Month: March 2018

Taylor, Johnson receive Homecoming queen, king titles

Shae Taylor and D’antae Johnson recently were crowned Homecoming King and Queen for South Plains College.

“I am super excited,” said Taylor, a sophomore from Lubbock who was representing Smallwood Apartments. “It was completely unexpected.”

Running for Homecoming Queen was out of Taylor’s element, but she said it was a fun experience and she would definitely do it again.

The Homecoming nominees representing student organizations at SPC were presented during halftime of the women’s basketballgame against Odess College on March 1 at the Texan Dome. The winners were announced during halftime of the men’s game that followed.

  The nominees included: Adán Rubio and Autumn Bippert, representing the Plainsman Press and Press Club; Maribel Burciaga and Taylor Davis, representing the Catholic Student Ministry; Ashlee Graves and Pete Guajardo, representing the Student Government Association; Sophia Barnett and Kris Cancino, representing the Women’s Complex; Danae Race and Jacob Rosales, representing the Baptist Student Ministry; D’antae Johnson, representing Southwest residence hall; and Tyler Gutierrez, representing South Plains Songwriters.hocooo

“I felt shocked because I have never done anything like this before,” said Johnson, a sophomore from Arlington who is majoring in radio, television, and film. “In high school, I was the shy guy, so it is different and kind of weird to put myself out there.”

The students were nominated by their organization, followed by voting by the student body.

“I was nervous,” said Johnson. “But at the same time, it was fun, because I got to be around my fellow peers. So that made the event less nerve racking.”

This year, the student body was able to vote online, which helped make it accessible and easier for students to vote. The King and Queen were chosen by the number of votes received from the student body.

  Students got to enjoy and participate in Homecoming week by having a different event everyday leading up the Homecoming game: Monday was Find Ferris; Tuesday was a Rubix Cube Challenege; Wednesday was a Lip Sync Battle; and Thursday was an ‘80s Theme Game and Dance.

Former addicts encourage struggling students by sharing experiences

Former addicts recently shared their stories and experiences with students to help inform and empathize with those who need it.

“Ask an Addict,” a program offered by the Health and Wellness Center at South Plains College, was created for students to be able to anonymously ask questions regarding drugs and alcohol, or ways to help someone they may know who is struggling with addiction.

Events such as this help educate students on the topic and gives students who may be struggling with addiction the resources and connects them with other people in the community who may be struggling with the same thing, according to Chris Straface, director of Health and Wellness at SPC.

“An event like this could help someone feel not so alone,” said Straface.

Those speaking at the event held on Feb. 20 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center have had to deal with an addiction in some way or form.

A couple from a nation-wide clean and sober motorcycle club called the “Alternative MC”, Shelly and John Haney, also known as “Edge” and “Gizmo” spoke about their addiction and how they got to the place they are now.

Addiction is a hard thing to deal with but also recognizing that you have an addiction is an even harder thing to accept, according to Shelly Haney.

Being a part of the “Alternative MC,” John and Shelly have learned to support people who have addictive personalities and show them where and how to get help.

“If we can help one person, if one person can be reached, leaving with some type of knowledge about resources or recovery, then mission accomplished,” Shelly Haney said.

After going through things that some people can’t even imagine, the Haneys wanted to share what they have learned through the years and what each of them has been through.

IMG_9400John Haney said he has dealt with unimaginable things. But now that he knows there is a solution and a way out by staying sober and helping, he feels that he has a purpose to life. He said that he has learned how to live.

A frequent question that is asked is “How do I know if I am an addict?” John and Shelly explained that there are a lot of factors that go into deciding if someone is addict. A lot of it has to deal with the person deciding for themselves.

“I can’t put that on anyone,” Shelly said. “They have to decide for themselves.”

Both John and Shelly say that they had to figure out and decide for themselves that they had a problem. Sometimes it takes going through some consequences to see that there is a problem.

Shelly said that she started drinking at the age of 12, before moving on to drugs at 29. She said that she abused substances to help her cope with her life and the world around her. But she let the students know that drugs and alcohol are not the only coping mechanisms available.

Shelly was 33 years old when she lost everything she owned, eventually causing her to move back to Lubbock. It was a friend who was in recovery who took Shelly to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that helped her see that maybe she had a problem

John explained that he began using drugs at the age of 6 and didn’t get sober until he was 29 years old.

“It consumed my life and everything about it,” John added. “Every penny. Every thought. Everything I ever did was to get high and forget the way I was feeling.”

Students may not know that there are options and resources available to them if needed.

“Let them know that they have a choice,” said John Haney. “That there are people here that are willing to help.”

At the end of the spring semester in 2017, Rick Herbert, professor of psychology at SPC along with several faculty members and Nick Castillo, campus police chief, and some of the Health and Wellness staff, formed an Alcohol and Drug Committee to provide resources that maybe students weren’t getting before.

After deciding that “Ask an Addict” would become an event, the first people who came to Herbert’s mind were John and Shelly, who he met in a motorcycle club.

“They are the most personable and relatable people I know of that are in recovery,” Herbert said. “I thought that they would be the best at connecting with the students.”

Herbert says that he struggled with addiction while in college. What seemed like just having fun turned into something more serious.

“What may seem like harmless college-aged partying can be the first steps down a road that can be really dark and lonely,” Herbert said.

The first time Herbert tried to attend college, he got kicked out. But that wasn’t enough for Herbert to see that there may be a problem. He continued to party.
“It wasn’t until much later that I really hated the person I had become and got clean and sober,” said Herbert.

Eventually, everything in Herbert’s life was centered around getting drunk and high. He was diagnosed with Hepatitis C from sharing needles. After that, Herbert knew his lifestyle needed to be changed.

“That was a good motivator to change,” Herbert said. “I was ready to do something different.”

On April 15, 1998, Herbert turned his life around.

“There is an incredible resilience in human beings,” Herbert said. “We can bounce back from almost anything if we get the right help. No one is never so broken that they can’t be whole again.”

‘The Trust Project’ aims for credibility by promoting factual news

The public’s trust in traditional news outlets has steadily eroded. But one organization is striving to gain back that trust and deliver accurate news.

The Trust Project is a pro-transparency initiative with the slogan “News With Integrity.” It is an international consortium of news organizations collaborating to create standards  of  transparency in journalism with the goal of building a more trustworthy and trusted press.

The Trust Project has launch partners that include the The Economist, The Globe and Mail, the Independent Journal Review, Mic, Italy’s La Repubblica and La Stampa, and The Washington Post. Search engines and social media companies are also external partners of the project.

The Trust project is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman, and hosted by Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics was founded in 1986 with a grant and initial endowment from Linda and A.C. “Mike” Markkula Jr.

Fake News- trust project logoAccording to the Trust Project’s website, the Center brings the traditions of ethical thinking to bear on real-world problems.  Beyond a full range of programs for the Santa Clara University community, the Center also serves professionals in fields from business to health care, from government to the social sector, providing innovative approaches to problems from fake news to privacy protection.

The Trust Project uses “Trust Indicators” to verify content before organizations publish work. The project’s collaborators decided on a core set of eight Trust Indicators to implement first. The Trust Project’s website outlines these indicators as best practices, author, type of work, citations and reference, being locally sourced, diverse voices, and actionable feedback.

These indicators are: checking “what is the outlet’s standards? Who funds the news outlet? What is the outlet’s mission? Plus commitments to ethics, diverse voices, accuracy, and making corrections.”

Indicators also include: details about the journalist, including their expertise and other stories they have worked on; distinguishing the type of work the story is; citations and references for investigative or in-depth stories; and access to the sources behind the facts and assertions.

