Month: April 2017

Livestock Judging Team wins national championship

by STEVEN GEHEGAN//Sports Editor

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The South Plains Livestock Judging Team made history while doing something that has not been done in more than two decades.

The Livestock Judging Team brought home a national championship from the Houston Collegiate Judging Contest that took place on March 20 participating. Three students also placed in the top 10.

It is the first national title for the Livestock Judging Team since 1991, under the leadership of head coach Conner Newsom.

“It’s pretty exciting to say the least,” Newsom said. “It took a lot of hard work for this team to win a national championship. It took a lot of work, a lot of time and dedication into it. It also took a lot of long nights and early mornings.”

Newsom joined SPC in 2013 and has led the Livestock Judging Team in more than 20 events from December to March of this year, finishing in the top in each event.

  Newsom, 25, became the youngest head coach to win a national championship. He said it was “kind of surreal and shocking” when he found out that he had made that history.

“It took a little bit for it to soak in that this actually happened,” Newsom added.

Along with the hard work, Newsom said, “a good work ethic with a lot of hours and dedication, it all came together.”

“A little luck met preparation,” he said of the team’s success.

The members of the sophomore team that won the national championship include: Tyler Kelly of Bullard; Sterling Scott of Lubbock; Dylan Bostick of Bangs; Trace McBride of Abernathy; Kelton Matthews of Abilene; Logan Bauer of Llano; and Kenzee Criswell of Dora, New Mexico.

In addition to the overall championship, the Livestock Judging Team placed first in both goat and sheep, tied for first in swine,  finished second overall in team placing, third overall in team results and sixth overall in team cattle.

Individually, Kelly placed sixth in the individual, and seventh in individual swine. Scott placed seventh in the individual, and first in individual goat and sheep. Bostick placed ninth in individual, second in the sheep and goat, fifth in individual cattle and eighth in individual reasons. McBride placed fourth in individual swine, and earned All-American honors for having a 4.0 grade point average. Criswell placed second in alternate contest.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has become to be one of the largest livestock show and rodeos in the world, attracting 2.4 million people to this event.

The future seems bright, according to Newsom, who added,“Expectations are really high. I have a really good team to follow these guys.”

Next year, Newsom will have a team of 13 members who are currently freshmen, who have impressed Newsom all season long. These competitions are important to help open doors for students to gain full scholarships to four-year universities.

[Photo courtesy of Connor Newsom]

Journalism students awarded at intercollegiate competition

by PLAINSMAN PRESS STAFF

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South Plains College student Sara Marshall was selected as Editor of the Year for two-year colleges and current or former Plainsman Press staff members won 11 other awards during the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association spring competition and convention.

There were 519 participants representing 45 community colleges and universities from across the state at this year’s TIPA convention, which was held March 30-April 1 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dallas. TIPA is the largest student press association in the nation.

The Plainsman Press also was recognized with an Honorable Mention Award in the category of Overall Excellence.

Tyler York, a freshman print journalism major from Tallahassee, Florida, received an Honorable Mention award for Headline Writing during a live on-site competition held on March 30.

Marshall, a sophomore photojournalism major from Andrews who currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Plainsman Press, won three first-place awards and a third-place award in the competition for Previously Published material.

Marshall placed first for News Feature Story for an article she wrote about a student who hung a banner from a building in downtown Lubbock which had made national news, Feature Page Design for her page layout featuring a butterfly exhibit at the Science Spectrum in Lubbock, and Single Subject Presentation, and honor she shared with former staff members Chesanie Brantley of Sudan and Nicole Trugillo of Amherst. Marshall also placed third for Newspaper Ad Design.

Among other Plainsman Press staff members receiving awards for Previously Published material is Riley Golden, a sophomore print journalism major from Lubbock. Golden placed first in the category of Critical Review for his article featuring the “Bioshock” video game. Golden currently serves as entertainment editor of the Plainsman Press.

Matt Molinar, a sophomore public relations major from Levelland, placed second in the category of Opinion/Editorial Page Design and received an Honorable Mention Award in the category of News Story for coverage of a Black Lives Matter protest in Lubbock. Molinar currently serves as associate editor of the Plainsman Press.

Dominick Puente, a sophomore print journalism major from Levelland, placed second in the category of Sports Column for a story he wrote about the accusations of rape involving members of the Baylor University football team. Puente currently serves as a sports writer and editorial assistant for the Plainsman Press.

Kaci Livingston, a freshman from Schulenburg, placed third in the category of General Column.

Students participating in the trip and also competing in live contests were: Marshall, who competed in News Writing and Newspaper Design; Brandi Ortiz, a sophomore public relations major from Lamesa who competed in News Photo; Desiree Mendez, a sophomore from  Levelland, who competed in Feature Writing; Steven Gehegan, a sophomore print journalism major from  Lubbock, who competed in Print Sports Writing; Jordan Patterson of Lubbock, who competed in Sports Photo; Tovi Oyervidez, a sophomore photojournalism major from Lubbock and Molinar, who competed in Two-Person Photo Essay; Alex Perez, a sophomore public relations major from Lubbock, who competed in Feature Photo; Golden, who competed in Critical Review; Molinar, who competed in PR News Release Writing; Brittny Stegall, a freshman print journalism major from Crosbyton, who competed in Editorial Writing; Stacy Johnson, a sophomore general studies major from Lubbock, who competed in Copy Editing; and Aric Mitchell, a freshman radio, television and film major from Lubbock, who competed in Live Video News.

Plainsman Press staff members have won 156 awards in TIPA competitions since 2004.

[Photo by TOVI OYERVIDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

University graduate discovers passion in escorting, adult films

by MATT MOLINAR//Associate Editor

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[Editor’s note: This story is the fifth part of the multi-part series “Risque Business,” examining the dangers of prostitution that begins with Issue #7 and concludes in Issue #12. Several staff members took it upon themselves to interview, take photographs, and conduct research. The result of their combined efforts follow.]

[Be advised: In order to protect his identity, the subject’s name has been changed to “Adam.”]

For one Texas Tech University graduate, a job in the sex industry wasn’t his first choice.

But after years of dedication, he’s discovered just how profitable a double life can be.

Upon first impression, it is clear that Adam is studious, hard working and maintains a proper diet and exercise routine.

Known online as “TexasBull,” Adam is most well known for his film work. He has earned the no. 4 spot in the Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network ‘s top 10 male performers. On top of his film work, Adam works as an escort in the Lubbock area.

“I do many things, really,” Adam said. “I provide sexual services, I offer a masseuse service, and I model. I started acting and escorting when I started college, which helped cover some of the tuition. I’ve got a few top-selling DVD’s with my face on the cover.”

Adam has been been a part of the sex industry for four years. During the four years, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in chemistry from TTU. He says that while his job schedule and school schedule often clashed, he doesn’t regret any of the decisions he has made.

