, and the Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Students (HARTS). The clubs helped with the games for children, as did the Talent Search staff and baseball and golf teams.

PJC’s financial aid office served cotton candy. Other PJC office represented included the Equal Opportunity Center, Admissions and the Math & Science Department.

Outside organizations in attendance included the Paris-Lamar County Health Department, NAACP, Big Brother Big Sister, the Red River Writers’ Guild, and the PJC College Bookstore. Jazzercise and Zumba instructors gave interactive demonstrations to anyone interested in trying out their exercise moves.

No less than two fire engines and an ambulance were on display as part of the public safety showcase, staffed by Paris Police, Paris Fire Department and Paris EMS along with the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office. Happy GRILLmore and the Chocolate Kettle food trucks provided a variety of specials to a hungry crowd, as did a booth selling funnel cakes.

The Red River Valley Honkers auto club along with vintage automobiles owned by community participants put on a nice display. The City of Paris Water Department provided free water to those running and walking, as well as event attendees. Radio controlled airplanes were also on display by the Paris RC Association.

The PJC Dragons basketball team put on a 3-point display in the old gym, and assisted several young children make baskets by lifting them up to the rim. Two bounce houses delivered great delight to many children.

At 11 a.m. the Ice Cream Freeze Off contest got underway to long lines of people eager for a cold treat.

“I want to thank everyone for making homemade ice cream,” said contest coordinator and PJC English instructor Diann Mason. “I know it’s hard so I appreciate everyone doing that and keeping it cold all morning. When we tallied up the votes it was incredible, within two or three points, so everyone liked all the flavors.”

Of the many flavors entered, the strawberry ice cream of Rita Tapp, PJC registrar, was named winner.

The day ended with an ALS Association ice bucket challenge for Dr. Anglin, Dr. Hill, Dean of Math & Sciences Ed McCraw and Dean of Communications & Fine Arts Ken Haley. To raise additional funds, bids were opened on who could dump the ice. Successful bidders were PJC biology instructor Jack Brown for McCraw, history instructor Allen Williams for Haley, HVAC technology instructor Charlie Hodgkiss for Dr. Hill and Student Life Director Kenneth Webb, with contributions from several staff members, for Dr. Anglin. Over $200 was raised for the cause.

Throughout the morning crowds of people, especially families with children, enjoyed the many and varied activities of PJC’s DragonFest.

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