Month: February 2018

NASA trip provides STEM students with educational opportunity.

NASA trip educates, prepares STEM students

Most students strive to someday work alongside professionals within their field of study.

For five South Plains College students, this goal was reached during a recent trip to NASA.

On Feb. 5, the STEM majors traveled to Houston to attend a three-day workshop at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where they toured the facility and interacted with NASA engineers, educators, and astronauts.

These students are a part of the Community College Aerospace Scholars, a spring educational program where aspiring engineers work on projects and web-based assignments. Through the CAS program, students get the opportunity to participate in a fully-funded workshop at NASA JSC, utilizing their classroom knowledge in a professional work environment.

Students who apply for the CAS program are selected by NASA JSC. The five scholars selected this semester are Abbey Gonzales from Dimmitt, Nathan Clayton from Olton, Hector Canales from Levelland, Ezequiel Tovar Jr. from Lubbock and Jose Duran from Memphis.

The CAS program offers fun experiences and opportunities for the students. But applying for the program requires a lot of work and recommendations.

Canales, an astrophysics major, said there are specific requirements when applying to be an aerospace scholar.

“The application opened Sept. 5 and closed Oct. 15,” said Canales. “That pretty much required a letter of recommendation, up to 300 words from a STEM professor. Then we had to do 300 words on why this experience would be helpful for us. Once accepted, you had to do a five-week online program and do six quizzes.”

While a lot of work is put into the application process and the online program, a project is also required after being selected.

Clayton, a computer science major, said there are three categories to choose from for projects.

“I did the first category, which was a paper,” said Clayton. “You are given a set of five questions. You choose three of them, and you must write a two to 10-page paper on the information. I did the evolvable Mars campaign, where I chose to cover the natural resources on Mars.”

After completing these assignments and projects, scholars go to NASA JSC, where they interact with many NASA employees and work together to build a Mars rover.

The rover project requires the scholars to assign themselves different positions, such as financial officer, marketing and communications manager, designer and operations engineer, in order to build a rover to sell to a team of NASA officials.

According to Alan Worley, chairperson of the Math and Engineering Department at SPC, participating in the rover project and working at NASA is a great opportunity for students to utilize their education outside of the classroom.

“This gives them the opportunity to see what a real-world experience would be,” said Worley. “The main thing is that it opens doors for them.”

The opportunities and the experiences are the main perks the scholars said that the CAS program offers.

Duran, a mathematics major, said that his time at NASA JSC provided him with good memories and a quality educational experience.

“It was a fun experience,” said Duran. “I got to meet a lot of new people and got to interact with the NASA engineers.”

The experiences, people and places were all things that the scholars said they enjoyed while at NASA. But the future opportunities and privileges were also a major aspect of the workshop.

IMG_9748Gonzales, a computer science major, said she feels that working at NASA gave her a sense of the hospitality that is used in a professional work environment and how it is important for learning.

“It was really nice to see how down to earth NASA is,” said Gonzales. “They had a big promotion in their facility about families and diversity. It was really fascinating to learn the different types of people NASA is looking for.”

She also mentioned how the experience will help her in future endeavors.

“Having NASA somewhere on your resume at an early college level is so nice,” said Gonzales.

In addition to the project and the competition, the scholars also networked with many people. This helps when acquiring future connections and recommendations.

Tovar, a mechanical engineering major, interacted with many experienced people, such as Douglas Wong, a NASA engineer.

“I got to meet this engineer who ate with us on our first day,” said Tovar. “He’s an engineer who was looking for an intern, so I’ll be applying for the internship.”

This program is offered to any aspiring STEM student, as well as students with other majors who want to receive many opportunities to better their future.

“We encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Worley. “We think it is a beneficial experience, as a person and a student.”

Tubb enters WJCAC Hall of Fame after 33 years at SPC

Longtime South Plains College Athletic Director Joe Tubb recently was honored at Texan Dome in recognition of his induction into the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.

He as presented with a plaque during halftime of the men’s basketball game against Howard College on Feb. 8.

“Well, this is a tremendous honor,” Tubb said. “I was here for 33 years and this kind of shows the feeling of the conference. The WJCAC is the greatest conference in the nation as far as community college goes. If you really read the people that are in it, it makes me even more proud. There’s a lot of names in there that are way more accomplished than I am. So it makes me feel very good.”

Tubb served as the athletic director at SPC for 33 years before he retired in 2015.

“We were here for 33 years,” said Tubb, “so we raised that family here in Levelland. The community and the college have been great to all of us. Levelland started out as my home along time ago, but it became my home again, and that makes me proud.”

During those 33 years, Tubb had overseen 42 NJCAA Championships in men’s and women’s track and field, cross country, half-marathon, and men’s basketball. Under Tubb’s direction, the Texans and the Lady Texans basketball teams have claimed a combined 15 WJCAC championships and five tournament titles. The college has also hosted 14 National Junior College Athletic Association championship events under Tubb, such as the 2016 Outdoor Track and Field National Championship meet, in which the Texans made collegiate history by capturing their 10th consecutive Outdoor national championship.

TubbAt SPC, Tubb was in charge of supervising all sports programs and coordinating activities designed to promote athletics at the college. Tubb was also responsible for events hosted by the college at the Texan Dome, including both intramural and recreational programs at SPC and Texas High School University Interscholastic League (UIL) events.

Tubb also served a three-year term as president of the NJCAA, where he was responsible for presiding over annual executive and special meetings for the nation’s second largest intercollegiate athletic association.

Tubb was instrumental in the growth of two-year collegiate athletics during his time at SPC. He received the highest honor bestowed by the National Alliance of Two-Year Collegiate Athletic Administrators, the L. William Miller Award. He was also named Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of College Athletic Directors.

Tubb said he misses his time at SPC and all he did while here.

I was in athletics for 45 years in schools, and now there’s no alarm ringing at 6-6:30 a.m. getting me up in the morning,” Tubb said. “Some time when you have coffee, you sit there and think, ‘What am I going to do today?’ And I didn’t have to do that for a long time, but I drive down here, and these guys are still my friends. I’ll always be a South Plains College Texan, and I support them and will continue to do that.”

Scholarship Gala sells out, offers lively entertianment

Annual Scholarship Gala sells out, continues fundraising tradition

The South Plains College community will once again gather to support scholarship funding during a night of festivities.

The 20th Annual SPC Scholarship Gala, which has now been sold out for the first time, is set for Feb. 22. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland.

Hosted by the SPC Foundation, the Gala is an event dedicated to raising money for SPC student scholarships. All proceeds from event activities will fund efforts to continue supporting current and future SPC students.

The Gala will provide many opportunities, such as raffles and auctions, for guests to win many different prizes. During the live auction, which will be conducted by Jeff Oswalt from Abernathy, guests can bid on several items, including sports memorabilia, art, and Moonlight Musical tickets.

Guests will also get the opportunity to witness a performance by SPC alum Josh Abbott and the rest of the Josh Abbott band. SPC alum Christy Hartin of KCBD-TV will also be present at the Gala to deliver a Special Scholarship Appeal.

The SPC Foundation will also recognize Ray and Donna West from Midland for their many contributions toward SPC and their establishment of six scholarships, including the Scholarship for American Heroes Endowment and the Ray and Donna West Bailey County Scholarship. The couple will be awarded with the Pacesetter Award for their achievements.

Stephanie Smith, alumni relations coordinator, says that scholarships were important when she was a student, and the Gala is a huge contributor to SPC.

