Month: March 2019

Loot, pillage in sandbox pirate adventure game ‘Sea of Thieves’

Sail the seas and take what you want in Rare Interactive’s sandbox pirate adventure, “Sea of Thieves.”

“Sea of Thieves” gives players balanced options that are rarely seen in the gaming industry today. For example, all weapons are exactly the same and cannot be upgraded. A player who has been active for some time would not have a better weapon than somebody logging in for the first time. The veteran pirate may have a classier outfit and a golden pistol. But the golden pistol gives zero benefits, only swagger.

kraken_1.pngA “sandbox” game emphasizes exploration and gives the player choices of what to do, instead of having a linear story line. “Sea of Thieves” places the player and their crew anywhere on a giant ocean littered with a plethora of unique islands. Almost every island has a secret or treasure waiting to be found.

There are special islands called “Skull Forts.” Each Skull Fort is a named island, with a fort guarded by skeletons. Every half our or so, a giant skull-shaped cloud appears over a random fort, triggering a raid. Pirates have to fight through at least 10 waves of skeletons, including a final boss at the end of the raid. The boss drops a key to a large stash, which is the prize for the risk of taking the fort. Not only are the skeletons and their canon fire lethal, other pirates can see the skull cloud, and race to the loot, either sabotaging players actively taking the fort, or stealing the loot once the raid is finished.

Three pirate companies dish out gold pieces for the treasure players find. If a treasure chest is found, the “Gold Hoarders” faction will happily pay for it. The “Order of Souls” company purchases magical skulls, which are either stolen, or looted from the most common enemy: the living dead. Also, there is the “Merchant Alliance,” which tasks players to collect animals and other tradable goods such as cannonballs.

When a player reaches level 50 in the original three companies, they earn the status of “Pirate Legend.” Lastly, “Athena’s Fortune” grants voyages to those who have reached max reputation with the other three companies.

The content in “Sea of Thieves” has been lacking since launch. Going on voyages or spamming skull fort raids is very repetitive. Luckily, Rare developers have addressed this since launch, saying that “Sea of Thieves” will evolve over time into a truly satisfying experience. Furthermore, Rare likes to tell players that the point of the game is less about the destination, but the journey it takes to get there. Rare tries to emphasize the adventure in a quest, raid, or voyage, not just the reward.

The freedom that “Sea of Thieves” delivers is by far my favorite aspect of the game. With new adventures being released every few months, some forcing opposing crews to work together, “Sea of Thieves” is a game that creates fantastic stories of classic pirate shenanigans. Whether a crew is involved in a heated skirmish on the high seas, or an espionage scheme where a crew is dedicated to the long con of stealing a huge stash of loot, the game never ceases to keep players talking about it.

Another point that cannot be ignored is Rare’s attention to detail, along with the aesthetics. The graphics are truly a spectacle, especially while on the open seas. I have never taken more screenshots of a video game than in “Sea of Thieves.”

Additionally, Rare has delivered no shortage of Easter eggs. The music sounds like it was produced by “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” developers. The bananas and barrels are straight from “Donkey Kong,” and there is even an island to travel to where a player can hear Diddy Kong yelling at the wind.

As the game evolves, I’m sure my rating will increase. But for now, I give “Sea of Thieves” an 8 out of 10.

Burns appointed department chair

Kenny Burns has made it his mission to elevate South Plains College’s Police Academy to the finest in the Lone Star State.

Burns recently was appointed as the new chairperson of the Professional Services and Energy Department. The department encompasses the electrician, law enforcement, power emissions and cosmetology related programs on campus. Burns intends to never stop improving the department and said he hopes his goal proves contagious among faculty.

Born and raised in West Texas, Burns brings more than a decade of law enforcement experience in numerous police departments, in juvenile probation and instruction to the classroom. He became acquainted with SPC a decade ago when he served as a campus police officer for a year after earning his associate’s degree at Western Texas College.

After serving a year as a deputy in the Scurry County Sheriff’s Department, Burns joined the Police Department in Snyder. He served the city for five years, garnering plenty of law enforcement experience, before earning a bachelor’s degree in public administration at Midwestern State University. He then experienced the corrections side of the law as the chief juvenile probation officer for Scurry County under the 132nd Judicial District.