Another trust indicator is information about why reporters chose to pursue a story and how they went about the process, along with if a story is locally sourced and reported on the scene, with deep knowledge about the local situation or community, and if a publisher has a commitment to bringing in diverse perspectives.

The final indicator is checking for the outlet’s willingness and its efforts to engage the public’s help in setting coverage priorities, contributing to the reporting process, and ensuring accuracy and other areas.

Publishers that have used The Trust Project to verify their work use “Trust Marks” to indicate their collaboration with them. Participating publishers will display the “Trust Mark” on the page where they describe their standards and practices.

Lehrman, director of The Trust Project, started her journalism career at her college paper at the University of California at Berkeley. She also worked for The San Francisco Examiner and had a freelance career before heading the Trust Project. She has also received awards for her science reporting, including a Peabody in 2002.

In an interview with Ozy.com, Lehrman stated that, “It’s not about convincing people to trust you. It’s about earning their trust.”

Catholic Student Ministry president hopes to help students grow stronger in faith

Jasmine Carty hopes to help people with their personal faith and spiritual growth.

Carty, a sophomore from Palmer, Texas, is a kinesiology major and Catholic Student Ministries president.

Catholic Student Ministry is a group for students looking for a place to practice their Catholicism, which offers Mass, Bible study, and a student-run office. There are Bible studies at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Mass at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

As president of the CSM, Carty has responsibilities to accomplish with help from her fellow officers.

“I run officer meetings,” said Carty. “The officers work together to do fundraisers. I got to design the t-shirts for officers and the ones on sale school-wide. I run Bible study and give people volunteer opportunities.”

Carty said that she learned about the CSM at summer Orientation and learned more about the organizations and opportunities she has as a student.

“I learned about CSM at Orientation,” explained Carty. “I signed up for the Remind texts. At the CSM Mixer, I signed up to run for president.”

Carty took the opportunity to run for president with encouragement from her friends. As a president of any organization, it is important to be able to speak your mind and lead fellow students toward the right path.

“I ran because my friends told me that I would be a good president,” Carty explained. “I’m outspoken, and I get stuff done and not afraid to say what I mean.”

studentAs president of CSM, it is important to have a strong faith and help other students to build a strong faith and have a leader to guide them, according to Carty.

“I think the most important part of being president is making sure our members are heard,” said Carty. “Normally, in Bible study it would be a good idea to ask me questions one on one, because I enjoy ministering to people and talking about their personal faith and testimonies. I feel like not just as a president but as a Christian, it is my job to help people when they’re struggling or down.”

Carty encourages people to attend CSM and all their events. This organization helps students keep their faith and find some friendly faces. It is a safe place for Catholic students to express their faith and get involved in student activities on campus. This organization allows students to make decisions regarding choices that are made.

As president, Carty listens for input and helps accomplish goals for all of the students involved in CSM.

“Mass is really important for Catholics,” Carty said. “It is a really great way to get the body and blood of Christ. I enjoy the mass on campus. It’s a smaller service. But I enjoy the fellowship and being surrounded by people that share my beliefs and faith, and having that group of friends for me.”

Joining organizations on campus is a great way for students to become involved in something that excites them and is important to them. Running for offices in the organizations gives students a voice in the decisions made regarding the organization.

Carty said that she took this opportunity to become involved in an organization that is important to her as a Catholic and uses her voice to make changes that the students want to see. She encourages other students to use these opportunities.

“If people want to be an officer, they should definitely run,” said Carty. “It looks really good on a resume. It is a good opportunity to have your voice heard and be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Professor inspired to mold young minds through faith

Janet Hargrove has touched the lives of so many people in many different ways.

She touched the lives of patients working in the nursing field for 30 years. She has touched the minds of students at South Plains College for six years, and she has touched the hearts of people while working in ministry for almost 21 years.

            Hargrove, instructor in vocational nursing at SPC, grew up in and graduated from high school in Denver City, Texas.

            “My parents grew up there, so it was a community with a lot of history and heritage for me,” Hargrove said. “Definitely a town where everybody knows everybody.”

            She says she met Darren, her husband of 23 years, on a blind date. She jokes that her husband says it was love at first sight, but she took a few more days to realize it.

“He works in the Allied Health Building as the computer lab supervisor,” Hargrove said. “It’s great to work with him every day.”

Hargrove has four children – a soon-to-be married son, Seth of Levelland, son Nathan, a music education major at SPC, and daughter Cali, a freshman at Whiteface High School.

“This is still a busy time for our kids,” Hargrove said. “We follow them all over. My family truly is my hobby.”

Hargrove started her nursing career as a Certified Nurses Assistant. She worked her way up to a Licensed Vocational Nurse and then received her Registered Nurse certification from New Mexico Junior College in 1992.IMG_1061

“I have worked Medical Surgery, Labor and Delivery, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, and home health,” Hargrove said.

Hargrove has also work in nursing administration as director of nurses in a rural hospital and as a case manager.

“In small hospitals, you have to get accustomed to wearing many different hats,” explained Hargrove. “You tend to become a “jack of all trades” as far as nursing is concerned.”

Hargrove says she never planned to continue her education, but “God really likes to play jokes on us.” She recently graduated from Grand Canyon University with her Bachelor of Nursing degree and is currently working toward her master’s degree.

“I have been on the President’s List for my GPA since I started school in the fall of 2015,” Hargrove said. “It has been a challenge, but I have worked very hard to keep my grades up. I want my kids to see that hard work really does pay off!”

All of Hargrove’s hard work has been recognized in the South Plains area. In October 2017, she was inducted as of one of the South Plains Great 25 Nurses organization.

“It truly was an honor to be listed among so many of the great nurses within the South Plains region,” she said.

Hargrove started working at SPC in 2011. She says she always wanted to pursue a teaching career but never thought she would have the credentials to do it.

“When this teaching position came open, I applied and got the job,” she said. “I’ll never forget those first lectures…I would get queasy, break out in a sweat, my lips would tremble…I was scared to death.”

She says her favorite part about teaching is being able to connect with her students and build relationships.

“It is so much easier to teach a student when you can identify their strengths and weaknesses and push them to excel,” Hargrove said. “Education shouldn’t be intimidating.”

Hargrove says that she strives to change students’ mindset that “they are dumb, or that dreams are not reality.”

“There are a couple of things I tell my students all the time,” she said. “A, that I am ‘growing great nurses,’ because some day they may have to take care of me or my family and I want greatness taking care of me, not mediocrity! B, you will not find a better cheerleader than me.”

Hargrove credits her faith in God for allowing her to teach and practice nursing.

“God has opened a door for me to not only teach what I love, she said, “but to minister to those I come in contact with while doing so.”

Hargrove shares her faith by ministering for almost 21 years and continues to share the word of God.

“Whether we have the title of being in full-time ministry or not, I believe that we are called to share the love of Jesus,” Hargrove said. “I want people to look at me and say, ‘what’s different about Mrs. Hargrove?’ and recognize that it’s the love of Jesus shining through!”

The Bible verse Hargrove uses to describe the work God has done in her life with nursing, teaching, and ministry is Esther 4:14.

“Esther 4:14 in the Bible says, ‘for such a time as this’ referring to how and when Esther was named queen,” Hargrove explained. “It was through divine appointment. God has allowed me to work in an organization at a position that I love, this is my… ‘for such a time as this’.”

Alum credits SPC for impacting his future

Jason Hartline says that he had a set plan for his time at South Plains College. But never did he imagine that the experiences would help sculpt his career and him as a person.