“This event could not be possible without our community leaders,” said Smith.   

For more ways to contribute to the Gala, contact Julie Gerstenberg, director of development and alumni relations, at (806) 716-2020.

Fake news creating distrust, hurting credibility of legitimate sources

Politics is a polarizing topic that becomes increasingly more polarizing with the spread of fake news.

The 2016 election flooded the Internet with fake news. Between the presidential candidates and their passionate supporters, the works of fiction quickly spread. Supporters were sharing online articles that fit their political beliefs, which created a distrust of both legitimate news providers and fraudulent ones.

David Williams, news director of KCBD-TV in Lubbock, said that he believes the biggest issue with ‘fake news’ is the distrust it creates.

“This is true whether we’re referencing the phrase ‘fake news’ or actual false content,” William said. “When people simply say something is ‘fake news,’ it can hurt the credibility of the content provider, even if the content is accurate. When the content is truly false, it hurts the credibility of legitimate news providers, which I think is often the intent.”

Fake newsAccording to an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, “many people who see fake news stories report that they believe them. Also, the most discussed fake news stories tended to favor Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, which led a number of commentators to suggest that Donald Trump would not have been elected president were it not for the influence of fake news.”

FactCheck.org reported that President Trump often dismisses news stories or media outlets that he doesn’t like as “fake news.” This is creating even more distrust in the media.

“We should all have a problem with so-called ‘fake news’, if it’s truly false content,” explained Williams. “I worry that many across our country now use the phrase ‘fake news’ to discount information they don’t like, even if it’s true.”

But bad information surrounding politics isn’t a new thing.

“I believe this has been an ongoing problem,” Williams adds. “However, so called ‘fake news’ is certainly increasing at a rapid rate, due to social media. Anyone can share anything these days.”

According to an article on PolitiFact, before “fake news” there were message boards where people would share their conspiracy theories and emails instructing others to forward the message. Even before computers, there were pamphlets and chain letters spread through the mail.

PolitiFact also reported that in 2016, most of the “fake news” stories were shared on Facebook. They were reinforced by Google searches, where stories from suspect sites would jump to the top of a news feed based on traffic. These sites would create fictitious headlines that people couldn’t help sharing.

Buzzfeed analyzed the interest in these stories and found that during the final months of the election, these fake stories got more shares and comments than real stories from sources such as  the New York Times and CNN.

With 1.79 billion people around the world using Facebook each month, Facebook’s influence towers over other online platforms. After the 2012 election, Facebook, hoping to encourage people to be better informed, introduced new tools aimed at helping users read and share more news stories. But Facebook’s technology and good intentions were used as fuel to the rise of  “fake news” in 2016, according to PolitiFact.

Board of Regents discuss enrollment report at February meeting

Student enrollment, bringing back training for CDL drivers and the annual Scholarship Gala were among the topics discussed during the February meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, reviewed the enrollment report and explained that the total unduplicated headcount is 8,744. That total is down 98 students, compared to spring 2017, which had a head count of 8,842.

Dr. DeMerritt stated that if the Texas Tech student enrollment in the TTAP program offered on the Tech campus is subtracted from the total, the college is only down two students. The total duplicated count is 12,173, compared to the 12,057 for last year, a difference of 116. Dr. DeMerritt also added that more students are taking classes across all SPC locations.

The enrollment for the Levelland is 3,767 students, while Reese Center has 2,265 students. Lubbock Center has 873 students, and Plainview Center has 280 students. The total dual credit student enrollment is 1,867, with 2,794 students enrolled in Internet course and 228 students enrolled in ITV courses.

The report also showed 1,778,544 contact hours for spring 2018, compared to 1,813,520 contact hours from spring 2017.

Dr. DeMerritt added that it is not uncommon to see a drop in hours taken from the fall to spring. Typically, students take a lighter load in the spring, 12 hours, as opposed to the fall when students tend to take 15 hours.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, discussed the progress of bringing back a Truck Driving School. Star Career Training in Plainview has approached the college about being the operator of the program.

“We don’t really have enough information available yet to make a decision on whether to go with a third-party provider or to bring the operation in-house,” said Dr. Gibbs. “That’s the two most likely choices right now. We’ll look at the cost, the risk, profit/loss margins. Not only that, buying tractors, buying trailers and those types of things are something we have to take into consideration.”

Dr. Gibbs added that the college wants to continue with truck driving training because of the high demand in the Lubbock area for drivers with a CDL license.

“At any one time, there are anywhere from 30 to 50 open CDL jobs in Lubbock,” Dr. Gibbs added. “If you notice anytime you drive by United, they have the trailer sitting out there asking for drivers.”

Dr. Gibbs said that they will get more information and then hopefully bring it to the board next month to have a better picture of what they are dealing with.

Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations, talked about the 20th Annual Scholarship Gala, “Generations of Opportunity,” that is set for Feb. 22. The Gala will be held at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland and is sold out this year. The Gala host is City Bank Texas, with underwriting sponsors Carrie and Richard Ellis and Donna and Ray West.

Entertainment will be provided by South Plains College alum Josh Abbott and his band. Additionally, Abbott’s band members, Preston Waite, Eddie Villanueva and David Fralin, are also SPC alums.

The table and ticket sales total was $116,000. Additional donations as of Feb. 8 are up to $6,275. This year, 484 seats were sold, while 461 seats were sold in 2017. The average attendance from 2012 to 2016 was 442, with the highest at 458.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, mentioned the Presidential Roadshow with Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, president of Texas Tech. They spoke to high school students around the area in January. The two talked about the new partnership between the two schools that makes transferring easier between the two institutions.

“I felt like it was important for me to go out and talk to these students,” explained Dr. Satterwhite. “To talk to them about college, the reality of college and the need to go to college.”

Dr. Satterwhite also talked about progress on the Culinary Arts facility at the Lubbock Center. He thanked Ronnie Watkins, dean of administrative services, for overseeing the fiscal part of the project. He stated that the process of it all is going smoothly.

Dr. Satterwhite also announced that Jolee Dietrich has been hired as the new director of the SPC Plainview Center. She will start on March 5.

“We’re excited about it,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “Jolee grew up in the area… And she has a lot of great contacts in the Plainview area.”

Student pursues passion in film after soccer injury

After a devastating injury that ended his soccer career, Fabio Acosta traded in his soccer cleats for a camera and found a new passion for film at South Plains College.

Acosta, a freshman film major, was born in Ojocaliente, Zacatecas, Mexico, but moved to Dallas, Texas, when he was 2 years old.

“I love the Dallas area,” Acosta said. “Everyone is so open-minded, and they don’t judge you.”

He played soccer for eight years before coming to SPC.

“I started playing when I was 12, which is very late, especially in soccer,” Acosta said. “Most people start playing when they’re 4 or 5.”

After playing on minor travel teams, Acosta started playing on the Lewisville High School team, turning the heads of scouts from NCAA Divison I and II colleges.

“I was offered scholarships from schools in Kanas and Oklahoma,” Acosta said. “The week before I was supposed to take the SATs, my team was playing for the Regional finals. We were losing 2-0, and I did a quick turn. I blew out my knee; I tore my ACL and my meniscus.”

IMG_9735Acosta said that before his injury, his life was all about soccer. He was trying to make a career out of it.

“I had high hopes and dreams,” Acosta said. “That summer, I was going to go to Mexico and try to go pro with a D-II team, and it just did not work out in my favor.”

