Month: October 2018

Diesel Technology Program receives AED accreditation

South Plains College is the first institution in Texas to receive national accreditation for the Diesel Service Technology Program from the Association of Equipment Dealers.

The program has been working on getting accredited for four and a half to five years, according to Whitney Owens, program coordinator and professor of diesel service technology.

“There were some major hurdles we had to overcome,” said Owens, “One of which was we had to have a certain number of pieces of heavy equipment in possession.”

Other changes included revamping the state-mandated curriculum.

“On top of that, we also had some instructor changes along the way,” explained Owens, adding that getting accredited was stretched out longer than it would have taken, which is about two to three years.

The Diesel Service Technology Program had to pass several requirements listed in a book of standards, which is available on the Association of Equipment Dealers (AED) website, in order to get accredited. The professors teaching in this program had to make sure they were teaching classes to the full extent.

“It’s technical standards, like are you teaching electrical systems to the full extent,” Owens said. “Same thing with engines, power trains, hydraulics, air conditioning, all the technical stuff.”

The professors in the program had to come up with documentation of what they taught and how much time they spent on the topics.

AED also looked at how South Plains College was structured, such as how the college is accredited, which it is through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs at SPC, said, “they (AED) did a site visit, and in that site visit there’s certain requirements. They came out, looked through our facilities, made a couple of small recommendations about lighting (it was a little dark). It’s everything from the cleanliness of the facility, to the equipment that we have.”

Once the changes were made, AED granted approval.

“Having the first in Texas to be accredited by the AED foundation, that’s a pretty good feather in our cap,” Owens said. “It means we got a good program. It’s a big sense of accomplishment.”

Owens continued to explain that there were a lot of staff who helped pull this together.

“It’s very much a team effort here,” added Owens, “Because this is a major undertaking. They only have about 50 schools in the whole country who are accredited, and some of those are in Canada.”

Dr. Gibbs explained that receiving the accreditation is an honor.

“It really shows that our faculty are looking to always push the envelope as far as excellence goes,” he said. “It was not required for us by the state of Texas, or by SACS, to have this extra accreditation. But it shows our commitment, that we are doing the very top of the line when it comes to career and technical education.”

He went on to explain that they want to make sure that their graduates are ready to go into the workforce.

“They’re going to have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be the best so we’re really excited, extremely proud,” added Dr. Gibbs, who said that by receiving the accreditation, it is producing excellent programs, which, in turn, creates excellent graduates. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Owens explained that they sought the accreditation because it gives more opportunities to the students.

“When they came out of the program before we had this, they could go to work pretty much at all the truck and tractor shops,” Owens said. “But if they tried to go work at a machinery shop, they really don’t know the hydraulics well enough to do that. They didn’t know the power shift transmission well enough to do that. This training fills in those gaps, and, therefore, creates another avenue for success.”

Before the Diesel Service Technology Program received national accreditation, the program was mainly aimed toward those planning on going into the workforce in the transportation industry, such as working on semi-trucks and busses. Now that the program is accredited, it has opened up a new avenue for students who want to work on heavy equipment, such as bull dozers and excavators, according to Owens, and improves the students who want to go into the ag market.

“It’s going to cause them (students) to be more marketable,” Dr. Gibbs said, “to have more marketable skills. It’s going to cause them to be able to gain a job in the industry and diesel technology. The most important thing is that our students get jobs, that they get high paying jobs, and then they are ahead of the curve when they walk into a position and are ready to go as soon as day one of a new job.”

As far as the future goes, Owens said that the accreditation will open doors for everyone in the industry, helping to  develop more training partnerships and attract more people from greater distances to come to SPC.

“If your heart’s desire is to turn wrenches on bulldozers,” Owens said, “we’re the only accredited school in Texas that offers that training.”

Biology Club helps with monarch migration tracking efforts

Every year, monarch butterflies travel more than 3,000 miles before winter for a warmer climate.

The South Plains College Biology Club and Dr. Scott Starr, biology instructor, tagged 25 monarchs during their recent migration to help researchers track their journey.

25428_original“So it’s a fun little exercise for students to do,” Dr. Starr said. “We used nets to catch the butterflies off of flowers and other vegetation matter they landed on. Or sometimes in the air when they’re flying by. Then you simply just hold onto them, and it is a tiny circular tag that you placed on to them. So it’s not too hard of a process to do.”

Dr. Starr explains that the monarchs are migrating to Mexico for the winter, gathering in a forest in the mountains that are northwest of Mexico City.

After they tagged the monarchs, they reported the information back to the organization that is running the tagging effort, Monarch Watch.

“We record the date that we capture them and tag them,” Dr. Starr explained, “ if they were male or female, and the location of where it was. We release and we supply Monarch Watch with that information. So if somebody finds a butterfly that is tagged on the way (to Mexico), there is information on the tag for where they can report their sighting. Each tag has its own little unique code, so they just have to either call or email the one on the information to Monarch Watch.”

Monarch Watch is a nonprofit education and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, their habitat and fall migration. Dr. Starr said that Monarch Watch runs the tagging program, while also promoting research for monarchs.

“Migration is just one part,” Dr. Starr explains. “Their website has a lot of information about the butterflies. They also provide information about what type of flowers you can put into your yard to help attract them. The website talks about different types of milkweed that the larva need to have in order to grow. So they try to provide a lot of different information for people so they can learn about the butterflies more and what they can do if they would like to have them in their backyard.”

Dr. Starr says that he has participated in tagging the monarchs in the past. But getting to tag and handle them is something new to the students that they enjoyed.

“This year we had a really high amount of monarch butterflies going through our area,” Dr. Starr said, “so it was a little bit more prevalent for them to see. They’re helping with a larger project, and often we refer to these types of projects as citizen science. Because anybody can do it, it doesn’t have to be biology student. It can be somebody buying these same tags and do it in their own backyard.”

Dr. Starr plans on participating again next year, and is hoping for another large sighting of the migration in the area.

“We’ll probably get a few more tags than we did this year,” Dr. Starr said. “It was a good one. Hopefully it’ll be just as good next year, but we never know. We’re kind of on the edge of their territory for where they migrate through.”

Graphic Arts Club, distributes original T-shirts

by Geneva Natal


One of a kind designs by the Graphics Arts Club are being made and put on t-shirts for sale.

Each design is unique, created, screened, and printed by talented students to help them afford their trip to Las Vegas for a convention during the spring semester.

For the past eight years, Robert Cloud, instructor of graphic arts at South Plains College, along with Paul Davidson, associate professor of graphic arts, and Wayne Beadles, assistant professor of graphic arts, have successfully run this business with students. For the past four years, they have been making the designs on campus because of the new equipment they received.

IMG_9610The new equipment allows for new learning opportunities for the students by teaching them how it works and giving the students a more realistic view toward what their future may look like.

Usually, they use Adobe Illustrator to make their unique designs. Then the illustrations are taken to be approved by Davidson. Davidson requires students to think outside of their own personal views and likes or dislikes.

“Designing for somebody else, not yourself, and that’s a challenge within itself,” says Cloud. “When you tell them to design something that they really aren’t interested in, it’s really hard to get a good design. We create art for other people, and it teaches them to get in that mind set.”

“Obviously, people are designing t-shirts all the time, they have to know the correct set up to get it in the right fashion,”  says Davidson. “Knowing the difference between spot colors and process colors, teaching commercial value designing for someone else not themselves. It’s really challenging to get a good design when it’s not for themselves.”

Cloud and Beadles teach a different form of art in class, one that also gives a realistic twist about what students likes versus what will be popular.IMG_9625.JPG

Once approved by Davidson, the designs go to the screen printing lab, where they print films, burn screens,and register the designs. Then it’s read to print. After the t-shirts are made in different sizes, the students set off to advance their skills in salesmanship. Club members sell their t-shirts in front of the Bookstore in the Student Center on the Levelland Campus and even off campus. The club members attend other events such as the First Friday Art Trail in Lubbock, which is a place to enjoy the walk and the work of other local artists.

“What we sell, we put back in to get more t-shirts,” says Davidson.

Profit goes back to the club, instead of working with a company. Then when the profits are in, they have money for new shirts, leading to new designs. It’s a small scale t-shirt company that allows students on campus to express their creativity and turn it into a reality.

“They design them,” Cloud says. “This is all their own hard work, all of it.”

The Graphic Art Club sells these t-shirts for a convention, the National Broadcasters Association Seminar. Each year, they make the extra effort for themselves, and because of that hard work, they are rewarded.

“We’ll be selling the entire semester,” says Davidson. “The money raised pays for the trip, hotel, and other necessities that the students will need.”

The convention is about technology coming out in TV, print, web, and gaming, according to Davidson. All different types of technology are broken up into sections. Also on display is Photoshop and all other relevant software to their class. Going to the convention teaches students about what is new. They have the opportunity to see the advances technology is making, which helps them prepare and see what’s possible for the future.

Teams impress at WTAM Rodeo

The South Plains College men’s and women’s rodeo teams continue to post strong performances with only one rodeo left in the season.

