Jones aims to give back as teacher

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories about graduating seniors from high schools within Quay County.

In a 1997 song named after the respective color, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler professed that pink was “love at first sight” and “like red but not quite.”

In 2006, pink was more of a destination — one Tucumcari High School senior Jamie Jones wanted for her coach and his wardrobe.

Jones, one of 63 seniors set to graduate Friday night at Rattler Gymnasium, considers her senior year quite the ride, after reaching the individual goal of a state track title and the team goal of making a coach pay up on a friendly wager.

Jones plans to further her education at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, where she will try out for track while working to become a special education teacher.

After going through school with dyslexia, Jones felt she could use her personal experience to help children.

“I was in special education,” said Jones. “To me, I feel like I’m giving back by helping those who have the same problems.”

Jones said she still deals with dyslexia, but it’s not as bad as it used to be. She won’t be alone in her journey, as track teammate Brandi Arenas will be her roommate at ENMU. Arenas, who is also majoring in special education, said things “clicked” between the two after they met through athletics and she’s glad to have a friend going through college with her.

“She’s just a great person,” Arenas said.

Jones also proved to be a great teammate, earning 12 of Tucumcari’s 25.5 points, good for eighth place in the 29-team field. In addition to her discus title, Jones placed third in the shot put and sixth in the javelin.

However, it was a team goal that Jones remembers the most about the track season, one that allowed her to see her coach wear pink.

Track assistant Bryan Dunlap, who has coached throwing events for four years at THS, said he had made a bet with three of his throwers — Jones, Samantha Montano and Andrea Garcia. If all three qualified for the state meet in at least one event, he would wear pink during the May 15 athletic banquet.

Garcia just missed out on qualifying, but Dunlap changed the rules and conceded defeat after the state meet, which saw Jones and Montano finish 1-2 in the discus final.

“I figured they had earned it,” Dunlap said. He wore a pink shirt and pink tie to Monday’s banquet, but the pink dye for his hair “didn’t turn out very pink.”

Dunlap said he could tell Jones would be a good thrower when he started coaching her because she had long arms to give her extra momentum on throws. What’s impressed him most, through, are skills he said will serve her inside and outside of athletic competition.

“She can be successful if she wants to be,” Dunlap said. “She’s a hard worker, she does what you ask her to. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of throwers this year, and she was definitely the leader.”