Acosta started to steer his life in a new direction. From the moment he clicked the shutter-button, he fell in love with photography.

“I picked up the camera and started snapping pictures, Acosta said. “I enjoyed take pictures of stuff and taking pictures of people. I was learning about the shutter speeds and lighting. I wanted to learn how everything worked.”

After receiving a camera of his own for his birthday, he started trying to edit his photos using apps and watching YouTube videos. YouTube is where he found an interest for cinematic videos.

“I thought that was so cool,” Acosta said, “so I started filming and tried putting stuff together.”

Instead of just using apps to edit his videos, Acosta said he wanted to use professional editing tools, such as Premiere Pro.

“So, I started to look at schools,” he said. “I came across South Plains College; it looked unique. I read online that SPC was one of the top junior colleges for film.”

Since coming to SPC, Acosta says his advisor and instructor Greg Cook has taught him so much about editing and film.

“He’s just a really cool guy,” he said. “He’s helped me with everything I needed. Up to now, he’s just been a huge help. I’ve really fallen in love with film and editing.”

After SPC, Acosta hopes to transfer to Texas Tech University or the University of North Texas.

“I like Tech, and UNT is close to home,” Acosta said, “but I’ve thought about moving to L.A., because L.A. is really big on film.”

Acosta plans to travel and make his mark on the world with his camera and the knowledge he gains at SPC.

“I want to show people what I can do,” he said. “I want to show people the world, because I feel like a lot of people are closed-minded. I want to show them different cultures, different cuisines, and different areas.”

One place where he would like to make his mark with his film work is Asia.

“Japan and Korea are two very interesting places I’d like to visit,” Acosta said. “I’m interested in their culture, their food, and especially their film industry. The way they make their music videos is over-the-top. They go all out for them.”

Acosta says he was nervous about making the transition from a big city, such as Dallas, to a small town, like Levelland. But the people he’s met along the way have made it easier.

“For the first three months, I didn’t talk to anybody,” Acosta said. “But then I met some people; they’re pretty cool. They’re my friends to this day.”

Acosta went on to say he enjoys everyone he has met and everything has been able to accomplish at South Plains.

“I’ve met a lot of cool people here,” Acosta said. “It’s awesome. The instructors are pretty awesome too. I’m enjoying all my classes. It’s been fun.”

Proud alum credits career accomplishments to SPC

Joni Granados uses her past experiences at South Plains College to guide her successful career as a laboratory supervisor.

Granados began studying Biology from 2007 to 2009 at South Plains College. She also worked as a laboratory assistant for the Chemistry Department. She explained that this experience allowed her to learn more about the professors.

She also prepped the chemicals and supplies for chemistry labs, which gave her a taste of what it was like to work in a laboratory.

“I greatly enjoyed working with the Chemistry Department, getting to know the professors, and learning more about working in a laboratory,” recalled Granados.

Granados said that she enjoyed her time at SPC because of her professors, the campus, and flexible schedules. Once she transferred to Texas Tech, she realized how grateful she was for the small classes and how the professors were able to help students individually.alumn

When asked what advice she would give current students attending SPC, Granados explained that even though this is a community college, her grades follow her to this day when applying for jobs 10 years later.

“The best advice I can give is to enjoy their time at SPC,” Granados said. “It wasn’t until I went to a large university that I realized how much I under-appreciated the time and patience that professors have. The professors at SPC take time to help the students understand the material. Not to say that the professors at Tech weren’t helpful, but when you have a class of 200, you cannot provide individual attention that the professors at SPC are willing to do.”

Granados added that students should keep in mind that even though SPC is a community college, grades will follow you throughout your career.

“Every time I accept a new job, I must turn in copies of my transcripts,” said Granados, “though it’s been 10 years since I’ve attended SPC.”

Granados explained that SPC helped prepare her for earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at Texas Tech.

“I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Science, both from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center,” explained Granados. “Attending SPC helped prepare me for TTUHSC.”

Granados has worked as a laboratory supervisor in two different laboratories. She is now a clinical laboratory scientist at South Texas Veterans Healthcare System in San Antonio, Texas.

Granados has accomplished earning multiple degrees on the way to becoming a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. South Plains prepared her for furthering her career.

“Earning my degree has helped me achieve my goals and allowed me to work in a field that gives me pride and a great feeling of accomplishment,” said Granados.

Professor imparts life lessons through history

Hard working, passionate, and charismatic are words that describe Dr. Corey Beene.

The professor of history at South Plains College spreads her positive attitude and love for the subject throughout the classroom each day

Born and raised in San Antonio, Beene attended Robert E. Lee High School, where she earned a full scholarship to play volleyball at Angelo State University in San Angelo.

“I played volleyball, and that took up all my time,” explained Dr. Beene. “I didn’t have time to do things outside of volleyball.”

Dr. Beene continued to play volleyball throughout college and even joined club teams. Angelo State is where she pursued her bachelor’s degree in history and earned a master’s degree in international studies. She later earned her PhD in American history at Texas Tech University. Dr. Beene said that she did not get her PhD until she was in her 30’s, which inspired her life motto, “It’s never too late.”

Just to try something new, Dr. Beene has put some of her focus into a new project she has been working on, blogging about American history.

“I just keep trying to learn new things,” said Dr. Beene. “I want to try pivoting and doing new stuff.”

Dr. Beene teaches her students not only about history, but about life as well. She teaches her students to not be afraid to ask for help.

“I always tell my students it’s never too late to do something,” said Dr. Beene. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how young you are. Don’t let that be a hindrance in your life.”

Dr. Beene loves history in and outside of the class room, which is channeled through her teaching.

“I love my job,” said Dr. Beene. “I love what I do.”

It was former teachers and professors who inspired and generated her love for history, and made the idea of being a history professor a reality. Throughout college, Dr. Beene got to see how fun it was to talk about history all day, the flexible schedules and how much reading was involved.

Image“I was sitting there thinking, “man, this looks like the best job ever,”” said Dr. Beene.

Dr. Beene imparts the same ideas to her students.

“History can be cool,” said Dr. Beene.

She recognizes her personal history and how blessed she is for her history.

“If my great grand parents wouldn’t have come to Texas during the Mexican Revolution, I would still be in Mexico,” said Dr. Beene. “I wouldn’t be anywhere near who I am today.”

Because she knows where she could have been, Dr. Beene sees how great the United States is and wants to express that to her students as well.

“I feel like I am really patriotic,” Dr. Beene said, “and because of that, it translates into loving American history. I want to tell the students what has happened in the past, and this is why who we are today.”

Dr. Beene takes pride in her work and what she teaches.

“Teaching is about giving students facts that they wouldn’t know,” said Dr. Beene. “I feel like mission accomplished if I can get some of the students to understand what I am teaching.”

“I feel like I am the bridge between the past and the present,” she added. “History doesn’t have to be about a bunch of dead presidents.”

Dr. Beene said that she makes it a priority to make learning fun and enjoyable in the classroom.

“History is about culture, life stuff, and people,” said Dr. Beene. “It’s about the things that have made us American.”

While she was pursuing her PhD, Dr. Beene served as a teaching assistant at Texas Tech. She did that until she graduated, then got a job teaching at SPC. Dr. Beene has been a professor at SPC for close to 10 years.

“It’s the best job,” Dr. Beene said.

Dr. Beene is proud of the life she has lived so far, involving her kids, marriage, and teaching. She has learned that life is about hard work and you have to put in the effort.