The teams competed at the West Texas A&M University Rodeo on Oct. 11 – Oct. 13 in Amarillo.

The Texans placed fifth overall in the team standings with a total of 250 points.

In bareback riding, freshman Cooper Bennett placed first with a score of 79 in the long round. He followed that up with a 74 in the finals, ending the event with a total of 180 points.

In steer wrestling, freshman Dawson Stewart placed fifth, posting a time of 4.7 in the long round and a 4.6 in the finals, averaging 9.3.

In team roping, freshman Logan Kenline and Clarendon’s Cheeto Villiant finished eighth overall, posting a time of 7.1 in the long round but missing the steer in the finals. They ended with an average of 7.1. Freshman Grady Quam and Cisco’s Paden Bray posted the top time in the long round with a 4.8. The two did not get a chance to compete in the finals, as Bray was unable to compete.

The Lady Texans finished second overall in the team standings with a total of 135 points.

In breakaway roping, sophomore Delaney Kunau placed fifth, posting a time of 2.6 in the long round and a 4.7 in the finals, averaging 7.3. Sophomore Kody Criswell placed seventh in the event with a time of 2.6 in the long round and a 12.7 in the finals, averaging 15.3.

In goat tying, freshman Kaytlyn Miller placed third, posting a time of 7.6 in the long round and a 6.4 in the finals, averaging 14.0.

The rodeo teams returned to action on Oct. 25 at Texas Tech University Rodeo in Lubbock. Results were not available at press time.    

Renowned journalist discusses necessity for weaker central government

John Stossel recently made an appearance in Lubbock to discuss freedom and its enemies.

The Free Market Institute (FMI) and the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University (TTU), in collaboration with the Young America’s Foundation, hosted the award-winning journalist, on Oct. 16 in the Red Raider Ballroom in the Student Union Building on the campus of Texas Tech University.

Stossel is an American consumer television personality, Libertarian and author who is best known for his career on ABC News and Fox Business Channel. He combines reporting and commentary which reflects libertarian politics policies and economic views on the free market. He began his journalism career by becoming a researcher for KGW-TV. He also served as a consumer editor and reporter for ABC News on “Good Morning America,” joining the news magazine program “20/20” and becoming the co-anchor, before later working for Fox Business Channel.

Stossel said the need for economic education continues.

“When I was the age of you students, I just came out of college, and, like most liberals, I was sure that the government was the answer, and I fell into this job on TV and became a consumer reporter,” Stossel recalled. “And like most young people, I had this attitude that while capitalism brings us some stuff, that’s good, it’s by and large cruel and unfair. And we need regulations to protect us from the capitalists.

Stossel said his peers loved this and gave him Emmy awards, of which he has won 19. He went on to explain that people are programmed to trust the experts, saying, for thousands of years, our ancestors lived in tribes, and if you did not listen to the advice of the tribal elder, you died and didn’t give birth to the next generation.

“We’re programmed to trust the experts,” he said. “I sure did.”

It took Stossel 15 years of watching regulators fail before he started to see the problems that the regulations held. What got to him the most was when he tried to legally open a lemonade stand outside of Fox’s (news channel) office.

“I couldn’t get legal permission, even though I had help of Fox lawyers,” Stossel said. “I tried for two months. It would have taken about three months for permission. You have to get registered with the county clerk’s office, take a food protection course, which takes 15 hours, take an exam that takes an hour. If you pass, you have to wait five weeks for your food protection certificate. Then you have to have a health department inspection, then sanitation inspection. It takes three weeks to get an appointment. If you pass, you can set up the business once you have a governmentapproved fire extinguisher.”

He said these rules do not work on the crooks. They keep getting away with it because the regulators wouldn’t get to them until five or 10 years later. It affects the innocent people trying to start a business.

Stossel questioned if it was just money people disliked. He came to the conclusion that it was not money, but the people who sold to others. Even if it was something they needed, the buyers did not like them because, “intuitively, people think of free enterprise as a zerosum game. If someone got really rich, other people have lost. If you made a profit, you took it from someone. It’s zero sum. I see business offers being one of the bigger enemies of the free market.

He pointed out that within a school of fish, or in a flock of birds, that there is no boss. They work it out on their own.

“Spontaneous order is what makes our life good, and we need to communicate that…,” Stossel said. “In a free society, things get better. We get smarter. When there’s an accident, people take steps to prevent the next accident. As we get richer, we care more about things. Wealthier is healthier.”

The reason why he says “wealthier is healthier” is because if you’re wealthy you can pay for new tires or for doctor appointments, which keeps us healthy.

“Government solutions always create unintended consequences,” said Stossel. “Look at the effect of poverty. For the first seven years or so, yeah, the programs lifted people up out of poverty. But then we taught people to be dependent.”

He said that government programs usually makes things worse.

“Good studies have shown that if you’re below the poverty line in America, your life is seven to 10 years shorter,” said Stossel.

Stossel questioned “what makes a country prosper?” and he concluded after looking at other countries, that there were two things that makes a country prosper, rule of law and economic freedom.

Stossel said the one thing he wanted students to take away from his speech was limited government works better.

Stossel grew up in Chicago and likes to play beach volleyball in his free time. However, he never wanted to become a consumer journalist. He said that he had never taken a journalism course. He got into it by taking job offers and realized that he had a talent for it without attending classes. However, he does have a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Princeton University in psychology. He suggested that for students to become successful, they should try things, read a lot, work hard, and not to die.

Atmospheric scientist discuss environmental issues with expert panel

Texas leads the way in energy production and carbon emissions.

If Texas were its own country, it would be ranked third in the world for gas production, yet first in the United States (tied with California) for carbon emissions. Texas also has more natural disasters than any other state. This makes Texas one of the most vulnerable states concerning disasters in the event of higher global temperatures.

Texas Tech University’s Presidential Lecture & Performance Series featured a panel of climate experts, facilitated by Dr. Katherine Heyhoe. The panel was held in the Allen Theatre on the campus of Texas Tech University on Oct. 12.

Dr. Heyhoe is a talented atmospheric scientist. She was featured by Foreign Policy as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers, and by Time Magazine in 2014 as one of the top 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2017, Dr. Heyhoe was named one of Fortune Magazine’s world’s greatest leaders.

The panelists included Joey Hall, executive vice president for Permian Operations, for Pioneer Natural Resources; Bob Inglis, executive director for at George Mason University, and a former congressman; and Michael Webber, acting director of the Energy Institute, Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Heyhoe had many informative slides in her presentation, with easy-to-interpret graphs illustrating stats such as nationwide average temperatures, natural disaster risk assessments, national rankings regarding energy production and consumption, and the proliferation of wind energy throughout the United States.

So we still get cold and we still get hot, but the (weather) dice are getting weighted against us,” Dr. Heyhoe explained.

The panel, which Dr. Heyhoe had referred to as her “dream team,” answered questions from Dr. Heyhoe and from social media. Dr. Heyhoe asked the panel about how the industry has changed.

Inglis answered, “We’ve seen a real change in the acceptance of climate change.”

He added how, in 2008, Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi had a conversation. They may not have agreed on much, but they did agree on climate change. Soon, Newt Gingrich had changed his opinion on climate change, and coupled with the recession, the Republican Party had been thought to be against climate change policies.

“People ask me, ‘Do you believe in climate change?,” Inglis said, “and what I tell them is, ‘No, I don’t believe in climate change. Climate change is just data. It’s not worthy of belief. My faith informs my reaction to the data, but it’s not worth believing in. It’s just data.”

The panel discussed not only changes in the industry, they also discussed potential solutions. Coal mines that have closed down have workers being trained to manufacture wind turbines to provide job security. Oil and gas operations are planning on running future expeditions solely on green energy.

Dr. Heyhoe and the panelists agreed on and discussed one simple fact: the best way to address climate change is to discuss it. They agreed on throwing the “us vs. them” mentality between political parties out of the window, to be able to discuss climate change and find solutions to preserve and protect the planet and those who live on it.

Dr. Heyhoe chose and hosted this panel to reflect on the independent thought and discussions people should be having with each other about climate change.

“The future is coming,” said Dr. Heyhoe. “The question is, will we be prepared for it? And this is, I hope and I believe, is a model of what we need to prepare for a successful future.”

Alum achieves goal of becoming law enforcement officer

Weapon drawn, preparing to apprehend a criminal, Blake Blanscett’s first-ever traffic stop turned into a situation you would only see in the movies.

Blanscett is a police officer for Midland Police Department. He began working for the department as soon as he graduated from South Plains College in 2017.

Blanscett started as a student in the Law Enforcement Technology Program in 2015, after graduating from Lubbock High School in 2014.

When he was growing up, Blanscett watched “COPS” and various law enforcement movies and TV shows with his father. This sparked his interest in the career.

On Blanscett’s first traffic stop, on his first day with his field training officer (FTO), a white SUV sped past them in front of Lee High School. As they pulled the driver over and began heading toward the SUV, one of their sergeants radioed them reporting that the vehicle was stolen.