The Muleshoe native made his mark on the SPC campus as a student from 2007 through 2009. He served as an editor for the Plainsman Press, president of the Student Government Association, and was selected as President’s Student of the Year prior to his graduation.

Hartline also served an internship with Myrna Whitehead in the Office of Marketing and Recruitment at SPC. He got to see all the things and tasks that had to be done on a daily basis.

“It was the most overwhelming conversation I have ever had to this date,” said Hartline. “It just blew me away.”

Participating in different organizations and an internship at SPC allowed Hartline to see that there is a method to all the things that are involved in communications.

“If you just get one concept down, you’re able to create the entire kit pretty quickly,” Hartline added.

After graduating from SPC, Hartline went on to attend Texas Tech University, where he majored in Public Relations. However, Hartline said his experience there couldn’t compare to the experience he got at SPC.

“I met more mentors and more people that led me to where I am today,” said Hartline of his time spent on the Levelland campus. “I love South Plains College.”

While a student at Texas Tech, Hartline got the opportunity to study abroad in Spain and work for a public relations firm for a while. From there, Hartline went back to Lubbock and had various jobs and opportunities. But the different jobs weren’t always so great.

“I moved my entire life from Lubbock to Dallas,” Hartline recalled, “and within two days I didn’t have a job. It was wild.”IMG_9416

Eventually finding a job with an international company, Hartline was able to learn the importance of digital media in communication. Throughout his jobs, Hartline has had to write different things for many different companies. It was learning from his professors at SPC that helped him grow as a writer.

“I used to be an awful writer,” Hartline explained. “I was horrible, Charlie (Ehrenfeld) would beat me up every day about it. But he helped me work very hard to achieve all kinds of things.”

There are a lot of different aspects that go into public relations. But for Hartline, being able to create a streamlined message from a bunch of chaos is one of his favorite parts of public relations.

“The purpose of public relations is to create a message that people can take and be able to turn it into their own,” said Hartline.

According to Hartline, public relations is an art in itself that comes with the experience of knowing how to influence a person’s opinion.

  After some trials and errors, Hartline eventually got the opportunity to create his own firm at a young age called “Hartline and Partners.” Running his own firm has been his favorite job so far, according to Hartline.

“Some people like to be an employee and just to represent one thing,” Hartline said. “But I am way too scatter-brained to do that. So being able to do what I do now with my own practice, being able to touch a lot of things at once and keep my mind busy, is what makes what I do so enjoyable.”

According to Hartline, he wouldn’t be able to appreciate all the different aspects of Public Relations if it weren’t for all his previous jobs. Hartline said he appreciates not only the technical side of PR but moral and life things as well.

“If you have a good attitude about stuff and a good outlook on things, opportunity will come,” Hartline added.

Hartline explains that before coming to SPC, he didn’t know anything about public relations. He initially was interested in a commercial music major, but SPC changed his outlook and helped lead his direction in life. According to Hartline, SPC provided the foundation for what he knows.

“The people that really got involved in my life changed my perspective on not only public relations, but the communications industry in general,” Hartline said.

It was because of the professors who were so involved in Hartline’s education that he got the experience and drive needed to excel in the communications field.

“The people at SPC took the time to mentor me on what stuff means, so my education was just profound,” said Hartline. “My time at SPC was just so impactful.”

‘Black Panther’ surpasses standards for action movies

The Marvel cinematic universe has once again spotlighted an underrated comic book superhero.

“Black Panther” is the next film that continues the Marvel universe story arc and introduces new characters that will soon play a huge role leading up to “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The movie, which takes place after events in “Captain America: Civil War,” focuses on T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as he claims the throne of Wakanda after the death of his father, the previous king. T’Challa continues his duties as the Black Panther, while a new foe, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), tries to seize the throne.

Black Panther, with the help of his ex-girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), and his general Okoye (Danai Gurira), fights to stop Killmonger’s plan to take over Wakanda and distribute its advanced technology.

The movie is very entertaining, and it leaves me excited for future Black Panther appearances in the Marvel cinematic universe. I really enjoyed how the film showed off Black Panther and his world, which did not gain a lot of recognition in the past.

The world has breathtaking scenery, and the action is very exciting to watch in the film’s different environments. With every change in setting, the action scenes remain exhilarating. Each one offers a unique experience, such as the quick-paced car scene and the slow, intense brawl between Black Panther and Killmonger.

Black PantherDue to the combination of the action and the visuals, it is very difficult to be bored while watching this movie.

The story is also very engaging, as it introduces a lot of new, interesting characters. It was fun learning more about Black Panther and how he is impactful within the comics. Simply watching Boseman perform with the other actors got me excited for future movies with these characters.

The acting in the movie is very natural, and the actors work well with each other. Whether it be a dramatic moment, a tense battle, or an occasional joke, the film does not seem to be too blunt or lighthearted, due to the perfect balance of different scenes. Because of this, the actors are able to show off their many talents, which makes the movie more entertaining.

It was great seeing Boseman play Black Panther throughout an entire film. After watching his performance in “Captain America: Civil War,” I could not wait for a full-length movie with Boseman as the star hero. Boseman performs well, especially when acting with Jordan, who also provides a great performance.

Killmonger is a great villain who has aspirations other than simply taking over the world. Jordan’s performance was unique, and it makes me excited for other “Black Panther” villains in future films.

The one thing that I did not like about the characters is that a few of them are not used efficiently in the film.

Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) is a government agent who helps Black Panther fight against Killmonger. Freeman’s character could have been replaced by someone else, and nothing would really change.

Klaw (Andy Serkis) is another villain who is barely used throughout the film. This was disappointing because I like seeing Serkis perform, and Klaw is an interesting villain in the “Black Panther” comics.

I hope that there are plans for characters such as Ross and Klaw in future Marvel movies. I wished they could have been utilized in more impactful roles.

Regardless of the acting or the stunning visuals, the main feature of the film is its story.

Black Panther is not the most popular superhero, compared to Spider-man or Batman. But that did not stop this movie from providing an intriguing storyline with a great protagonist.

It was interesting to see Black Panther on screen in his own movie, and I really liked seeing the many things that make him a great superhero. Even the supporting characters, such as Black Panther’s allies and villains, are a huge part of this movie. I want to see how the supporting characters further impact the cinematic universe in more movies.

“Black Panther” is a great action, comic book film that everyone should go see. It has plenty of action and an interesting plot that a comic fan, or people new to comic book movies, will surely enjoy.

I give “Black Panther” a nine out of 10.

Lubbock-Con combines pop culture with unique festivities

Comics, videogames and memorabilia are things that a pop culture fanatic can find at gaming or book stores. But in Lubbock, these items can be found at one event.

Lubbock-Con, a two-day event hosted at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, allowed guests to experience different aspects of nerd culture and vendors to sell many of their geeky wares.

Lubbock-Con, which was held on Feb. 24-Feb. 25, is an annual gathering that gives locals an opportunity to celebrate their love of pop culture, gaming, and cosplay. Since starting in February 2016, Lubbock-Con has grown to accommodate more vendors, special guests, panels and contests.

Through this event, Lubbock residents and people from nearby cities get experiences that were only accessible at far-away conventions, such as San Diego Comic-Con and PAX. Guests get to meet icons of nerd culture, learn of different fandoms and interact with people of similar interests without having to travel great distances.

After hearing about the convention on the radio, Michael Gaines, a first-time attendee of Lubbock-Con, came from Amarillo to experience something new.

“I hope to see some stuff that I haven’t seen before,” said Gaines.