“I am proud to work at a school that values students and what you guys are going to do with your life,” said Dr. Beene. “And again, I am proud to be an American and a Texan.”

Moonlight Musicals blends Broadway shows with heartwarming touch

Lubbock Moonlight Musicals puts on plays, musicals, and concerts for the community. This month, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals put on a “Serenade to Broadway,” starring David Gaschen.

“A Serenade to Broadway” is a tribute concert to all the major Broadway musicals. Songs from “Wicked,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “Into the Woods” were among those feautured. All the music was provided by a live orchestra, which did an amazing job recreating all the original songs.

Philip Mann, currently serving as the director of Orchestral Studies at Texas Tech University, brought passion to the concert with his graceful conducting.

What is really interesting about this specific cast is that most of the performers have bigger roles in the organization. Some of the cast included: Gerald Dolter, producer and stage director; Daniel Hogan, scenic designer; and Justin Duncan production manager and technical director.

Other cast members included Nicole Casteel, Annie Nichole-Burge, Katrina Wilson, Francisco Rendon, and Travis Burge. Each cast member has an amazing voice. The talent on the stage was incredible.

lubbock plays 1It was very heartwarming to know that many of the performers get their start in Lubbock, leave, have amazing careers and come back to showcase their experiences and talents to the community that they are from. The cast performed amazing solos and duets. Their voices mixed really well.

All cast members were dressed fitting the song performed. Everyone looked absolutely stunning. Every time the song would change, the background color would change too. That really helped bring color and life to the performance.

The start of Act I was “Overture” from “The Sound of Music,” performed by the Moonlight Orchestra and Mann. It really set the tone for the rest of the concert, as you could tell the concert was going to be fun and upbeat. Katrina Wilson did an amazing job performing “Honey Bun” from “South Pacific.”

Between the songs, the conductor would interact with whoever was singing at the time. That gave the audience time to get to know the performer. Mann would ask questions such as what brings you to Lubbock? And where did you start your career? This created a light, spirited vibe. It brought the audience and performers together. At some point, you almost feel like you know the performer.

The featured performer was Gaschen, who started his career in Lubbock. Gaschen graduated from Monterey High School, before going on to attend Texas Tech University. He later starred on Broadway as the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera.”

Gaschen sang a few of his songs from his CD, giving insight to some of the meanings to his songs.

Lubbock Moonlight Musicals really focuses on creating a “Family friendly atmosphere,” said Robin Henson, director of marketing and development.

“After it comes together, all we feel is pride,” she added.

‘The 15:17 to Paris’ disappoints with flawed , dull plot

True heroes honored, depicted in ‘The 15:17 to Paris’

Nothing is more inspirational than seeing people overcome a moment of terror, especially when that moment is portrayed by the people who lived it.

“The 15:17 to Paris” is a movie about a terrorist attack that took place on a Thalys train to Paris in 2015. It focuses on the three men who subdued the gunman and their backstories leading up to the event.

The interesting thing about this film is that the three men, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos, are all played by themselves. No other biopic has casted actors to this extent before.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, this movie does a lot of things differently than most films, which is why it stands out when attempting different scenes.

“The 15:17 to Paris” follows the three men along their journey through childhood to the day of the train attack. It was interesting seeing how these young men grew up as friends and later worked to prevent a tragedy.

However, it is this format that causes the most problems during the movie, as there are a lot of issues with focus and pacing.

After the childhood segment of the plot, the film begins to focus primarily on Stone and his endeavors to be in the military. Sadler and Skarlatos have little or no screen time or character development.

The_15.17_to_ParisI would have liked to have seen more of Sadler and Skarlatos, and how their aspirations led them to become so brave and determined.

Despite the focus on Stone and his time in the military, the movie later brings together the three characters and follows their travels across Europe days before the attack. This is where the problems with pacing start to occur.

When the characters start backpacking around Europe, the pacing slows down, and the film becomes monotonous until the climactic terrorist scene.

At this point in the plot, nothing happens, and the character interactions are more bland and forced. Following the characters is a struggle, as the audience must sit through them just sightseeing in different countries.

It was not until the climax of the train scene that the tension rises, and the characters display their true selves.

This was my favorite part of the movie. The train scene was thrilling compared to the boring Europe scenes, and there was more shown than what was presented in the trailers. It was scenes such as this that I enjoyed due to the quality character interactions.

Throughout the rest of the movie, the dialogue between the characters is not delivered naturally. Even though this is the first time that these three men have acted, I still wanted to see more from their personalities.

Their brotherly interactions are natural and fun while their scenes with other characters, such as Skarlatos’ mother (Jenna Fischer) and Stone’s mother (Judy Greer), are lackluster. The main characters, especially Sadler and Skarlatos, should have been more developed.

“The 15:17 to Paris” is a unique biopic, as it allows the real people to tell their stories. Despite the run time being an hour and a half, parts of the movie could have been cut to prevent some of the unnecessary Europe scenes.

The movie has many flaws and lacks certain elements. But it is still an inspiring movie that has some deep and engaging moments.

I give “The 15:17 to Paris” a 5.5 out of 10.

Word on the Street

RitaI do not support Donald Trump’s wall. It’s totally an act against humanity. We’re humans, and this lacks basic human compassion. I get that he is passionate about keeping the United States safe. But that is not the only way to do it”

Rita Reyes– Political Science, Sophomore, Lubbock

 

 

MaribelNo, I think it’s stupid. Who is going to pay for it? If he wants the wall that bad, he should pay for it, since he has so much money.”

Maribel Ramirez- Psychology, Freshman, Levelland

 

 

MorganI don’t like the wall, because it’s like, what’s the point in the wall? It’s just going to make more problems.”

Morgan Epperson– Business, Sophomore, Levelland

 

 

 

JaredTo me, it goes both ways. It depends on whether the person has a good job and not doing anything illegal. Then it’s not harming anybody.”

Jared Lewis– Video Production, Senior, Lubbock

 

RobertThe wall idea is really dumb. Walls don’t work. A, there’s ladders, and B, most of the people who cross the southern border come by plane, which a wall wouldn’t help anyway.”

Robert Holland– History, Sophomore, Amarillo

 

 

Compiled by Kyle Ewing and Caleb Brown

 

 

 

 

‘Jumanji’ remake incorporates comedy, action with modern transformation

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is a hysterical, heart warming, action movie!

This movie was based on the original “Jumanji” made in 1995. It stars Dwayne Johnson as Dr. Smolder Bravestone, Kevin Hart as Moose Finbar, Karen Gillian as Ruby Roundhouse, Nick Jonas as Alex, and Jack Black as Professor Shelly Oberon. This version is much newer, and its setting is transformed more into the current time.

The remake starts off with four high school kids who are extremely different in personalities being drawn to an old video game console.  They all pick their desired characters and begin to pixelate into the video game realm. This differs from the original movie, because it was a board game that was found instead. Also, the original characters were brother and sister, as compared to four random students. These differences really begin to show the time gap between the two films.

As the characters appear into the game realm, they slowly begin to realize they are not in their original bodies. This is hilarious, because the jock is inside a geek, the geek is inside the bodybuilder, the nerdy female is inside the hot, fearless woman, and a girly girl is inside a socially awkward gamer boy. This allows each character to see what it’s like in other people’s shoes.

The group of students slowly begins to adjust to what has happened to them, and they realize the only way out is to win the video game. They begin to freak themselves out because of the idea of how time passes by, and how the days are equivalent to those on Earth.

