Month: March 2017

New Student Government officers elected for fall semester

by STACY JOHNSON//Editorial Assistant


The South Plains College Student Government Association recently welcomed four new officers who will officially begin their terms in fall of 2017.

The Student Government Association acts as an intermediary between students and the SPC administration. The SGA is also responsible for organizing student activities, events, and initiatives.

The SGA election was held on March 1. The incoming officers will learn from the current officers for the remainder of the semester before taking over in the fall.

The president-elect is Mikayla Holmes, a broadcast journalism major from Lubbock. During her term as the SGA president, the freshman says that she will strive to create a culture of diversity and looks forward to having a leadership role on campus.

Holmes says that at first, she was not intending to run for president. After encouragement from a peer, she decided to try it.

“It turns out, when I took that risk, I got the reward,” she says.

Last semester, Holmes held the office of public relations coordinator. She currently oversees the SGA recruitment committee. At the end of March, she will also be attending a Texas Junior College Student Government Association convention in Houston, where she will run for a state public relations position.

Rita Reyes will be taking the office of vice president, and will assist Holmes with her official duties. Reyes, a political science major from Lubbock, is an experienced SGA officer, having served as community outreach representative. She says she feels that the SGA helps students socially.

“The more you’re involved with the school, the more you’re involved with everything else, the more connections you make,” she says.

Ashlee Graves, a nursing major from Post, will take over the offices of both secretary and historian. Graves says the primary reasons she chose to run for office were to be more involved in school and to become more extroverted.

“It gets me more out there,” she says.

A newcomer to the SGA, Graves expressed excitement about beginning her new role.

“I’ve never experienced this before, so I’m ready to get started because it sounds like a lot of fun,” she adds.

Jessie Lozano will hold the position of commuter affairs representative.

Holmes encourages SPC students to join the SGA in their efforts to improve student life on campus. She adds that there are various committees that students can join to make a difference.

“There’s a committee made up of all types of people on campus,” says Holmes. “So we kind of get our voices heard.”

She also emphasizes how joining student organizations such as the SGA can help students make friends and meet new people.

“It’s so much fun,” Holmes says. “If you join it, you will have a blast. I’ve made a lot of really cool new friends through SGA, and I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities. If you join it, you won’t be sorry. You’ll have a great time.”

Any student who wants to get involved with the SGA can go to the Student Life Office, located within the Student Center, to speak with a Student Life representative.


PTSA hopes to raise funds through golf tournament

by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer


The South Plains College Physical Therapist Student Association will host the Fifth Annual PTASA Golf Classic on April 1.

The event will be held at Shadow Hills Golf Course in Lubbock, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. The cost is $160 per team, which includes, lunch, cart, and range balls. Mulligans will be available for purchase.

The two-man scramble begins at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start. The tournament will feature several contests and games, including Longest Drive, Closest to the Pin, Wheel of Fortune, and Buy Your Shot. Lunch will be served after the rounds.

Participation sponsorships are available, which range from $125 to $1,200.

Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the PTASA and pay for travel to the Texas Physical Therapist Association Annual Conference in Corpus Christi in the fall of 2017.

“At this annual conference, we professionally develop, get the opportunity to meet potential employers, get to see presentations ranging from how to write your resume, interviewing tips, and different treatment modalities and what works best for different types of ailments,” said Shelby Nail, president of the PTASA. “I know the potential that it has to help our students. It’s going to be great for our students to go and meet other PTA’s and PT’s across the state, and talk about the things that are affecting our state.”

For golf tournament registration information, contact Randi Hanfield or Shelby Nail at (806) 416-6475, or email

BackTalk: Reasoning behind current drinking age debated

Underage alcohol consumption detrimental to teen development

by TYLER YORK//Online Editor

Lowering the drinking age means blatantly ignoring a potential increase in traffic deaths and a severe decline in public safety.

The idea of reducing the drinking age from 21 to 18 has been hotly debated in this country. But in reality, the choice has already been made. Many intelligent minds have taken evidence into account that 21 years of age is a reasonable limit to set for alcohol consumption. But looking past that, there are several other important points that make a higher drinking age necessary.

Being cautious to lower the drinking age isn’t just a matter of puritanical values or “the man” keeping young adults down. But I can understand how many in their position could see it that way. We all know there are plenty of teens out there who consume alcohol regularly anyway, so what’s the difference, right? But there is a real concern, based on scientific research in countries that chose to reduce the drinking age, that doing so in the United States will result in more traffic deaths involving intoxicated minors.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has shown that around 900 lives are saved every year as a direct result of the current higher drinking age, meaning fewer traffic accidents involving underage drunk drivers. This statistic alone shows clearly that lowering the age limit means not only will there almost certainly be more fatal accidents involving young people, it will be even easier, and, in fact, legal, for them to acquire the substance that will lead to an early death.

A major argument in favor of reducing the drinking age is the idea that the current age limit is unfair, with so many other legal age limits set at the age of 18. Legally, this is the age when someone can be tried in court as an adult. It’s also the legal limit applied to several other activities, such as purchasing tobacco products, gambling, and registering to vote. Men turning 18 are even required by law to sign up for selective service in the military.

So many would ask: why is it fair to make the drinking age arbitrarily different than these other activities?

The truth is there is no magical threshold that, once crossed, a person automatically and officially becomes an adult. Each person matures differently, and our society does its very best to make attempts at setting up emergent adults for success. Young minds still have a lot of growing and developing to do, even up to the early-to-mid-20s. Alcohol, more so than other legal drugs, reacts with your body in a way that can be harmful to that development process. It can significantly impair the judgment centers of a much older adult, not to mention a teenager with parts of a brain that haven’t even completely matured yet.

I understand there are many teens nearing the 18-year-old mark who would likely prefer their rights to include legal booze. But there’s really no harm in waiting. And it’s clear to anyone who cares to look that there’s a great deal of harm in allowing alcohol use earlier than teens are capable of handling it.

Lowering drinking age causes fewer problems

by CHANISE RAY//Staff Writer

If being 18 makes you an adult in the public’s eyes, then that should be the legal drinking age.

As everyone knows, in some states in America, the legal drinking age is 21. However, it was not always this way. The legal drinking age some years ago was 18. It also so was the age required to vote and the age to get drafted into the United States Army.

However, that was a very long time ago. Some countries, such as Spain, Australia, and China, among others, have the legal drinking age of 18. Other countries, such as Italy, Germany, Switzerland, have a drinking age that is even lower, at just 16.

Countries with lower drinking ages allegedly have fewer instances of drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and less binge drinking, which is a big problem in America. Since alcohol is illegal to drink for people under 21, young adults have to obtain alcohol from parties, which usually happen on the weekends. Sometimes, when people get to those parties, they tend to drink a lot because they aren’t used to drinking alcohol. So they don’t know their limits. That can lead to black outs, alcohol poisoning, and even drunk driving. Teenagers always want what they cannot have. If you just let them have it, they won’t want it so much and all the time.

How are 18 year olds allowed to vote, go to war, and even go to college, which is especially stressful for me, but they are not allowed to go to a bar and drink a beer? Not that I am condoning stress drinking, but those are very grown-up things that people my age go through. Some people may say, “you’re only three years away, just wait your turn.” But, people forget how they were when they were this age. This wait seems too long for an 18-19 year old.

I am not old enough to drink. But, yes, I’ve tasted wine a few times, and I am not talking about just in church. Drinking is not essential for me in order to have fun at a party, but being as socially awkward as I am, it does help. Since 18 year olds are not legally allowed to drink, they usually binge drink at parties or other events that they want to have fun at. This is especially harmful to the body, because it could cause alcohol poisoning and long-term liver damage. In other countries, teenagers can get alcohol all the time, so there is no reason for binge drinking. I do think hard liquor is too mature for someone my age. I think the drinks with less alcohol should be legal for teenagers. Most adults don’t drink them anyway, so someone has to.