The convention is one thing that Gaines said is beneficial for people who do not usually get the opportunity to express their interests.

“It allows people who are interested in certain subsets of pop culture to mix and match with other people of similar interests, that they may not meet in other areas,” said Gaines.

With Lubbock-Con being convenient for area residents, opportunities to buy quality collectibles or to show off one’s cosplay are now easily accessible. This event offers experiences that people may not have been able to obtain before.

After roaming parts of the convention, Chase and Catherine Olivier, first-time guests, said they were exposed to new things that they really enjoyed.

“We enjoy games and fun stuff anyway,” said Catherine Olivier. “It doesn’t matter what you are nerdy about. There’s definitely something here that you can be excited about.”

Being able to see all the items that were offered was one thing that Chase Olivier liked about his first time at the convention.IMG_6659

“Seeing all the cool merchandise that they have here,” said Olivier recalling his favorite part of Lubbock-Con. “Especially the artists. They have some really talented artists out here.”

The many collectibles, games, and art pieces are a big part of conventions. Many people crowd around one table just to look at the variety of merchandise that a vendor has to offer.

The amount and the type of merchandise are factors that vendors need to consider when selling at conventions.

Matt Martinez, a vendor for Star Comics, says there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done before selling items to Lubbock-Con attendees.

“It’s just rounding up a lot of things that we have in store,” said Martinez. “It’s really just considering who all is going to be at the convention and serving that group.”

All the preparation and work at Lubbock-Con were things that Martinez said he hopes will benefit business.

“It lets the people know that we’re here,” said Martinez regarding the convention. “We’ve been at Lubbock-Con since its inception. We’re here to serve you, your comic book needs, your collectible needs.”

Exposure at conventions is something that vendors strive to obtain for their business and wares.

Danny Kochis of Bolt-Designs says that he wants to show off his wares at Lubbock-Con and tell guests of what his t-shirt business is all about.

“You try to get a wide variety of merchandise,” said Kochis. “I hope to expose a lot of people to my product, my service, and my art.”

Whether it is the merchandise or the opportunities to meet new people and learn of different fandoms, Lubbock-Con offers experiences for all guests and vendors.

This event is a place where many people with different interests in pop culture have continued to gather during the few years the convention has been held.

Evan Rogers, a frequent guest of Lubbock-Con, said he enjoys that the convention acts as an outlet for him and his friends to immerse themselves with nerd culture.

“I think it’s something that we all like to gravitate towards, and we just like to hang out with friends,” said Rogers, regarding convention experiences. “I think that’s really what brings everybody together here at Lubbock-Con.”

During the past few years, this convention has grown to allow more people to take part in the festivities.

“I’m really happy to see that Lubbock-Con has been really successful for the last two years,” said Rogers. “It seems to be the little gem that’s out in the oasis here.”

‘Insidious Chapter 4’ horrifying with happy ending

“Insidious: Chapter 4” is a suspenseful, mind boggling, horror movie!

“Insidious: Chapter 4,” the third movie in the “Insidious” series, stars Stephanie Scott (as Quinn Brewer), Lin Shaye (as Elise Rainier), and Dermot Mulroney (Elise’s father).

The movie begins in Elise’s dream. She is dreaming about her rough childhood, and how she had her psychic abilities even as a child. Her abilities caused her grief, because her father looked down upon her special gift. Attracting and communicating with spirits angered Elise’s father. Anytime she would partake in these activities, he would beat her.

Elise and her younger brother share a room. Her brother had a whistle that their mother gave him for any time he was scared. In the dream, Elise and her brother went off to bed, and while they were trying to go to sleep they were both frightened by a noise.  Elise got out of bed and approached the closet. She began communicating with a spirit. Her brother was terrified and yelled at Elise to stop! In distress, her brother blew the whistle, and the father and mother raced into the room. Elise admitted to talking to a ghost to her father. Her father beat her and locked her in the basement.

In the basement, Elise heard a voice whispering to her. She slowly approached a door, where the spirit’s voice was projecting from. It told Elise that she was very special, and that she can open the door with the key. It told her only she could open the door, and that she could open all the doors to the Further (a realm where the spirits are contained). Elise inserted the key into the lock and turned the latch.

the real oneShe began to scream, and her eyes rolled in the back of her head. Her mother raced down to check on Elise, and the demon from behind the door hung her mother from the ceiling. The father raced down the stairs with sadness in his eyes. It quickly turned to anger, and he blamed Elise, whipping her with all the strength he possessed. Then Elise rapidly woke up from her dream of the past.

In her present life, Elise and her crew help people who are in need of ghost exterminations. She received a phone call from a man who said his house was extremely haunted. He began to repeat the address over the phone, and Elise slammed the phone onto the hook. The address was the exact address of her childhood home. She had not visited since she ran away from her brother and father at the age of 16.

Elise felt guilty and decided she was going to return home to help. When they arrive at the childhood home, she instantly feels the presence of  tons of spirits. They were the same ones that possessed the house when she was a little girl. She instantly knew the extent of measures she would need to take.

The ghost hunting crew went to a diner to get something to eat. Elise found herself staring at a girl who resembled her mother who passed away. The girl was accompanied by another girl who appeared to be her sister. An older man entered the diner claiming to be their father. When Elise laid eyes on him, she instantly knew it was her brother. He yelled at his two daughters to go outside, and told Elise to never talk to him again. He was bitter that she left him with their abusive father when they were children.

The crew returned to the house and Elise instantly got back to work. She was investigating her old bedroom. Spirits attempted to communicate with Elise. Under the bed, Elise found the whistle her brother lost ages ago.

One of the nieces followed Elise into the home, stating to Elise she has the same gift. They both rushed to the basement, following a girl spirit screaming for help. It was the same girl that tried to get Elise’s attention when she was young. The demon that killed her mother revealed its presence and possessed Elise’s niece, putting her into a coma. The only way to get her back was to enter the further.

Investigating and preparing for the Further, Elise found the girl spirit asking for help behind the basement door. She was a real human. The man that called Elise for help trapped her in the basement. He was possessed by the demon, and was brainwashed into doing this.

Elise discovered bones of many women who were trapped by her father when he was still alive. She instantly made the connection that the demon was the puppet behind the actions of her father. The reason why he was against her speaking to ghosts was that he didn’t want her to find out that he was possessed to trap women. This deeply angered Elise that this demon was the reason her entire family and childhood was corrupted.

She was motivated to go save her niece from the Further, and to finally put a stop to this demon. Elise entered the Further and was having trouble keeping her goal in check. Her other niece also possessed the same gift, and followed behind to help Elise. They both found the demon, and it pinned Elise down. Her niece saw the important whistle and threw it in Elise’s reach.  Elise blew the whistle as loud as she could. This called on the spirit of her mother, and they finally were able to defeat the demon. They quickly raced to escape the Further and to return the other niece’s spirit to her body so she could awaken from her coma.

This resulted in a relatively happy ending, and the answer to any questions Elise had about her childhood. I rate this movie an eight out of 10!

Back Talk: Recent mass shooting sparks gun control debate

Gun laws necessary for safety, prevention of shootings

by Autumn Bippert

In 2010, 67 percent of all homicides in the United States were committed with a firearm.

The United States sees tens of thousands of deaths and injuries caused by gun violence each year.

So why does the United States have such a problem with gun violence and other countries don’t? We don’t have any more mentally ill citizens than other countries.

The problem lies with the gun laws the United States has.

The Second Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

At the time that the Constitution was written, there was a war, but not a military like there is today. So citizens needed firearms to protect the emerging country. Common people were the “militia.”

