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TJC in the ’90s


By Jasmine Hall

Staff Writer


The 90’s are a time that Tyler Junior College Advisor and 1996-1999 alumna Stephanie Arriola will never forget.  She had many great memories at TJC and one of her fondest was the time she played in the Apache Band for the Apache Belles’ 50th anniversary.

“It rained the whole first half of the performance,” said Arriola. “The field was just messy, and sloppy. But then when the band came on, it’s as if the skies just parted, and the sun came out.”

Perhaps her experience is a fitting example of the 90’s, which had its ups and downs, but still managed to give students some of the best times of their lives.

James “Doc” Deason is a 1990-1993 alumnus of TJC and CBS Meteorologist/Realtor who also was in the Apache Band and will never forget his experiences as a member.

“There was something magical [about] being a part of the band,” Deason said. “Making the friends that I made really sticks out.”

However, the 90’s were not all good times and on Aug. 23. 1992 A Ku Klux Klan rally was held on the steps of the Smith County Courthouse in downtown Tyler. KKK grand Dragon Michael Lowe stood in front of a crowd of about 150 people and state troopers in riot gear. Keith Mathis page editor for the Apache Pow Wow was at the scene and documented some of his experiences.

“Ironically, two large black state troopers stood directly in front of the Klan guarding their freedom to assemble and speak,” Mathis wrote. “At this point some shouted ‘Go home.'”

 The Klan had announced their Tyler rally after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had scheduled their state meeting at the Harvey Convention Center. The rally ended with no physical damage to people or property. 

The year 1993 brought in the addition of the White Administration Building, which houses the financial aid and registrar’s offices on the first floor, the scholarship office on the second and the President and Vice President offices on the third.

Among other issues at TJC, some students were complaining about not being able to smoke inside campus buildings. Today students at TJC are no longer allowed to smoke on campus.

As the 90’s came to a close, the world and TJC community were all faced with fear brought on by Y2k. However, Arriola was not fazed by it.

“I personally didn’t have much of a panic and I didn’t feel like I had to go out and buy mass amounts of can goods and stuff because I thought everything was just going to go haywire,” Arriola said.

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