“We move back our unit for cover and drew our weapons,” Blanscett explained. “We called the driver out, and when he got to the back of the vehicle, he ran from us.”

Blanscett explained that he could not pursue the driver because there was still a passenger in the car. The driver was apprehended shortly after he ran.

When Blanscett headed to the vehicle, he noticed on the passenger seat of the stolen car was a pistol with the magazine out of it.

“Based on my curiosity, I asked the driver why the magazine was out of the pistol,” Blanscett said. “He told me when I was walking up, the passenger had the gun pointed at me over his shoulder. He attempted to fire, but it was not loaded. When he went to load it, he hit the magazine release. The best thing about this story was it was my first day as a police officer and my first traffic stop ever.”

Blanscett explained that he wanted to attend SPC because of its reputation and the exceptional law enforcement program. While at SPC, he was a member of the Law Enforcement Club, attending the meetings and going on a few field trips. Blanscett said the club was a great way for him to get involved with other people in the program.

Blanscett said he is grateful for all the guidance that Dr. Lance Scott, Kenny Burns, John Barnes, and Mark Wittie gave him to achieve his goal of becoming a police officer.

“The leadership and training from the instructors helped pave the way,” Blanscett said. “If it was not for them, I would not be the police officer I am today. I would like to credit every law enforcement instructor for their leadership and guidance. Before I graduated, I was already hired on by my department because of their recommendations. I noticed right when I started the Academy that since I had already taken the college courses, I was already a step ahead, because I already knew the material.”

Blanscett’s duties include answering calls for service around the community, along with being proactive with citizen contacts and traffic stops.

The great thing is nothing is ever the same,” Blanscett said. “It is different every day on the streets. I love helping the community and putting bad people in jail, and making sure families can be safe during all hours of the day.”

Blanscett plans on continuing his education by earning a bachelor’s degree from either Texas Tech University or Lubbock Christian University.

Blanscett is also working towards the goal of making the SWAT team.

“I am a year out from tryouts,” Blanscett said. “It is a very physical and mental challenge to make the team. I am working towards in the next three years to make FTO so I can train the new guys that come into the streets.”

New Math Department Chair planning on expanding STEM programs

Dr. Sheyleah Harris-Plant shares fundamental lessons with her students by providing insights through the use of mathematics.

Dr. Harris-Plant is an Alabama native and a military dependent whose father served in the United States Army. She says being raised in a military family taught her the importance of discipline, hard work, teamwork, and respect for different cultures.

She graduated from Daleville High School in 1998 before attending Enterprise State Junior College, where she received an Associate of Arts Degree in Mathematics in 2000.

“I am a first generation college student,” Dr. Harris-Plant said. “I was originally trying to use the TAP program that was offered, but I didn’t meet the criteria for financial need or academic necessity. However, my community college allowed me to be a tutor for them, and I had access to advising, which is what I wanted.”

After graduating from ESC, she transferred to Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. She attended the four-year institution for two years, graduating in 2002 and earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics.

As she continued her journey through college, the idea of becoming a college professor truly began at Huntingdon College. It all started with small, simple tutoring sessions, and from there, everything fell into place.

“Huntingdon College is a private university, and a lot of students who attended there came from money,” Dr. Harris-Plant explained. “One of my cluster mates, who was a History major, was struggling with her Calculus I class and  came to me for help. She and all of her friends were willing to pay me $20 an hour to tutor them through the course.”

After she graduated from Huntingdon College, she then continued her education at Texas Tech University, earning a Master of Science Degree in Math in 2004, and later her doctoral degree in higher education in 2010.

“I went to a grad fair, and for every four-year school I thought that I would be interested in, I threw my name in the ring,” recalled Dr. Harris-Plant. “Texas Tech University called, saying that they would give me a TAship  if I taught a few classes for them and they would pay for my school.”

After completing her master’s degree at TTU, Dr. Harris-Plant applied to work at South Plains College. She felt drawn to work at a small community college because she knows many students may feel discouraged or disappointed for having to start at a two-year school rather than a four-year school. She tries to remind her students that they can still be successful no matter where they decide to start or continue their education.

Dr. Harris-Plant also works with the SPC Alumni Association to find successful alumni to return to the campus and talk to current students to show them they can be just as successful, no matter where they go.

After she began working for SPC, her husband, Robert Plant, soon followed after he completed his education at Texas Tech University and serves as an assistant professor of mathematics. Dr. Harris-Plant teaches a variety of courses, such as intermediate, college algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus.

“I prefer to prepare students to transfer into calculus,” explained Dr. Harris-Plant. “It’s not that I can’t teach the harder classes, but I do it to help students recognize the patterns and give them harder problems now before they take the even harder classes. I try to make it so that way it is easier for them in the future.”

Dr. Harris-Plant expresses that math is a strong skill subject. It is nothing like a history or English course, as the professor is giving students the tools they need in order to problem solve and walk through long processes in order to complete an equation.

“Once you get the process down,” she says, “you realize that the rules don’t change. We just give you uglier looking problems to try to scare you. I can teach you the steps in the process, and then I can give you whatever problem I want, no matter how ugly it is. I just want my students to recognize that the rules are the same, and just because it looks different means that the process changes; it doesn’t.”

Not only does Dr. Harris-Plant try to help her students better understand the subjects they are discussing in class, she tries to incorporate life lessons as well.

“I know students need to figure out priorities for themselves,” she explains, “and depending on the age group, there are usually some that have conflicts with each other. I prefer using the honor system and self-policing instead of me having to do it for them. In the real world, your boss doesn’t usually come in and settle things for you. Normally, they are expecting for everyone to take care of what needs to be done.”

Dr. Harris-Plant, who has been working at for SPC for the past 15 years, recently was appointed as the new chairperson for the Mathematics and Engineering Department.

“I have mixed emotions about the new position,” Dr. Harris-Plant said. “I like being a faculty member, and I know that I’m still part of the team. However, I really enjoy being on that side of the team. Part of the new position pulled me out of the classroom, but administration is something I’m good at, so I can see why I was appointed to this position.”

Dr. Harris-Plant went from teaching 15 hours to six hours once she was appointed to the new position. Even though she wishes she could still spend more time in the classroom, she and other faculty members are coming up with ways to improve the Mathematics and Engineering programs.

She sees that the math and engineering program is growing tremendously and wants to do everything she can to provide students with beneficial resources and offer more courses to choose from.

“We would like to offer more engineering courses, because there is a push nationally through our STEM programs,” said Dr. Harris-Plant. “This is going to directly affect us, because we offer two of the three programs.”

Currently, the department is in the process of incorporating corequisite courses. Rather than having students complete one college math course for a semester, the courses are used as a support course for students to complete their math credits in one semester.

The department also is looking into adding another computer programing course. They are hoping to help students finish their education at a fast pace and continue to expand the STEM programs in order to serve more students within the department.

She said that the department is “also creating the Maker Space, which was started by Dr. Ramesh Krishnan and Dean Alan Worley. Even though it is not finished, we have plans of adding a 3D printer, among other things.”

Dr. Harris-Plant says that the ultimate goal for the department is to provide excellent instructors to help students become more independent.

Veteran uses past experiences as guide to success

by Geneva Natal


College is a time to find yourself.

But for Sebastian Livermore, he is ready to start his new chapter and new career with the help of his past experiences that shaped him into who he is today.

Throughout his life, Livermore has always traveled, because he is a member of a military family that moved a lot. Born in Germany, he moved from there to the United States. He spent around six years in Colorado Springs, before moving one more time, where he finished his secondary education at Jordan High School in Columbus, Georgia.

In high school, he found a deep love for sports and played football all four years.

“I get up because I want to be successful,” Livermore says. “I have a dream of what I want to achieve. I feel like I’m behind because of the Air Force. I left my old career to build towards my new future, the American dream. I want to be successful, and I have a vision of what success is and how to get there.”

Choosing the path of college changes a lot for Livermore, a business major at South Plains College who would like to work in sports marketing or human resources for a professional sports team.

In his second year of college at SPC, Livermore is planning on transferring to Texas Tech University, where his siblings are attending. At 27 years old, he started his education late because he found his first step was to enlist in the military.

He joined the Air Force right after high school, spending basic training in Texas before being stationed in St. Louis for eight years. 

“I never really felt like I was missing out on anything,” says Livermore. “I like my space, and I was developing my personality in the military, making my own decisions, being away from family.”

During those eight years, he was deployed twice. He had a career in security forces in the Air Force, which he explained is like “military police.” He says he was not only proud but happy with his job. He got the chance to travel and see things many people won’t see in their lifetime.

Livermore spent his time in the military learning and growing as an individual.

“I wasn’t ready for the military at all,” recalls Livermore. “It felt like I was struggling to keep up while in the military, because I had to learn English and German,” said Livermore. “I didn’t feel like I was a grown up until the age of 24, after being matured by the military.”

Because of the military, Livermore says he is a different person because of what the Air Force taught him during his service.

After serving in the Air Force, Livermore moved to California for two years, until plans and fate brought him to Texas in August to attend South Plains College. In class, Livermore makes an effort to reach out to his instructors.