But now we live in a stable country with a military, so there is absolutely no reason a civilian needs a firearm. We have police to protect us; we have a military to protect us. There is no longer a pressing danger of a Revolutionary War that requires the need for guns in every household.

In Australia, only the military and police have firearms. They have only ever had one school shooting in their history. That’s not to say they don’t have stabbings or other violent crimes. But you can kill more people with a semi-automatic gun than you can by stabbing people.

I am not saying to get rid of all firearms, or that no one should have them. But there needs to be stricter regulation on them, so that everyone is safe in their own country. Being able to drive a car is under stricter regulation than firearms.

In Japan, there is a four-month long process to be able to own a gun. First, citizens have to attend a daylong class, which they pay for, that outlines the responsibilities of owning a gun. There is also a test taken that day. After they finished the class and passed the exam, they are instructed to contact their local police prefecture to apply for training at a licensed shooting range.gun control backdrop

For the application, they need a certificate of residency, photo identification,  and a list of past jobs and addresses. The process also includes police questioning, background checks, more classes and tests, a mental health check, and having to wait for an official license before a gun can be taken home. After finally owning a gun, there are strict regulations on everything, from buying ammos to storage.

The argument that criminals will get guns no matter what laws are in place is brought up often when talking about making these laws stricter. But the same argument could be made for anything. Why have traffic laws then? People break them every day. Why have laws against drugs? Drug will still get in the country. But those laws are still there, and for good reason.

Stricter laws on firearms is not going to fix the problem completely. But the point is to make it harder for those who want to cause harm to have access to a tool that can end a lot of lives. It won’t affect law-abiding citizens, only those who should not have access to firearms.

We do not have a mental illness problem in this country. We have law problems. Something needs to be done so gun violence does not affect this country any longer.

Need for gun regulation undermines focus toward other solutions

by Adán Rubio

With the impact of the recent mass shooting in Florida, gun control and its affect on society is being debated once again.

Many will argue that guns are the main contributor in the development of tragic shootings. But there are other problems that need to be considered as possible factors for these attacks.

I will agree that the use and distribution of firearms are issues that can be regulated to lessen the chance of another attack. But with a sensitive topic, such as a school shooting, it will be best to acknowledge the many variables that can cause such a tragedy in order to better prevent one in the future.

Guns will always create conflict in society, and there will be no perfect solution that covers all issues associated with owning a firearm. If Congress focused all their efforts on gun control, there would still be problems, such as mental illness and security needs, that would warrant more attention.

Anyone can cause harm without using a gun. I agree that, in the hands of one attacker, firearms can create more destruction than a knife. But regardless of how people are injured or killed in any premeditated attack, what matters most is preventing these tragedies in the first place.

Focusing on just the regulation of firearms is counterproductive, as Congress will only be managing one source of the problem while there are other issues that are partly responsible for the lack of protection.

It would be beneficial to also focus on increasing security, rather than putting the full blame on guns. Regardless of any legislation, people who are intent on hurting others will do anything to fulfill their sick goals, whether that means trying other methods of violence or obtaining guns illegally.

No plan will ultimately be the perfect solution for reducing mass shootings. So, it will be better to utilize and acknowledge all the key possibilities when working to prevent shootings.

PrintAcknowledging the need for security in schools and other public institutions can be a huge step toward defending against attacks. Preparing for any possibility and working to improve all aspects of safety will be best to ensure a change in the number of shootings.

Another possible issue that can be manageable is mental illness and its contribution toward an attacker’s stability.

Whether one believes mental illness is the main cause of the recent Florida shooting is another debate entirely. Mental illness is just one of the many potential sources of violence that are pushed aside due to the prime focus on gun control.

Mental illness is not the main cause of the Florida shooting, or any previous homicidal attacks. But mental illness should not be perceived as a pointless reason for a person’s actions. Many people are plagued by disabilities, whether they be mental or physical. Some do not live in a nurturing environment that promotes good health.

Because of these reasons, mental stability is a defining attribute of a person and his or her actions. Working to give people the care that they need is just another step in preventing a murder suspect from being forged.

Preventing shootings is one thing that many will agree is a main priority. Putting the full blame on guns is pointless, as there are many issues that need resolution.

Risks of online dating puts teens n dangerous circumstances

Teenagers go online to meet new people, but they can be blind to the problems and dangers it brings.

Many teenagers around the world participate in online dating. They download applications and use dating sites such as Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and Hot or Not, among others. These sources are typically used to meet for dates in your general area, possibly making a connection. What many teens don’t understand is the issues that arise from online dating.

Online dating was originally made for older people who were having trouble meeting new people. Older adults have a harder time socializing and going out to find the man or woman of their dreams. Many are afraid that after losing their loved one or losing a connection with one they once loved, that they will never date again. When they do attempt to date, they are scared they might have lost their game. So online dating has been a tool to allow adults to date easier, and to quickly find someone who is similar to them.

Several teens started to also partake in these dating sources. The problem is that there many predators on the Internet. Predators will try to deceive younger people in order to get their attention. It’s extremely dangerous, especially if they decide to eventually meet up. They could get seriously hurt or kidnapped.

You never know who you are really talking to on the Internet. Adults have been around longer, so they have better intuition. They are more wise when it comes knowing if something or someone is dangerous. Older people are knowledgeable about taking precautions when meeting a person for the first time. This is also still very dangerous, even for adults.

A reality TV show called “Catfish” was even created to show the difficulties of online dating. It features scenarios about people who are chatting online and lying about their identities. Many of them use fake pictures because they are uncomfortable with how they look. Some do it to even target and trick someone they don’t like. The creepiest ones are those who trick women and men into being attracted to them in order to receive inappropriate pictures. A lot of times, younger people are the ones to ask the show for help, because the young generation can be the most oblivious about seeing big red flags from people lying to them.online dating

Another big issue with using dating sites is very similar to the problems electronics cause. It starts teaching the younger generation to forget how to socialize. People are so reliant on the dating sites that they don’t even know how to date without using them. Young adults are beginning to become oblivious to what it’s like to go out and meet people on their own, without using an electronic device.

Young people shouldn’t already be having the same problems as an old divorced person who is having trouble finding new love. They should be going out and having fun, enjoying their youth, because you are only young once. They should not be worrying about finding the right woman or man to share the future with.

The best feeling is when you just let go and let life lead you on the roller coaster. If it was meant to happen, it will happen on its own.

Anyone can be who they want behind a tiny computer screen. You never know who you could be talking to, or the problems that arise out of it. So it’s best for young adults to do it the old fashion way, and stay off sketchy dating sites and apps.

Animosity toward illegal aliens creates tension between citizins

In the western world, there is an immigration problem.

In the United States, there are more than 10 million undocumented illegal aliens. On average, 700,000 a year come to the United States from places such as Mexico, El Salvador and other Latin American countries. Most come for work while others are fleeing instability and violence in their country.

After the comments made by President Donald Trump about immigration, there’s been a lot of tension in America about the matter. I agree that we have an immigration problem. Instead of talking about it, we need to do something about it. I don’t think a wall is going to solve the problem. It may slow it down , but if someone wants to get to America badly enough, they will, and it’s just going to cost the American tax payer.  I know that there are some immigrants who only come to cause problems and are criminals, so they should be deported. But that’s a very small percentage.