“How long could we be stuck here?” they thought. Journeying through the jungle is very dangerous and life-threatening events occur. One of the characters loses his life, because he is stomped upon by wild animals.

The characters begin to mourn, but then they realize their friend is falling from the sky and plops onto the ground. He returns with one less tally mark on his wrist from before. This brings viewers to the conclusion that each tally is a life, but what will happen once each tally disappears? If they completely die in the game, will they completely die in the real world as well? That was a question they had to live with in order to complete the game.shareImage

They come across a character in the game named Nigel, who has a repetitive nature and could not answer questions. This helped the students label him as a NPC (non-playing character). Listening to the script from Nigel, they figure out that in order to win, they must discover a legendary gem known as the “Jaguar’s Eye,” and place it back onto the jaguar statue.

On a quest to find the gem, they discover a home in the jungle where another character introduces himself as Alex. Alex helps the characters out by throwing smoke grenades to distract the enemy from the high school students. The characters realize he is a good guy. But when they reveal what year it is to Alex, they discover he has been stuck in the game for more than 20 years. They make a connection that Alex was the young boy who went missing years ago in their hometown, and that no one knew what happened to him.

Alex only had one life left, but he knew exactly how to win the game. He was timid because he failed many times and was afraid of losing his last life. The characters motivated him that he was the missing puzzle piece they needed to win, and insured him that they would help get him out of there.

With the stone rescued from a pit of snakes, they begin the journey to find the statue.  Many risks were taken, and many lives were at stake. Lives were even swapped from one character to another, in order to keep each other alive.

Finally, reaching the statue and miraculously returning the stone, they return to the school in their original form. This adventure taught them many lessons, and now they have a new bond formed among them.

The movie ends with the four friends walking to Alex’s house and seeing him get out of the car with his two children and wife. Alex notices his acquaintances and relieves them with the news that he returned to his year when the game was over. This was a very heart warming ending and a very great movie overall. I rate this movie a 9/10.   

New ‘Dragon Ball’ Game immerses fans with engaging gameplay

The nostalgia of my childhood has been in full force the past few months.

I’m a little older than the average South Plains College student.  I was born in 1989, making me a ‘90s baby.  Everywhere I look, I see something that just scream the ‘90s.  With that said, when I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with “Dragon Ball Z.”  Oh, what a time it is. The ‘90s anime is making a comeback in a big way.  Outside of the anime, which is firing on all cylinders, there has been a slew of “Dragon Ball” games during the past few years. But finally, they have released the pièce de résistance!

“Dragon Ball Fighterz,” developed by Arc System Works, is the latest game in the “Dragon Ball” video games series. It is a sublime and sometimes mesmerizing addition to any “Dragon Ball” fan’s collection.  The look, the feel, the sounds of the game, they are all spot on.

Let’s get things straight. I would not consider myself a fighting game fanatic. With that said, the fighting in the game feels very fluid and is absolutely gorgeous.  I sometimes find myself watching my friends stream the game just so I can take in the beauty Arc Systems has produced in this game. The combo system is set low enough for a casual gamer to grasp, but a more experienced gamer could easily dish out some awe-inspiring attacks.  Blend in the combination of having a team of three fighters at your disposal, then a brawler could really do some damage during time on the battle field.

Arc Systems really did their research when developing the game.  The voice acting is a wish come true, that only the “Dragon Balls” could grant.  The developers gave fans the option to toggle either the original Japanese dub, or the English dub, for the character’s language.  That is a great idea. I enjoy the original Japanese voice acting, but I am pleasantly surprised by the option to choose either at any time. Outside of the voice acting, the sounds of the game are just as impressive. You truly feel like you are watching the anime when you are in a match.

dragon ball zLastly, while I do not want to let too much of the story out, I can say it is a spectacle in itself.  Any self-loving DBZ fan is doing a disservice by not playing through the game’s story mode.  There are call-outs to past events all throughout the game, kicking your nostalgia into hyper drive. You may need to bring your dragon radar to uncover all of these hidden easter eggs!

More importantly, if you are burned out on the repetitive nature of the past few “Dragon Ball” games, then you will be surprised to learn that “Fighterz” instead uses a new original story that is as captivating as it is gorgeous.

Hands down, this game is one of the better “Dragon Ball” games that have come out in the past few years.  All in all, if you consider yourself a fan of the “Dragon Ball “series, you need to play this game! I rate this game a nine out of 10!

Border wall raises debate concerning benefits, disadvantages

Border wall could add to economic issues

by Adán Rubio

Border wall unnecessary, detrimental to nation

There are many reasons why some people want a wall built on the border between the United States and Mexico, whether it be keeping illegal immigrants out of the country or eliminating the drug smuggling.

But building a border wall will not be a permanent solution to the problems, and the construction will be difficult.

One argument that is always considered regarding the construction of the wall is the cost being high, and the labor being extensive.

Despite President Donald Trump’s promises for Mexico to pay for the wall, the United States will still need to pay for certain parts, such as materials, manual labor, and other expenses. According to multiple sources, such as the New York Times and CBS-TV, a 30-foot-high wall that extends along the border could cost more than $20 million, not including maintenance.

Millions of dollars would be needed to construct just a few miles of the wall, and more effort would be needed to build access points for vehicles traveling across the border.

Even though a wall could replace the old, weak fencing that lines the border, the money and labor needed to complete such an extensive project is astounding, considering the nation already contributes millions of dollars to patrol the borders.

Some might think that building a wall is worth the strenuous labor and the high costs, as it can aid in keeping out illegal immigrants and drugs.

My main argument to that statement is that where there’s a will, there’s way. Regardless of how long, high, or strong the wall is built, the country needs entry points in order to trade and deal with Mexico.

Through these entry points, anything can still be smuggled across the border, whether it be hiding immigrants in vehicles or putting drugs inside containers filled with produce and other traded products.

Businessman struggling with large ExpensesEven though the United States Border Patrol has dealt with these smuggling tactics before, it will take time to adjust to these methods while the wall is being built.

The wall is an extensive project that will take many years until it is fully completed. Currently, there are still immigrants going to remote parts of the border and climbing over the fences using ladders. Despite efforts to increase border protection, not all parts of the border can be secure, and the wall is not going to be built anytime soon.

I can see how a wall along the border can be beneficial for security. If the supposed 30-foot-high wall is ever completed, it would be very difficult for immigrants and illegal substances to get past the border. But at this point, the desire to build a wall is only slowing down the United States and its attempts to maintain a stable society.

Building a wall will consume much of the country’s time, money, and willpower. Focusing energy on a lengthy project is unnecessary, considering the time already being spent to increase national security. There are more efficient ways to prevent illegal immigrants and drugs from crossing the border without building a wall.

Regardless of how one feels about this issue, immigrants will take the opportunity to cross the border far before the wall would ever be completed. The wall could hinder the nation more than it could possibly benefit it.

 

Nation could be secure, unified with border wall

by Kyle Ewing

First off, I do not want the wall to keep immigrants out. Unless you are a descendent from a Frist Nation tribe, then you are, in fact, an immigrant to the United States.

I personally think immigration is an integral force for change that is vital for our country to grow. With that said, if they build a wall, the wall needs to have open doors to all who want to come to the United States.  Not only would the wall need an open doors policy, if a wall were to be constructed, I believe our immigration policies and practices need to be reworked to be more beneficial to those seeking to come to our country.

So, before you label me a bigot, please let me explain why I believe a border wall would be beneficial to our country.