Overall, the legal drinking age should be lowered for many reasons, but mostly to teach moderation. Once you are able to have something, you stop wanting it all the time. At least that is what happens to me. My nanna always tells me, “I just like to drink whiskey before bed to go to sleep, ” and “I won’t drink any other time.” She’s about 80 something, so I think she’s doing pretty well, and she started drinking at a very young age. Maybe one day America will get with the program and follow in the footsteps of Italy, bringing the drinking age down for good.

Cure for disease hidden behind greed

by BRITTNY STEGALL//Opinion Editor


Greed is one of the most vial things in this world, especially when it becomes a choice between saving someone’s life or making money.

As someone who has had multiple family members pass away due to cancer, known friends who have gotten HIV, and seen the horrific effects of AIDS, I want to, and I will, fight until the very end until I find out if there is a cure for any of these dreadful diseases.

I believe there is a cure for cancer, HIV, and AIDS, but America and the world are too greedy, self-righteous, and have no care for the many people with these diseases. They rely too much on money. If there is actually a cure for those diseases, they would never give it out, due to the fear of losing millions of dollars.

With millions upon billions of dollars going into the treatment of cancer, HIV, and AIDS, why on earth would they give it up? The United States is in so much debt that if they released a cure, they would lose so much and crawl further into it. But instead of doing the right thing and saving someone’s mother, grandpa, or any other family member, they stay greedy and would rather keep the money for themselves.

Finding a cure would bring in money by the millions, but I do not believe that it would reach the price that chemotherapy, HIV and AIDs prescriptions have reached. It’s not the fact that they would not make money from it, but the fact that they would not make enough of it.

Think about how the world could be different, the many possibilities that the world could change by just releasing a cure, if there is one. No more chemotherapy, no more $12,000 medical prescriptions for HIV, none of it. Instead of fighting through the treatment, patients would be living for a cure.

All the millions of men, women, and children who have died because there is no cure could have been avoided, if someone was out there looking and fighting for it? The men, women, and children who will die in the future because there is no cure could be changed. We just have to start worrying about people rather than wealth and greed.

As a journalism major, I have made up my mind that when I get my degree and get out in the playing field, I will dig and I will find the cure for these horrifying diseases. No matter how long it may take, the people who are battling these diseases need someone out there to fight for them to find a cure.

People are far more precious than money could ever be. Would you shoot a family member if someone put a million-dollar check in front of your face and said, “do it?” I don’t think so, because no amount of money is worth that! But if the world is hiding the cure, then they are essentially pulling that trigger and killing them in front of you.

People need to come together and help save their mothers, fathers, children, and all the other fighting the fight. Because everyone deserves a fighting chance.

Scientific research should place focus on global conservation

by VANESSA DELGADO//Staff Writer


Many people are passionate about the environment, but not nearly enough.

Money is spent on science that doesn’t even directly affect our planet, or us, in order to satisfy the curiosity of the unknown. More funds that do not directly benefit the Earth and all of its inhabitants should be used toward saving our planet.

One topic in particular is space exploration. Space is very interesting, and there is so much still to learn. But before we focus on exploring space farther, we need to take care of the planet we are currently occupying. Every day our planet is becoming increasingly unhealthy.

Our air is becoming almost toxic in some places, due to the emissions from factories and cars. Plants provide clean air for the planet, and we are destroying it. Slowly, we are switching to healthier means of transportation, but the majority of the population still uses diesel or gas for their vehicles. Funds used for the exploration of outer space could be used to make even more environment-friendly cars.

Another widespread problem is deforestation. We use wood for many different things. We make paper, build houses, and make fires out of it. With the high demand for wood and its slow growth rate, we are using it faster than it can grow. Therefore, we are cutting down more wildlife habitats for human convenience. This is taking a toll on many different species of wildlife. We are taking away their homes, and many are killed in the process.

Nonrenewable resources are also being consumed exponentially. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, approximately 90 percent of the world’s energy comes from nonrenewable resources. If we used more renewable energy, the environment would become cleaner and healthier for everyone and thing that resides in it. Wind and solar energy are an easy solution to many of our environmental problems. The money could be used to encourage people to use renewable resources. It would also allow for the building of more wind turbines to save the planet.

Space exploration is fascinating, and it would be absolutely amazing to have conclusions to our unanswered questions. But it will not matter if we continue to destroy Earth. The money spent on space exploration could be used to fund more renewable energy and find innovative ways to clean the environment we have so easily devastated.

The oceans are littered with trash, and it is killing many things living in those oceans. We have all seen or read about how plastic has an extreme affect on our oceans.

Offshore oilrigs are just as dangerous. When there is an oil spill in our oceans, it kills most of the aquatic life in the area.

More funding would result in more research on faster and safer ways to clean our oceans and destroy the waste we are so willing to produce.

Whenever a rocket launches, it releases many harmful emissions into the environment, causing even more damage.

It is time to pull together and make the necessary changes to our lifestyles in order to save our home and the habitats of our wildlife. Earth is beautiful, and it deserves to be kept clean for generations to come.

Segregation of genders could benefit education

by CHANISE RAY//Staff Writer


Boys are toxic to my learning environment.

A topic no one really thinks about, but based on research is one worth discussing.

Same sex classrooms could be beneficial to the learning process of a specific gender. Just like most instances woman, and men are different and should be treated as so. Think about this ladies, when you were in high school sitting in class, and it was that time of month. You had to go to the bathroom but was too self conscious to ask the teacher to go so you could change your tampon. Scared a guy might see the tampon slipping out of your back pocket. Scared that some idiot boy would ask you if your attitude was in fact your period. Imagine being in a room full of girls who all go through the same thing and aren’t grossed out by a normal bodily function.

Having a same sex teacher could also help with the overall classroom environment. A teacher that is the same sex as his or her classroom could help with understanding every student. Teachers of these classrooms are relating how they are all girls into their learning. Such as empowerment of women, feminism, and woman’s rights. All things that should be incorporated into the learning of any female. It makes it easier that if those were implemented it would effect everyone in the class room because everyone is the same sex.

Don’t think just because I am just talking about girls means I don’t feel for guys as well. I have heard many struggles of what guys go through in class. Especially in high school. However this situation personally effects me which is the reason I speak on girls, that is what I know.

Same sex classrooms for females eliminates the anxiety of competition in the classroom with other guys. Specifically courses such as math and science which are allegedly male dominated. Also for males, they could peruse stereotypically feminine classes such as music or art.

  Today not many public schools are a single sexed school. These institutes are usually private schools that make you pay which ultimately if you come from a private school it means you’re at least a little bit smart because they have grade expectations unlike public schools. Same sexed public school could be just like that.

Honestly I cannot believe I am going for this side of the argument about same sexed schools, however, the research I did made a lot of sense. Biggest distraction for a girl in high school and in college is boys. Especially with all of the maturing we are doing at this age. School comes first though and I would rather have a good education then have a boyfriend. I think.

This was an interesting debate topic because it makes me think how much different my learning process would have been if I was schooled in a same sex classroom. In high school I was all about boys. Always had a boyfriend, always had a crush. I’ve been unfocused in classes because of a guy or have been in a bad mood in classes because I just got dumped which made me miss my teachers lesson on polynomials and trinomials. Boys are very distracting, and girls and guys both deserve the right to be in the best learning situation.

Innovations in 3-D printing technology lead to greater accessibility

by TYLER YORK//Online Editor


As the tiny machinery precisely whirs itself across the platform below, it’s difficult to shake the sensation of observing the world’s smallest construction operation.

In the Solid Modeling classroom on the second floor of the Technical Arts Building on the Levelland campus, it feels as though the future has arrived at South Plains College, just without any sound or spectacle. There are several recent innovations in technology that feel ripped from the pages of science fiction, such as virtual reality video games and self-driving vehicles. But topping them all is the emergence of the technique of creating objects using 3-D printing.