The majority is hardworking and just want a better life by becoming American citizens. The main complaint I always hear people say about illegal immigrants is that they are taking jobs, which really does bother me because it is not true. You rarely see illegal aliens becoming college graduates and working as doctors, bankers, police officers, or engineers. They work at all the jobs average Americans don’t want, such as janitor, or field worker, or construction worker. I don’t think they are taking anything. If anything, they are helping the economy, because they end up spending their money in America.

Migrants are being exploited and abused, as they are being used to traffic drugs for cartels, which makes the hard-working migrants look bad. Something needs to be done. Politicians need to come to an agreement fast. Otherwise, it’s just going to get worse.

immigrationThe migration problem is just as bad in Europe, mainly in western Europe. In London, England, 40 percent of the population are immigrants born abroad, and it continues to rise. Migrants are constantly crossing the English Channel illegally. Another country that has problems with immigrants is Italy, mainly from north African people who become very desperate. They are willing to risk everything, even if it costs them their lives. On Oct 4, 2013, a small vessel crammed with 500 migrants from Libya capsized off the coast of the small Italian island of Lampedusa, killing 360 people, a lot of them women and children. By the time the Coast Guard had arrived, there were bodies, live and dead, scattered everywhere. It was so bad they had to recruit local fishermen to help gather up all the people still floating in the water. It was a tragedy that made world headlines, and people realized that something needed to be done about all the migrants migrating to western countries. Most of the immigrants are from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

A lot of the cities and towns in these countries have been damaged and bombarded by airstrikes. Their infrastructure is destroyed. Everyday life becomes very difficult, as there’s no electricity or running water. Some of these migrants have lost everything, from family members to their homes. You can’t be homeless in a war zone, so of course they feel the need to migrate to a more stable country. These countries that migrants go to, such as France, Germany, and England, are part of the coalition that are doing airstrikes that have destroyed places such as Syria. So, how can we complain? We’re part of the problem. I understand there is a war on terror, but not all wars are won with military action. We need to invest more money and time.

We have to help rebuild what we helped destroy, not only infrastructure but the economy as well. So one day these migrants can go back home. Some really don’t want to be in these foreign countries, but they really don’t have a choice.

We need to be more open-minded. You should never look down upon or degrade someone who’s an immigrant or illegal alien, no matter what your politics are, Republican or Democrat. Just because they crossed a border does not make them less of a human.

We need to build less borders and more bridges. If developed countries around the world helped the less developed, or Third World, countries, financially and economically, it would stop the immigration problem.

Happiness misleads, distorts view on life

Though we dedicate ourselves to its pursuit, allowing it to define our relationships, self-image, and future plans, it doesn’t care for our well-being.

It mocks us, forever slipping through our grip as it leads us farther away from peace. It towers over us, ruling over every screen we encounter throughout our day.

It turns us against each other, forcing us to view friends and strangers only for what they have worth taking. Though we worship it, happiness considers us as fools without power, cowards afraid of challenge, and treats us as such.

As we are told we should do, we start to live for happiness. We begin to hate our own reflection. We gorge ourselves on what we should have the sense to avoid. For happiness, we lose interest in our environment, only settling for the next version. For happiness, we believe we can exist as the wind, toying with others and claiming attachments to immediately leave them.

For happiness, we are miserable because we are not the wind. We are the grass in the field, trees of the forest, searching for roots where we can exist freely while also having a home. Happiness would have us abandon our roots the instant they fail to satisfy us. But nothing can do that completely. Our roots still represent the best chance to lead an admirable life, but happiness would have us value moments over a dependable future. Happiness drags us into its current, ripping away whatever roots we could have had, to have us move without direction.    

Happiness1Despite how we view it, happiness keeps us eternally running, blind and addicted. It gives us brief tastes of a feast it could never truly provide, and that is enough for us to never question its flaws. Without happiness, we remember how to love who we are and that which surrounds us. Without happiness, we focus on the messages we wish to believe in. We sympathize with one another and appreciate the gentle silence. We can smile even in the darkness.

Happiness is necessary, but it is not an ideal to bow to. Happiness provides us blazing passion and colorful noise, but those who would live for it only melt away within it and become deaf to themselves. Happiness must be kept in the corner of our vision, a portion of our dream rather than the dream itself, as we come to understand ourselves. It only allows itself to be captured when we stop pursuing it to develop our own opinions.

As we strengthen our grip on what we want to become in the world, we gain the power to hold on to happiness. Though we still fail to cling to it, it continues to return to us drawn in by our self-confidence. Happiness must be allowed to come and go, never owning our thoughts, as we determine our own identity.

To be fulfilled, dedicate yourself to a goal and know the journey will at times be more of a nightmare than a dream. Take pride in the necessary failure, solitude, and sorrow as they refine your character into someone worthy of happiness’s respect. Understand, the complete pursuit of happiness narrows our view, rather than opening our world.

Live for your own contentment, never obeying happiness built on the ever-changing words of others. In the end, those who aim only for happiness miss in the worst possible way. They undervalue themselves and surrender their dreams. For those who aim to become all they can be, happiness finds them.

Texans advance to playoffs with strong finish

The South Plains College men’s basketball team continues to have success as the end of the regular season approaches, winning their last three games.

The Texans came out with an outstanding 95-86 victory against Clarendon College on Feb. 26 in Clarendon.

Sophomore Jordan Brangers led the Texans with 20 points, four steals, and five rebounds in 40 minutes of play. Sophomore Isaiah Maurice chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds for SPC.

Freshman Keith McGee also tallied 14 points, going 3-for-3 from the three-point line. Chris Orlina grabbed 14 points, while Ben Perez added 11 points, hitting three of his five shots beyond the three-point line.

Perez hit a three-pointer with 19:03 to play in the first half, which gave the Texans an early lead. SPC would keep the lead throughout the second half, leading by as many as 18 points.

The Texans moved to 20-7 for the year and 12-3 in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.   

SPC rallied to pull off a 71-70 victory against Western Texas College on Feb. 19 in Snyder.

The Texans trailed 40-30 late in the first half. Will Washington netted a three-pointer from the corner in the last seconds of the first half, trimming WTC’s lead to 40-33.

Beginning the second half, SPC put together a 9-0 run. Raymond Doby tied the game with a layup, bringing the score to 42-42 with 17:26 to go in the game.

Washington hit a pair of free throws with under four minutes to play, giving the Texans  a 67-66 advantage.

Washington slammed a dunk after a steal near mid court, putting the Texans up 71-66 with only 2:04 left to play.

Zac Saddler hit a floater for WTC with 1:54 left to bring the Westerners within three. Nigel Allen was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 1:02 to go, then sank two of three free throws to trim SPC’s lead to 71-70.

IMG_9314Neither team would score again in the last minute. Washington scored a career-high 20 points, ending the night seven of 15 from the field and three of five from beyond the three-point line. Orlina chipped in 15 points, hitting six of his 10 shots from the floor and grabbing 10 rebounds. Doby tallied 11 points and five rebounds in 29 minutes.

The Texans moved to 19-7 on the year and 11-3 in WJCAC play with the victory.

SPC came away with a 83-74 victory against New Mexico Junior College on Feb. 15 at the Texan Dome.

The Texans trailed 45-33 at the half. Franklyn Penn Jr. extended the lead to 14 for NMJC with a three-pointer with 17:27 left to play. SPC answered with a 12-4 run during the next three minutes, including a 3-pointer by sophomore Deshawn Corprew that trimmed the lead to just six points with 14:27 remaining.

Brangers tied the game at 58 with a three-pointer. NMJC responded by converting on two possessions and took a 62-58 lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

The Texans utilized a 16-3 run during the next four minutes of the game, capped by a three-pointer from Brangers to put SPC up 74-65.