“So pretty much my entire life, working in some kind of public service industry,” Burns said.

After experiencing so much of what law enforcement has to offer, Burns went back to college and earned a master’s degree in criminal justice to apply his passion for public service to the field of education. He combined the two by becoming an instructor and later an associate professor.

Not only does Burns teach academic courses, he also is the Law Enforcement Academy coordinator, making him responsible for working out the schedule for the Academy, as well as ensuring that all state requirements imposed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement are met. In addition to his numerous responsibilities, Burns teaches at the Academy and strives to improve it, though it is already held in high regard across the state.

“We aren’t going to stop until we’re known throughout Texas, and people are going to start coming here from all over for our program,” Burns said.

Burns admittedly is more experienced with handguns than voltmeters or hairstyles, but expressed confidence in the cosmetology and energy professors in his department and makes sure they have all they need to do their best work.

He encourages open communication and hopes to get students interested in his department before they are face to face with the stress of higher education. Serving as a guest speaker and teaching in high school classes gives Burns an outlet to inform more prospective students about what SPC has to offer. Getting students interested in college programs early is a valuable outreach tactic that Burns is hoping to apply to other aspects of his department.

“One thing that I’ve really been pushing the other guys- and we’re all on board on it, especially for the law enforcement program, and we’re trying to bleed it into some of these other ones, is recruitment and retention…” Burns said. “…All three of our programs, the electrical side, the cosmetology side and the law enforcement side, have what’s considered CTE programs, which is career and technical education. And those programs are in our high schools, all in this area… We figured by going over there and teaching some of their classes and recruiting and talking to them, letting them see who we are before they even make that decision, maybe it’s more likely they’ll come to South Plains College…”

Outside of his official duties for the college, Burns is a devoted father of two daughters, one who is currently attending SPC and one who has already graduated. He and his wife also regularly foster dogs from the South Plains ASPCA to get them ready to be permanently adopted into loving families. Burns expressed that he’s content with his job at SPC and will never be satisfied with his improvements, because more can always be done.

“I definitely see myself retiring here,” Burns said. “This is a great place to work. I teach adjunct at other colleges like Lubbock Christian University and don’t have any intentions of ever going to any of those places. This is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, and some of the best people to work with, and some of the best benefits for myself and my family… Probably, it’s another 15 to 20 years, and I’ll be doing this.”

Former student pursues business endeavors in Thailand


Before deciding to move to Thailand, Devin Hargrove was an unconventional college student.

Hargrove, who grew up in Lubbock, planned on going into the military after an ROTC program, but medical issues kept him from continuing on that path.

“I kind of had it planned all through high school, coming out of high school, for the first few years I had planned on that route,” explained Hargrove. “When that ended up not fostering, I had to make a decision. I didn’t have anything else planned.”

With no plan, Hargrove decided to go to college.

“I had to figure out what to do,” recalled Hargrove. “For a long time, that kind of just ended up being going to work and going to South Plains.”

During his time at South Plains College, Hargrove got involved in the campus newspaper, The Plainsman Press. He served as a staff writer for one year and feature editor the following year.

“I always really enjoyed being a writer,” said Hargrove. “Even though it was just a college newspaper, it gave me the opportunity to explore.”

After SPC, Hargrove moved to Denton to attend the University of North Texas.  That was when he decided college wasn’t what he wanted.

“I had spent about $5,000 for the first semester,” recalls Hargrove. “I remember thinking, ‘This is kind of absurd’.”

For Hargrove, the decision was not difficult to make. He knew what he wanted to do, which was to establish a business where he could outsource most of the work.

“Initially, I found the cheapest plane ticket that I could,” explained Hargrove, “which at the time was a flight to Thailand. And I took all my money that I had and I went.”

According to Hargrove, the first time in a different country is always magical, but after a while, it fades away.