The process of 3-D printing has gone through several different names since its modern inception in the mid-1980s. It was originally given the name stereolithography, literally meaning “three-dimensional printing,” by a man named Chuck Hull and his company 3D Systems.

Back then, the procedure for quickly creating solid objects from simple materials took substantially longer than it does now. The primary means of doing so was through the process of using lasers to systematically harden liquid plastic in a desired shape and size. The machines were massive, and they cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to maintain and continue operation.

IMG_7492Compared to today’s tiny, sub-$1,000 3-D printers, it’s easy to draw a parallel like that between the room-size computers of the 1960s and the modern laptop.

It may surprise SPC students to learn that there are a few of these magical fabrication machines within throwing distance of the walks they take to class every day. But that is precisely the sight waiting behind the walls of the Solid Modeling classroom led by Mike Coler, an instructor in the Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Technology program on the Levelland campus.

Coler recalls a time when the original stereolithography technology was much less convenient and affordable.

“Back then, the machine we had was $250,000, and we got it through a federal grant,” he recalled about his time working with the old stereolithography devices. “Now they can get this $1,500 machine and print a part to see how it will work in a few hours before having to spend all the money to manufacture it.”

The most common process for 3-D printing involves feeding a coiled roll of plastic wire into a heated nozzle that traces a path across a platform, leaving a single layer of plastic at a time, and building an entire solid object from the bottom up. Imagine a cake with multiple layers all stacked one on top of the other, but the layers are all composed of very finely laid plastic.

Times have changed for 3-D printing, but the process is just as useful as it ever was. Industries all over the world are adopting it to cheaply test product designs, quickly see changes made to part models, and even make prototypes for much larger and sturdier constructions without wasting valuable resources in the process.

“Then you can go into full manufacturing and have the machinists and all that make it,” said Coler. “It’s much nicer and cheaper to test it this way.”

What does this mean for the average person? It’s natural for many to have an out of sight, out IMG_7481of mind mentality when it comes to technical machinery, so most people might assume 3-D printers are either highly niche industrial devices or novelty toys. But 3-D printing has become a major staple in almost every industry in the world.

General Motors has used “rapid prototyping”—another term for 3-D printing—to build parts of the floor console in the Chevy Malibu containing smartphone holders, with the lightweight nature of the plastic meaning better fuel economy for the vehicles.

A few years ago, NASA 3-D printed a rocket engine injector that passed a significant hot fire test, and the injector created 10 times more thrust than previous parts made in a similar fashion. They even sent a small 3-D printer up to the International Space Station, so astronauts can print needed tools on-demand without needing to bring extra parts.

On the more unsavory end, a group known as Defense Distributed has designed and made freely available an open-source 3-D model called the “Liberator,” a gun for which 15 of its 16 total parts can be printed on any home 3-D printer. The body of the gun takes less than a full night’s sleep to be outlined. Defense Distributed reportedly created the Liberator to demonstrate the lack of power the government really holds over gun distribution.

Prosthetic limbs, and even organs, are also finding their way to the public. Amputees are receiving affordable arms and legs rather than the steeply priced alternatives. Doctors and scientists are even finding breakthroughs with the ability to print both artificial structures and living cells at the exact same time, helping replace organs that would normally come from potentially years of waiting for a donor.

“They’re developing 3-D printers that will do edible items, like frostings, cakes, candies and stuff in different shapes, out of just extruded chocolate,” Coler explained.

_DSC0107Toymakers, fashion designers, work-from-home entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and even students are all on the seemingly endless list of groups who can benefit and profit from the use of 3-D printing. It’s a real benefit to SPC students to have these machines to learn on for the wide variety of fields they may go on to explore.

Phyllis Kennon, program coordinator and assistant professor of technical graphics at SPC, opened the door to another room with pictures hung on the wall of the 3-D models her students have designed in her classes. Several models showed what looked like cross sections of virtual objects that twisted around and stuck out at sharp angles.

“This is what you would give to a machinist to create this,” Kennon indicated toward the cross-sectioned model inked on paper. “But the drafter has to learn to visualize it. So we use the printers to give them a 3-D object they can hold, and touch, and turn over in their hands to really get a sense of the scale and the real dimensions of the thing they’re creating on the screen.”

Clearly 3-D printing isn’t leaving the production world anytime soon. There is a case to be made that prospective employees with 3-D printing skills might gain favor with future employers over those without any experience with the process.

“It’s big technology that’s in the industry,” said Coler. “There’s companies all over that look for people that can use these techniques. So we help students learn skills with these printers that can be used just about anywhere, in a number of jobs, or even just for fun.”

It might seem like futuristic daydreams, but the idea of students bringing virtual objects into the real world is one of great utility and innovation.

“When some [students] get into their careers, they’re going to be making things that don’t exist,” explained Kennon. “So they have to imagine it, they have to get it down on paper, and they have to explain it well enough that either they or somebody else can make it a reality.”

Both Kennon and Coler hope the department can help more students learn about the 3-D printers used on campus. But Coler says he knows why the lid has been kept on for so long.

“We’re a secret department, kind of like the CIA,” joked Coler.

Thankfully, all of this “classified technology” doesn’t require special security clearance.

“As long as they help pay for the material, I have no problem,” Coler confirmed. “If the program creates a .stl file, we can build a part.”

The .stl file type is the one that is used to cut a model into the individual layers executed by the printer.

“Stereolithography, the original name for the process,” Coler said with a smile and an air of once again parting a secret technological curtain. “A bit of history, hidden right in the file itself.”


Alum creates distribution company, travels the world

by ALEX PEREZ//Feature Editor


[Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing project in conjunction with the South Plains College Alumni Association. The project highlights former SPC students and their achievements.]

From the windy city of Lubbock, Terry Hill energized his passion and began his journey to his dream job with help from South Plains College.

Hill graduated from SPC in 1980 with an Associate of Science Degree in Science and soon after began at Texas Tech University to finish off his education with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology.

Hill had always been a part of the West Texas community, as he was born in Lubbock and then moved to Levelland with his family when he was in sixth grade. Hill’s father worked in the oil industry and moved the family closer to work.

Having grown up so close to the campus, South Plains was a no-brainer for Hill to start off his higher education. He recalls his fun times in West Texas as a young, but determined, college student who took an interest in chemistry and engineering.

“South Plains let me see the world was a bigger place,” says Hill.

Being a part of a community-based student body helped Hill grow, not only as a student but as a person too. During his time on the Levelland campus, he served for many student organizations, including Student Government. Hill was a senator for the student body during his sophomore year at SPC before he transferred to Texas Tech.

He describes his involvement at SPC as, “Not just academics.” He states that his experience in the classroom was more than just the curriculum. He also learned life lessons that would follow him and help him into a successful career.

“Obviously when you are 16, 17, 18, you don’t realize the affect of your education,” Hill said. “ I had a couple of really good professors that taught me how to study and learn.”

Hill bonded with a couple of his professors who kept him going and motivated him to succeed. Hill said that Bob Beck and Richard James were the two biggest influencers, the ones who really pushed Hill to achieve his goal and then some.

By Hill’s definition, college is all about learning and then studying what you learn to then put it in action. With the tools to study and learn, Hill was set for a great career path with the help of his professors at SPC.

At Texas Tech, he began to working for David Miller, who owned a medical distribution company. Hill wanted to either be a chemical engineer or work in the medical field. He ended up really liking the distribution industry and decided to make a career out of it. After graduating, Hill put off medical school, moved to Dallas and began working for a distribution company.

apexbigSince then, Hill has relocated to Seattle and worked at a distributing company called Univar for about 30 years, before retiring. He now runs his own distribution and consulting company, APEX.

At Univar, Hill started out as the regional vice president until 2002, when he was promoted to president and senior vice president of U.S. operations. Hill had this title for about five years, and he was in charge of more than 100 locations across the country. He also created and built key distribution areas around the country.