Orlina hit a three-pointer that extended the lead to 79-65 for the Texans with less than four minutes remaining on the clock. David Iwowari converted on two free throws to bring NMJC to within seven with 1:41 left to play. McGee sealed the victory for SPC by hitting two free throws in the last minute.

Brangers led the scoring for the Texans with 25 points and five rebounds, finishing 5 of 9 from the three-point line. Corprew added 15 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes of play. Orlina tallied 11 points and six rebounds, while Doby finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

SPC moved to 18-7 for the year and 10-3 in WJCAC play.

By placing second in the WJCAC, the Texans advance to compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region V Championship, which will be held March 7 – March 10 in Wolfforth in the Frenship High School gymnasium.

SPC will play at 3 p.m. on March 7 in game two of the opening rounds of the championship.

Women’s rodeo team earns first place at Odessa College

The South Plains College women’s rodeo team extended their lead in the regional standings by winning the women’s team title at the Odessa College rodeo.

Both the Texans and the Lady Texans competed at the Odessa rodeo, which was held Feb. 22 – Feb. 24 at the Ector County Coliseum.

The Lady Texans are ranked number one in the region with 1,381 points.

With a pair of top-five finishes, the Lady Texans tallied 410 points at the Odessa rodeo. Tarleton State, which is ranked second in the region, finished in sixth place with a total of 108.33 points.

SPC’s Lariat Larner won the women’s all-around title for with 160 points.

Jenna Dallyn earned 155 points in goat tying. She posted a time of 7.1 seconds in the long round, which was followed by a time of 6.9 seconds in the finals and first place in the event. Larner earned 60 points in goat tying, placing fifth in the event. She had a time of 6.5 seconds in the long round and 9.9 seconds in the short round.

IMG_6675Kashley Seitz earned 95 points in the breakaway roping event. Seitz had a time of 2.8 seconds in the long round, followed by 3.2 seconds in the finals, earning a fourth-place finish overall.

Larner also earned a top-five finish in breakaway roping. She posted a time of 2.5 seconds in the long round and 3.8 seconds in the finals. Larner placed third in breakaway roping overall, collecting 100 points.

The Texans finished in sixth-place, adding 180 points to their season.

Chet Boren and Hadley Cloward placed second in team roping. They recorded a time of 5.9 seconds in the long round and 20.7 seconds in the short round, finishing with 130 points.

Zack Kirkpatrick teamed up with Texas Tech’s Kade Cotton in team roping. They posted a time of 7.2 seconds in the long round, but the duo missed the short round. Kirkpatrick earned the Texans 50 points.

Lady Texans add two victories as season comes to end

The South Plains College women’s basketball team finished the season strong, putting together consecutive victories, but failed to make it to postseason play.

The Lady Texans celebrated a 50-35 victory against Odessa College on March 1 at the Texan Dome.

SPC led 28-22 with 3:42 left in the third quarter. With 8:42 left in the fourth, the Lady Texans extended their lead to nine, following a three-pointer from Chantel Govan.

SPC pushed the lead to 13 with a floater from Gabbie Green with under six minutes left to play. Odessa trimmed the Lady Texans’ lead to nine after converting on a pair of free throws from Julian McDonald.

Sophomore Maddie Dorris ended the night with a three-pointer from the right side of the court to put SPC up by 15 with three seconds on the clock.

Mikayla Kuehne tossed in 12 points, while Chantel Govan chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lady Texans ended the season 17-13 overall and 4-10 in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play.

SPC came away with a 58-57 victory against Clarendon College on Feb. 26 in Clarendon.

With the Lady Texans trailing 40-30 with less than six minutes to play in the third quarter, freshman Christina Baker hit a jumper with 5:12 left to play in the period to trim Clarendon’s lead to eight. On the following play, Baker drew a foul then knocked down a free throw to bring the Lady Texans to within five.

Haleigh Hill converted a two-pointer with 3:59 left in the third quarter, bringing the score to 40-37. Clarendon’s Lizet Sosa converted on two free throws, but Green hit a floater to keep the Lady Texans to within three points.

IMG_8646Kuehne hit a layup that would bring SPC to within one at 42-41. Chauntel Acosta converted on a two-pointer, extending Clarendon’s lead to 44-41, before Kuehne hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 47 with only 45 seconds left in the third quarter.

Clarendon trailed the Lady Texans 54-47 half way through the fourth quarter, before going on a 4-0 run to get within two of SPC.

Later tied at 57, Green converted one of her two free throws to put the Lady Texans up by one at 58-57 to clinch the victory.

Kuehne finished the night with 12 points, nine rebounds, and four three-pointers. Green scored 12 points, while Baker chipped in 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The Lady Texans moved to 16-13 on the year and 3-10 in WJCAC play.

SPC suffered a hard-fought 50-41 loss to Western Texas College in Snyder on Feb. 19.

The Lady Texans trailed 37-34 after three quarters of play, before Western Texas went on a 10-0 run to begin the final quarter. With 2.31 left to play, Kuehne converted a two-pointer.

Kuehne scored 13 points and six rebounds to end the night. SPC shot 37 percent from the floor and 19 percent from the three-point line. Baker tossed in 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds in 22 minutes of play. Green added six points, while Govan finished with five points.

Western Texas added five more points with free throws in the final minutes. Catara Samuel led all scorers with 21 points, seven of 13 being from the floor. Avery Gregory finished with nine points for Western Texas, and Allison Valdez added seven points.

The Lady Texans move to 15-13 for the year and 2-10 in WJCAC play.

SPC fell to New Mexico Junior College 61-48 on Feb. 15 at the Texan Dome.

The Lady Texans trailed 17-11 after 10 minutes of play. SPC then put together an 11-3 run, capped off with a three-pointer by Kuehne that put the Lady Texans up 22-20. Green extended the lead to five with a three-pointer with 4:21 left to play in the first half.

Ni’Asia McIntosh converted on a two-pointer for NMJC with 11 seconds remaining before the half, trimming the lead to 25-24.

To begin the second half, Kuehne converted a three-pointer, but NMJC would answer with a 19-7 run, retaking the lead. Alexes Bryant converted on consecutive plays to put the Lady Thunderbirds up 43-35. NMJC would lead for the rest of the contest.

Green led the scoring for the Lady Texans with 20 points. Kuehne contributed 11 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Maddie Dorris and Baker added seven and six points, respectively.

McIntosh led all scorers with 24 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 11 of 16 from the field. Bryant tallied 21 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Thunderbirds.

With the loss, the Lady Texans moved to 15-12 for the year and 2-9 in conference play.

Track teams continue successful season by advancing to national meet

The South Plains College men’s and women’s track and field teams prepared for the upcoming National Junior College Athletic Association Indoor National Championship meet by adding to their list of national-qualifying performances.

The track and field teams competed at the Texas Tech Matador Qualifier at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center in Lubbock on Feb. 16.

Andre Edwards and Keion Sutton both placed in the top 10 in the men’s 60 meters. Edwards ran a 6.83 and placed first, while Sutton ran a 6.85 and placed sixth. Jordan Atkinson finished 10th in the men’s 200 with a time of 21.48.

In the men’s 600 meters, the Texans had three runners place in the top seven. Montel Hood placed second with a time of 1:19.65. Ian Gonzales earned a mark of 1:20.82, placing sixth, while Dekeryea Freeman placed seventh with a time of 1:21.15.