“I really enjoy what I do,” Adam said. “It was hard to balance my new job and school.  You have to plan your schedule out very carefully. It’s important to take into consideration when you have exams and classes in order to plan when you do your job. Sometimes, there is a certain season for filming that gets in the way.”

Adam says he began thinking about the possibility of a career in the sex industry while he was in high school. He says that during the years leading up to college, he was sexually oppressed and described himself as a “prude.”

“The first time I ever had to change in front of other people in a locker room, my peers began pointing out certain attributes that I had,” he said. “They would jokingly say, ‘You should do porn.’ As the years went on and I heard it more and more and as I made the transition into college, it just kind of happened.”

Adam says he spends much of his free time eating, exercising, and doing independent study in chemistry. He also spends time studying the languages of French and Mandarin.

“Somewhere along the line, I’d like to get a job as a lab technician,” Adam explained. “Learning French and Mandarin are just something I have been interested in recently.”

Adam says that a large amount of effort is required to be an escort, or adult film actor.  He says that actual enjoyment of the job is crucial in the sex industry as well as a certain skill set.

“If you’re doing it for the money, don’t do it,” he said. “This job requires you to be comfortable with expressing yourself. The sex industry isn’t some get-rich-quick scheme. It’s just like any other job in any other industry. You have to work hard for it. You have to maintain your successes.”

Adam says that the cash he earns is spent on personal expenses, developing his portfolio and occasionally spent on his siblings. He says if his siblings, who are currently going through college, need financial help, he is happy to contribute.

For an hour of service, Adam says he charges $300. The reason he has a high price point is due to the notoriety he has received from doing film work. He says his clients come from all different walks of life, including some who hold high-profile jobs.

“I’ve worked with a philanthropist, as well as the head of a company that caters to football players, politicians, and massive parties,” Adam said. “There are cons, of course. People can be pushy and try to force their friendship on me. Some can even be dangerous. But here, in Lubbock, there’s nobody who is really too dangerous.”

Adam says that while there may be a higher request for female escorts, there is a higher risk of danger for women in the industry than there is for men.

“I’ve been doing this for about four years now,” he said. “I’ve never once truly feared for myself. I’m a big man, and not many people would try something like that with someone like me.”

Websites such as Backpages.com are where escorts and prostitutes would normally advertise their services, but due to the increase in human trafficking, the site has taken down its “adult services” page.

“It’s a big epidemic,” Adam said. “Underage boys and girls are brought from overseas where they are sold to traffickers against their will for the sake of their families having the ability to afford a green card.”

Adam says that, on average, clients will contact him around nine times a week. However, due to his price point, actual business calls only happen about four times a week. He says that many of the requests he gets are non-sexual.

“There are a lot of times where people will call and pay for me to just sit down and have a chat with them,” Adam said. “When you’re an escort, as opposed to a prostitute, you’re catering to a lot of different needs and interests. There is a distinct difference between an escort and a prostitute. Sometimes, I’ll get a call from a couple who are just asking for a massage – nothing sexual.”

Adam says that there is a stereotype that people who find jobs in the sex industry are “mindless and stupid.” He says that, on the contrary, many of the people he has worked with in the industry are educated and respectable.

“I work with somebody who currently holds a master’s degree and continuing on to do doctoral work,” Adam explained. “He loves this job. You hear about it all the time – professional athletes getting caught doing porn and Ivy League students holding escort services to pay for school. It’s the oldest living profession.”

Adam says he has learned many life lessons from his job, as well as how much he enjoys the notoriety.

“I’ve learned from this job that life shouldn’t be taken that seriously,” he said. “I can do this, and I can enjoy it. And it doesn’t stop me from doing anything else.”

[Photo by BRANDI ORTIZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Service animals becoming more common on campus

by TYLER YORK//Online Editor

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After decades of absence, service animals are becoming more of a fixture at South Plains College.

In the Disability Services Office, Linda Young, disability accommodations specialist at SPC, noted that despite her 30 years of time with the college and the 27th anniversary of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) coming this summer, service animals have only recently made an appearance on campus.

“It’s not an accommodation,” explained Young. “It’s a right protected under the ADA. But we’ve only really seen them here on campus in the last two or three years.”

There are three distinct categories of support animals recognized in the United States: emotional support animals (ESAs), therapy animals, and service animals.

Service animals come in many varieties, but most people may recognize a common role in the seeing-eye dogs utilized by those with vision impairments.

Service animals go through extensive training, often for several years, before they are ready to serve a handler.

“Service animals are generally trained to do a specific task,” said Young. “They range widely. Most of us know of them from someone who is visually impaired who uses a service animal to navigate.

“But now we’re seeing more service animals used in different areas,” she added, “in psychiatric areas, in mental health, and certain disabilities.”

The training can be separated into two categories of actions: “work” and “tasks.” Tasks are behaviors that are prompted by commands, while work is cued by environmental factors, or even a reaction in the handler’s body.

For people with memory loss issues, a service dog could remind a handler to take his or her medication regularly, or to find a mobile phone. If someone experiences hallucinations, a service dog might be trained to help the handler discern what noises or people are real.

In some extreme cases, a handler might struggle with something such as depersonalization, or a detached sensation of being an observer in one’s own body. A service dog can provide tactile stimulation via petting or deep pressure therapy to help relax and ground the handler, thereby providing some relief for symptoms that can otherwise be difficult to manage alone.

Young recommends that anyone with a service animal on campus should have his or her animal registered with the office.

“A student does not have to be approved through the Disability Office to have a service animal,” explained Young. “But it is recommended that they identify it with us so we know the animal is on campus.”

There are a few considerations students should be aware of for having service or emotional support animals on campus.

Handlers of both ESAs and service dogs should always promptly and properly dispose of any waste. In addition, ESAs specifically are not allowed in classrooms, and must remain in a student’s dorm room.

Students should always strive to represent themselves as positively as possible. This includes any service animals or ESAs they may have in their care.

“Your dog is an extension of you,” said Young. “There are many who actually need these animals to help relieve symptoms of their disabilities. So if they aren’t trained to behave properly, they will be asked to be removed.”

These rules are in place to help ensure that students who need the assistance of a service animal aren’t punished because of those who just want to try to sneak a pet on campus.

“What I would hate to see,” said Young, “is for the law to become so restrictive because everyone else abused it that people who need service animals can’t get them.”

There are likely students who are uncertain about how to best handle themselves around service animals, because their only experience is with dogs as pets. For those students, Young has a key piece of advice.

“Always talk to the handler,” said Young. “A handler will be trained to say no to certain things. You never want to go to pet an animal, and then distract them, and that would keep them from doing their job.”

Students shouldn’t be afraid to be around service animals on campus, because they are well-trained for the situations they encounter.

Math Department hosting Advising Day for students

by BRANDI ORTIZ//News Editor

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Math and Engineering students who are struggling to plan their schedules for the Fall 2017 semester at South Plains College now have the chance to ask for help.