My main concern that warrants the wall is border security.  The United States and Mexico share a border that is 1,954 miles long. Only about 700 of those miles currently have a man-made barrier, as well as an estimated 130 additional miles that have a natural barrier between our two countries.  The rest of our southern border is wide open for anyone to cross.  Also, if we build a southern wall, there is no reason not to build a northern wall on the 1,538-mile-long border shared with Canada.

Historically, most nations build walls to protect their ideals and populations from dangers from outside its own boundaries.  These dangers range from the drugs that cross our border to the people who seek to destroy the American way of life.  While the latter is obviously an extreme measure, it is a possibility that one must consider.

While many critics argue that barriers lead to division among people, with the right regulations in place, it could lead to a more unified population.  The wall would signify a monumental shift in American politics. With a more substantial stance on border security, it could possibly deter the people who only seek to come to our country to do harm to its people.  A stronger stance would also show the world that America is serious about mending the wounds at home that have been looked over for the past few decades.

If America could focus on itself and try to fix domestic issues, it would be a more alluring place for people looking for a new place to call their own.

I do believe immigration is essential to growing a more prosperous nation. While a wall seems to go against the idea of togetherness, I truly believe it would help alleviate some issues that keep us divided, such as illegal drug trafficking, human trafficking, and gang violence.

With our nation’s borders being more secure, it would lead to a safer and more connected American population, a population where everyone is heard, no matter their skin color, their gender, or their personal beliefs.  If there is wall to be built, it must follow our American ideals that make America one of the greatest countries to live in.

I know the first thing that pops in your head when someone supports a border wall is, “That racist bigot! Who does he think he is?”  I understand and respect your views.  I believe that with a safer and more connected population, we can all move away from talks of division, to one of comradery and community.

Kidnapping, killing journalists needs to stop

The killings and kidnapping of journalists around the world continues to rise every year ,and not many people are talking about it.

According to a report from “The Guardian,” 115 journalists have been killed worldwide, and it’s unclear as to how many have been kidnapped. It’s well more than 30 in just two years.

The most dangerous countries for a journalist are Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Colombia and Mexico. Journalists are big targets in war-torn countries or a country that’s not very stable due to crime and drug cartels. The main people who target journalists are usually some sort of terrorist organization or Islamic militants. They do it not only for the publicity to their cause, but also for ransom money demanded from the country the journalist is from. If that government does not pay within a certain time, or not at all, it can be fatal for the journalist being held hostage. They’re beaten and sometimes tortured  to death.

An American freelance journalist named Austin Tice was abducted in Syria in 2012 near the city of Damascus. He was reporting on the Syrian government when he mysteriously disappeared. No group claimed responsibility for his kidnapping. The last time he was seen was in 2015 on a 47-second YouTube video. He was badly beaten and forced to read a message in Arabic. He has been held captive for six years, and nobody knows where he is, or if he’s even still alive. 

Although Syria can be dangerous, Mexico is just as bad. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2017 Mexico was ranked as the number one most dangerous place in the world for journalists. At the start of the year, there had already been seven deaths. One of those cases was a TV reporter named Salvador Adame, whose burned remains were found in the city of Nueva Italia. He had been missing more than a month. His family claims he was taken by an armed group. Before he was abducted, Adame had been covering a demonstration protesting the cancellation of government-funded programs. caleb op 2

Some war journalists are even killed on the battlefield in the middle of their report, sometimes being caught in the crossfire. Most terrorist groups such as ISIS see killing a journalist as a big opportunity. So every chance they get, they’ll shoot to kill. If it’s a foreign journalist, they are often rewarded for it. 

If it’s an American or French journalist in Syria or Iraq, they would be targeted, because those two countries are part of the coalition fighting against the Islamic State and they see it as a small victory because they hate western media and think the journalist is biased toward their beliefs and ideologies. On some occasions, they are shot at more than the soldiers they are reporting with.

Journalists are not only targeted by armed groups or terrorists, but also by corrupt governments all around the world. An American journalist named Martha O’Donovan had been living in Zimbabwe. After comments she made about President Mugabe, she was arrested and now faces 20 years in prison for bad-mouthing the government, which is a bit extreme. I don’t think she should be arrested for doing her job. 

People don’t realize that not every country has a First Amendment and Constitution like we do in the United States. We have the freedom to say whatever we want, even if it is toward the government.

So being a journalist abroad can be very dangerous, because your job is to tell the truth, no matter what. But when that truth is against a corrupt government official or terrorist ideals, your life is automatically put in danger. I personally have a lot of respect for journalists, especially those in war zones. They don’t carry any weapons. All they have is a camera and a note pad. They choose to put their life on the line. That shows courage and the dedication to getting the truth out to the rest of the world. 

I think we need to have more awareness of the killings and kidnappings of journalists. When telling the truth becomes a crime, that’s a problem, no matter what country you are in.   

Doing activities by yourself could benefit mental health

Usually, if you aren’t used to doing things by yourself, it can seem kind of scary and weird to think about going to the movies or eating alone.

However, it could possibly be one of the best things for you as a person. If you are a person like me who freaks out at the idea of doing something alone, then you understand how nerve racking it can be to go somewhere by yourself.

I will admit I have never really done anything alone, and I am 18 years old. I don’t live at home, but I still am always with family or friends. I still make sure my mom goes to the doctor with me or to my eye doctor appointment.

I know that constantly being around people is not for everyone. Some people prefer to go and do things alone. But for those of us who do things alone, it isn’t the “norm.”

Recently, I wrote a movie review for this paper, and no one would tag along to the movie with me. So the only choice I had was to see it alone. Honestly, it was really weird seeing a movie by myself. Only buying one ticket, small popcorn, and a small drink was something I have never experienced before. But I can say it was one of the most growing experiences for me.

Going to the movies by myself was so refreshing. I didn’t have to worry about anyone but myself. I was able to think my own thoughts, which you can do when someone else is there. But the difference is that I didn’t have to tell anyone my thoughts. I didn’t have to answer to anyone.

Woman sitting alone

You would think going to the movies alone would make you feel lonely and weird. But, in reality, it helps you grow as person. You grow this sort of independence by doing things alone. You may feel that people could be looking at you like ‘what the heck is this person doing?’ But I feel that everyone should try to do things by themselves every now and then.

I learned that it is not always healthy to constantly depend on others. It is refreshing and helpful to do things on your own. You really learn more about yourself as a person and the things you are capable of.

Another thing I suggest people should do at least once is eat by themselves. Go to a restaurant and eat alone. Most people probably will never do this, unless you are one of those people who enjoy being alone. When you think of eating by yourself, you think,  “I don’t want to be that weirdo sitting alone.” But don’t think about what the others around you think, because it is so much fun to just people watch and observe the world around you. You learn more about other people as well.

I can honestly say everyone should go and do things on their own. It helps you grow as a person. No matter how lonely you may think you feel, still go out there and do it.

Texans continue conference play strong with multiple victories

The South Plains College men’s basketball team continues to improve their record while fighting for a spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association playoffs.

The Texans pulled off an outstanding 78-75 victory against New Mexico Military Institute on Feb. 12 in Roswell, N.M.

SPC managed to stay out of the reach of the Broncos, and a three-point conversion from Raymond Doby in the last seconds sealed the Broncos’ fate.

At the start of the second half, SPC held a 35-29 lead before the Texans went on a 20-9 run. Keith McGee netted a 3-pointer with 12:23 left to play, which put the Texans up by 17. The Broncos answered with their own 17-10 run, pulling within 10 points of SPC.