“I have a respect for what they do,” he explains. “Their teaching and education degree, I have a great respect for education and what the teachers do.”

Livermore says that he chose to attend SPC because of the closeness of the campus and the ease in which the instructors reach each student. Livermore finds a silver lining in everything and makes the best out of his situations.  

“In my time in the Air Force,” Livermore explains, “I learned a skill to gather multiple perspectives and not rush to conclusions.”

Because of this valuable lesson, Livermore says he looks at life and society differently. He still keeps in touch with his military friends, but he also finds new friends in classes with little judgement.

However, Livermore is an introvert by nature, and his hobbies include working out, which he started focusing on when he became unhappy with his weight after the military. Now he spends time working out, hiking, and being a nature fanatic. Indoors, he plays video games, playing with his dog, an American pitbull and terrier mix, and listening to any type of music, except country.

Livermore says that he enjoys the weather in West Texas, especially this time of year. He enjoys the cold weather and the rain, as he is thinking of moving to Oregon one day just for the weather. He also dreams of one day moving back to Germany after he relearns the language.

Romance author finds ideas through daily living

Jodi Thomas says she has been telling stories ever since she was a young girl.

South Plains College is hosting the New York Times and USA TODAY best-selling author at the Library on the Levelland Campus on Nov. 12 to speak and sign her new book, “Mistletoe Miracles.”

Thomas’s childhood was very creative.

“My mother would sit down as soon as I got home and ask me what I saw on my way home,” recalls the Amarillo author. “I would tell her all these things, and she would ask, ‘Reality or story?’ She was teaching me to see the difference between reality and fiction. But she never said, ‘You’re lying.”

Thomas, who had two younger sisters and a brother, says her job at night was to tell them stories. She says that she has always wanted to tell stories, but “I didn’t think I’d be able to write, because English was my weakest subject in school. I am not good with commas and grammar.”

Thomas attended Texas Tech University, where she earned a degree in Family Studies. She was honored by the University, along with her brother, as Distinguished Alumni in 2002.

“People say you don’t use your degree much after you graduate,” Thomas said, “but you use your degree every day. Home economics taught me things that I put in books.”

She also said that family studies helped her understand the complex structure of family life and situations.

Thomas got married during her senior year at Texas Tech and became a teacher. She later had children, which is why she started writing, because she wanted to help save for her children’s college education. However, being a full-time teacher and a mother of two boys, she wondered what was going to be her drive to make her write books. She said her goal was to write one book to pay for one year’s worth of college.

She had attended every conference she could find, to learn about writing. At one of those, she bought a t-shirt that said, “New York Times best seller in training,” which she wore often when she would write.

Thomas entered a local contest, with participants expected to write the first chapter of a book from one of eight categories, such as mystery, children, and love. She wrote a chapter for every category and didn’t win in any of them.

Discouraged that she could not win even a local contest after years of conferences, she was ready to quit. She went out walking and came across a quote that read, “Triumph comes through perseverance.”  That encouraged her to push on. One of the chapters would later be included in a book that received a national award.

“From the time I have the first idea (for a story), it’s usually two years until I see the book come out,” Thomas said.

  However, she says she also works on other books at the same time.

Thomas likes to write in different places, one place being a bunk house in Ransom Canyon.

“I move around for books,” explained Thomas. “I might stay some place for a week and then go on to another.”

She gets her inspiration from daily life.

  “It’s different every time,” she said. “It could be from the way a person walks, or the accent someone speaks with.”

  She has also gotten an idea for a story from a name on a grave tombstone. Most of the names of her characters come from tombstones in the state or town that the book takes place in, so that her characters’ names sound more from the town or state the book is set in.

“A lot of times, especially with historical romances, I would drive through the cemetery and pick last names and first names and combine them,” Thomas said.

Thomas has written 50 books and is working on number 51. Of those, 22 are historical romances. The first historical romance she wrote was while she was in grad school studying to be a counselor. In the middle of a class, she got an idea and started writing it down.

“I’m a quilter of words,” Thomas said. “I take things from many places and put them together, and then I have a book.”

She continued, “The easiest way to learn how to write is to read good books.”

She said her husband used to be in the Army. Because he was gone for months at a time, she kept herself busy with teaching and reading two to three books a day.

  “Writing a book has a beat, it has music,” Thomas explained. “The best thing to do is to read. And then write down an idea. The more creative you are, the more creative you become.”

  She changed to contemporary romances after 15 years of writing historical romances. She said one of the reasons was so she could reach a bigger audience.

“I began it because I wanted to write a story of a small town,” she said. “I wanted to show how everyone in small towns influence each other’s life, either in small ways or big ways.”

She has won the Writers of America (RITA) Award and the National Readers’ Choice Award Winner. She also is in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. Her books have been translated into at least six different languages.

Thomas explained why she thinks Old West stories still appeal to people today, saying, “I think, especially in this part of the country, we still have the same values. Sometimes I’ll use a term and people will ask if people still use that. And I’ll say; yes.”

Not enough head chomping in new ‘Venom’ movie

Not enough head-chomping in new “Venom” movie.

The new “Venom” movie is loosely based on Marvel’s “Lethal Protector” story arc, with aliens called “Symbiotes” planning on invading earth.

The infamous anti-hero, Venom, is introduced in another Marvel movie adaptation of a classic comic book title.

This iteration of “Venom” featured Eddie Brock as Venom’s first host. But do not get this Eddie Brock confused with the crybaby, bird-chested Eddie Brock in “Spiderman 3.” The new Eddie Brock is played by, Tom Hardy, who tried his best to perform underneath miles of black licorice.

The plot is an origin story about how the symbiotes came to Earth, and what they were planning when they got there. Carlton Drake, founder of the Life Foundation, had astronauts and scientists retrieve alien symbiotes from space in a quest to achieve immortality. Many people died while landing back on Earth, because one of the symbiotes escaped and sabotaged the mission.
Eddie Brock is tasked with interviewing Drake. Brock tells his boss he does not want to perform the interview. Brock is then reminded about his troublesome track record by his boss, and is warned not to make the same mistakes. Brock steals some incriminating information about Drake from his fiancé, and ends up facing a moral dilemma.

Brock attends the interview half-cocked and ends up blasting Drake on live television, asking him questions about the families of the astronauts who died in the space mission to retrieve the symbiotes. Eddie Brock refuses to give up his sources to his boss, because he feels guilty for stealing that information.

The opening to Venom’s story was dry and predictable. The action that follows does not give the movie much redemption. After Eddie Brock bonds to the Venom symbiote, the movie does get much faster paced. Action scenes arise, but many of them are so dark, and the camera angles are so awkward, that most symbiote action is hard to interpret.

There are also many plot details that defy logic. The motivation for the characters to act on the impending crises is convoluted. For example, Venom tells Eddie that the symbiotes are planning to invade Earth, but changes his mind because he “likes it here.”

As far as gratuitous head biting, I only counted three bites, only two of which were Eddie and Venom. If three decapitations are the maximum amount allowed for maintaining a pg-13 rating, then “Venom” should have been rated R, so viewers would get to see more head chomping.

“Venom” was not as demented or violent as I would’ve hoped and expected from a “Venom” movie adaptation. Instead, Venom was more of a comic relief, from giving very solid relationship advice, to teasing Brock for not wanting to bite people’s heads off. This watered down version of “Venom” was not very exciting.

There were a few funny bits when Eddie Brock crashes a fancy restaurant date, or when Venom calls Eddie inappropriate names when he refuses to eat people. I wonder if the makers of “Venom” could have traded one of the curse words Venom says for another head chomping. It would’ve made for a better movie.

“Venom” was a decent movie, but not as good as I was expecting. Most people I’ve talked to about “Venom” had very good reviews, and said “Venom” was a must-see with gratuitous head biting.

The final battle between Riot, the team leader of the symbiotes, and Venom was very hard to see. There was too much black string cheese on top of dark backgrounds, making the entire fight scene an incomprehensible mass of the hero always winning anyway. I give “Venom” a 5/10.

‘Night School’ gets good grade for comedic storyline

“Night School” is a comedy that portrays a young adult man who hits rock bottom in order to build his life up once more.

The movie “Night School” was great! However, this comedy is not one to bring your children to.

This hilarious, inappropriate movie was about a man, Teddy Walker, played by Kevin Hart, who was a high school dropout because he was not able to concentrate on school. Several years later, he’s working as a salesman for barbeque grills. In hopes of gaining ownership of the store once the owner retires, Teddy acts as if he is better off than he actually is. Because of this, he never told his girlfriend, Lissa, played by Megalyn Echikunwoke, who is out of his league, about his poor life and how he dropped out of high school.

Not only was Teddy a high school dropout, he was also a liar, hustler, and had several learning disabilities.  While proposing to Lissa inside the store, Teddy accidently blows up his place of employment. Being out of a job and only able to become employed at a fast food restaurant, Christian Chicken, Teddy is forced to go to night school in order to receive his GED so he could potentially get a job at a financial investment firm where his friend, Marvin, played by Ben Schwartz, works.