Faculty in the Math Department at SPC will be hosting an Advising Day for all Mathematics, Computer Science, and Engineering students on April 21. The event will take place in the Sundown Room on the Levelland campus, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

All students who currently major or are planning to major in either of those related disciplines are highly encouraged to attend the event.

If a student wishes to set an appointment with a faculty advisor, he or she will only be scheduled after the Advising Day on April 21. Advisors will not be setting up any meetings regarding scheduling prior to that day.

Former SPC students, as well as representatives from surrounding universities, will attend the event to speak about their experiences both in the Math and Science departments, as well as their continued journeys beyond their time at SPC.

Any high school students who are interested in a STEM major are also invited and encouraged to attend.

Pre-registration for the fall semester will start on April 19.

Those interested in requesting more information can contact Shirley Davis, associate professor of mathematics, at (806) 716 – 2699.

 

Former student recalls sexual assault experience

by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer

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[Be advised: The names and places in this story have been changed or generalized in order to protect the identity of the sexual assault survivor. In order to protect anonymity, the survivor’s name has been changed.]

College is supposed to be one of the best times in the lives of students. But for one former South Plains College student, the experience was tainted by unwanted sexual advances.

Abbey Rogers, not her real name, was the victim of sexual assault during her sophomore year of college, following a night out with friends.

“I had gone out with some friends, and we met up with some guys who were buying us drinks,” she recalls. “We were all having a good time, but then I blacked out. It’s like everything that happened after midnight was erased from my memory”

Incidences such as the one Rogers experienced, where the victim is intoxicated, are extremely common. Sexual assault campaigns across the country have adopted the phrase, “Just because she didn’t say no doesn’t mean she’s saying yes,” in hopes of educating and bringing awareness to the stigma that drunk girls are fair game.

“I woke up in a strange bed with a guy who I barely knew and instantly had a moment of regret and started to blame myself,” Rogers says.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, (NSVRC), most victims of physically forced or incapacitated sexual assault were assaulted by someone they knew (79 percent and 88 percent, respectively).

“I didn’t report it because I didn’t want to be shamed for being drunk,” says Rogers, “or for someone to tell me that I was asking for it that night. I was having a good time with my friends and had too much to drink, and someone took advantage of that.”

The NSVRC reports that less than 5 percent of completed or attempted rapes against college women are reported to law enforcement. However, in two-thirds of the incidents, the victim did tell another person, usually a friend, not family or campus officials.

“I wish guys and girls knew that just because you’re too drunk to say no, doesn’t mean that it’s OK,” Rogers says. “Don’t see the drunk girl at the bar as an opportunity.”

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is recognized during April. It is an annual campaign to bring awareness to sexual assault. According to RAINN.org, the rate of sexual assault and rape has fallen by 63 percent since 1993.

Every two minutes, someone in America is raped. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault. That means that someone you know has been or could be the victim of sexual assault. It could be your mother, aunt, sister, daughter, friend, or the girl next to you in class. Sexual violence has become an epidemic and affects the families of victims, friends, co-workers, and communities.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an annual march for the non-profit agency Voice of Hope: Rape Crisis Center. The walk is held in order to raise funds and awareness about the issues of sexual assault and sex trafficking. The march is a one mile walk, and participants can, if they choose, don 4-inch-high stilettos to speak out against sexual violence. The event will be held on April 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at South Plains Mall in Lubbock.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, help can be found at Voice of Hope of Lubbock, The Health and Wellness Center at South Plains College, the County Health Department, or by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

[Photo illustration by JORDAN PATTERSON/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Denim Day serves to educate students on sexual assault, victim blaming

by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor

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Students, faculty, and staff at South Plains College are encouraged to wear denim on April 26.

They will be joining more than 155,000 people across the United States who have pledged to wear denim to bring awareness to sexual assault.

In Italy in 1992, an 18-year-old girl was picked up by her 45-year-old driving instructor, taken to an isolated road, where he pulled her out of the car, wrestled one leg out of her jeans, and raped her.

Later that night, she told her parents about the incident, and they helped her press charges. The man was convicted and sentenced to jail. He appealed his sentence and it made it all the way to the country’s Supreme Court. The verdict was overturned “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans, it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”

Enraged by the ruling, women in Italian Parliament began protesting the verdict by wearing jeans to work. This call to action spurred the California Senate and Assembly to do the same.

The movement made its way to Patricia Giggans, executive director of Peace Over Violence, and the first Denim Day in Los Angeles was in April 1999. It has continued to spread across the nation every year since then.

“This is the first [Denim Day] we’ve done,” said Chris Straface, counselor at South Plains College. “But Denim Day has been around for 18 years. The whole purpose of Denim Day is to bring some focus to victim blaming, because that’s something that is a big problem in our society.”

The Health and Wellness Center is selling buttons for $1 as well.

“If we did Denim Day traditionally, it would be a fundraising event for Peace Over Violence,” Straface explained. “But, to my knowledge, they don’t have an organization that impacts this area, and we didn’t want to raise funds that would leave the area. So it’s a way for us to raise money for Voice of Hope in Lubbock.”

For more information, go to denimdayinfo.org to register as a supporter of the cause. So, on April 26, wear jeans with a purpose and make those around you aware of sexual assault and victim blaming.

Board of Regents discuss housing cost increase, curriculum changes

by SARA MARSHALL//Editor-in-Chief

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Increases in housing costs, curriculum changes and the proposed 2017 employment list were among topics discussed during the April meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Cathy Mitchell, vice president for student affairs, presented the Board with a comparison of SPC’s housing and dining costs to comparable colleges in the area and across the state.

“It’s been several years since we have increased these costs,” Mitchell said. “Even though our board costs continue to increase on our side, we have not increased the cost of housing for the students in several years.”

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, continued Mitchell’s housing discussion, asking the Board to approve an increase in student housing cost.

“Our room and board is, on average, about $550 less than our counterparts,” Dr.  Satterwhite said. “This increase would only affect those in the residence halls.”

The total recommended increase is $150, which Dr. Satterwhite explained would cover a $100 increase in fall housing costs, as well as provide resident students with free washer and dryer access for another $50 increase.

“This is becoming more and more of a benefit that colleges provide to their students,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “We have many students that don’t have the opportunity to wash and dry their clothes as much as they’d like. Fifty dollars would more than offset what we were receiving on the current machines. Upkeep costs will go up, but we feel like this will be an opportunity for our students to have access to that, which they don’t currently have.”

The Board voted upon the proposed Fall housing increases, unanimously agreeing upon the change.

Further changes happening for the Fall 2017 semester include several curriculum changes. Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, presented the Board with 34 courses which were brought up for deletion by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Of these 34 courses, 99 percent of them were deleted.

SPC has also added 40 courses for Fall 2017, many of which are substitutions for courses which have been deleted. Ninety three courses have also been revised for the Fall 2017 semester.

