Benefit event raises money for Wharton County Junior College

Talented commercial music students drew a large crowd for the benefit concert that will provide financial help to Wharton County Junior College.

The idea for the Texans Helping Texans benefit concert came up when Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of South Plains College, approached Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president of student affairs, about what, if anything, the college could do to help. Then they sought out the director of student life.

Since Hurricane Harvey had already passed, a lot of the relief efforts such as food, water, clothing and immediate relief projects had already been taken on. So when the faculty and students organizing the event got the project up and running, it was more about rebuilding. Helping the community in the area rebuild was the main goal of the fundraising effort, Texans Helping Texans, which was held Oct.5 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center on the Levelland campus.

When the Creative Arts Department got involved, they wanted to make sure it would help another community college and reached out to several community colleges to get an idea about who needed help. Wharton County Junior College really caught their attention, because the school is smaller than the surrounding schools. The college also had 30 faculty, staff and students who were homeless due to the hurricane.

Bray Peevy and T.J. Gutierrez, students from the Creative Arts Department, performing with their band Misdirectory in the Sundown Room on the Levelland campus on Oct 5. THALIA GONZALEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

What also drew attention was the video they posted online called “#pioneerscare.” The hashtag came from their school mascot, the pioneers. After watching the video, SPC decided that was really where help was needed and decided to extend their efforts to WCJC.

Miranda English, the new director of Student Life at SPC, said the first idea was a benefit concert, and so she visited with Sonny Borba, program coordinator for Commercial Music, and he liked the idea as well.

“We were scrambling to put something together quickly, so he got with his wonderfully talented students to put something together,” English said.

The concert raised $400 for WCJC.

In the beginning, everyone who put on the show was nervous about a smaller turnout. But the event drew a large crowd.

“We are strong as a community, but Texas is also a community,” English said, “I think we really want to start bringing our communities together. We want other communities across Texas to know that we care and are here. We all share the same kind of small-town community values across the state and we really want to get our students more active in community service and civic involvement, because if we don’t do it, who will?”

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