In the men’s 1,000 meter run, freshman Andrew Bosquez crossed the finish line with a time of 2:23.53, a personal best for Bosquez and the 12th fastest time in the country. Freshman Ulises Cardoza also set a personal best with a time of 2:34.97, placing fifth overall, while sophomore Felix Kosgei ran a 2:35.34, placing sixth.

In the men’s mile run, Benjamin Ronoh posted a time of 4:26.96 to place seventh overall. Filmon Beyene and Jesse Madrid placed in the top 10 in the men’s 3,000 meters. Beyene placed sixth with a time of 9:05.29, and Madrid placed seventh with a time of 9:13.03.

William Watson placed second overall in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.98. Watson ranks fourth in the country in the men’s 60 hurdles with a time of 7.91.

In the men’s 4×400 relay, Atkinson, Watson, Rayan Holmes, and Hood grabbed first place with a time of 3:12.87. The team is ranked fourth in the country with a time of 3:12.40, which they earned at the Texas Tech Red and Black Open on Jan. 26 in Lubbock.

Freshman Zach Marshal placed second overall in the men’s high jump, clearing the bar at 6 feet, 9.5 inches on his third attempt. In the men’s pole vault, freshman Parker Wood placed third overall with a height of 15 feet, one inch. Wood ranks third in the country with a height of 15 feet, 7.75 inches.IMG_9819

Freshman Danylo Molchanov set a personal best in the men’s triple jump with a jump of 49 feet, 9 inches on his fourth attempt, and placed first overall with the second best jump in the country. In the men’s shot put, Markim Felix recorded a throw of 50 feet, 10.25 inches.

In the women’s 200 meters, sophomore Natassha McDonald finished eighth overall with a time of 24.59. Sophomore Ashley Hughes placed fifth in the women’s 600 meters with a time of 1:38.62, while freshman Janiel Moore posted a time of 1:39.37, placing seventh. Sophomore Seselia Dala placed fourth in the women’s 1,000 meters with a time of 3:02.78, the fourth fastest time in the country.

In the women’s 60-meter hurdles, freshman Patrice Moody crossed the line in 8.68, finishing ninth overall.

Freshman Jelena Rowe placed first in the women’s high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 11.5 inches. Rowe went into the meet ranked first in the country with a mark of 6 feet, 0.5 inches. Sophomore Bosi Mosongo set a personal best in the high jump by clearing 5 feet, 3.75 inches and placing 10th overall.

In the women’s long jump, freshman Ruth Usoro hit a mark of 18 feet, 7 inches, placing third overall. Cha’Kaylin Gilbert finished fourth overall with a jump of 18 feet, 4.25 inches.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the NJCAA National Indoor Championship meet, which was held March 2 – March 3 in Lubbock at the Sports Performance Center. Results were not available at press time.

Colorful mosaics visually represent Hockley County

Speckled around the quiet streets of Levelland are various works of art that collectively come together to paint a visual history of Hockley County and the people who worked to make it what it is today.

Levelland is known as the “City of Mosaics.”  A mosaic is an ancient form of art that is comprised of small fragments of glass, stone, or a number of other materials that come together to form a large mural.

Each mural holds its own importance to the city that surrounds it.   There are about a dozen pieces scattered throughout Levelland, and the South Plains College campus is home to five of these finely pieced installations.  Ever since Don Stroud, then an art professor at South Plains College, installed the first mosaic in Levelland, “Wild Mustangs” in 1968, the city has steadily continued to add to their collection of public montages.

Two very meticulous local artists have worked diligently to ensure that the mosaics are in pristine condition.  John Hope and his wife, Bette, not only make sure the pieces are well taken care of, they also have installed their own work for the city of Levelland.

The Hopes see the value in preserving the city’s installations.  They know how to make and take care of mosaics, which as it turns out, is quite tedious.

The Hopes have been involved in the city’s art since John Hope attended South Plains College.

The couple installed two smaller murals at the Hockley County Courthouse.   The courthouse’s sign that sits on Avenue H holds a two-part piece called “Hockley County: Past and Present.”  These two pieces are highly intricate, even though they are smaller in size compared to some of the bigger pieces around the city.

“They still took over 2000-man hours to construct and install,” according to John Hope.

The painstakingly precise placement of such small pieces of glass is truly mesmerizing.  Each piece is carefully selected to ensure the right color matches its surrounding shards.IMG_6594

“A half-inch by half-inch square around the bison’s eye alone contains 35 individual pieces of glass,” says Bette Hope.

  Seeing the amount of detail put into these two small displays is captivating.  An eagle-eyed passerby may notice a number of subtle nods to Levelland’s past, with each hint representing something important to the region’s past and future.

In addition to the two pieces the Hopes were commissioned to install, there are a number of other installations, all of which they watch with a close eye.

“Throughout all the years, none of the pieces have been vandalized,” said Bette Hope.  “They might mark on the wall next to a piece, but never on the actual mosaic.”

Bette Hope says that she feels a special connection between the collection of art and the city of Levelland itself, as it is something the town can be proud of.

Near the intersection of MLK Jr. Street and Jackson Avenue is the “Chain of Life” mosaic. The 60-year-old piece was constructed to show the unity between all the races. The piece sadly sits on a “cinderblock wall that is beginning to deteriorate,” according to Bette Hope. Since the 1960s, the piece has been a symbol of togetherness and love.

One of the pieces that many students have seen while traversing between classes is located on the west end of the Administrative Building on the Levelland campus, called “New Morning.”  The montage is a depiction of a field with a windmill and a grouping of trees.  While art is a subjective media, and the viewer is complety in control of what he or she takes away from it, John Hope describes “New Morning” as “trees representing professors and students, to the windmill representing South Plains College itself, and the open field representing the future.”

The mosaic “New Beginning-New Life,” is located on the northern wall of the Science Building. This piece is visually striking as well as one of the bigger mosaics in Levelland. The piece was originally a painting by Ford Ruthling, but converted to a mosaic by Burl Cole.  The piece displays a wide variety of colors and patterns that collectively form a story.  The egg on the mural represents the start of life, in its simplest form.  Inside the egg are multiple forms of life, from basic plants to what appears to be a velociraptor.  Outside the egg is a somber dark blue background speckled with golden tiles, to “represent firmament,” also known as “the heavens,” or the sky.

Levelland houses a total of 12 mosaics, and for this it is know as “The City of Mosaics.”  Other mosaics are:

  “Hockley County Schools & Your Children’s Children,” a second pair of large mosaics, at the corner of Avenue H and Austin Street. It is a sincere tribute to the educators and teachings of Hockley County’s forefathers; “Land of Soil, Oil, & Education,” sits at 1101 Avenue H, and as the name suggests, honors the fruits of the surrounding lands that helped Levelland grow into the town it is today; “Through the Ages,” located near 1101 Avenue H, while not a true mosaic, is a stoneware clay collage that takes a different approach to telling a history of Levelland.

Also, “Tree of Life” stands at the Levelland Clinic and expresses the importance of the all the professionals in the medical field that provide their services to the public; “Arms of Care,” situated at the Levelland Hospital on College Avenue, displays the connection between doctors, nurses, and the families they look after.

“Wild Mustangs,” inside the Fine Arts Building on the South Plains College, is the forefather of all of Levelland’s mosaics. The mural is a callback to the once wild and untamed mustangs that drew settlers from miles around to call this area their home.

Mosaics can be traced back to the dawn of humanity.  They first appeared in Mesopotamia and have been improved upon ever since.  The techniques are being constantly fine-tuned to ensure that these works of art will continue to captivate our minds.  With proper care and public support, these magnificent collections will stand the test of time and be around long past the artists who assembled them.