“We don’t live in a movie,” explained Hargrove. “Even if you’re doing something cool, you have to live in that. There’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs. There’s going to be periods of boredom. There’s going to be times when you’re broke, times when you’re rich. Things are going to happen. It’s just life at the end of the day, even if you’re in a different place with a different set of standards. “

For a while, Hargrove was just hanging out in Thailand. After coming back to the United States a few times, he decided it was time to make the move.

“I ended up coming back for the holidays and also working for a few months to save up money to go back over there,” said Hargrove. “That’s when I really made this plan of this is what I’m going to commit to. I’m going to commit to finding people who can nourish that entrepreneurial spirit, and who I can learn from.”

In Thailand, he was staying in a hostel that a friend owned that was so small he could barely stand up. To sustain himself, he started teaching English.

“I literally just slept there,” said Hargrove of the hostel. “The rest of the time I was out doing things. I was learning from people, hanging out with tour operators, learning how they sell to people.”

Currently, Hargrove is back in America until April. In the meantime, he hopes to set up a business geared toward teaching English as a second language. ”

Outside of business, Hargrove wants to earn his black belt in Jiu Jitsu and become a dive master for recreational scuba diving.

He said he hopes to start a fund that would help Lubbock students pay for travel

“Once I’m able, I want to donate money to local schools here in the Lubbock area,” said Hargrove, “to allow students to travel more on these group trips, outdoor learning, as it’s called.”

Hargrove says one of the best pieces of advice he ever received was from a colleague.

“His best piece of advice was to be singularly focused in whatever you’re doing,” said Hargrove. “Make a lot of money, invest it all, and then break free from whatever you’re doing, even if you’re doing something you enjoy, because that freedom is going to be better.”

Hargrove also recommends having mentors and coaches. While coaches seem like a waste of money, Hargrove recommends it because you might be losing money by not seeing a coach.

“If you spend $250 every month for a coach to work on specific goals,” explained Hargrove, “how much more money could you be making? How much money are you losing by not talking with them?”

Aside from coaching, Hargrove says to have very specific goals, those that can actually be achieved.

“You have to have very specific goals,” said Hargrove, “because from that point you can break it down into individual, actionable plans. That’s something that took me a very long time to learn, but once I did learn that, it has helped me accomplish more in the past two or three years than I’ve accomplished in 15.”

Student becomes novelist after years of hard work

Elizabeth Sacks came up with a story idea 10 years ago and recently got it published.

Sacks, who is majoring in Graphic Arts at South Plains College, published her first novel on Feb. 14.

Sacks, who uses her pen name, said she has been writing most of her life. She said that she would come up with stories before she was able to write them down, and her mom would write them down for her.

“I made up a story about Daniel and Danielle,” she recalled. “It was about two twin brothers, which now I realize that Danielle is a girl’s name. I’ve just been making up stories ever since.”

The 23yearold Sacks started writing stories before she read her first novel. She was writing stories like a script.

“I just had all this dialogue and character names,” Sacks said. She started understanding how stories worked when she started reading novels. The first novel she read was “Little Women.”

“My dream job would be to make movies,” Sacks said. “But as I write, the more I love it.”

She explained that not being able to make movies is one of the reasons she got started writing.

Sacks also mentioned that writing is also a way to express what she is thinking, “and I think we need more good books in the world.” She says that she had a hard time finding novels which were age appropriate, and because of that she  wants to write books for people to read, “because I think reading is important, and any age can read them because you don’t have to fear what’s inappropriate inside.”

Sacks went on to confirm that her novel, titled “Matthew Calbrin,” is written in a way that she said she believes any age group would enjoy. She also mentioned that her editor wants her to target it more to kids who are still in grade school.

“I try to make it interesting enough that all ages would like to read it,” Sacks said.

Since Sacks is a student and works as well, she said it took her a while to get her novel out.

“This particular book took me 10 years to write,” she explained.

Sacks started writing the book in 2008 in a spiral notebook. Then she expanded it and rewrote it on her iPad. Then she rewrote it a second time on her laptop. However, those would not be the only times she rewrote her book. She said when a publisher picked her up, “they went over it, and my mom also went over it. It has been gone over several times.”

“As far as finding the time, sometimes my priorities are a bit mixed up,” Sacks said, adding a laugh.