In 2007, Hill’s life got really exciting when he got the position as chief commercial officer and then executive vice president of industry relations. During this time, Hill had the opportunity to really explore the world, as he was studying the cultures and commerce of many other countries.

“ A boy from Lubbock and Levelland literally got to see the world,” says Hill.  “They were all a little it different,” Hill explained, “but interesting to watch. China’s evolution of their economy and Europe had a lot of history and cultural differences.”

Hill was given the opportunity of a lifetime to explore the world and help create growth strategies for countries such as China, Mexico and Brazil.

After having a great career at Univar, Hill retired in August 2015. Although he is retired, he is still working on his own company, consulting with companies and organizations.

Hill is taking it easy and living by his motto, “No wasted days.” With the news that his wife of 32 years has an incurable form of lymphoma, Hill and their four children stay close to home. Hill’s wife is now in remission, which their whole family is grateful for. Working with the marriage ministry at his local church, Hill and his family have found content in their life.

Hill continues to get involved in the community and continues to give back to SPC with his scholarship for students who are transferring to Baylor University. He also is on the board for Chemical Educational Foundation, which provides chemistry for grade and middle school-age children.

Encouraging education is his hidden passion. You Be the Chemist is an organization that is a competition that is structured like the national spelling bee. Instead of words, there are chemistry problems, with the winner getting a trip to the White House. Through this organization, as well as the multiple foundations Hill is a part of, he has helped millions of children get into chemistry and biology.

Hill credits SPC for helping him begin his journey to a wonderful career.

“No matter where you started life,  it is a great adventure,” said Hill. ”Take full advantage of every opportunity and every interaction.”

[Photo courtesy of Terry Hill]

Engineering major credits family for motivation

by MATT MOLINAR//Associate Editor


With a great amount of motivation and discipline, one student at South Plains College has garnered success by working hard and staying determined.

Nancy Muñoz, a sophomore engineering major from Levelland, spends the majority of her time devoted to her education, as well as multiple student organizations.

Muñoz is a Campus Ambassador, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and a math tutor in the STAR Center. She also serves as president of the STAR organization, president of the Catholic Student Ministry, co-president of SEARCH and a University Innovation fellow.

“I do everything,” Muñoz said. “My free time is spent doing the engineering homework I have.”

Muñoz credits her family as her main source of motivation. She says her main goal is to become employed at a well-paying job to be able to return the favor of her parents raising her and allowing her to experience the opportunities she has had.

“I’m doing all of this because my parents were immigrants,” Muñoz said. “I want to end up with a good career, because I want to give back. My parents, as well as my little sister, motivate me. I see my little sister doing all of these things in school and it makes me so proud. I want her to be just like me.”

Muñoz says she plans on staying in the state with the job she is working toward, settling down close to her family with somebody she loves. She plans on transferring to Texas Tech University, where she will continue with a minor in business. However, she will have to stay another year at SPC in order to qualify for a scholarship.

“I was super psyched to go to Tech next semester,” Munoz said. “But I want to apply for the Terry Foundation Scholarship, and I’m too young for it. You have to be 20 by May 1. I don’t turn 20 until May 21.”

Muñoz says the reason she chose to major in engineering is because she enjoys being able to accomplish challenges as a minority who may not be expected to do so.

“In engineering, women are the minority,” Muñoz said. “I chose it because I think if other people can do it, then I can do it. I’m a very big supporter of women, and in almost all of my classes, I’m the only female in the room. It’s a struggle being a minority, but I’ve ended my classes being one of the best students.”

Muñoz recently was offered an internship for the summer at Stanford University in California, where she will be conducting research for the Department of Energy.

“It’s a community college internship,” Muñoz explained. “I’ll be staying for nine weeks, starting in the beginning of June. I’m very nervous, especially being away from Frank, my boyfriend.”

As a member of University Innovation Fellows, Muñoz, along with SPC student Timmy Friesen, were able to participate in a conference at Stanford University during their Silicon Valley meet up. She was able to meet with 300 University Innovation Fellows from different areas across the globe. During the conference, the students were able to spend time at the Google Headquarters and maker space garage, Stanford design school, SAP (System Applications and Processing), and Microsoft headquarters.

“We did a lot of activities over design and innovative thinking,” Muñoz said. “We also learned how to design maker spaces. We are currently in the process of getting a maker space in our Math Building at SPC.”

Muñoz says that devoting the amount of time she puts in for academics and student organizations is easy at SPC because of how involved the professors have been in her education.

“The things I like most about SPC are the professors and the cost,” explains Muñoz. “The professors are really here to help you and get you prepared for a place like TTU.”

Muñoz says that staying organized is the key to being involved and getting the most out of your classes. She explains that confidence and organization are important to her success.

“I would say get a planner,” Muñoz said. “Be sure you know how to organize your time, especially if you’re going to be in any clubs or organizations. Be prepared to come out of your bubble, and be confident in everything that you do. If you show passion towards something, people are going to be attracted to that.”


Architecture plan changes for delighted professor

by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer


It wasn’t the career path that Tom Stalcup originally planned for his life, but it is one that he has thoroughly enjoyed.

He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Architecture Degree from Texas Tech in 1984 and worked as an architect full-time, until he began taking classes part time at South Plains College learning to do AVID, a video editing software. He also taught construction and rigging classes part-time.

He was planning to move to California and use his architecture background to design movie sets and thought knowing about video production would help. He graduated with an associate’s degree in Performing-Arts Technology from SPC in 1998. One thing led to another, and when a position opened at SPC, he began to teach full time in January of 1999, later becoming program coordinator.   

“The thing that makes this whole thing funny is my high school drafting teacher is the one who encouraged me,” Stalcup explains, “and he told me that I should teach because I have a real knack for patience with drawing. I told him that he was crazy, and that I would never teach. But almost 20 years later, here I am.”

He often volunteers his time and talents to help produce music videos and projects in his spare time. A friend of his created a company, and together they created and produced 28 episodes of a series about local musicians that aired on the PBS station in Lubbock.

“One of the things that I am most proud of while working at SPC was co-producing two seasons of “StoryTellers & Music Makers – hosted by Kenny Maines”,” he said. “Kenny interviewed local musicians, and fellow producer Doug Nelson and I taped the shows in SPC studios with several of our faculty and students helping with the productions. The shows then aired on KTXT-PBS. Meeting and working with these artists and the crew members was a truly great and rewarding experience.”

Aside from teaching in the classroom, Stalcup has also had the opportunity to travel around West Texas working on various concert tours, productions of SPC events, and also local area charity events. He has been able to meet many entertainers, producers, and technicians at those events and during seminars, lectures, and concerts for students and the community.

“I’m thankful that I met some great students who impressed me with their talents, hard work and attitudes at SPC,” Stalcup said.

Away from campus, Stalcup is a member of Lubbock Industrial Lions Club and serves as a volunteer with Lubbock Meals on Wheels. He and his wife Janis enjoy taking day trips to various parts of Texas and the surrounding areas. Though they have no children of their own, they take great pride in loving and spoiling their 12 nieces and nephews, 20 great nieces and nephews, and one great-great nephew.

After an almost 20-year tenure at SPC, Stalcup is gearing up for retirement. He does not currently have plans for his retirement, but hopes that he will have an opportunity to be able to return to teaching in the Creative Arts Department part-time.

“I’ve already told my wife that if I don’t teach a little bit, I’m not doing anything, Stalcup said. “I want to see what it’s like to not do anything for once.”


Cowork provides quiet place for students, faculty

by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer


Students now have another study space option available that has the conveniences of a coffee shop and the quietness of a library.