McGee slammed a dunk down with 2:02 left to play, bringing the score to 76-64. The Broncos gave the Texans some trouble with a 9-0 run, closing the gap to three points with 41 seconds to go.

Deshawn Corprew was fouled with 29 seconds left and put away two free throws, taking the Texans to a 77-73 lead with 29 seconds left.

Corprew finished the game with 21 points and six rebounds, while Ben Perez ended the night with 19, hitting six 3-pointers. The Texans improved to 17-7 on the season and 9-3 in WJCAC play.

SPC suffered a hard-fought 80-60 loss against Howard College on Feb. 9 at the Texan Dome.

Though SPC started off rough in the first half, Jordan Brangers brought the Texans back to within 10 points in the second half. With 17:51 left, Brangers hit a 3-pointer from the right side of the court, but Howard answered with a basket from Jake Hutchings, bringing the lead to 12 points for the Hawks with 15:20 to go.

Brangers would bring the Texans back to within nine points with a key-three point conversion with 14:50 left to play. Howard answered with two three’s from Jeremy Hayes.

The Hawks shot 55 percent from the floor, and had four players score in double digits. Amari McCray led Howard with 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Hayes tallied 17 points and 13 rebounds. Hutchings finished with 14 total points and five rebounds.

The Texans shot 36.8 percent from the floor and 26 percent from the three-point line. Brangers finished with 22 points, while Doby tossed in 16 points and five rebounds. William Washington had 11 points, and Corprew finished the night with six points. IMG_1764  

The Texans had four players score in double figures in a 85-74 victory against Frank Phillips College on Feb. 5 in Borger.

Brangers led SPC with 24 points and also grabbed five rebounds. Corprew added 18 points, hitting four 3-pointers, to go along with six rebounds and four assists.

Isaiah Maurice chipped in 14 points and five rebounds, while Perez also scored 14 points and added three rebounds and three assists.

The Texans shot 54.9 percent from the floor and 48 percent from the three-point line. Corprew led the team with 14 points in the first half, while Perez and Brangers had 11 points combined in the first 20 minutes. The Texans led Frank Phillips College 36-30 at halftime.   

SPC converted on 15 of the 25 attempts in the second half. The Texans shot 60 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from the three-point line.

On Feb. 1, the Texans started the night against Midland College strong in Levelland, hitting 14 of their 31shots from the field, including seven of 16 from the perimeter, en route to a 75-64 victory.

Corprew scored 12 and Brangers scored nine of his 18 points in the first half, helping SPC to a 39-38 lead after 20 minutes of play.

The Texans held a 52-46 advantage following two free throws from Brangers. In the second half, Midland caught up to the Texans with an 8-2 run to tie the game at 54-54 with 6:23 left in the game.

Maurice hit a 3-pointer on the following possession to put the Texans up 57-54, but Midland answered with their own three-point conversion, tying the game again with 5:38 left on the clock.

SPC trailed 60-59 with 4:32 left to play after a 3-pointer from Midland, before Perez hit a 3-pointer from the right wing and was fouled. He hit the free throw, putting the Texans up, 63-60.

The Texans stayed in the lead for the rest of the game, fueled by a 16-4 run capped off with a three-point conversion from Brangers with 48 seconds left in the game. SPC improved to 15-6 for the year and 7-2 in WJCAC play with the victory.

Lady Texans struggle during conference play

The South Plains College women’s basketball team continues to fight in hopes of improving their record as the end of the season approaches.

The Lady Texans suffered a hard 63-56 loss to Howard College on Feb. 8 at the Texan Dome. They slipped to 15-11 for the year and 2-8 in Western Junior College Athletic Conference Play.

After three quarters, freshman Gabbie Green brought the Lady Texans back to within 11 after converting two free throws with 3:30 left to play. Mikayla Kuehne ended a 14-5 run with a 3-pointer, bringing SPC to within nine. Kuehne then sank a pair of free throws to cut Howard’s lead to 59-52 with 2:05 left to play.

Kuehne hit a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left to bring SPC to within six, but Howard would shut down the Lady Texans’ final attempt to even the score in the final seconds.

Kuehne ended the night 6 of 17 from the field. SPC shot 35 percent from the floor and were 2 of 14 from the 3-point line. Freshman La’Praisjah Johnson chipped in 13 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Green added seven points and Christina Baker finished the game with six.

Howard’s Kendall Alsup led the scoring for the Hawks with 18 points. Corbin Cunningham ended the night with 14 points and eight rebounds. Howard improved to 14-12 on the year and 4-6 in WJCAC play.IMG_1661

The Lady Texans fell to Frank Phillips College 62-53 on Feb. 5 in Borger. The Lady Plainsmen, undefeated at home this season, had two players in double figures, as Marlene Aniambosou and Kinsley Choate each finished with 17 points.

Kuehne scored in double digits with 16 points in her 40 minutes of play. Green chipped in 10 points and four rebounds for the Lady Texans, while Baker tallied eight points and six rebounds. Johnson and Maddie Dorris each had six, points while Haleigh Hill finished with five.

SPC shot 35.3 percent from the field and 4 of 20 from the three-point line. The Lady Texans dominated the rebound game with 33 on the night, leading to 20 points inside the paint. SPC also earned 17 points on second-chance opportunities.

The Lady Texans celebrated a well deserved 58-44 victory against Midland College in front of the home crowd on Feb. 1.

Johnson scored a career-high 21 points, while Kuehne grabbed 11 points for SPC.

Johnson scored 18 points in the first half, and was 7 of 11 from the floor and 4 of 6 from the three-point line.

In the first half, the Lady Texans held Midland to 0-for-9 from the three-point line and 17 percent shooting from the field.

SPC continued to dominate Midland both offensively and defensively in the second half. The Lady Texans held the Lady Chaps to 3 for 12 from the floor. Dorris hit her first 3-pointer of the season, which pushed the Lady Texans’ lead to 14.

Chantel Govan dropped in 10 points and had three assists in her 35 minutes of play. Green contributed eight points, while Dorris and Baker each contributed four points to help the Lady Texans to victory.

Track teams gain more national qualifiers at recent meets

The South Plains College men’s and women’s track and field teams recently added to their list of national qualifiers at a pair of indoor meets.

The teams competed at the Charlie Thomas Invitational in College Station and the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The teams increased their number of national qualifiers at the 2018 Charlie Thomas Invitational at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on Feb. 2.

In the men’s 200 meter finals, three runners earned national-qualifying marks. Junior Charles placed 10th with a time of 21.70, while Brandon Letts finished 12th with a time of 21.78 and Jordan Atkinson finished 13th and with a time of 21.80.

In the men’s mile run, Andrew Bosquez finished 11th with a time of 4:14.94. Sophomore Felix Kosgei finished 16th with a time of 4:22.83, and both Bosquez and Kosgei earned national-qualifying marks.

In the men’s 3,000 meters, Filmon Beyene finished 11th with a time of 8:52.80. Beyene also placed ninth in the men’s 5,000 meters with a time of 15:08.64.

In the men’s 60-meter finals, Andre Edwards placed sixth with a time of 6.89.

In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, William Watson placed first and Mason Weh placed second. Watson crossed the line with a time of 7.95, and Weh was right behind with a time of 7.97. James Willingham earned a national-qualifying mark in the men’s high jump, with a jump of 6 feet, 8.25 inches.

Freshman Parker Wood cleared the bar in the men’s pole vault with a jump of 15 feet, 7.75 inches, placing fifth overall.