Teddy also decides not to tell his fiancé about going to night school, since she does not know he is a drop out. Teddy learns that his high school nemesis, Stewart, played by Taran Killam, is the new principal, who would stop at nothing to get Teddy out of there.

While Teddy attends night school, he learns, through a patient and determined teacher, Carrie, played by Tiffany Haddish, about his learning disabilities. He also makes some great friends. Through attending classes, Teddy and his class mates learn more than just what is in the textbook. They learn how to stick up for themselves, be honest, take responsibility, and, most importantly to never give up.

On the last day of class, they all decide to go to the high school prom to celebrate. Stewart realizes that Teddy has not told his fiancé about night school, so he calls her, pretending he wants corporate sponsorship to improve the school. Hurt that Teddy had lied to her, she calls off the engagement.

Heartbroken, teddy decids not to take the GED test. However, thanks to his teacher spanking him, yes, spanking, he went in to school and took the test. Sadly, Teddy did not pass his first GED test, or his second, or his third, or his fourth. But finally he passed and was able to celebrate it with his classmates and walk down the aisle with them to graduate.

Lissa came to the graduation and afterwards Teddy started over, introducing himself fully. Asking Lissa on a date, admitting he wouldn’t be able to pay because he does not have any money. Forgiving him, and deciding to give him a second chance, Lissa accepts.

The storyline does not sound that funny. However, the writers of the story – Kevin Hart, Harry Ratchford, Joey Wells, Matthew Kellard, Nicholas Stoller, and John Hamburg – did a wonderful job of turning this typical, cliché movie into a hilarious, slightly inappropriate, but not over doing it, comedy.

The movie includes plenty of obscenities and adult jokes, making this a perfect movie for a date night away from the kids or for more mature couples. Out of comedy movies, I give it a 10/10.

YouTuber investigates dangerous content creator

Young teens stare intently at their television screen as they watch their idol engulf the pool in his backyard into flames.

Jake Paul sits back and watches as the flames continue to grow to the point when his house, as wells as his neighbors, are in danger of being burned to the ground.

The-mind-of-“The Mind of Jake Paul” is a documentary web series created by Youtuber, Shane Dawson, who investigates the mind of controversial fellow YouTuber, Jake Paul and the psychology of YouTubers.

YouTube is an American video sharing website which allows users all over the world to upload, view, rate, and share a variety of videos for millions of individuals to enjoy on a daily basis.

Popular YouTuber’s work for the site and make their entire livelihood producing content and receive paychecks based on the amount of views and subscribers they have.

One of YouTube’s more famous vloggers, Shane Lee Yaw, better known as Shane Dawson, is an American YouTuber, vlogger, and an all-time favorite for millions of teens around the world.

He began his channel in 2008, and as of 2016, he had amassed more than 3 billion views and more than 16.4 million subscribers to his channel.

Many loyal subscribers watched him transform through the years from a shy, young teenager to an outgoing, hilarious individual who shares his life full of fun adventures for the world to see.

Along with videos that depict the fun parts of his life, Dawson began posting a video series to his channel, which includes conspiracy theories and videos looking into the lives of fellow YouTubers.

On Sept. 25, 2018, Shane Dawson released a video titled “The Mind of Jake Paul,” which sparked a huge controversy in the YouTube community.

In his eight-part series, Dawson looks into the life of Jake Paul and his family at an attempt to help end conflicts and rumors that had been spreading across multiple social media platforms.

As a fan of Shane Dawson, I wasn’t sure how the series would turn out because of all the people and drama involved. As suspected, Dawson uncovered many hidden truths about Jake Paul and his personal life that I was not expecting. Near the end of the series, I did sympathize for Jake Paul and tried to watch the series with an open mind.

Dawson’s original purpose for creating the series was to have a look inside of Jake’s life and persona for his own curiosity, even though he knew it would spark a controversy with his fans.

Jake Paul, originally a Vine sensation, reached more than 1 million followers in just five months in the year 2013. By the time the app was discontinued, he had amassed more than 5 million followers.

He and his brother, Logan Paul, then turned to YouTube to continue entertaining their young viewers and launched a franchise, Team 10.

They began partnering with other social media stars, posting comedy sketches, vlogs, and music videos.

Jake Paul quickly became known for being the one to perform dangerous stunts, such as jumping over fast-moving cars and hanging from a 300-foot cliff, as a way to see how many views he could receive.

Due to Jake Paul’s insane stunts, it resulted in members of Team 10 leaving because of alleged abuse, among other reasons, and he quickly began losing thousands of subscribers.

In Dawson’s first video of the series, he plays a voice mail left by Jake Paul making claims that he is excited for the series that will be coming out, and that he is “putting a lot of trust in [Dawson] to share [his] side of the story.” He is willing to be as truthful as possible for past situations that had occurred.

Throughout the first video, Dawson makes strong allegations that Jake Paul may be a sociopath because of his actions in previous videos.

Dawson begins by conducting an interview with iNabber, a British Youtuber who is famous for his commentary and rants on YouTube stars. 41dca344-3dbd-4d30-9637-36351d9d8cd6.sized-1000x1000

iNabber starts off by stating there is more to Jake Paul than his viewers may realize, and the content on his channel may be staged in order to gain more popularity and/or profit.

An example iNabber used was the Team 10 house itself. In 2010, Jake Paul rented a house for $17,000 a month, and members in the house may have had to pay large amounts of money in order to have a spot on the team.

Also, by creating fake friendships and couples, it is believed that members of Team 10 were only there to gain popularity and to help push themselves into other careers, such as modeling or acting.

The controversies first began when Jake Paul supposedly kicked out his supposed girlfriend, Alissa Violet, for cheating on him. But soon after, in a video posted by Violet, she claims that they were never in a real relationship to begin with.

In her video, Violet continued to expose Jake Paul by informing viewers that she, along with others in the house, had signed a contract for 20 percent of all their profits for five years.

After Violet was kicked out from of Team 10 house and posted the video full of accusations, Jake Paul followed with a video claiming that Violet’s current boyfriend, Faze Banks, assaulted his assistant and that none or her allegations toward him were true.

Jake Paul tried to clarify in the video that he wasn’t trying to retaliate or target anyone in particular. However, it was eventually proven that his claims about Banks were false, though he has yet to take down the video claiming the abuse.

Whether these claims are true or not may never be fully uncovered. Either way, I’d say both YouTubers are in the wrong for attacking each other on the internet for the world to see, rather than dealing with their issues in person.

To many viewers, myself included, wonder if the allegations of abuse and other mistreatments are true, many members should have left sooner to avoid sparking drama. However, it would seem logical for them to stick around if they had signed a contract or had been spending large amounts of money to gain popularity.

Since then, Jake Paul has continued to perform outrageous stunts that not only put his life in danger, but the lives of his fellow co-workers as well.

Two former members of Team 10, Ivan and Emilio Martinez, better known as the Martinez twins, decided to step forward and admit that there was physical abuse and bullying that had been going on in the house. They claimed that it was hard for them to mentally continue working with Jake Paul.

Throughout the series, Dawson shows clips of videos from Jake Paul’s channel where he makes racist remarks toward the twins and continues to harass them.

Dawson later consults with sociologist Kati Morton during the second video of the series, “The Dark side of Jake Paul.” He spent most of the video discussing what defines a sociopath and Morton’s personal opinions of Jake Paul.

In the beginning, Morton first describes a sociopath as someone who lacks empathy.

“Imagine someone who sees something that majorly affects another person but they don’t seem to care,” Morton explained. “They don’t care how others feel, they don’t seem to care what happens to those around them, as long as it doesn’t affect them directly.”

According to Morton, sociopaths will also try to rationalize bad situations to place less of the blame on themselves and more towards others around them. Dawson questions if sociopaths live a robot-like lifestyle and they ‘wear different masks’ to impress other people around them. Morton explains that sociopaths will also try to turn attention on to themselves to make others feel bad for them. They will complain about losing money, or other situations, to be the center of attention.

Morton elaborates that they will even refuse to show the people close to them who they truly are, almost as if that person doesn’t exist anymore, because they have spent their whole life mimicking others or trying their hardest to fit in.

After the interview is almost complete, Dawson asked Morton her opinion on Jake Paul and if she would classify him as a sociopath.

“It’s possible, but I don’t know him,” Morton said. “People put on shows to be on YouTube, or personas. But looking back on the symptoms we went through, like not caring if people get hurt, he’s definitely done things that have put people in danger.”

Dawson even goes as far as asking Morton to tag along when he meets Jake Paul in person for the first time. He also informs her that they should not make it known that Morton is a therapist to keep Jake from concealing his true personality.

I wasn’t sure how Jake Paul would react to this once he found out he was being evaluated by a therapist. Although, later on in the video, Dawson discloses that Jake Paul sent him a text message saying “anything goes” and not to hold back as the series progresses.

In the third video, “The Family of Jake Paul,” Dawson opens with an apology to his fans for the backlash he has already received for his video series. He states that he has no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings or criticizing mental illnesses.