David Lamb-Vines, Lubbock native and 2004 graduate of South Plains College, and his wife Leann, are the owners of the art for goodness sake Fine Arts Gallery and Studio in Lubbock, and have recently opened the afgs Co-Work. David is a poet and a free-lance painter, while Leann works in a variety of artistic mediums, including painting, mosaics, photography and writing,

“We receive so many comments and complements regarding the welcoming space we provide that we’ve come to believe giving a warm, comfortable and invigorating place to work is something our guests would welcome and appreciate,” said David Lamb-Vines.

The Co-Work features an art gallery setting with a quiet, comfortable atmosphere. Free coffee, tea, creamer, and sweetener are provided for visitors. There are multiple power outlets to accommodate laptops and devices, secure Wi-Fi, and a wireless printer. Paper, postage, stamps, envelopes, packaging, and mail delivery are also available.

“We aim to serve both students and faculty with our services,” said Lamb-Vines.

Located at 1810 19th Street in Lubbock, The Co-Work is available by appointment, which can be scheduled by calling (806) 771-2727. It is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment in the evenings and on Sundays. The cost is $5 hourly, with the first hour free. Additional rates include $15 for four hours, $25 per day, $60 for three days within one week, $100 for six consecutive days, excluding Sunday, $175 for 12 consecutive days, excluding Sunday, and $300 for 24 consecutive days, excluding Sundays. Special pricing is available for group meetings.

“It’s a really good place for people who want to work in a setting where there are other people working also,” said Lamb-Vines, “and the kind of friendships and collaborations that can form when people work together, even if they are working on different projects. The whole idea is that the energy that one person is feeling about their project can bleed over into helping other people who are working on their project.”

The art for goodness sake Fine Arts Gallery participates in the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center First Friday Art Trail, which is a monthly event that showcases galleries and other fine art venues for public enjoyment.

“This is also a place to be that’s in an art gallery setting.” Lamb-Vines added. “We have 15 different artists that are showing. We are on the First Friday Art Trail. Our art changes every month, and we get new work and artists in on a regular occasion. We have been an art gallery since 2010, and will now offer the co-work aspect of it.”

The grand opening was held on March 25. Students and faculty of SPC are invited to come by and see what they provide. The Co-Work is the only of its kind in Lubbock and the surrounding area, according to Lamb-Vines.

More information on the Co-Work can be found on their website at

I Prevail gives fans memorable night in Lubbock

by HANNAH NELSON//Staff Writer


Fans from all over the Texas area experienced a night of excitement, head banging, and more as the “Lifelines” tour made its journey to Lubbock.

I Prevail performed at Jake’s Backroom on Feb.28. The band is currently on their headlining tour, with support from Wage War, Islander, and Assuming We Survive.

A few hours before the event, fans were already lined up outside, waiting in anticipation for the show that evening. When the doors opened the fans stormed into the venue hoping to get the best view of the bands performing.

As the lights faded, the first band, Assuming We Survive took the stage. The venue was still pretty empty, but that didn’t stop the first band from bringing the energy. Possibly one of the more memorable moments of the night happened during the first band’s performance. In the middle of the set, in between songs, the band asked one of the audience members and his girlfriend to come up to the stage. The singer handed the man coming up to stage a microphone. The crowd cheered for the couple as the man asked his girlfriend to marry him. After she says yes, the couple embraced, and the band congratulated the couple before continuing the rest of their set. This was a very special moment for everyone attending the concert to witness.

The second band to perform for the night was Islander. As they began their set, the crowd started forming. There was even a select group of fans who started the crowd surfing that remained a constant theme throughout the night. This band was a powerhouse of energy that fed the Lubbock crowd.

As the night continued, the crowd got wilder and wilder. The venue became packed right before the direct supporting band, Wage War, began to perform. At the beginning of the set, the band experienced a few technical difficulties. However, that didn’t stop the band from performing a set full of energy and excitement after having to stop and restart their first song. The crowd was insane during Wage War, with crowd surfers and mosh pits constantly happening form every section. During the last song of Wage War’s set, the singer got the crowd to raise their hands in the air to go with the music. It was a very nice way for the crowd to come together and connect with the music.

Finally, the headlining band for the night took the stage for a sold-out show.  The stage lights faded into an almost pitch-black stage. The crowd cheered as a stage full of light appeared and the first song, “Come and Get It” began.  This high-energy song made the crowd explode, with people singing, jumping, and dancing along as the band performed.

Since the last time the band visited Lubbock, the band recently their debut album, “Lifelines.” Many of the songs that the band performed were from this new album, including the first song.

A unique part of this band is their use of vocals. The band has two different vocalists, both sounding clean and harsh. This allows the band to merge into multiple styles of songs. They have the ability to transition from high-energy, heavy verses to super catchy choruses that make you instantly want to sing along.

One of the best parts of the set was when the band used a unique way to play a little bit of cover. The band called a fan from the VIP meet-up earlier that day to come up to the stage. One of the band’s hard-core singer, Eric Vanlerberghe, proceeded to talk to the crowd and even call out another band member for not being able to keep a relationship. In all good fun, the band and the fan on stage proceeded to perform a verse of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”. As the banter continued, the band went on to play parts of songs “Hates Me” by Puddle of Mudd and “Bodies” by Drowning Pool. These select verses all lead up to one of the band’s most popular releases, their cover of “Blank Space.” This was a great time for everyone in the crowd to sing along and have fun.

Rock concerts are the main source of entertainment for music lovers. It is a way to let off steam, relax, have a good time. However, there is also a sense of unity at shows with the audience. The band took a moment after “Blank Space” to talk about a serious topic. Vanlerberghe talked about his friend who committed suicide. The singer stressed the message that everyone in the crowd was meant to be there that night. She explained that every member of the audience is loved by someone and worth more than they may know.

After this speech, the band started the last song on their set list, “Crossroads.” The audience jumped at what they assumed might be the last chance to get every ounce of energy out before the night was over. However, once the band left the stage the crowd was not ready to leave. The fans cheered from every section of the venue for one more song. Soon after, the cheering increased as the lights flashed back on and the band took the stage again for two more songs.

That is when a rainbow of lights flooded the stage and venue. The crowd did not hold back at all during this encore. At the vocalists’ request, the crowd split down the middle and a wall of death formed. two sides of the crowd gathered together, leaving the middle of the pit empty. Then, as the music grew heavier, the two sides ran into the middle in sequence, meeting each other and forming a mosh pit.

Overall, the night was an incredible show full of liveliness and heart-felt moments. Fans were able to head bang, mosh, and sing the night away. There was an infectious feeling in the air as fans left the venue full of contentment.


Rock band finds inspiration through emotions

by DESIREE MENDEZ//Staff Writer


Residue is an alternative rock band is going for an electric rock fusion vibe.

The lead singer and creator of the Austin-based modern alternative rock band is Corey Trahan. Residue has played with numerous national acts, including Adema, Powerman 5000, Hurt, and Papa Roach. The band is currently endorsed by DirtBag Apparel.

The band is composed of: Corey Trahan, vocals, from Beaumont; Josh Fortenot, drummer, from Mississippi; Donavan Cavanaugh, guitar, from New Jersey; and John Bock, bassist, from Connecticut. All currently reside in Austin.

Residue started touring Texas in 2008. Trahan came up with the name for the band by taking over a former band that he was in, so it was the residual, or left over, from the old band. The members of the band have known each other for a little more than six years.

Residue recently performed at Backstage Live in Lubbock on March 4.

“We share our passion for music with the people we love,” said Trahan.

Trahan and Fortenot both write the music they perform.

“I think what inspires me to write with Corey is mainly that we both prefer to tell a story in our songs,” explained Fortenot. We want to express something meaningful, and also about ideas that we value. “We both have pretty similar world views, and fortunately the writing comes pretty naturally.”

“Some of that is us having played together for more than five years, but I think most of it is having that common goal,” added Trahan.  “Corey is also just a fun guy to write with, because he’s open to basically anything, even if it doesn’t set well with him right away. I think that’s the best way to approach any creative project.”

