The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Faculty, staff and students share their plans for spring break

A 19-year-old freshman will hit Corpus Christi for sand, surf and the Selena Museum.

The director of Military Affairs is taking his family to a kid-friendly lodge near Dallas.

A group of 10 students will help rebuild a North Carolina town pummeled by Hurricane Florence.

And a professor could become a mom a little early if her baby beats the March 21 due date.

Spring break is March 11-17. Students and employees at Texas A&M University-San Antonio shared their plans for next week.

Stork could make special delivery

By Isabella M. Rodriguez

While some get ready for vacations, Dr. Christine Wong, assistant professor of counseling, is preparing for the biggest change of her life.

Wong might have her first baby during spring break.

“I’ll be in labor!” she exclaimed during an interview Feb. 20 in Patriots’ Casa.

Although her due date is March 21, doctors anticipate baby Wong will arrive soon. She said she was thrilled to have the extra week off to prepare and be with family.

Nine months ago, she and her husband of seven years, Lee Wong, were enjoying their ritual of shopping after his basketball game. He would take her to Target as a thank-you for being supportive. While there, she took a pregnancy test on a whim. The results were positive.

She and her husband have picked a name, but want to wait until they see the baby to be sure about their choice.

“I can’t wait to take her to the beach one day for spring break,” Wong said. “When I was little, my parents took myself and my brother; we had such a great time. I would only hope to have the same experience with her.”

Coast beckons spring breakers

By Huda A. Eltayeb

Alicia Odom, an international business freshman, loves beaches. She and friends Chris and Jason are traveling to Corpus for the whole spring break.

“This is going to be the best spring break ever, a time to relax and chill with great friends,” Odom said.

They also will visit South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

“I love flowers, and my favorite part of the center is the hibiscus garden,” Odom said. “Oh, and I can’t forget about the nature trails.”

Odom wants to see the Selena Museum. She is a big fan of the late singer, and Corpus Christi is Selena’s hometown and final resting place. Odom hopes to visit as many attractions dedicated to Selena as possible.  

For Odom, this spring break is different from others.

“I get to share my break with my college friends instead of only family for the first time in my life,” Odom said.

By Kristie Tarin

Duane Christopher Hammons, pre-physical therapy sophomore, will go fishing for two or three days out of his spring break.

“That’s my getaway,” Hammons said, looking out at the busy cafeteria and bustling students.

“I ideally go fishing during the semester — try to get a weekend together so I can relax myself totally because school is tough.”

He aims to fish in several areas near San Antonio and Corpus Christi, including Calaveras and Braunig lakes. He also wants to schedule a supervised sharking or fishing for sharks, but if that falls through, he’ll try his luck the old-fashioned way: with a chunk of meat, a line and patience for his own killer catch.  

By Maegan Mendoza and Rebekah Garcia

Hammons isn’t the only one with plans to visit the coast.

Laura Joseph, a business junior who plans to go into human resources, is counting the days until she can pack her bags and go.

She will head to South Padre Island along the Gulf Coast east of Port Isabel.

“I can’t wait for spring break,” Joseph said. “I plan to drive down to South Padre to work on my tan.”

Brianna Garcia, a business science senior, said she can’t wait either. She will take a five-day trip to Cancun with friends.

Garcia has been planning the trip since the beginning of fall 2018 after she was unable to go on vacation during summer break.

 “This is going to be my first trip out of the country that I can remember,” Garcia said. “I’m tired of looking so pale; I can’t wait to go to the beach and get some sun.”

Students don’t break for spring

By Miya Daniel, Mia A. Garcia and Rebekah Garcia

Communications senior Kayla De la Pena will be in Corpus Christi, but not for the beach.

She is attending the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s annual conference March 13-16.

“It’s like competitions with other colleges in journalism where we do workshops, seminars and classes,” De la Pena said.

Gabby Ruiz, 18, a biology freshman, plans to volunteer at a local animal shelter.

Ruiz is president of Animal Hearts, a club whose members volunteer at shelters to help rescue animals.

“Animals mean a great deal to me, so any way that I can help, I will always be there to help out,” Ruiz said.

Business sophomore Edward Luna also will stay in town. He said he sometimes works with the campus cleaning crew to make “a few extra bucks.”

“This year I decided to save some money and just have fun in my own city,” Luna said. “I’ve always loved going downtown and walking by the River Walk.”