Dawson then reads messages that have been sent from Jake Paul’s even more controversial brother, Logan Paul, who admitted that both Paul brothers have sociopathic tendencies, but claimed neither him nor Jake were sociopaths.

Throughout the video, viewers are introduced to Greg Paul and Pamela Stepnick, better known as Vlogdad and Vlogmom. Dawson tries to pinpoint where the Paul brothers’ problems began, and it seems as if their issues circle around their father. It becomes apparent that their dad instilled a competitive nature between the two brothers at a young age. Even after becoming famous, the brothers are constantly competing with each other. They both make claims about being the favorite son, or even creating music videos with lyrics to pick on each other throughout the entirety of the song.

I cannot assume what happens behind closed doors, but after watching the videos, it is apparent that the Paul family lacks discipline and encourages stunts that place others in danger, even though they do not see it that way. Jake Paul even admits to abuse from his father in a past vlog, but laughed it off to seem as if it was a normal living situation.

His father, Greg Paul, also lives in the Team 10 house with Jake Paul and seems to try to take control of how things run throughout the house. He seems to try to use his son’s success and fame as an outlet to seek attention and become more controlling over the lives of his sons, moreso toward Jake than Logan.

   After digging more into the Paul family, Dawson finds Pamela Stepnick’s YouTube channel. In one of her videos, Jake Paul says, “I’m glad that we can have real connections now. It’s just both of us vlogging each other through facetime.”

This part of the series struck home for me, and I would say this is when I began to sympathize with Jake Paul. It seems as if he must work hard to receive attention from his parents, and I would say that is something millions of teenagers can relate to on a personal level.

In the fifth video, “Enemies of Jake Paul,” Dawson sits down with one of Jake Paul’s longtime friends, Nick Crompton, who agreed to an interview to discuss what it was really like to live in the Team 10 house.

“I was super close with the Martinez twins before they left,” Crompton said. “It was a lot of fun up until the point when they came out with their video accusing Jake of the bullying.”

According to Crompton, and Jake Paul in a later video, he states that every stunt they ever did for their videos was staged. Before Jake Paul tried to perform a stunt, according to Crompton, he always asked for permission and made sure that everyone was OK before and after the video was filmed.

In the video released by the Martinez twins, they claimed that Jake Paul broke down the walls to their bedroom as a prank. However, during the interview, Crompton says that the team originally built the bedroom for the purpose of it to be torn down. It was a fake room, and supposedly the Martinez twins were fully aware of the prank that was going to take place.

Questions began to surface from Team 10 fans wondering that if it was staged, why would individuals who had been living in the house for so long be stepping forward making claims of abuse that had been happening?

“If Jake would have just come out and said that it was all fake, it would have debunked everything the Martinez twins were claiming to be true,” Crompton said. “Every time something happens, we don’t want to tell our viewers that everything is fake, so we just keep taking these hits.”

Crompton says that Jake Paul doesn’t want to step forward and admit everything is fake because of all the younger kids who are still watching, and it may push their fans away.

Crompton also puts an end to the rumor that the members of Team 10 are cast to be there. He says that everyone in the house has a role or a purpose. However, the things they do for their video productions are dramatized.

“There’s no way that anybody would ever be signed to Team 10 because they bribed their way in,” Crompton said. “Jake would never accept someone to be a part of the team if he thought they couldn’t be something.”

As everyone would like to believe, the 20 percent of profits that Jake Paul collects from his co-workers do not go straight into his pocket. Team 10 is a business, and Jake fulfills the role of CEO. The money was also used to help cover the cost of paying staff, such as their video producers and editors.

I was somewhat shocked to find out how the Team 10 house worked. The amount of stress Jake Paul experiences on a daily basis is incomprehensible.

Crompton also speaks about the issues involving Jake Paul’s father living in the house. According to him, people began leaving once Jake’s father tried to be involved. There were issues already happening before he showed up. But once he forced his way into the Team, Jake would leave the house to go back to Ohio to stay with his mom.

To everyone who lived in the house, it was obvious that Jake Paul and his father had their differences, and it was hard for the both of them to get along while living together. Crompton also says that Greg Paul pushed his way up into an authority position in order to make decisions for the group.

This is the reasoning behind why Crompton left Team 10, because he saw that Greg Paul was trying to control everyone in the house and realized he didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.

“That’s how Team 10 unfortunately works,” Crompton said. “If someone leaves the team, then it’s automatically assumed that there’s a bigger issue and are kind of shunned. I’ve tried to get in contact with Jake a few times since I’ve left, and I haven’t heard anything back.”

In the last three videos of Dawson’s series, all the topics are repetitive. Throughout the sixth episode, therapist Kati Morton returns to the series. After a full day of evaluating Jake Paul, she determines he may not be a sociopath, but he struggles with coping and sorting out his emotions.

Dawson also circles back to Alissa Violet in the seventh episode. During an interview with her, she restates her claims of abuse or mistreatment. Since Violet and Jake Paul are sharing two different stories, it may never be clear as to what truly happened during her time in the Team 10 house.

In the eighth and final episode, Dawson sits down with Jake Paul to address all the controversies and let him have an opportunity to be honest with his fans.

Jake Paul goes into more details about his relationship with his father, and that Greg Paul asked his sons to move back with him to Ohio for a stronger father-son relationship.

He also dug into the controversy with the Martinez twins, saying, “they were exaggerating their experiences.” Jake Paul admitted to doing ridiculous pranks, and that he has made many mistakes with his content.

Jake also discusses the backlash he received from his brother’s Suicide Forest video that was posted on Logan Paul’s channel. Jake Paul lost two or three brand deals, and even though there was a negative impact, Jake Paul claimed that it actually brought his family close together.

Finally, Jake Paul spoke about his situation with Alissa Violet. He admits that they both hurt each other for too long. He acknowledged that it was his fault that she was upset and how he was emotionally affected after she left.

The whole series received a lot of backlash, especially the last episode of the docu-series. Many viewers thought that Dawson wasn’t critical enough of Jake Paul’s actions and seemed to excuse his problematic behavior.

I thought the series was decent. However, I do think Shane Dawson could have done a better job of organizing and executing the series. A part of me does feel bad for everything Jake Paul has gone through, and I would think that haters of Jake Paul will leave fewer hateful comments on his page after watching the series.  After completing “Inside the Mind of Jake Paul,” I give the series an eight out of 10.

Parent involvement can help child cope with divorce

In today’s society, divorce rates are higher than ever and show no signs of slowing down.

Relationships and marriages are seeming to come quickly to an end due to lack of communication, among other reasons.

In a marriage that’s coming to an end, it can be more difficult when kids are involved. Divorce can be a difficult time for a family, especially for children, and the effects it may have on them can vary.

          At any age, it can be traumatic for anyone to witness the break up of a family and see their whole world turned upside down. How they react can depend on their age, personality, and the circumstances of the separation process. However, there is a lot that the parents can do to help their children cope.

Young children are the ones who seem to be affected the most by divorce, and how they react to divorce is a question that may be unpredictable. Based off of their own experiences they’ve had from watching their parents divorce, it may be harder for some to recover quicker than others.

With the right guidance from parents, children can experience divorce as an adjustment rather than a crisis. However, not all children are given the amount of support needed to get through the harder times in their life.

          Through divorce, children have to learn how to adapt to change at a rapid pace. They have to learn to accept new family dynamics, living situations, and possibly start over at a new school.

          I empathize with others who have struggled with the sociological and emotional toll it can have. It is not easy growing up with divorced parents. Many children whose parents separate struggle with developing social skills and the ability to relate to others around them.

Divorce can leave children emotionally vulnerable to several types of negative emotions, such as feelings of loss, anger, confusion, anxiety, and more, all of which can be caused by the separation of their parents alone. They may react to situations in a negative way and can have a hard time adjusting to such a sudden change.

If either parent notices such behavior, it is important that he or she help their children find an outlet for all of these emotions. Parents need to understand that it is OK to seek professional help. By seeking help for their child, it can help them learn to cope or figure out how to sort through their thoughts and emotions.

While struggling to sort out their emotions, in the midst of trying to comprehend the changing dynamics, it may leave many children distracted or confused. It can interrupt their daily focus and how they perform in their daily lives. This can have a major effect on their academic performance. The more distracted they become, the more likely they will not able to focus on their school work or on other activities.

This is where communication between the two parents can be important. By allowing children to still be in contact with both parents, it can encourage them and remind them that both parents are still supportive, even when going through difficult times.

This is where finding an outlet for children who are struggling can help. Without an outlet, a child whose family is going through divorce may also have a harder time relating to their classmates and/or will refuse to go to social activities. This is because they may feel insecure about their home situation and think that no one around them will be able to understand or be helpful toward the situation.

The most important thing for the parents is to remain involved with their children’s lives, especially when going through hard times. But many parents may confide too much in their children about adult concerns such as disagreements or money worries.

By offering reassurance, hope and a sense of stability, it can help ease the effects of divorce on children of all ages.