Trahan says he feels that he can sing about topics that he wouldn’t normally talk to people about, subjects that are personal.

“The number one inspiration for lyrics is the underlying music,” said Trahan.  “It’s mood, the atmosphere it creates, how it makes me feel.  Once I connect to the music, it usually sends me into a personal place where I may be frustrated, in love, in fear, et cetera…  It is a highly introspective process that forces me to stop my life, “blow up the outside world” and dive deep into myself to pull out something meaningful.  It is a very healing process.”

Passion is what drives the band musically. It is a release from the real world, for them, to show passion for a topic and sing about it to get their opinion or message out to the world without controversy.

“The music and lyrics I write are extremely personal,” said Trahan.  “I feel like if you’re a musician, and you’re not personal, then you’re just an entertainer, not an artist. Music is a connection medium.  It is meant for folks to express things they cannot in conversation. There are many topics that I would never bring up with even the closest of my friends or family that I feel comfortable writing about.  I know that somewhere someone will listen and no longer feel like they are alone on the topic.  I tend to write about religion, politics or just whatever is personally bugging me at the moment.”

Trahan offers some advice to inspiring artists.

“Perspective is the key to any form of art,” he said.  “Don’t get overburdened by your environment, or lost in the details of every day. Maintain your passion and love to create something new and unique.  Lastly, don’t get too worried about technicalities of your instrument, painting skills, whatever, since technical ability is not the bottom line — the ability to connect to others is.”

To check out Residue’s music, go to


Nintendo Switch offers home console, portable gaming

by MATT MOLINAR//Associate Editor


A new video game console is being hailed as a breakthrough in both home console as well as portable gaming.

I was immediately sold on the Nintendo Switch upon learning about its ability to run as both a home console and a portable console. So I placed my pre-order as early as I could, and on March 3, I picked up my Switch, which had 80,000 preorders in the first three days.

Included in the box is a tablet, which is essentially the console, a dock that outputs the display from the Switch through an HDMI cable and onto a TV, two Joy-con, or controllers, that come in two color variations, a Joy-con Grip, which holds the two Joy-con on a frame that allows you to hold the two as a traditional gaming controller, a power adapter and an HDMI cord.

The screen on the Switch is roughly the same size as an iPhone 7+, with the screen bezel making it half an inch bigger. The half-inch-thick tablet has a power/sleep button, two volume buttons, an air vent, a headphone jack, a slot for Nintendo Switch game cards, two stereo speakers, a kickstand with a micro SD card slot under it, and a USB type C power receiver.

On each side of the tablet are two slots where the Joy-con can slide into place. This design IMG_1731allows for games to be played in tablet mode, with the Joy-con attached, and in tabletop mode, with the Joy-con in hand, away from the console.

This has made waiting for appointments and passing time between classes enjoyable. I purchased the game “Snipperclips,” a local multiplayer puzzle game that has made for very entertaining moments for me and my friends and family. The design of the Joy-con allows for each piece to be used as a single controller for party games such as “Snipperclips” and “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” which comes out on April 8.

The left Joy-con has L and ZL bumper buttons. I was slightly disappointed to learn that the ZL and RL buttons, which look like trigger buttons, aren’t spring triggers like the Xbox controller. It is just a button with two positions. However, after playing the games I purchased, you really don’t need a trigger.

The left Joy-con also includes a joy-stick, a direction pad, the – button and a screen-capture button, something I love to use and always wanted on my old Xbox.

The right joy-con has the + button, the R and ZL buttons, X,Y,A, and B buttons, another joy-stick and the home button, which allows you to switch between your home screen and the currently running software.

When my friends and I have a free period, we get together with four Joy-con and have a great time, instead of waiting around with nothing to do.

The other game I purchased for my Switch was “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” the biggest launch title for the console. When docked, the Switch runs at 1080p, allowing for the beautiful graphics of the game to be shown off. I haven’t played console video games since the Xbox 360 came out, so the graphics of the Switch are very impressive. Many say the graphics of the Switch are unimpressive because of the announcement of 4k-display capability from consoles proposed for the future. To that, I ask, “What do you expect out of a small tablet with a vent?” I think the graphics are very impressive for the size of the console, and I wouldn’t be able to notice the difference otherwise.

When in table mode, the Switch produces the display at 720p and still allows for advanced rendering and the same beautiful graphics. The tablet has touch-screen capability, which isn’t available on either of the games I purchased.

The Switch has very limited online access. Unlike other modern game consoles, the Nintendo Switch lacks a market for apps such as Netflix and Youtube. This has been a large complaint from Switch owners. But when you have a smart TV, an app store on the Switch just doesn’t seem necessary.

But I wouldn’t lose hope just yet. When you close a video game, a message pops up asking you to confirm to “Close the software,” which may mean these apps could show up on the Nintendo eShop in the future.

The only technical issue I have experienced with the Switch so far is how easily the Joy-con can lose the signal. If I’m sitting just 10 feet away from the Switch while it’s in TV mode and I am holding the Joy-con near my body, the signal seems to become weak. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen often. But if it happens at the wrong time, it can be very inconvenient.

My overall impression of the Switch is that it is an awesome, innovative piece of technology that really opens a new door for the future of video gaming.


‘Breath of the Wild’ breaks ground with open world, RPG elements

by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor


Take control of Link on a journey to save Princess Zelda and all of Hyrule in a groundbreaking addition to the “Legend of Zelda” series.

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is a third-person, action/adventure video game available on the Nintendo Switch and Wii U that released to eager fans on March 3, 2017, after being in development since 2011. And it was well worth the wait.

Link has been asleep for 100 years after falling to Calamity Ganon, whom Princess Zelda has been holding at bay since taking Link to the Shrine of Resurrection. Link wakes up and is presented with the Sheikah Slate at the beginning of the game, giving the player access to the map of the massive, beautiful world of Hyrule. From the forested and snowy lands of the Lanayru Range and the desert of the Tabantha Frontier to the volcanic area of the Eldin Mountains, Hyrule has every type of environment imaginable.

These environments are not just looks, as they actually affect Link’s health by making him too cold, too hot, or just flat-out making him catch fire in the volcanic area. Gaining access to these areas can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.

There are a ton of different types of clothing and armor in “Breath of the Wild” that make Link capable of not only withstanding more damage but also the different elements that the player will encounter throughout the game.

To be able to stand the crisp cold of the Lanayru Mountains, the player must acquire the Warm Doublet, which boosts Link’s resistance to the cold. To be able to survive in the volcanic Eldin Mountains, the player must acquire at least one piece of the Flamebreaker Armor, a somewhat silly looking stone and metal set of armor that is fire proof. Although I thought that the Flamebreaker armor might work in the desert, this is not the case. I have yet to find the heat-resistant outfit, but this doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t explore the desert. I could wait until night time and equip my Warm Doublet, or I could cook something that would give me heat resistance.

In “Breath of the Wild,” the player can hunt deer, boar, fish, pick plants and vegetables, mine for salt, or purchase any number of things from markets around the land of Hyrule. Then the player only needs to go to a campfire with a stove top and drop up to five ingredients in the stove and cook things such as Spicy Pepper Seafood that provide cold resistance, or Chilly Seafood Rice Balls, that provide heat resistance.

One of my favorite armor sets to wear when I’m not facing harsh conditions is the Soldier’s Armor, a silver set of armor that provides quite a bit of protection and looks cool. The player can also dye clothing and cloth parts of armor sets that really add an extra level of customization to Link.

High-level armor is important when fighting enemies in certain areas of the map because they have stronger weapons and are more resistant to damage, but they also tend to drop their weapons after being whacked or slashed a couple of times.

The weapons available at the beginning of the game are simple, low-level wooden spears or clubs, along with some metal weapons here and there. But as players progress through the game, they will find much more powerful swords, axes, spears, and bows that are all different and extremely aesthetically pleasing. But sadly, they almost all break at some point.

