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On the Fast Trax to Success

On the Fast Trax to Success
This 2024 Chevy Trax SUV is a gift from JM Chevrolet in Lufkin to Angelina College. AC launched its “Fast Trax” initiative this year as a way to increase student engagement and success, and the new car is the grand prize in a drawing taking place in May of 2024. (Gary Stallard/AC News Service photo)

JM Chevrolet Donates New Car for Angelina College Student Initiative

J.J. Weibe, president and principal dealer of JM Chevrolet and Lufkin, is a familiar face around Angelina College. He and his wife Marcy are regulars at numerous AC events, from athletics to arts and all things in between.

So when he heard about an ongoing Angelina College initiative to help students learn more about experiencing all college life has to offer, he didn’t hesitate to find a way to add some extra drive to the program.

AC’s “Fast Trax to Success” initiative began earlier this year. Students collect points by attending various Angelina College events such as the aforementioned athletics and arts events, but also through events sponsored through various student organizations.

More importantly, students also collect points for visiting – and using – the numerous resources available across the campus: The tutoring center, the writing labs, the library, the public health resource center, the success coaches – all those services in place to help students and their drives to succeed.

Each event or source attended allows students to scan a QR code and accumulate points. Once a student reaches 25,000 points, he or she earns entry into a drawing taking place in May of 2024.

The prize?

That’s where Weibe and JM Chevrolet entered the picture.

This 2024 Chevy Trax SUV is a gift from JM Chevrolet in Lufkin to Angelina College. AC launched its “Fast Trax” initiative this year as a way to increase student engagement and success, and the new car is the grand prize in a drawing taking place in May of 2024. (Gary Stallard/AC News Service photo)
Members of both JM Chevrolet and Angelina College pose with the 2024 Chevy Trax the dealership donated as part of AC’s “Fast Trax” initiative. The program encourages students to collect points through participation in various campus events and services in order to enter a drawing for the new car. (Gary Stallard/AC News Service photo)

The dealership on Tuesday revealed its donation to the contest: A spanking-new 2024 Chevrolet Trax SUV – colored Angelina College blue, of course. In May, one lucky student will be the proud new owner of one sweet new vehicle. Weibe and his staff joined several Angelina College members, including President Dr. Michael Simon, for a brief ceremony on the dealership’s grounds.

The Fast Trax program, with Associate Vice President of Student Services Krista Brown and her staff as the original brainchildren, has gotten off to a quick start. When Brown mentioned her idea to Marcy Weibe, it was immediately on the fast track to husband J.J.’s ear.

“When Krista approached us about it, for me it was about getting the kids involved in college life again, especially after the pandemic,” J.J. Weibe said on Tuesday. “It was almost as if we all went into a hole at the time, and we wanted to get those students out of those holes and fired up about being college students. Going to the games, the events, seeing their advisors. Just getting back to the normalcy of college.

“To be honest, I was all about it once I heard what the college wanted to do.”

As a long-time supporter of the college, Weibe said having a community college with so much focus on the community is a “huge asset.”

“I love having Angelina College here,” Weibe said. “To have this right here in our town where students can leave high school and get involved in higher education without having to leave home is such a phenomenal situation for everyone involved.

“For me, I just love attending all the AC events and seeing so many of our local kids continuing there, whether it’s athletics or whatever. I’ve watched so many youngsters over the years go to AC and become young adults doing very well right here in East Texas.”

Brown said the dealership didn’t hesitate in making its offer once the word got out.

“Honestly, it’s pretty remarkable that JM Chevrolet came in with this type of partnership,” Brown said. “I was at a luncheon with Marcy (Weibe) last spring and kind of pitched the idea, so when I met with J.J. and the staff later, he was already onboard. Marcy laid all the groundwork to make this easier.

“But J.J. and the entire staff here at JM have been incredibly supportive in making this happen, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Rowdy the Roadrunner (left) poses with (from L-R) JM Chevrolet president J.J. Weibe, Marcy Weibe and Angelina College president Dr. Michael Simon during Tuesday’s presentation. The dealership donated the 2024 Chevy Trax as part of AC’s “Fast Trax” student initiative. (Gary Stallard/AC News Service photo)

Brown added that providing such a prize is yet another way to show students how committed the entire college is to see them fulfill their eventual educational and professional goals.

“The program is not just to engage students with events but with all our services,” Brown said. “Sometimes students just aren’t aware despite our efforts to inform. But the data shows that if students are engaged and using available services, they’re going to be more successful.

“That’s why we created this project, to highlight those opportunities and help them identify important resources. We hope to increase their overall engagement, which in turn helps them form new relationships. All that combines to increase the success rates in their classes.”

For further information, contact Krista Brown at kbrown@angelina.edu.

Gary Stallard’s email address is gstallard@angelina.edu.

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Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.