“Sometimes that’s as simple as a name change,” Dr. Gibbs said. “Most of the time, it’s an addition of a special course fee or a raising of a special course fee to meet the needs of the supplies of a particular course.”

Dr. Gibbs also presented the Board with a list of faculty for the 2017 – 2018 school year. According to Dr. Gibbs, there will be 453 faculty members at SPC. This number includes both full-time and part-time faculty members, with more than 50 percent being composed of full-time members.

Stephen John, vice president for institutional advancement, presented the proposed 2017 Distinguished Alumni: Jennifer Galey and Kenneth Alan Foster. Graduating from SPC’s Nursing Program in 2004, Galey has pursued a career in nursing and is now a Family Nurse Practitioner in Littlefield. Graduating from SPC’s Welding Technology Program in 2004, Foster has pursued a career in mechanical engineering and is currently employed by Lyondell Basell as a technical assurance manager for global projects.

“Our Distinguished Alumni awards selection committee reviewed nine different nominations this year, and these two individuals rose to the top,” John said. “We’re proud of both of these former students and the success they’ve achieved in their careers.”

As the end of the spring semester nears, Dr. Satterwhite updated the Board on upcoming events. The Student Awards Assembly will take place on May 4 at 7 p.m. in the Texan Dome. The Retirement Reception will take place the following day on the Levelland campus in the Sundown Room of the Student Center, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

The Employee Recognition Banquet will take place on May 11, in the PE Complex at 6 p.m., and the ADN Nurses Pinning will happen in the Texan Dome at 8 p.m., also on May 11.

The Commencement Ceremonies will take place on May 12 in the Texan Dome, with ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

BackTalk: Controversy develops around proposed wall

Build relationships, not borders

by BRITTNY STEGALL//Opinion Editor

With President Donald Trump wanting to build a wall, it is making the United States look like cowards.

A proposed wall between the United States and Mexico is one of the bigger controversies today. Many in the world say the United States of America is where dreams are made, the home of the brave, the land of the free, where opportunities are made. How will it be possible to make dreams if there is a wall put up around us? It shows we are scared and do not trust people. It will hurt more people than it will help.

Nearly 6,000 aliens have died trying to cross the Mexico-U.S. Border since 2000. Think about how much worse it could be if there is a wall put up to “prevent” them from entering the United States. It would kill hundreds, if not thousands, and possibly even more if the wall is put up. Aliens are entering the United States illegally already. If the entry to the United States was easier, they would not be entering illegally. It is about how hard it is to enter, not how hard you try to keep them out.

God said love your neighbor as you love yourself. We are not following God’s command by keeping everyone out. Just because a few terrorists have harmed the United States, that does not label everyone as a terrorist. People need a chance; everyone needs a chance.

President Trump is hiding behind his words. He is not facing the problem itself. He is just creating an even worse problem by talking about the wall. He is supposed to protect the citizens of the United States, as well as everyone who enters into it. If the wall is a problem just talking about it, think about how big the problem will escalate if there is a wall.

I know many may agree with the wall being built to “protect this country” or “to keep illegal aliens out.” That is not the way I believe it will work. If a wall goes up, it will make the United States a prime target for terrorists, because of the “they think they can keep us out, think again” mentality. It will be a challenge for terrorists, and everyone likes a good challenge. As for keeping the illegal aliens out, that will not keep them out. It might make it harder for them to enter the United States, but it will not prevent it. It will just harm and kill many more humans than the border already has.

We need to think about the future of our children and their children. It will tear families apart, harm them, and possibly even kill parts of their families. Many illegal aliens come this way to protect their families, to get them out of harm’s way, or to obtain a better life for them. It is too hard to legally enter the United States. That is why many are coming illegally. They need a quicker way to make their way into the United States. They do not need to be waiting for months or years to get a better life or protection for their families. They need a sanctuary. They need the United States to help them, not scare them.

We need to come together as a country and speak our minds about this issue. We need to love our neighbors. We need to take a stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. We do not need a wall.


Wall could enforce war against drugs

by DOMINICK PUENTE//Editorial Assistant

While creating a wall to separate the United States and Mexico is thought of as absurd or necessary by different groups of people, I believe creating the wall would help both countries.

Some groups call for a wall to be built in order to decrease the number of illegal aliens coming into the United States. I see the wall benefiting both countries as far as limiting the amount of drugs and money flowing back and forth.

I understand that building the wall is a way to limit illegal crossing into America. However, the war on drugs is taking a back seat in the debate. Yet it affects all parties in negative ways and continues to take lives and hurt people in both countries. Although limiting the amount of people crossing the border illegally is important, it is not the only point that should be discussed within the debate.

While marijuana has become more available in this country, the drug cartels are transporting chemically-engineered drugs such as methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine across the border. While the cartels make hundreds of millions of dollars flooding in these drugs, families and friends have to deal with loved ones overdosing on heroin and being imprisoned for pushing meth and cocaine to make some money for their next hit. Extra measures such as building a wall should be taken without thought to prevent these harmful chemicals from entering the streets.

Building a wall will not solve the overall problem with limiting the amount of drugs being pushed across the border. However, it will cut out a portion of the drugs while also limiting the income cartels receive.

For years, the cartels have been pushing drugs into the United States. As the years have gone by, the government has implemented technology to limit the drug flow. However, while the governments try to adapt to the new methods of drug smuggling, cartels continue to stay a step ahead of both the Mexican and American governments.

Establishing a wall will help in the defense against the war on drugs, along with ensuring the wall has a good amount of width and length to avoid tunneling for drug smugglers. While people side against the wall for personal reasons, drugs will continue to flood the streets and continue to cripple Americans.

If the wall is built, there will be a sure obstacle that cartels will have to consider, along with different variables of smuggling in drugs, such as the technologies and strategies that the United States Border Patrol implements. The more effort that is enforced to regulate and eliminate the drug trade will keep the streets safe, along with crippling the power of the cartels creating a safer lifestyle for the people of Mexico who are affected by the cartels.

With the wall built and drug traffic limited even more, drug abuse and sellers will decrease. The amount of crime and number of deaths will decline as well. While limiting drug flow, crime will become less common, including theft in order to pay for drugs.

Jails and prisons will be at a safer capacity, as the number of people who are faced with drug-related charges will decrease due to the lack of usual drug flow. Keeping the inmate count at a reasonable number will allow jails and prisons to run efficiently and keep the court system focused on more important issues and cases.

Death tolls will go down as well with the decline of overdoses and hallucinations that lead to death. Homicides will also decline with a limited amount of drugs flowing through the streets which influence turf wars within gangs.

Although building a wall will enrage a large number of people, it will help the streets stay clean of harsh drugs and keep cities and neighborhoods safe.

Medical drug abuse becoming wide spread in college

by VANESSA DELGADO//Staff Writer

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In this day and age, medications are being over used and abused.

Being a college student is stressful, and apparently many students are taking that same complaint to the doctor. Many of my friends are on several medications for various reasons. Some of these include anxiety, depression, and ADHD.