She said that she will write her stories before homework sometimes. On other days, though, when she does put homework first, she said that she will stay up late at night and write.

“Just anytime that I have a free moment,” said Sacks.

Sacks said it took two years to get her book published.

“A part of that was my fault,” Sacks said, “because the editor left comments on things and some of them were negative. I have never had negative feedback on my story before, so I was just like ‘what am I going to do?’”

Sacks said she got discouraged because it did take a while to get the book published, and she started wondering if anybody would ever read her book.

The book is about Matthew Calvin, who lives in a fictional kingdom in 1795.

“He’s new to the capital city and is involved in a murder plot against the royal family, but doesn’t know it,” explains Sacks. She adds that Matthew meets a young woman who is in the Royal Army, “which you know, in the 1700s there were no women in the Royal Army,” and they fall in love.

Sacks mentioned that her inspiration for this particular story was the movie “Barbi and the Three Musketeers.” However, she said that her story is nothing like “The Three Musketeers.”

Sacks announced she will have a book signing at the SPC Student Center on March 20 from 11a.m. to 2 p.m., when people can also purchase her book.

In her free time, Sacks says that she enjoys watching movies, reading, or hanging out with people she knows when she is not in school, at work, or writing.

“I was homeschooled,” Sacks said, “which is probably part of the reason why I do like writing, because I read a lot for school. My favorite subject was history.”

She mentioned that her favorite historical time period is the Revolutionary War, and that her book is set in the 1700’s because she enjoys history.

Sacks was born in Lubbock, but her family moved to Meadow, Texas, when she was around 10 years old.

“If you enjoy writing, if you have a story in your heart, just write it,” Sacks said, offering advice for anyone who wants to write a book.

She adds, “I’ve held onto my first love, that’s what you have to do. You’ve just got to hold on to your first love, because there’s a reason why you love it.”

Sacks mentioned that you don’t have to sit down for a long period of time to write a story. You can write in a notebook while you are eating lunch, or while you are in the car.

“If you don’t do what you love,” Sacks said, “you’re probably not going to be very happy.”

‘The Informant!’ puts vivacious spin on corporate espionage

It’s an ordinary day at ADM when the FBI comes knocking on the door of Mark Whitacre’s office door.

He was given a script by his bosses about what to say to the FBI, but what will he decide to do? Will he speak his mind, or stick to the script given by his corporate managers? A life-changing decision that will affect Mark’s life forever is waiting to be made.

informant“The Informant” portrays a shocking story that reveals damaging information regarding corporate crime.

Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre, who works for Archer Daniels Midland, also known as ADM. Mark, who has been working for the agriculture corporation, decides to make a drastic decision on his own behalf to bring down ADM. He is unaware of what the actual circumstances are when working with the FBI.

This movie will take you on Mark Whitacre’s adventure as he becomes a mole for the FBI during intense investigation that will happen over a during a two-year span.

This movie is based on a true story that is quite serious regarding a corporate crime conspiracy that happened in the late 1990s case against multinational corporation, Archer Daniels Midland. This movie brought the case to life with comedy and real-life situations that make it very interesting.

Mark Whitacre was the main character of this film who took on the role of assisting the FBI in bringing down the company that he loved. One of the interesting aspects of the film is that the audience is able to hear Mark’s thoughts. He is a very knowledgeable man about the company he worked at, and he would list many facts and interesting statements about the company.

Mark was put in a very difficult position. In fact, I looked at the movie as if he were an FBI agent. He just didn’t have any training or the background an FBI agent would have. He was just an ordinary man who worked at ADM to provide for his family.

During the investigation, his wife was very concerned about her husband’s career protection. The movie presented a great all-around aspect of Mark’s life. He wasn’t superhuman, just an intelligent man who had the courage to speak up when he knew informant-watching-recommendation-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600something wasn’t right.

Mark makes it known that he loves the company he works for, and he even dreams of running ADM. He just wants to run the corporation properly without crime.

ADM knew they were being investigated and would not go down with a fight. Who will protect the one individual who gave his time and job safety up? Will the FBI protect Mark, or will he get swallowed up by the savage company?