Luna said he’ll spend most of his time in San Antonio with friends, but he would like to visit family in Houston for a few days.

“I can always plan a trip for next year, but this time I just want to stay home and enjoy my time,” Luna said.


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Oh, the places you’ll go…

By Huda A. Eltayeb

Kaylan Paldo, a computer science freshman, will drive 182 miles to get home.

Paldo is spending his spring break in College Station with his mother, grandparents and two siblings.

“Home is where my heart is,” said Paldo, 19.

He said he loves all his new friends but still gets homesick every now and then. Paldo plans to visit his old high school and childhood friends. He also will spend time with his younger brother and sister, Kaysen and Kyara.  

“Sometimes the best break is being with the ones you love,” Paldo said.

Paldo said his mom — “she’s like my best friend” — loves when her “baby” comes home.

“Sometimes I feel like a first-grader that cries for his mommy because I miss her so much,” Paldo said.

By C Arce

Some students and employees will explore new places with familiar faces.

Richard Delgado Jr., director of the Office of Military Affairs, usually works during school breaks, but this year will be different.

He, his wife and three kids have never gone on vacation during spring break. They will go to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine.

“One, it’s indoors, so, we don’t have to worry about the weather,” Delgado said. “Two, they have a bunch of kid activities.”

They will only stay for three days because “it’s very, very expensive.”

Delgado and his family are taking advantage of the break because it has been a while since he and his wife both had the week off.

“The entire family is off,” Delgado said. “My kids have had perfect attendance since they’ve been in school. They don’t miss school for nothing. So, this is a way for them to continue their perfect attendance and still take a trip.”

Brigid Cooley contributed to this story.

By Daniel Keesling

Kenneth Sweet, a professor and reservist with the Texas Army National Guard, missed spring break last year, but he will get a second chance now.

He has taught at A&M-San Antonio for three years.

“This spring break, I will go to Kentucky to tour bourbon distilleries,” Sweet said.

He said he collects whiskey and is interested in the production process.

Sweet, who completed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail a couple of years ago, said he will visit 12 distilleries next week.

His favorite bourbon is Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon, which he drinks with one ice cube.

“It is probably the most complex, spicy barrel-strength bourbon I have found that isn’t overpowering and doesn’t have a strong alcohol odor/taste,” he wrote in an email March 7. “It is very hard to find. For something that is readily available, I would recommend Willett Family Estate 4 Year Rye. It is a rye whiskey, not a bourbon, but it is my go-to when I have company and/or want to enjoy a steak at a restaurant.”  

After Kentucky, he will attend an academic conference in Houston to present two papers he wrote. The first is about business ethics; the second is on workplace hazing.

Sweet said everyone needs to take some time off from work.

“It can help break up the monotony,” he said.

During spring break last year, Sweet was deployed as an information operations planner in Kuwait and Iraq for nine months, of which approximately 90 percent was in Kuwait. He was part of the military’s Operation Inherent Resolve.

By C Arce

Martin Calderon is looking forward to his 10-day trip to California this spring break. Not only will he tour places such as San Diego and Los Angeles, but he gets to do it all with his girlfriend, Jillian.

Calderon is a history junior and also works as a Jaguar Ambassador.

He has been to California once before.

“I like California a lot, so I wanted to go back for spring break,” Calderon said.

Calderon said he decided to take this trip during spring break because it’s the perfect time to relax, get away from work and school and to have fun while he’s young.

Last spring break, Calderon stayed home.

“This is the first spring break that I’m actually doing something,” Calderon said. “Last spring break it was just video games with my friends, pigging out, not working out, not doing anything, nothing productive. Now, I’m actually having fun.”

By Kristie Tarin

Work follows students and professors no matter where they go.

Dr. Dawn Weatherford, an assistant professor of psychology, will travel to Portland, Oregon, for the American Psychology-Law Society 2019 conference to present research with her colleagues and to network.

She hasn’t been to Oregon before and hopes to spend time outdoors since the weather will be nice. She might visit a doughnut shop called Magnificent Doughnuts and some vegetarian restaurants.

She said people need to take some time for themselves and recharge.

“This idea of letting loose and being a person for a week is a really good thing across every discipline,” Weatherford said. “Whether it’s professors or students or staff, everyone needs a vacation, and the way academic timelines are structured, that’s the only ‘out’ we get to be people for a week.”

Isabella M. Rodriguez and C Arce contributed to this story.


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