Only recently, has medical drug abuse become a pandemic among college students. For even the slightest reason, a student can acquire prescription medication.

It is no secret that college students tend to be broke. Many students who are on these medications tend to sell them to others who do not have prescriptions. So for those who may be recovering, it is still easy to get their hands on more and relapse.

It seems that students are becoming mama’s boys. They depend on medications to overcome their own obstacles instead of dealing them head-on with a clear mind.

In some cases, medication is required. But I feel that many students exaggerate their supposed diagnosis. This causes many people to become addicted to medications.

Many people may be ignorant to the truth, but it is there nonetheless. Not only are many people overusing these drugs, they are using them recreationally and not for their intended purpose.

Medication also has side effects. When they are abused, the chance of these side effects surfacing is increased.

When college students misuse or abuse medications, they are also more likely to turn to illegal drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. They are also more likely to be binge drinkers. These are messy and dangerous combinations.

Most students indulge in drinking throughout their years in college. So those who take drugs such as Adderall and Vyvanse while drinking have an even higher risk for alcohol poisoning, heart problems, and behavioral issues.

Medical drug abuse may only be the beginning for some students. It can lead to even harder drugs that have the potential to ruin lives. It’s crazy that I am only 20 years old and I have known countless people who have had to go to rehab in order to treat their addiction.

I had heard stories but never thought it would happen to people I was close to. Thankfully, many of my friends have turned their lives around.

One of the best and simplest things that someone can do to help someone in the same situation is to provide moral support and encouragement.

With drug abuse in colleges rising, more actions needs to be taken in order to get the situation under control. The majority of the people I have met throughout college have at least tried one drug.

One is just the beginning. One leads to two, and then three. The goal should be to stop it in its tracks.

Apparently, in college, some students seem to think it is cool to use drugs. Many users don’t understand the serious risks that come with many of these drugs. More information should be available to college students.

The situation needs to be taken more seriously by college campuses and students.

College students underrated in eyes of society

by ALEX PEREZ//Feature Editor

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Welcome to the real world, where you have to juggle school, work and a social life as a college student, all while trying to not drown in debt because of tuition and that really cute dress you saw at Zara.

Life in college has its ups and downs. But let’s be honest, there are more downs than ups. When people think of college students, they think of either kids who are partying until they wake up in a field covered in their own vomit, or a die-hard student who is constantly on his or her laptop doing homework or some kind of student organization requirements. Yes, there are those students in real life. But more often than not, most college students are a mix of that, which is honestly a talent to achieve.

Of course, everybody has their majors, and some even have two. But every student has a master’s degree in multitasking. Multitasking is an essential skill to have in college, especially if you work and go to school. I am a sophomore at South Plains College, and before last week, I had two jobs. I am a writer and editor for the award-winning Plainsman Press and a full-time student four days out of the week. So, of course, multitasking and having an amazing planner is necessary.

There are so many students, such as myself, who have encountered this very stressful and high-intensity lifestyle. In some cases, they drop out of college or have to quit a lot of things in order to make time for the rest, which, in a lot of cases, is very unfair.

College students are very underrated in the sense that not everybody appreciates and acknowledges the intense amount of effort they are putting in to achieve their goals in life. Professors, for example, give out assignments like the student does not have any other classes, when, in fact, most students have other classes that they have to do homework for, and then some if they are involved in any student organizations.

College students have so much on their plate as it is, and to add to that they have to get a job or even two to continue to survive is crazy. It should be looked at as an achievement, not a necessary requirement.

Parents and professors sometimes look into a college student’s world and think that it is a necessity to have a job and to have a source of income, which is true. But in order to have time for a job, it takes a balancing act. Having a job and going to school fulltime, and doing it well, is a talent that not everybody has. When a student can achieve this without having a mental breakdown very five minutes is a great achievement that should be at least acknowledged. I’m not saying that students should receive accolades for having a job and still keeping up a decent GPA, but some acknowledgment would be nice.

Work is not the only thing that is thrown into a student’s life, but socializing is important as well. For any human being, there is a necessity to have interaction with other people and to take breaks from a high-stress life. For some students, this isn’t as easily achieved because there is not enough time in the day to work, do homework and have dinner with some friends.

As a college student, there will be invites to different parties and dinners, and along with it is this stigma that you can’t say no to any of them. If you do, then you’re not cool, or you’re a “buzz kill.” This stigma can also translate into the professional side of interactions, as you have to constantly keep networking with people any chance you get to get a job after school. That also causes a lot of stress in itself.

College is not the easiest thing to do in the world. But it should not put students through as much stress as it does. Working students are constantly on the go and achieve so much in the little time that they are given. Acknowledging the effort from students is needed in today’s society, and I think it is about time we get it.

Controversy arises from recent Pepsi commercial

by RYAN SHANKS//Staff Writer

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Pepsi is getting a lot of heat for their latest television commercial.

It’s official title is “Live for Now Moments Anthem” and features reality star and alleged model Kendall Jenner. It tries to portray that we should stand together and “join the conversation.” In that way, the Pepsi ad was successful. It did indeed provoke conversation about Pepsi’s tone-deafness.

In the 2-minute-39-second “short film,” Jenner throws off the chains of the modeling industry by taking off her wig, then leaving a photo shoot to join a protest. After sharing some knowing nods and fist bumps with her fellow protestors, the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star manages to bring everyone together by handing a cop a Pepsi. The message is clear: All those Women’s Marches, Black Lives Matter protests, and demonstrations outside Trump Tower would be much more effervescent and effective if someone had just brought some soda.

The Internet, as you might suspect, disagreed. Within 48 hours, the video got nearly 1.6 million views on YouTube (five times as many down votes as up votes), and Twitter and Facebook lit up with people pointing out just how gauche the whole thing was. Activist DeRay McKesson called it “trash,” adding “If I had carried Pepsi, I guess I never would’ve gotten arrested. Who knew?”

People made memes (some even reaching back and evoking Pepper Spray Cop). Rightfully, many people pointed out that using protest imagery in order to sell soda, particularly images that evoked the photo of Ieshia Evans facing down police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last year, was pretty tasteless. It was one of the few times the internet ever agreed on anything.

And that, in and of itself, is noteworthy. For years, conversation online has brought out the best and worst in everyone. But this ad, with its effortlessly cool, politically-aware millennials in color-coordinated denim outfits, was the one thing everyone agreed to oppose. A Twitter search for “Pepsi” reveals that virtually no one is coming to the commercial’s defense. In fact, not even Pepsi is defending it anymore. Earlier today, the company pulled the ad. “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,” Pepsi said in a statement. “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue.”

Soda companies sell harder to young consumers than to anyone else, and they’ve been pitching to that coveted demographic messages of global unity for years. The most well-known of these attempts is Coca-Cola’s peace-for-all 1971 “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” (The one Don Draper dreamed up in the series finale of “Mad Men”). But even before that, Pepsi was targeting youth culture with slogans such as “Pepsi Generation” and “For Those Who Think Young”—both of which launched in the ‘60s.