I feel that this movie is actually very informational about all the ways crime can happen in the business world. This film gave a great insider look at a case that happened in real life.

I enjoyed watching this film on Netflix. Damon played his role very well. I enjoyed watching him play Mark Whitacre as he transformed into an FBI agent while working at ADM. I liked how humble the character was. He was an honest guy who seemed like he just wanted people to know the truth about the hidden corporate crime that was happening at ADM.

I rate this film a 7/10.

Romantic comedy surprises with positive outcome

If you are not a fan of romantic comedies, you might want to watch “Isn’t it Romantic,” because it has a different storyline.

The movie starts out In New York City with Natalie as a pre-teen girl  (played by Alex Kis). Natalie, who is watching a romantic movie, is told by her mother, played by Jennifer Saunders, that romance can not happen unless you look like a Hollywood actress. Natalie grows up to believe this and is left being stuck in her own miserable, romantic-less world.

Rebel-Wilson-Movie-Set-Isnt-t-Romantic-Tom-LOrenzo-Site-5Twenty five years later, Natalie, played by Rebel Wilson, is being used by her coworkers and is only seen as the coffee girl. Feeling completely invisible because of how her boss, coworkers, and others treat her, she complains for three hours about how romantic movies are lies to a coworker, Whitney, played by Betty Gilpin. Whitney ends up telling her that if she would be more open, people might not pass her by as much.

On her way home, Natalie gets robbed once she steps off the subway trains. After chasing her robber and getting her purse back, she turns around to run away, only to run straight into a metal beam and is knocked unconscious.

When she wakes up, Natalie is greeted by a very handsome doctor. Being completely freaked out when the doctor tells her how beautiful she is, she flees from the hospital, only to get hit by a limo as she’s trying to cross the street. The business man, Blake, played by Liam Hemsworth, who is inside the limo, gets out to check on her and apologizes for his driver. Being in complete awe of her, he gives her his phone number and tells her to call him if she ever needs anything.

Natalie ends up getting arrested, and not having anyone’s number memorized, uses her one phone call to call Blake, since she still had his number in her pocket. After he bails her out, he takes her to her home, where he sets up a date for later that night.

Realizing that she’s stuck in a “romantic movie” life, her goal becomes to get someone to fall in love with her.

Toward the end of the movie, Natalie’s best friend and coworker, Josh, played by Adam Devine, is about to get married. She then realizes that the person she loves, and who she thinks she needs to get  to love her back so she can go back to her “normal” life, is Josh.


On the day that Josh is getting married, she decides to try to break up the wedding. Flying through the doors of the church, she starts to tell Josh that he’s about to make a big mistake and that he should be with her. But mid-way through, she realizes that the person she needs to love is herself. After stealing a car and driving away from the church, she’s finally happy with her life because she realizes the only person she has ever needed is herself.

Natalie then gets into a car accident and wakes up in a realistic hospital. Finally, back in her “normal” life, she goes to work and becomes the boss who has always been in her by stepping up and not letting her coworkers walk all over her.

Although this movie is not one of the best romantic comedies I have seen, it has a very good message. It is one that I personally needed to hear: The person you need to love is yourself.

This was the first movie in a theater that I went to watch alone, and because of the message, it should be one that others see alone as well.

The movie does a good job at the end of showing that it is not OK to let people walk all over you, and that you should believe in yourself more and take credit for what you have done.

But most importantly, the movie shows that you need to be happy with what you have, where you live, and who is around you.

“Isn’t it Romantic” really surprised me. The trailers of this movie made me think it was going to be negative and hate on romance, when, in reality, it was very funny and uplifting. I rate this movie a 7 out of 10.

Physical Education Department changing name in fall

The Physical Education Department at South Plains College is changing its name to the Kinesiology Department.

The name change will mark the growth of SPC and the Physical Education Department by staying current and helping students transition to universities more easily, according to Marc Moore, associate professor of physical education and chairperson of the Physical Education Department, who said he is proud of the change.

“We’re getting bigger and kind of reaching out now,” Moore explained. “It’s what the universities are doing, and so we are kind of following.”