In the men’s triple jump, freshman Danylo Molchanov jumped 48 feet, 7.25 inches, earning a third-place finish. Molchanov also placed ninth in the long jump with a mark of 22 feet, 1.75 inches.

IMG_1514Markim Felix earned a national-qualifying mark in the men’s shot put with a throw of 48 feet, 7.5 inches, finishing 11th overall.

For the Lady Texans, Omotayo Abolaji ran a 7.8 in the women’s 60-meter finals, finishing 12th overall but earning a national-qualifying mark. Two runners earned national-qualifying marks in the women’s 400 meters. Agnes Abrocquah ran a 56.79, placing fifth, while sophomore Ashley Hughes ran a 57.39, finishing 11th.

In the women’s mile run, sophomore Seselia Dala posted a time of 5:07.26 and finished 12th. Sophomore Leslie Romero ran in the women’s 3,000 meters, finishing 14th with a time of 10:27.83.

Freshman Jelena Rowe earned a national-qualifying mark in the women’s high jump, clearing the bar at 6 feet, 0.5 inches and placing second overall. Freshman Kodee Scott competed in the women’s pole vault, finishing 14th after clearing 10 feet, 2.75 inches, and earning a national-qualifying mark.

Freshman Ruth Usoro placed fourth in the women’s long jump, earning a national-qualifying mark with a jump of 18 feet, 9.25 inches. Usoro also placed fifth in the women’s triple jump with a final distance of 38 feet, 5.5 inches.

The SPC track and field teams also competed at the 2018 Tyson Invitational at the University of Arkansas on Feb. 8 and Feb.9. The teams competed against nationally-ranked NCAA Division I athletes and earned multiple national-qualifying marks at the event.

In the men’s 400 meters, Jordan Atkinson and Montel Hood both earned national qualifications. Atkinson posted a time of 48.14, and Hood crossed the line at 48.22.

In the men’s 800 meters, Dekaryea Freeman placed eighth overall and earned a national-qualifying mark with a time of 1:55.40. In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, Weh and Watson placed in the top 10 in the event. Weh placed seventh with a time of 7.91, while Watson placed eighth with a time of 8.03. Both runners earned national-qualifying marks with their runs.

Wood earned a national-qualifying mark in the men’s pole vault, clearing 15 feet, 1 inch. Holland Martin placed seventh overall in the men’s long jump with a jump of 23 feet, 11 inches earning, a national qualification. In the men’s high jump, James Willingham and Asani Hylton tied for eighth place with a clearance of 6 feet, 7.5 inches. Both Willingham and Hylton earned national-qualifying marks for their jumps.

Keion Sutton and Brandon Letts both earned national-qualifying marks in the men’s 200 meters. Sutton crossed the line at 21.89, and Letts had a time of 21.97. In the men’s 5,000 meters, Bosquez placed second with a time of 14:49.00 and, Felix Kogei placed fourth with a time of 14:51.11. Beyene placed seventh with a time of 15:18.17. All three runners earned qualifying marks in this event.

In the women’s 60 meters, Abolaji and Patrice Moody each earned national-qualifying marks. Abolaji finished with a time of 7.77, and Moody had a final time of 7.82. In the women’s 400 meters, Natassha McDonald finished with a time of 54.37, Agnes Abrocquah ran a 55.90, and Ashley Hughes finished with a time 56.51. All three runners earned national qualifications.

In the women’s 5,000 meters, two runners earned national qualifications. Dala and Romero placed in the top 10. Dala ran a 17:32.05, placing eighth, while Romero came in ninth, crossing the line at 17:39.31.

In the women’s 4×400 relay, Hughes, Abrocquah, Moody, and McDonald earned a national-qualifying mark with a time of 3:45.65, placing sixth overall.

In the women’s long jump, Usoro earned eighth place with a jump of 18 feet, 5.25 inches.

Carlsbad Caverns educates with impressive scenery

ALL PHOTOS BY Autumn Bippert 

CARLSBAD, N.M.– The air is humid, and the underground trail is dimly lit.

The atmosphere may be gloomy and damp, but it is full of opportunities to learn and witness amazing monuments.

Carlsbad Caverns is a cave attraction, consisting of 119 caves, in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, located about 30 minutes away from the town of Carlsbad. Guided tours are provided, or visitors are allowed to tour the caves on their own.IMG_1806

“The busiest time of the year is July, during the summer,” said Don McCombs, who works in the Offices of Resource Management at Carlsbad Caverns.

After either riding the elevator down to the caves or going through the natural entrance, the first attraction is called the “Big Room.”

“The Big Room is probably the most popular attraction because it is the largest cave of the Western Hemisphere,” said McCombs.

The size of the cave is equivalent to 14 football fields, making “Big Room” the largest natural limestone chamber in the Western Hemisphere that has been discovered.

The cave is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites rising from the ground and hanging from the ceiling.

222Carlsbad Caverns was formed around 250 million years ago, when marine wildlife built a limestone reef. A few million years later, about 60 million years ago, hydrogen sulfide gas and water created sulfuric acid, which ate away and created the caverns. Around 3 million years ago, the water drained and formed the caverns, along with the enormous stalagmites and stalactites.

“The caves were probably discovered a long time ago by the Native Americans,” said McCombs. “But sometime in the 1900’s, Jim White discovered it and began telling people about it. National Geographic did a story over the park, and in the 1930’s, the president signed for it to become a National Park.”

batsThe caverns contain little “pools” of water which can be found all around the caves. These pools remain from when the caves used to be filled with water, considering that there is no water flowing in or out. Longfellow’s Bathtub is the largest pool in the caverns.

The Bottomless Pit is one of the main attractions of the caves. When the cave was first discovered, the explorers could not see all the way to the bottom. The hole is actually not bottomless, but is 140 feet deep.

The Crystal Spring Dome is one of the largest and still growing stalagmites. It glistens with water and the minerals that make it continue to grow.

The Chinese Theatre is a sight where stalagmites and stalactites meet and connect.

The Doll’s Theatre is an opening, or little hole, in the cave that is full of stalagmites and stalactites. The speleothems, stalagmites and stalactites are very thin and are otherwise known as “soda straws.”

The Hall of Giants is a part the cave with towering domes, such as the Crystal Spring Dome, though it is inactive. The giant domes are interesting to walk beside because of how big they are. The Twin Domes, which are two identical domes, are also found in the Hall of Giants, along with the Totem Pole, a speleothem that is connected top to bottom.

Another feature of the caverns is a bat viewing area. During the evening, visitors gather at the entrance to watch bats take flight. Although the bats have migrated for the winter, the best time to view the bats take flight is toward the end of the summer, after mating season.IMG_1769

“The bats fly out every night to the middle of October,” said McCombs.

Touring Carlsbad Caverns is informative and interesting. Be sure to pack a pair of tennis shoes, due to steep and slippery trails. There are parts of the tour that are not wheelchair friendly. This tour is best suited for people who are into hiking and ready to learn about Earth’s mysterious creations.

IMG_1821“The self-guided tour usually lasts around two to two and a half hours,” McCombs said. “The tour with a tour guide lasts around an hour and a half.”

The experience is a fun way to hike and learn about caves and the history surrounding the area.

The caves are filled with beautiful and interesting sights, along with the history of the incredible formations.

“People should visit the park because it is an amazing cave,” McCombs said. “It’s one of the most famous caves in the world, and it has a lot of geological information.”IMG_1798