Soda companies have continued to aim for hip kids throughout the ensuing decades with celeb-packed ads featuring everyone from Michael Jackson to Drake to a truck-driving P. Diddy. Now Pepsi has tried to cross the streams, pairing a millennial mega-celebrity with what the company clearly thought was a fun spin on the ability of young people to change the world. Between 1971 and now, though, people got the tools to respond to the misguided mash up on a mass scale in 140 characters or less.

From Black Lives Matter to the Women’s Marches, politically active people are already affecting change around the world, and they’re not doing it with soda and reality stars. They are using the same tools that organized those movements to express how ill advised it was to use their work to sell carbonated beverages. The reaction to Pepsi’s ad, not the ad itself, brought people together. That’s refreshing.

College requirements for students cause frustration

by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer

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The general education requirements that college students have to complete are ridiculous.

Most of the courses that are required have already been taken in high school and are just a repetition of what has already been learned.

Typically, you spend 12 years in school learning basic fundamentals such as math, reading, and writing. You know your strengths and weaknesses by the time you graduate. When you go to college, you are going into a certain field and should be able to focus on the career path you have chosen.

On average, students have to have 42 semester hours of core credits in order to graduate. So, on top of the time spent learning these basic skills, students have to spend another two years learning some of the same things they learned in high school.

I think that it would be a more beneficial use of students’ money and financial aid funds to cut the required courses, or amend them to better educate students. Requiring students to take a financial planning or tax preparation course would make more sense than College Algebra or Statistics.

As a journalism major, I am never going to need to know the Pythagorean Theorem, or how to graph a circle, in order to write or edit a column effectively. I personally know that I am terrible at math. Therefore, I would never attempt to be an engineer. The only thing having to take an Algebra class does is add stress to my life.

While it may be beneficial for an engineering major to play sports or take a music class, it isn’t going to be very beneficial to his chosen career choice and should therefore be an option, and not a requirement

I don’t mean to just pick on the math requirements, because I also don’t agree that two science courses should be required, or that there should be creative arts requirements. Even if I did retain the information I have learned in class, when am I ever going to put it to use as a journalist?

Colleges need to teach students to have life skills that will benefit them and focus more on students’ majors. A class on how to effectively create a resume or compose a business e-mail would be a tremendous help to a college student who has never had to create one before.

There is a serious problem among college graduates who are applying for jobs that either lack the education or lack the experience required for many entry-level positions today. Using the time spent in Art Appreciation could be better spent preparing for the workforce.

A class that teaches basic life skills, like how to change a tire or how to perform CPR on someone who is choking, would be very useful in everyday life. Many nursing schools require students to take an etiquette class to prepare them for job interviews and real-life scenarios that they may encounter.

I don’t believe that all of the general education requirements should be removed or changed. But there is an issue with the current requirements that should be addressed by the state.

Student sees Border Patrol from different perspective

by TOVI OYERVIDEZ//Photo Editor

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Building a wall between the United States and Mexico has been a very heated topic ever since President Donald Trump announced it during his campaign.

With American’s differences about the wall, has anyone ever thought about the people who protect it every day?

I was given the privilege of visiting the United States Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico on March 9. With my own eyes and camera, I was able to capture and witness the training that protects our borders.

Like any morning for a trainee, it’s waking up before sunrise and heading down to the chow hall and rushing out before 7:30 a.m. before the first class. Being late is not acceptable.

Spanish class was first on the agenda. The class uses local residents as volunteer actors who speak Spanish to help participate in scenarios such as border checkpoints that the trainees might need to help them in the field. It can be a challenge to use your training you learned and then speak Spanish at the same time, without messing up.  Not all the trainees are Hispanic, and most do have to learn Spanish. Every graduating officer becomes fluent in Spanish. I always believe communication is key with people.

After Spanish scenarios, we headed to the gun range. Let me just say that I have never shot any kind of automatic rifles before. Cheers to the women who can stand their ground and shoot targets point blank. I, on the other hand, needed another hand pressed against my back so I wouldn’t fly away.

Eating lunch in the chow hall was probably the cheapest meal I have ever eaten. It was better than the food at a college cafeteria, which I wish could be as cheap.

After lunch, we did the best thing our stomachs could ask for. We headed to the driving course to get in on their driving skills. We were each given our very own Border Patrol SUV and driver. My driver, Richie, was the first person I have ever felt so comfortable driving with. His skills were impeccable, and the ride was so smooth, even though the tactics we were experiencing were wild, especially when we were practicing pitting and pursuits.

I never really knew how much time and effort went into becoming a Border Patrol Agent. We were only there for a day, and I saw so many things they do to train the best agents possible.

The physical training, learning Spanish, and driving skills are just a few of the skills the agents need.

Capturing my time there was beyond amazing, and everyone was very courteous and generous. We felt welcomed everywhere we went. Never once did anyone bring up the wall. The main things they are trying to stop from entering the country are terrorists and drugs, especially heroin. The agents know even with a wall, they are still going to be doing their jobs.

I have never felt so safe in any type of facility, and I knew we were in such good hands. I am very grateful to have witnessed the special training that is required to protect this land. I’m most grateful for the men and women who protect and serve our borders everyday.

[Photo by TOVI OYERVIDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Experience with Border Patrol shatters preconceived notions

by SARA MARSALL//Editor-in-Chief

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Not all opinions are set in stone…sometimes people can change their minds

I used to have this unexplainable negative attitude toward the United States Border Patrol. I’m honestly not sure why. Maybe it was all the bad press I would hear about when I was  growing up, or the way the movies tend to portray law enforcement and Border Patrol agents.

Maybe it was because of my own personal assumptions. When I think I’m right, I’m right. Don’t we all?

Who knows at this point? But I believed that I was right; that the U.S. Border Patrol was full of racist, misogynistic, “Make America Great Again” kind of people.

And I was happily surprised to find out something that nearly never happens: I was wrong!

I was absolutely and inexcusably wrong about how I had been thinking all these years.

During spring break this year, I had the wonderful opportunity not only to research and write a story about the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico, but interacted and even befriended some of the agents assigned there.

While staying at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the agents exposed me to some of their intensive training and proved that they train potential agents to ask questions first and assess a situation before reacting.

I had the opportunity to shoot various weapons, under the supervision of experienced agents, of course, and I learned how the agents are trained to react to situations. Before I thought large guns were extremely scary and unnecessary. Now I realize why some people just go to a shooting range and shoot a target at the end of the day: it can be fun and a way to destress. It’s their end of the day beer, so to speak. So it’s definitely not something to scoff at, as long as they’re doing it in a safe and controlled environment.