The name change will take place officially with the start of the 2019 fall semester. The courses will be named with KINE instead of PHED for those looking for physical education courses.

Moore says that the change is a step forward for the department, and will eventually include a broader field of study after the update is made official.

The new kinesiology field of study has not yet been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, but will hopefully come through some time this summer. The new field of study will include a handful of courses, including “Functional Kinesiology.”

If the courses do get approved, Moore says that he already has somebody with a master’s degree in Sports Medicine that could teach it.

“Athletic training and sports medicine has become pretty big,” Moore said. “Personal trainers, strength coaches and pre-physical therapy as well.”

The name change will reflect SPC’s goals regarding physical education. It will help the department stay current and evolving. Moore emphasized that the growth of the department is important, and a student’s transition to a university should be made easier.

“Also, I expect a lot more out of us, since we’re broadening our horizons,” Moore said. “We are looking toward the future and making sure we go in the right direction.”

Student musicians selected for All-State Symphonic Band


Five South Plains College students recently were selected for participation in the Texas Community College Band Directors Association Symphonic Band.

The selected students are Alexis Sanchez of Levelland, Abelardo Palma of Denver City, Clarissa Pacheco of Levelland, Marissa Anthony of Levelland, and Isabell Rocha of Lubbock.

Student musicians from across the state travelled to San Antonio to practice and perform pieces, led by a notable conductor. This year’s conductor was Phillip Clements from Texas A&M University at Commerce.

On Feb. 13, the musicians rehearsed for three hours in the evening. According to the students, this rehearsal was instrumental in getting used to the other musicians.

“It’s always kind of nerve-wracking,” said Rocha, who plays trumpet, “because you’re getting used to everyone because you’re coming from home and you don’t know how the band is going to sound because it’s different every year.”

On Feb. 14, rehearsals started at 8:30 a.m. and didn’t stop until noon. After a short break for lunch, the students were back to rehearsals for four hours. On Feb.15 and Feb. 16, they rehearsed from 8:30 a.m. to noon, but had the evenings off.

Before the students came together in San Antonio, they had to audition. The students sent in a recording of themselves playing the audition pieces, including one slow étude and one fast étude.

After sending in their recordings, all of the students had to wait for their results.

“It was hard not knowing the results for months,” explained Anthony, who plays trumpet as well, “and breaking out in acne because you were so stressed out if you were going to go or not.”

But once they learned they had made All-State, it was a huge relief.

“I was super happy,” said Rocha. “It showed the progress that I made from last year.”

During rehearsals, the musicians found it easy to get uncomfortable and frustrated, but the conductor kept them focused.

“He did a really good job of keeping us engaged,” said Rocha, “even whenever it was hard.”

With a band made up of musicians from across the state, it is extremely unique.

“It’s crazy,” said Anthony, “because when you’re in a band like this, it only exists for four days, and then it’s gone forever.”

Along with rehearsals, the musicians also got to take part in a college fair. Music departments from numerous colleges and universities set up booths for the students to visit. This is an opportunity for those who want to continue their education in music to learn more about institutions they want to attend.

“It’s a really good opportunity,” said Alexis Sanchez, a flute player, “because all of the music majors get to look at the colleges all at once. You can actually meet the people like I did.”

Students and musicians can also attend clinics held throughout the Convention. Anthony attended one on anxiety during performances.

“It showed you how to overcome anxiety,” explained Anthony, “and the different types of performance anxiety.”

After the four days of rehearsals, the musicians performed their pieces in the evening on Feb. 16. According to the students, the performance went by quickly.

“It did go by really fast,” recalled Rocha. “It’s kind of hard to remember now.”

Dr. Gary Hudson, professor of music at South Plains College, encourages his students to try out for All-State band because of the opportunities.

“We want to give these students the experience of being able to do this,” said Hudson, “and to open their eyes to a little bit of what their future is going to be like.”

For the students, what they learned at All-State is also important at SPC.

“I think us going and coming back and bringing all of that knowledge to our band itself will help,” said Sanchez. “Even the people who weren’t in the band with us and still went to TMEA learned something as well, but I can’t speak for them.”