And with better weapons come tougher enemies. Bokoblins, short, stocky, goblin-looking creatures, are some of the first enemies the player will encounter. Not long after, they will be short work for the player. But the farther the player takes Link on his journey, the harder the enemies will become to dispatch.

Often, the player will encounter these enemies on the way to a Sheikah Tower or Shrine.

The Sheikah Towers are glowing orange until Link climbs them and places his Sheikah Slate in the podium and activates them. Activating the Towers unveils the section of the map that the tower is in and makes the tower glow blue.

The Shrines are scattered all over the map, and they are some form of a large-scale puzzle that reward the player with a Spirit Orb. Once having collected four Spirit Orbs, you can exchange them for either a heart container or a stamina vessel. You will want to add at least 10 hearts to your original three because that will give you the ability to get Link’s Master Sword, the only sword in the game that doesn’t break. But having at least one extra stamina vessel is nice, because stamina is required for running and climbing, which helps with movement speed.

This could very well be one of the best games of this generation, receiving perfect scores from all major publications. I give “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” 5 out of 5 stars.


Lifetime of struggles portrayed by three actors in ‘Moonlight’

by TYLER YORK//Online Editor

moonlight copy

On occasion, it can seem that life is split into chapters, each one starring a distinctly different version of the same person. “Moonlight” takes that idea to a wonderful, poignant extreme.

The plot of the movie “Moonlight” follows the three-part tale of a young black boy, Chiron, growing up in Miami. Each act of the film represents distinct personas he embodies at different times in his life, and they’re each titled after three of Chiron’s different nicknames. Chiron struggles to overcome a long list of rather adult adversities, including poverty, a drug-addicted mother, emotional abuse from those close to him, his own uncertainties about his sexuality, and his internal fight to understand and fully express his role in life.

Above almost everything else, and in some cases even above the brilliant acting, this film shines because it has a wonderfully striking, almost dreamlike, visual style that makes the production seem like a childhood memory. Most scenery is comprised of blue shades accenting the bare white backdrops, with hazy pinks scattered in some sunset shots. Color is used to great effect even in the transition scenes between the acts’ title cards, with red and blue acting as separators between the stages of Chiron’s life and personality.

There is a scene that sticks out as being beautifully shot that involves Chiron and his mother Paula involved in a stare-down across a dark hallway, with an ominous pink cast falling through the open door behind her. The gentle music, the slow-motion action, and the futility of her silent screams at Chiron as he stares blankly back at her are deeply unsettling, yet create a visual spectacle that works with a delicate touch to illustrate in no uncertain terms the relationship held by this mother and son.

Each actor who plays the three distinct versions of Chiron are phenomenal at allowing their individual roles to feed into a whole person, sadly detached from the world around him. Alex Herbert as “Little,” the elementary-school-aged Chiron, is meek and heartbreakingly numb, even at such an early age. Aston Sanders as Chiron in high school is wavering and afraid of getting too close. By the time Trevante Rhodes appears as “Black,” the older Chiron living in Atlanta, the character has completely closed the world out around him, deciding to fully lean into dealing drugs, which is a role in which he believes he can finally show the world that has scorned and pushed him that he can no longer be moved.

Each actor does an unbelievably nuanced job of depicting the internal turmoil of growing up the challenging combination of poor, black, and gay in an environment where many would struggle with any one of those individually. This multi-actor cohesion is only made more remarkable when it’s discovered that director Barry Jenkins made sure none of the actors portraying Chiron ever interacted, on-set or off. It’s outstanding that each actor could turn in such moving performances despite being so separate in their approach.

With other authentic performances from the likes of Naomi Harris as Paula, an addict and emotionally absent mother of Chiron, and a stoically three-dimensional portrayal of both drug dealer and role model Juan given by Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” is led by a cast that is able to hand down a dazzling display of life that is at once tragic and touching.

There’s a lot to say about how “Moonlight” fared at the Academy Awards this year. Starting with the incredibly historic accolades, it is the first film with a completely black cast, the first LGBT film, and the second lowest-grossing film in the United States to ever win Best Picture. For his role as Juan, Mahershala Ali is also now the first Muslim ever to win an Oscar for acting. The awards rained down on “Moonlight” at the Oscars, and with absolutely every justification.

However, this year’s Oscars will likely go down in historical infamy for its botched delivery of the Best Picture award. The presenters’ card was given in error, and “La La Land” was announced the winner, only for the cast and producers of that film to have to inform “Moonlight” that it was, in fact, their win. It’s unfortunate that such a deserving win was overshadowed by the giant mistake, but both casts handled the incident with such respectful grace. Had it happened the other way, I imagine it would have gone exactly the same.

If you’re on the fence about seeing “Moonlight” just because it seemingly came out of nowhere to win Best Picture, let me be the one to inform you that there are more reasons to see this film than there are numbers to count them. It’s a coming-of-age story that is deeply beautiful, painful, and joyful, weaving a tale of hope and the human condition. It’s a message that we all deserve to be exactly who we really are. I give “Moonlight” 5 out of 5 stars.


‘Logan’ amazes with brutal action, emotional plot

by RYAN FITZGERALD//Staff Writer


The final Wolverine stand-alone film starring Hugh Jackman as the Adamantium-infused, super mutant brings a long awaited, R-rated take on the classic character.

Hidden somewhere near the border between Mexico and Texas, Logan cares for an ailing Charles Xavier (Professor X), who continues to suffer from chronic seizures. Balancing his traditional edginess and rampant alcoholism with the need to maintain a sense of secrecy about his entire situation, Logan takes jobs as a limo driver in an attempt to accrue enough money to bail Charles and himself out of their current situation.

While doing this, Logan’s plan to hide from the outside world gets upended when he is introduced to a young mutant who is very much like him. The rest of the film chronicles the tale of Logan’s battle with his desire to resist the use of violence and his dedication to Charles, who has repeatedly served as a father figure, despite Logan’s resistance to the idea of any kindred relationship.

Though viewers have begun to feel this father-son dynamic between Logan and Charles build throughout the last series of “X-Men” films, this somewhat hidden, but understood relationship is finally brought to fruition with the film. The beginning of the film presents Charles in a declining mental state, so Logan must take it upon himself to care for the man who once cared for him despite his gruff exterior.

If anything, the beginning of this movie sheds light on Logan’s need for a father and Charles’ need for a son, and how each of them fulfills that role for the other. The Wolverine, as a character, is not an individual who pays respect to just anyone. Throughout their time together, Charles has been the one individual who has tried to make Logan’s life better, rather than worse.  He has always been the sole individual who has seen and continually wants the best of Logan.

They also share several common experiences – both are loners, deeply introverted in their own ways. When Logan needs to get away, he hides, while Charles spends much of his downtime in solitary environments – in an attempt to escape the infinite number of voices in his head.

Both have a desperate need for family, and they know that. Logan resists the conventional family montage, because in the past, every person he has attached himself too has been ripped away.  Throughout the “X-Men” franchise, Logan has been haunted by the death of Jean Grey, the woman he loved who had to die at the tips of his own claws.

In contrast, Charles’ friendship with Logan could possibly be an attempt to redeem his failed friendship with Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto). Erik knew Charles like no other, and when Xavier took in Wolverine, it was to make up for when he failed Erik. In personality, Logan and Erik are both the mental and emotional results of tragic pasts that have led them to impulsively seek violence. Both are emotionally driven by their damaged pasts, which translates into the volatile and highly reactive response to any situation.

“Logan” simultaneously reads as an origin story hidden beneath a narrative recording the final chapter of the Wolverine saga. Why does this matter? Because the new mutant is X-23 – Logan’s daughter.

Though a DNA-replicated, test tube clone, X-23 and Logan share more than just the Adamantium claws, regenerative health and superhuman senses and reflexes. They connect on a deeper, more personal level, in which Laura (played by Dafne Keen), who just like her “dad,” has a predilection for rage, a difficult personality and an aggressive demeanor.