Prior to this experience, I always assumed those Border Patrol agents were gun-wielding hillbillies, ready to shoot any Mexican they saw fit. This was not the case. They are encouraged to always be on guard in case a situation goes awry, but these amazing men and women learn to first be human beings. Their quick reflexes and cool minds make for extremely level-headed, capable law enforcement personnel.

Many attending the Academy, as far as I saw, have prior law enforcement experience or had law enforcement backgrounds. Many trainees are well educated, holders of college degrees. Not the racist hillbillies I had been lead to believe.

Surprisingly enough, many trainees are at the academy because it offers them an opportunity to be outdoors and in nature. Many love interacting with weapons, but in a safe environment. Others choose to go to the border to ensure their families are safe from cartels and the drugs being smuggled.

It was extremely eye-opening as I slowly realized that these amazing men and women are normal people with normal lives, just like me. Some have families that they go home to. Others stay at the Academy and live in their on-campus dorms, much like I do at South Plains College.

So overall, I had an amazing experience and learned so many new things about our country and about the U.S. Border Patrol. I believe that we, as a country, need to have an open mind about our law enforcement personnel and those in the Border Patrol. We are all humans, and we should give everyone the benefit of the doubt, without considering preconceived notions of negativity.

[Photo by TOVI OYERVIDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Students in college susceptible to more stress, depression

by CHANISE RAY//Staff Writer

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Untreated mental illness could be seen as an epidemic in the United States.

As a college student I can personally say college is very stressful. Students, who conjointly have a load of stress, can be treated. Most college campuses have a health and wellness program where counselors can be used at students’ disposal just to talk, or vent. Talking to someone can help relieve stress and ease your mind. Carrying stress inside and not talking about it could be unhealthy.

College students are jam packed with things to do. Not to mention college athletes have even more to do, especially if they obtain a scholarship. Being sleep deprived because you have to stay up until 3 a.m. writing a paper could put anyone in a bad mood. Sleep deprivation is known to play a role in depression.

Depression is relatively common among college students because of the everyday stress of homework. Students can utilize their academic advisors as well. They specifically aim to help with students’ studies and possibly their organization. However, being able to vent to a person who knows about what you are going through and can possibly explain why you could be experiencing certain things is very refreshing.

As a student at SPC, I utilize the college’s counselors because I believe it is very healthy to decompress and talk about everyday things. I do not always go to my counselor to vent, or cry. Sometimes, I like to go just to talk. I have friends I talk to, of course. However, I find it more useful to talk to my counselor because I usually find out more about myself and what type of person I am. With my friends, I am uncensored and I can say just about anything. But with a counselor, obviously I can say anything. But when I feel as if I am embarrassed to tell my counselor something, or before I say it and I think it sounds funny or incompetent, I realize that maybe I have an opportunity to grow. In other words, I feel as if counseling has made me a better person.

Students who are athletes in college could benefit from a counselor not only for their studies but also for their performance in their sport. A friend of mine who currently plays basketball for Florida State University tells me all the time about how the team has access to a therapist. He says his coach believes that a healthy mind helps with efficiency on the court. So the players are not stressing about anything during game time.

Of course, counseling is not the quick fix to being perfect all the time. Everyone has breakdowns and bad days. But having someone to talk to when these breakdowns occur can be very abating.

College is especially stressful when dealing with the workload put upon most average students, not to mention the social life mixed in. It can be pretty overwhelming. College campuses are more vulnerable to acts of bullying and assault. These things can be traumatizing to some students and can cause them to abandon classwork and class in general. Counseling can be especially beneficial to these students because of the affects these things may have on them.

I would recommend counseling to every one of my classmates because of how helpful it has been in my life. There is always someone that is willing to listen to you vent, and you are not alone.

Cosmetology instructor inspires students with lifetime of experience

by DESIREE MENDEZ//Staff Writer

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Instructor by day, rock star at night, Juan Partida is a man of many talents.

Partida, who some may know as Johnny Rockstar, is an instructor of Cosmetology at South Plains College. He was born and raised in Levelland, attending Levelland High School and graduating in 1986. Partida then attended SPC three times for an Auto mechanics certificate, Cosmetology certificate and his Cosmetology Instructors certificate.

Partida has been married for 27 years to Lori Partida. They have two kids together, Madalynn and Jazz Partida. His son-in-law, Taylor Colwell, also attends SPC for cosmetology. Partida has two granddaughters, Analeigh and Lyllah.  Partida’s mother, Maria Partida, has been a cosmetologist for 30 years. Jazz is also a cosmetologist. They both work along side Partida at his Levelland salon.

Partida wasn’t always an instructor for Cosmetology. He also taught boxing for 10 years to his son, Jazz, and another student who was deaf. Partida learned sign language so that he could help this student learn boxing.

“Well, my dad is an awesome person,” said Jazz Partida. “He’s hard working and knows how to enjoy life.  My dad has always been a mentor and role model to me. He has always been there to push me and help me every step of the way, and I am lucky to have had such a great dad.”

Partida became a cosmetologist 21 years ago after his wife talked him into going to see two brothers who performed on stage while cutting hair.

“When these two brothers were on stage, they’re cutting hair and flinging hair and slinging their shears around, with the lights and the music, it was like a concert but for hairdressers,” recalled Partida. “I ran into Altriera Power Hair, and when I saw him, I told him, “Dude, I want to be just like you. He told me, “Go to school, get licensed and find a hair team to get on with.”

Partida decided he was going to prove people wrong who didn’t believe in him and told him that he would never make it.

“Back when I was in cosmetology school, it was very hard for a male to succeed, because it was a very female-oriented field,” explained Partida.

Partida then started to work for Sexy Hair as a stylist for hair shows. It was one day in Los Angeles that he helped the owner of Sexy Hair on the platform. For eight years, Partida was a platform artist.

“I love being able to make a difference in someone’s life,” said Partida. “When someone comes to you for a haircut or a color, they come in looking one way, and then you help them feel better and they leave looking like someone totally different. That is what I love being able to do.”

In 2000, Partida opened his own salon, Attitudes. “There is only Juan cut,” is the slogan on his billboard.

“I opened Attitudes because I was always told that I would never make it, and here I am today,” said Partida. “Never give up your dreams, no matter what anyone tells you. Always believe in yourself!”

In 2007, Partida went back to SPC for his Cosmetology Instructor’s license. He has been an instructor for 10 years. He is also the cosmetology instructor for the Levelland High School program. When he first started the high school program, he only had five students. Five years later, he has 31 to 35 a semester.

“I became an instructor because I was traveling way too much, and my kids were getting to that age that I needed to be around more,” explained Partida, who opened a second salon, Bella’s, in 2010.

Partida said he enjoys passing on his knowledge to the next generations of cosmetologists.

“Teaching can be very challenging, and every day is an adventure,” said Partida. “But I wouldn’t change anything about it. Getting to meet new people every day and building new life- time friendships is worth waking up every day and coming to work.”