After returning from their experience in San Antonio, the student musicians recognize that SPC has prepared them for these opportunities.

“They’re always encouraging you to be your best,” said Abelardo Palma, who plays clarinet, “even if they are not your instrument.”

According to the students, Phillip Clements talked about how musicians should be selfless, thinking more about the band as a whole and not just themselves as musicians. For Anthony, the best example of that is the faculty in the Fine Arts Department at SPC.

“We talk about being selfless,” said Anthony, “and I believe that the music staff here is a textbook example of how music educators should be, putting the students before you put yourself.”

Pacheco, a pre-optometry major, encourages people to try out, even if they aren’t a music major.

“Overall, it was just a really amazing experience, even though I’m not a music major,” said Pacheco, who plays the tenor saxophone. “I would definitely recommend it to anyone and to try their hardest on it.”

Informative talk recognizes African American entrepreneur

Sarah Breedlove created specialized hair products for African American hair and was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire in the early 1900s.

Breedlove, also known as Madam C.J. Walker, was featured because of her accomplishments during a presentation by Dr. Corye Beene, professor of history, on Feb. 22 at the Library on the South Plains College in Levelland.

In 1976, Black History Month became a national observance under President Gerald Ford, and the idea came from Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

Dr. Woodson was the son of former slaves. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1907, before receiving his PhD from Harvard University in 1912. While he was studying American History in college, he noticed there was no information being taught to students on the topic of Black history in the textbooks. His goal was to try to expose Americans to what African Americans have done for the United States.

Black History Month is celebrated in February because Feb. 12 is President Abraham IMG_0354Lincoln’s birthday, and Feb. 14 is the accepted birthday of Frederick Douglass. It is also celebrated for W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the co-founders of the The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who was born on Feb. 23. In February of 1870, the 15th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, which granted African American men the right to vote.

This year, the Library on the Levelland campus held its first Black History Month event. It was the second year they put up a display for students and the community to see.

“This is the second year that I have been here to do a Black History Month display,” says Jessica Miesner, the public services librarian. “When I was thinking about doing another one, I was not sure if we were going to be able to get it done. But then I heard that Professor Corye Beene had a talk about Madam C.J. Walker.”

Christina Bearden-White, the assistant professor of history, reached out to Miesner, telling her about Professor Beene’s talk. From there, it became a focal point for the Library’s first Black History Month Event.

“Jim Crow was a terrible time in history, but African Americans still did things of significance,” said Dr. Beene. “During that time, they didn’t say ‘I am just the victim,’ or ‘The things happening around me are out of my control.’ But instead they made do with what they had and persevered, and that is what Madam C.J. Walker did.”

Dr. Beene explained that because of Walker’s hard work of leading a company and training thousands of sales agents, she was able to give other women the opportunity to support themselves during one of the hardest times in American history.

“Madam C.J. Walker was living the real American dream,” said Dr. Beene. “She started off very poor, and she had a problem and tried to solve it. Her problem was her hair started falling out, and she wanted to help other women with the same problem look and feel better about themselves.”

During the talk, Dr. Beene discussed how Walker moved several times throughout her life to keep her business alive. Walker was also a risk taker, like many successful entrepreneurs today take risks to help their businesses grow. Lastly, Dr. Beene talked about how Walker was a marketing genius of her time and the tactics she used to become popular in the advertising business.

“For the event, we had 60 people turn out,” said Miesner. “I was expecting close to 30. Professor Beene said her students would be coming for extra credit, but we had a lot of professors and students show up to the event.”

Miesner stated that they would like to host another Black History Month Event next year, especially now that she knows there is such a high demand for the event and saw the positive outcomes.

“We were just overwhelmed with how many people had come to the event,” said Miesner. “It was wonderful. For a Friday morning, it was a very active day and a lot of people stayed after to do the activities we had set out. It was exciting for us.”

In addition to the talk by Dr. Beene, there were Black History Trivia Cards on display for students to use, along with coloring pages for students to use after the talk was finished.