Struggle with dyslexia adds to difficulty of education

by Debra Montandon


Struggle with dyslexia adds to difficulty of education

It is not easy to open up about one’s weakness.

But throughout my life, I struggled academically. Many of my instructors through the years may not have come right out and said I was dumb, but they treated me in a way that I felt a lot less knowledgeable. I do recall one teacher in elementary school who encouraged me when I felt less capable than everyone else.

Years ago, schools didn’t make a big deal about students with dyslexia. I am not even sure they knew what it was. I just knew I did not like reading at all.

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About six years ago, a dear friend, Jan, said to me, “Debra, I think you are dyslexic.” I said, “I don’t read backwards.” She laughed and said, “There are a lot of different ways you can be dyslexic.” So the school where I was employed as a bus driver and substitute teacher offered to test me at their expense. I wanted to go back to college, but I needed to know why I do or don’t do a lot of things.

When I was taking the test, I was so embarrassed because I knew I could not do a lot of what she asked me to do. The counselor was so kind all the way through, though. She had never done a test on an adult.

So as I was taking the test, I was fighting back tears. I am so thankful to God that I did the test now, because it answers a lot of questions that I have wondered about all my life. I learned so much about myself through that one testing period. It helped me see who I really am. I learned that I am not dumb.

When she finished my testing, she said, “Debra, I cannot tell you that you are until I run the numbers, but I know how nervous you are, and I’m sure you are dyslexic.” I started crying. She said, “You have thought you were dumb your whole life?” I nodded my head. She said, “Debra, I don’t ever tell people the results from the test, but you need to know this…You are highly intelligent.”

I looked at her with some confusion. She turned the paper around and it had lines drawn through words I did not see or read. She said, “Debra, I see this all the time. What I don’t see is this: while you were reading, you missed these words. What I never see, is that your brain moved so fast that you put synonyms in there to make the sentence grammatically correct. I cannot teach someone to do this. You taught yourself. I understand you want to go back to college. You will struggle. But do not give up, and you will make it.”

Then she said, “Debra I know you have felt like you were dumb or people made you feel that way…You are far from dumb.” As I was leaving her office, I cried because of how many people in my life made it clear that they were smart and I was not. I was also told many times, “You dropped out of college!”

I do not have the words to express how grateful I am to finally know why I struggle. I just hope and pray that I can persevere to the end and acquire a college degree, to be an encourager for others in the future.

When I compare my years of going to school, they did not know what to do with students who struggled compared to now. They start earlier testing and working with students when they are a lot younger to help them. I am grateful that it is not like it was when I was in school.

Not only can schools catch this problem earlier, there are resources available that can help parents get an early diagnosis.

Knowing about my dyslexia, even later in life, has made me stronger, and has reassured me that I can do the things people in the past said I couldn’t.



Word on the Street

by Reece Turner and Geneva Natal


sarahsmith“When I was younger, I would always go to my mom’s friend’s house, who was like a grandma to me. We would pass out candy together. She dressed up like the grandma from Halloween Town. I didn’t like walking around talking to people, because strangers scared me. So, I passed out candy. I’ve never actually been trick or treating.”

Sarah Smith

Electrical Engineering



samson“We used to keep the door open and watch scary movies and hand out candy. We don’t do it as much anymore, but I would do it if i had my own house now.”

Kaylum Simpson

Biology Science





thomas.JPG“Our church always does this thing called the Trunk or Treat. I always went to that. But this year, I have a kid so that will change that. We never did do a lot of trick or treating, but we will decorate most of the time, and mess with some people every once in a while.”

David Thomas

Pre-Veterinary Medicine


Mesa, Arizona


alondra“So, what I like to do is sit around on the couch in covers and watch scary movies until Halloween is over. My favorite is probably “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” I watch it every year.”

Alondra Levario



Denver City



micky“Trick or treat, but we also had a Trunk or Treat way back when, around the courthouse. For my family, we live out in the country and we don’t have to deal with trick or treaters. But we go trick or treating at other houses and other towns sometimes, Floydada, Lockney, Plainview. The rich houses give the good candy.”

Donald Gibbens



Denver City


cross“My family would stay at home, buy a lot of candy, and hand it out. At the end of the night, we would go out walking around and seeing whose porch lights were still on and hit the houses that still had candy.

Matt Cross

Commercial Music




Haunting tales plague Woodrow house

The Woodrow Manor has a short, tragic history that, some believe, makes it worthy to stand among other haunted houses.

Woodrow Manor is located just south of Lubbock, between a few fields, with very few neighbors in direct sight. The house was built around 2003. But the youthfulness of the house does not take away from the looming ambiance.

The house did not last very long without its first death. Rumor has it that within the first few years, an unarmed man was shot dead in the driveway. A few years later, the front door was kicked in, and a young girl was found, reportedly stabbed to death on top of the stairs, falling dead on the cat walk. It is also said that every person who has ever lived in the house has gone insane.


Perhaps the most disturbing legend the house holds is that a veterinarian who lived there supposedly performed experiments on dead and live animals in the shed. One story recounts a time when a pregnant pit-bull mix was given a caesarean section birth by the veterinarian. The vet allegedly inserted the newborn puppies back into the mother and sewed her shut. The kennels and “experiment” room still stand to testify to the accounts with some dark, depressing vibe that visitors would be able to feel in their


The current owners had the house investigated by the Lubbock Ghost Investigation Society in 2018. From the very beginning, the house began to speak to those present for the investigation. Immediately after entering the house, a report of a ghostly man was spotted crossing paths with the investigators.

Additionally, a panel of glass located at the front of the house was unexplainably broken. The remains of the window took the shape of a dragonfly, which is a symbol held close to one of the investigators.
Anita, one of the investigators, said, “I feel like there’s kids playing all the time in here, and it’s like Christmas year ‘round.”

The Lubbock Ghost Investigation Society has written a report on the house, which describes many dark and disturbing scenes and feelings throughout many rooms. The report is posted on Lubbock Ghost Investigation Society’s Facebook page. This report is the start of a series of investigations that the owners plan to conduct, but it does confirm, yes, “(Woodrow Manor) is one of the most haunted of any place we have been,” says Billy Fisher, at the end of the LGIS report.

Woodrow Manor has been used as a venue for a haunted theme park operated by owners Marc Coley and Denver Blanscett. I have been through this side of the haunted house, which was dark, confusing, scary, and hilarious, all wrapped in black tarps and face-paint. The actors were very committed to their roles. Not once can I recall the actors breaking character, even when I got lost within the strobe lights and smoke.


Woodrow Haunted Manor is open to the public from now through Halloween. Tickets go on sale by 7:30 p.m. Portions of t-shirt and ticket profits are donated to Contact Lubbock.

The owners of the house want to try to preserve the house. They plan to not use it as a venue after 2018.
“We want to preserve the house, and maintain the attraction without having it be such a spectacle,” said Matt Miley, one of the managers.

Kaitlyn Hyde, Photo Editor for the Plainsman Press, and I both volunteered to stay one night in Woodrow Manor. The owners were very friendly, accommodating, and fast to respond when we asked permission. They offered us a free walkthrough of the theme park portion and arranged dates and times for our stay.

Matt Miley, a manager of the house who built most of the props, gave us a brief tour of the house, as well as a long explanation of past events and quirks about the house.

“The house WILL speak to you,” Miley told us.

Within the first 20 minutes of the front door closing us in for the night, the house already began to give us the chills.

A strange hissing noise emanated from the direction of the fireplace. Kate and I both decided it could be a prop, maybe a smoke machine. Upon further investigation, the only machine we could find on that side of the house was a strobe light that was not plugged in. So we felt that we were already off to a good start.

We agreed to try and get some homework finished during our stay, so we brought our laptop computers and attempted to get some work done. Unfortunately, neither one of us could concentrate on our writing very well.

Noises, sometimes it was thumping, other times it was croaking, kept interrupting our concentration. We decided to do our own investigation the only way we knew how, with cameras and recorders.

We walked through the house to try to decide where we would set up our cameras. During this process, we both felt the same feeling in certain rooms and areas of the house. It was a sinking feeling in our chests. It was as if light was not allowed to touch these rooms, nor the people in them.

After a few hours of video and audio recordings in certain rooms, neither one of us captured anything particularly noteworthy. Off camera, though, a door had opened on its own. It had not opened completely; it was already propped open, slightly, with a black tarp holding it in place.

Where I had set up my second recording, I stood in between the door that opened, and the tripod. I estimated that I could have bumped the door accidently, but after imitating our set-up process, I was not nearly as close as I had previously thought. Neither one of us touched the bedroom door, which is directly left of the top of the stairs, where a woman had died years before.

Most of the night was quiet. Kate and I walked on a trail behind the house a few times, and revisited some of the spookier locations, such as the shed, the kennels, and a few of the bedrooms. Around 3 a.m., Kate and I both decided that we had enough.

Is Woodrow Manor haunted? I do not think I am qualified and quantified enough to answer that question. But I do know that Woodrow Manor is one of the creepiest places I have ever been in.

Music ensemble class offered for homeschool students

A Music Ensemble class is being offered for the first time to Homeschool students who are looking to further their instrumental knowledge.