Partida wanted to be able to give advice and help teach students on a level that he didn’t have while he was in school. He wanted to inspire students to create art with hair and to never give up on their dreams.

One of Partida’s students, Jackie Guadalcasar, a second-semester cosmetology student, said, “Juan is so open and easy going. He’s not one of those people that are super judgmental and won’t criticize you. He gets it.”

Partida is like a parental figure to some of the kids in the cosmetology program. They always come to him for fatherly advice or problems they are having, because he has kids and he has been through those types of things before.

“He is very nice, blunt and very helpful,” said Sara Quintanilla, another one of his students. “He is always willing to help you, no matter how many times you ask for help. He’s just fun to be around.”

Partida currently has 11 seniors and 17 juniors in his high school program.

Partida isn’t just an instructor and hairstylist, he also has a father-and-son duo called “LEWD and TATTOOED.” They are an ‘80s cover band, and he is known as Johnny Rockstar. Along with their band, they are also members of the band where they attend church.

In 2016, Partida participated in Dancing with the Texans at SPC. He also takes ballroom dancing classes, taught by Vanessa Moffett.

“Dance is life,” stated Partida, who has not been able to participate this year after having knee surgery in December.

In 2009, Partida ran for mayor for the City of Levelland.  Even though he didn’t win, he still does his part to help the community.

“Being able to help students make a difference in the world, and make friendships that will last me a life-time, I wouldn’t change any of that,” said Partida. “Whether it is being a hairstylist or an instructor, helping people is what I love to do.”

Rock star at night, instructor and hairstylist by day, Partida is living life to the fullest.

[Photo by DESIREE MENDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Songwriting group allows students to create original music

by HANNAH NELSON//Staff Writer

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Passionate members of the South Plains College community are uniting  to make new music and spark creativity.

A few students and staff members have created a song writing group within the college to give the people a chance to write music collectively.

One of the group’s members, Jeremiah Patterson, had been interested in song writing since he was in high school. Once he came to SPC, he realized all the resources that where available for song writing.

“When I got here, I found out they had a CD that they did of original music, and there was even a class for it,” said Patterson.

This lead Patterson to the thought of getting into writing more and having others be part of it with him.

“I was like, you know what, it would be really cool to try and do stuff with other students involving original music,” Patterson recalls.

He began talking with people within his song writing class. They decided that it would be great for them to get together away from the class to share writing ideas.

“We have so many great song writers living on this campus, or at least in Levelland,” Patterson explained. “Why not have something right here in Levelland for those people so they don’t have to go all the way to Lubbock to find people to write with?”

The group is a way for budding songwriters to get together, show what they have, give each other ideas, and grow.

“When you are working with someone else,” says Patterson, “you can feed off each other’s strengths and help each other with weaknesses.”

A big part of what the group does during their meetings involves individuals sharing what they have written, and the members collectively giving feedback and helping build the song.

“We have someone start off on a new idea they have, whether it’s a completed song, just lyrics, just music,” Patterson said.

A member is able to present his or her work to the group so that he or she  can receive input from others.

“We give ideas on what we thought…constructive ideas,” adds Patterson.

The meetings are different every time, depending on what members bring in.

According to Patterson, there are many goals that he hopes the group can accomplish for this semester and semesters to come. These goals include having a performance to showcase what the group has been writing.

“Hopefully, this semester, if not next semester, we want to have a little performance on campus of the songs that we’ve been writing through this,” Patterson explained. “It is creativity that is right here in our own backyard. Why not share it with each other?”

The group meets most Tuesdays in the lobby of the Lamar residence hall. The meeting typically runs from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.

“I say, if you want to be a part of this, the best things are a good attitude and a spirit of cooperation,” says Patterson.

He also recommends people who  have their own instruments, such as an acoustic guitar, bring it to the meeting.

“If you have absolutely no song writing experience but want to learn how to write songs, then I say come in, observe, listen, and feel free to ask questions,” Patterson says.

[Photo by HANNAH NELSON/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Hobbs, Thompson shimmy to victory at Dancing With the Texans

by BRANDI ORTIZ//News Editor

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Costumes, music, and a shiny disco ball.

Season Five of “Dancing with the Texans” was held in the Sundown Room at the Student Center on April 13 at South Plains College. Members of the SPC Ballroom Dance Team and selected faculty put on a performance and competed to win the disco ball trophy.

This season’s theme was “TV Night.” With their jazzy take on the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” Justin Hobbs, assistant track and field coach at SPC, and sophomore Rebekah Thompson took home the prize.

“We work hard, and we just try to make it as fun and enjoyable as we could,” said Hobbs. “With so many good dancers out there, we just go out, do our thing, have fun and hope everything works out.”

There were seven teams competing in “Dancing with the Texans,” each consisting of one dance team member and a staff contestant. The night opened with a group dance to the theme song from “Saved by the Bell.”

The first pair to perform was Laci Singer, assistant professor of chemistry, and Ashton Steffey. They danced to the “Glee” cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” The second pair was Miranda English, academic advisor, and Lawrence Hernandez, who danced to “The X-Files” theme song. The third pair consisted of Katheryn Townsend, associate professor of chemistry, and Joseph Hinojosa. They danced to the theme song of “Inspector Gadget.”

The fourth pair included John Barnes, instructor of law enforcement technology, and Mirna Gonzalez, who danced to the “Game of Thrones” theme. They were followed by Dustin Wimmer, recreational activities coordinator, and Adeva Jennings, who danced to two variations of the “Spiderman” theme song. The sixth pair consisted of Hobbs and Thompson, performing their rendition of “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” The final pair was Dennis Churchwell, director of purchasing, and Katelyn Albrecht with their take on “American Bandstand.”

In between acts, there were special performances from members of the SPC Ballroom Dance Team, along with intermissions when the audience was invited to show off their moves.

Throughout the night, it was evident that each participant put forth a lot of time and energy into their performances.

“They all did outstanding,” said Vanessa Moffett, instructor and choreographer for the SPC Ballroom Dance Team. “They all put in a whole lot of work, and it turned out really well.”

Dance team members who participated were encouraged to go back to where they started and learn the opposite roles of what they are used to.

“It was a challenge for some of them, because they have never done the opposite part,” said Moffett. “By coming to my basic class and learning the opposite role, [students] were able to teach [the role] easier and learn how to teach it.”

Near the end of the night, Moffett performed to the theme song from “I Dream of Jeannie” with judge Joshua Flores.

“I’ve always wanted to do a dance to “I Dream of Jeannie” because I love the show and I love the music,” said Moffett. “When the students voted for the theme to be “TV Night” [it was perfect].”

Moffett said she hopes that contestants who participated will continue to participate in dance or another form of exercise.

“[We] encourage people to dance and get out on the floor and try something new outside of their comfort zone,” Moffett said. “Hopefully, they will find an exercise they like or an activity that they like, that doesn’t really feel like exercise.”

[Photo by TOVI OYERVIDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]