Wolverine was the creation of the Weapon X program, the clandestine, genetics operation that attempted to create a super soldier by coating Wolverine’s skeleton with an indestructible alloy. As depicted in the movie, Laura (X-23) is the product of a similar militarized, scientific program which utilizes the DNA left over from super mutants to build an army of super-powered children illegally somewhere in Mexico.

This replication of character is important. The film does more than just tie together their fundamental commonality as being scientific experiments gone horribly wrong. The movie sets up a father-daughter relationship in which Logan pulls the best from himself to care for and protect his “family,” which includes Charles, Laura and her fellow mutants.

Coincidently, Laura emotionally evolves throughout the movie to become a reflection of her father in attitude and worldliness. Violence may not be the whole answer, but a necessary means to protect the loved ones who they value greater than themselves.

So what’s to become of this new mutant, the new Wolverine? The X-men franchise can now take a turn, setting up an all new X-Men crew led by Laura as the new Wolverine.  Viewers can follow the comic series to see that she takes the place of her father, even donning Wolverine’s traditional yellow suit.

Fox has announced that they’re working on a “New Mutants” film, as an X-Men spinoff, though it is not clear how Laura and the rest of her displaced super mutant friends will fit into the role.

Overall, director James Mangold’s film balances the tender and the emotional with the raw and rough. Logan is finally presented to audiences in a way that channels the animal that always has been tucked away within, the way Wolverine should have always been depicted – a claw-swinging, cigar-smoking, cranky, cuss machine with a sarcastic sense of humor and a good heart. Luckily for fans, they also get the pre-teen daughter of this complicated character who will amply carry forward the Wolverine persona.

I give “Logan” 5 out of 5 stars.


Remake of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ perfectly portrays original story

by VANESSA DELGADO//Staff Writer


“Beauty and the Beast” is a Disney classic. It’s a tale that is fun for all ages and provides a positive theme for younger children.

As a little girl, I can remember a childhood based on the many Disney princesses.

They were all very intriguing and always overcame adversity. They stood for what was right, and I knew I wanted to grow up into a woman with their morals and beauty. So you can understand my excitement when it was announced that there was a new live-action film coming out.

The tale of Belle is widely known. She is a smart woman, but an oddity in the small village in which she lives. Nearby, there is a prince that has been cursed, and he is commonly known as the ‘Beast.’ She slowly learns to love and care for him, and he returns her affection. Due to their new-found love, the curse is ultimately broken.

Emma Watson plays the role of Belle in the film. It was a match made in heaven. Watson represents the illusion of Belle, on and off the screen. She is extremely intelligent and charismatic. Unafraid to be herself, Watson shows her similarities with her character.

Her voice was light and joyful throughout the film, which fit the theme of the movie.

Watson is very widely known for her role as Hermoine Granger in the Harry Potter films. Since the end of the films, she has taken on other movie roles, but I think this is her best one yet.

Dan Stevens plays the Beast. Although he is mainly animated throughout the movie, his acting and voice-over are rather great. Watson and Stevens made a great pair in this beloved film.

“Beauty and the Beast” may be widely known as a children’s movie, but the live-action film opens it up to more audiences that prefer actual actors and actresses as opposed to motion picture characters.

With such advanced technology, the effects looked amazing. You almost couldn’t tell that the personified household items were animated. The details were impeccable.

The live-action film stayed true to the original. It was almost identical to the original. One of the more drastic changes was the addition of a new song sung by the Beast.

There was some controversy about the movie when it was released became one of the characters, LeFou, played by Josh Gad, in the film is gay. During the movie, there were very subtle hints in the way LeFou acted that suggested he was homosexual. But the only scene that strongly suggested it was when he was dancing with another man at the end of the movie. But that’s hardly enough cause to not see a movie based on a homosexual character.

The cast was picked out perfectly, and each character is a huge part in the movie, even if they were not the main focus of the film.

The movie was very well executed and as amazing as I hoped it would be. The songs were sung beautifully and continued to inspire excitement throughout the film.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.


‘Lego Batman Movie’ gives new light to Dark Knight

by RYAN FITZGERALD//Staff Writer

lego batman

Lego’s latest take on the life of the Caped Crusader is something never before depicted in a Batman movie.

The current movie-going audience probably deals with superhero fatigue these days, in some form or fashion. Additionally, the last thing a superhero movie fan wants is another origin story, reproducing the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents, Thomas and Martha.

The Lego movie brings us a fresh take with a new spin on an old tale. The character of Batman first appeared in Detective Comics in 1939. Brought to life by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the story of Batman now spans generations, with comic strips illustrating the tales of the Bat having run for nearly eight decades. The original “Batman: The Movie” debuted in 1966, and then an additional series of films took off in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.

But for “The Lego Batman Movie,” the standard, go-to storyline was changed. You see, Batman fans know what to expect, who they’ll be getting as the Batman – an egotistical, narcissistic billionaire who balances his commitment problems with the need to continually avenge the death of his parents by spending his nights sweeping crime from the streets of Gotham City.

Batman – as far as characters go – is afflicted, dark and brooding, yet a genius in his own way and misunderstood.  Will Arnett’s gritty voice and expressionless delivery are perfect. But what “The Lego Batman Movie” does so brilliantly is make light of all of this.  The film provides viewers with ridiculous fun, without taking itself (or Batman) too seriously.  It takes jabs at the seriousness that has been associated with the character since its incarnation.

The movie is beyond clever. In the beginning, the movie throws everything at you, including every villain imaginable. Batman starts by laying down tracks, beatboxing his own theme song, while lyrically describing how great he is – all while defeating every classic bad-guy in the Batman repertoire, as he traditionally foils the Joker’s plot to destroy Gotham City once again.

Early on, the movie allows viewers to accompany Batman on a stereotypical evening, where a loner who saved the lives of thousands, wanders throughout his mansion in his silky red bathrobe, while still donning the cowl through the entire night – openly mocking Bruce Wayne’s fascination of his crime-fighting alter-ego. Batman then microwaves his lobster dinner, showing that no matter how rich or self-imposed an individual is, that person is really no different than the average man, in the same struggle of waiting around for his dinner to heat up using an everyday appliance.

The film, however, is more than just an absurd, bizarre mocking of the Batman that fans grew up reading and watching. It delves into the one thing that keeps the man behind the cowl from revealing himself – relationships. The audience can get a feel for the effect of losing his parents has had on Bruce. Then the audience can pick up on the exploitative reliance Master Bruce has on Alfred, as the billionaire never vocally offers any appreciation for everything Alfred does. Viewers get a glimpse of his reluctance to be seen as a father figure to Dick Grayson (Robin), in addition to the feelings that slowly develop for Barbara Gordon, who eventually stakes her claim as Batgirl.

Most importantly, the film offers insight into the complicated relationship between Batman and the Joker. The world can finally see that the Joker is more than just the transgressive opposition to Batman, but the fuel and fire that drives Bruce Wayne to dedicate himself to a life as the masked vigilante. Without Joker, there really is no Batman. There is no villain in the Batman universe that can manipulate, and take advantage of, Batman’s jagged-perception of reality the way the Joker does – they’re the greatest of foes, matched in wit and ingenuity.

All in all, “The Lego Batman Movie” is visually exciting and full of color, but doesn’t get caught up in the world of Lego, as its predecessor did. You get busy, eye-popping action sequences that keep your attention drawn to the story at hand.

Still, there is something melancholic about watching the Dark Knight practice his guitar solos or watch romantic comedies alone in his home theater.  The movie is the perfect satirical piece that shows just how ridiculous and solemn Batman really is, and, arguably, needs to be. Nevertheless, this fatuous and farfetched interpretation of what it takes to be a superhero is why fans stay committed to the timeless, masked crime fighter.

I give “The Lego Batman Movie” 4 out of 5 stars.