The all Homeschooled Music Ensemble class is being held at South Plains College and taught by Brent Wheeler, assistant professor of Commercial Music.

The idea for the Homeschool Music Ensemble class came up when Wheeler was having a conversation with his wife. He runs the SPC Live Ensemble, which is for 10-16-year olds. SPC Live is for students who work on music once a week and then they play in the Fest Week with all the college bands.

“So as I was thinking of ways to reach the needs of the community more, and the outlying communities, I was thinking of ways I could still take that passion and the idea of reaching out to kids who are homeschooled,” Wheeler said. “It just seemed like the next evolution of the program (SPC Live). So really, it all started with the SPC Live concept of getting kids in here to teach them songs. But we wanted to make it a little more elaborate or more in depth by adding a music class.”

This is the first semester for the music ensemble class, which is just for homeschool students. The class is held on Friday afternoons, which typically rules out public school kids. Right now, Wheeler offers one ensemble every week that meets at 1:30 p.m. on Fridays. His class has anywhere from four to eight students, depending on the weeks.

“The registration for this is going to be pretty much open throughout the whole semester,” Wheeler said. “It’s an eight-week course at $40 a month per student.” Wheeler said. “It works out well as far as it’s affordable and it’s only one day a week.”

Wheeler shared in depth what the homeschoolers will be learning about in the program, saying.

“This homeschool class is going to be a little deeper (than the SPC Live). We’re going to talk about specific artists, specific songs, which most of them are going to be in the acoustic genre, such as bluegrass, old traditional blues, American folk.”

He went on to explain that those genres of music are going to go hand in hand with what they will talk about with the artists and music theory. They will also work on learning an instrument.

“But what I found is that the homeschoolers have a pretty rich music tradition in their families,” said Wheeler. “So were just kind of adding to that.”

The homeschool class will get to perform for their families, but also the community as well. Wheeler explained that they are still sorting the performance out.

“I’m waiting for the schedule of the college’s availability, along with their schedules, and likewise we want to pick a time that the community can come see it too so it’s not so inclusive,” Wheeler said.

“I think the important part overall is just getting people exposed, giving this democratic homeschool group together, and just develop a love and passion for music,” he added. “Undoubtedly, with all of my students that I teach, whether they are college, high school, or youth, my homeschool students have more time to really develop and practice. Their individual study at home gives them more time to jump into extracurricular stuff, because they’re not going from here to there that you might see with a public school student.”

Ribbon cutting held for Culinary Arts program



A ribbon cutting ceremony recently was held for the new Culinary Arts program at the Lubbock Center campus of South Plains College.

“You all coming today is an opportunity to be eye witnesses for this life-changing program for the citizens of Lubbock, Hockley County and surrounding towns,” Ben Alexander, executive director of the Lubbock Center/Workforce Development, told the audience at the event on Oct. 5.


“Two years ago, this was an abandoned car dealership,” Alexander said of the building at 3907 Avenue Q in Lubbock. “There were more doves and coons than people coming through here in the last few years.”

Now this building houses four fully-equipped cooking labs, a bakery lab, meat processing lab, refrigerator and freezer storage, dry storage and a small kitchen or room at the back of the facility used for washing dishes and other household work.

“We are so proud of the partnership and a lot of hard work and generosity of those who are here today, to make the dreams of our kids a reality, to make a place where kids did not have the opportunity to go to school now have the opportunity to go to college,” said Alexander.

Alexander also mentioned one particular student who is enrolled this semester who did not have the $33 for a test that is required.

“Her perseverance has kept her focused,” Alexander explained, “and now she wants to open her own catering from her home. These dreams have happened because of the partnership that happened because of the team work in this room.”

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of South Plains College, followed by introducing the Partners in Education who contributed to the project.

“There was a 10,425 square-foot hole that needed to be fixed,” said Dr. Satterwhite, who thanked the representatives from United Supermarkets, the JT and Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation, Helen Jones Foundation, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, ETR architects, JT Martin Foundation, Alan Henry Foundation, and City Bank.

“The U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Hispanic-Serving Institutions program, in the amount of a $681,000 grant, was written by Stephen John,” Dr Satterwhite added. “This grant bought all of the equipment you see.”

Following Dr. Satterwhite’s comments, Natalie Osuna, Culinary Arts program coordinator, presented an overview of the program.

David Cea, president of the Lubbock Restaurant Association, followed with remarks on behalf of  the Culinary Arts Advisory Committee.

United Supermarkets also contributed a student scholarship. A second scholarship endowment, the Johnny and Darlene Vest Memorial Scholarship, was established by the Vest family of Levelland to support students in the program.

Approximately 50 students are enrolled in the program for the 2018 fall semester. There is also projected enrollment of more than 128 students in the next two years.

Students in the program had prepared snacks and drinks that not only looked beautiful but tasted delicious.

The SPC Culinary Arts Program has three full-time faculty members, Osuna, Patrick Ramsey, program specialist and executive chef, and Austin McManus, instructor in Culinary Arts.

A special acknowledgement goes to Steve Aufill, Gary Stephens and the staff of BGR Architects of Lubbock and Jim McCutchin, Zach McCutchin and thestaff of McCutchin Construction in Levelland for their work in the design and renovation of the culinary arts instructional area.

Regents discuss Clery Report, upcoming programs

The 2017 Clery Report, updates on the coding academy and the truck driving program, and possible additions to seating at the track and field facilities were among the topics discussed during the October meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Dr. Lynn Cleavinger, dean of students at SPC, presented the Annual Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Report, which the college is required to issue every year because of the Jeanne Clery act.

“This went out to the whole community on September 28 that afternoon,” Dr. Cleavinger explained. “It is electronically available on the South Plains College website. It is a compilation of all of the crime statistics from all of our campuses for the year and information about everything we do.”

Dr. Cleavinger also presented The Safety and Security Audit, which SPC is required to conduct every three years.

“Basically, what we found is that about 90 percent of the items on the audit we were already doing,” Dr. Cleavinger explained. “Such as the Emergency Operations plan, which you will be hearing about soon, and the camera security implementation. We’ve really been doing a lot of things safety-wise as we’ve been going along, and that showed up as we were doing the school safety audit.”

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president of academic affairs, provided updates on both the Lubbock Coding Academy and the CDL truck driving program.

“We have two Workforce programs that are in progress, and you’ve been hearing about these for quite a while,” Dr. Gibbs said. “The Lubbock Coding Academy is one that we have been talking about for over a year. We are very close. We’re in the process of getting the contract finalized, but we have purchasing and lawyers looking at it to make sure that we don’t have any surprises. My anticipated start date for that program would be mid-January.”

Dr. Gibbs explained that the CDL program is in the request for proposal (RFP) quote process, which will close Oct. 16.

“We will review those and hopefully select our vendor,” Dr. Gibbs explained. “I also anticipate that program to kick off in mid-January as well. We anticipate having 200 to 300 a year for licensing CDL drivers.”

Dr. Gibbs also discussed the need to find a new Dean of Health Occupations.

“Ms. Lopez is retiring, and we’re going to need to replace her,” Dr. Gibbs said. “We will try to find somebody that is able to do her job. This is probably going to be one of the biggest challenges. Because of the complexity of the position, we have already posted the position and we’re looking forward to getting qualified applicants.”

Sue Ann Lopez, the current dean of health occupations, has agreed to stay on in a consulting role to help  the nursing program through their accreditation process, which is coming up after the spring semester begins.

Dr. Gibbs briefly discussed that the Diesel Technology Program received Associated Equipment Dealers Foundation (AED) accreditation.

“What that basically means is that this group that has been around for 100 years, based out of Chicago, has determined that our educational facilities in our educational programs meet their rigorous standards for equipment dealers,” explained Dr. Gibbs. “There’s 50 of them across the nation, and  South Plains College is the first one in the state of Texas to achieve that accreditation. We are very excited about that, and extremely proud of the work that Whitney and his staff has done to achieve. Also the work of dean Rob Blair and the department chair. There’s been a lot of time and effort.”

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, SPC president, discussed the possibility of adding seating to the track and field facilities.

“Currently, every year we hold the Region 1-1A track meet,” Dr. Satterwhite explained. “The UIL has contacted us, and we have begun discussing holding 2A track and field. There’s a lot of people that come on campus. This is a great opportunity to bring people out and show them what South Plains College has to offer. If we’re going to have 1A and 2A track, that requires some  more seating.”

Dr. Satterwhite is looking at adding more seating on the southeast side of the track, which will add about 500 more seats. Dr. Satterwhite presented a quote of $84,000 for the projected seating.

“Let me tell you how we’re going to pay for this,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “Our interest fee for UIL 1A is about $16,000, and that’s what we get from entrance fees from all the different schools. With 2A, it will be bring in about $32,000 a year, just in entrance fees. If we can keep this for three years, we will easily be able to pay for this. Our national track meet in 2021 will be in here in Levelland also. So this is just part of a plan to upgrade our track facilities. I think it’s in order to accommodate the 2A.”