For those who were unable to attend the event, the live stream can be viewed at

‘Dream With Me’ delves into struggle of undocumented immigrant

Imagine living in fear and uncertainty for the future, knowing that at any time you could be deported from your home and sent to a country you don’t remember.

The documentary “Dream With Me” follows one of many “Dreamers” who took advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

A screening of “Dream With Me,” which included a Q&A session, was held on Feb. 21 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Lubbock.

IMG_8873“Dream With Me” was directed by Jonathan Seaborn, a former South Plains College student, and was produced by KTTZ-TV in part with the Texas Tech University College of Arts and Sciences. The screening was offered in partnership with the Scholarly Film Society, Define American – Texas Tech Chapter and the Texas Tech Immigration Law Association.

Seaborn graduated from South Plains College with an Associate of Arts degree in journalism, before studying philosophy at Texas Tech University, which he did not finish pursuing. Seaborn started to do freelance work before finishing Texas Tech and continued working instead. But he is now resuming his educational pursuits online through Tech.

“Some of my initial passions was in journalism,” Seaborn explained. “I was interested in journalism and photojournalism. And I always also had an itch that while growing up, I liked to make movies with my friends and stuff like that. I liked video cameras, but didn’t really put two and two together off the bat.”

Seaborn said that he didn’t have an interest in broadcast journalism, and he still doesn’t have an interest in broadcast news as far as journalism is concerned. He said he does have an interest in longform visual storytelling, which he does through video.

“My uncle was an editor at the Austin American Statesman for a long time, which is where my interest in print journalism started,” Seaborn recalled. “When I was finishing up school, he was still working at the Statesman, and he was like. ‘Don’t go into the posterpaper. Because, it’s hard times right now, unfortunately.’ That’s when I was looking for ways to meld my interest in long-form journalism, but my complete lack of interest in broadcast television news. I’ve always loved our community, but the idea of like, ‘Oh, I can do these things together in this kind of format,’ and that’s where it started.”

Seaborn’s movie follows Saba Nafees, a DACA recipient, through her unsure immigration status and the challenges she and her family faced.

The movie started to form when Seaborn was planning to cover a story about Tim Cole for KTXT-TV in Lubbock.

“They were going to give Tim Cole the degree postmortem,” Seaborn explained. “I worked for the local PBS station where you’re going to do a story on that. And at the time, Saba was in the SGA, and she had written the piece of legislation within the Student Government to give Tim Cole the degree. So I reached out to her to do an interview then, and she was obviously fascinating at the moment. I knew that she is second-generation immigrant. I didn’t know that she was undocumented, but I knew that her parents had immigrated. And I knew that she was Muslim.”

Seaborn said when the 2016 election was ramping up, his initial thought at the time was that there was a lot of talk about the Muslim ban. He explained that’s when he got the idea to possibly profile second-generation Muslim students, to put a face to the issue.

“Not to push an idea or policy one way or the other,” Seaborn said. “But these people are being talked about like a faceless entity at that point. So let’s maybe interview a couple of students and get a profile on them. And then I talked to a few, and then I talked to Saba.”

Seaborn said that he had known Daniel Clayton, Nafees’ husband, for awhile, but didn’t know that they were married. While talking to Daniel and Saba, they told him the story of their marriage.

“Their marriage was complicated by the fact that she had DACA, and that she was undocumented,” explained Seaborn, “but she was OK because she had DACA, and they were OK at the moment while they’re trying to figure out their marriage stuff. After talking to them for a little bit, it became clear instantly that their story is kind of complicated. The legal love story was more interesting than, like just sort of more profiles.”

Seaborn decided to switched to just focusing on the couple and spent a little more than two years with them as they went through waiting for their marriage interview process.

Nafees came to Tech in 2011 and began pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She is currently pursuing her PhD through the university.
“I was doing research, and I was doing a lot of different activities across campus,” the 25-year-old said. “And the first year of college was really tough, because DACA hadn’t come about yet. But after it came about through the work permit, I was able to get paid for the work I did, and then be able to drive and things like that. So it really, really completely changed my life.”

Nafees took advantage of the DACA program in 2012, an Obama era program which provided some temporary protections to undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children. In 2017, the Trump administration made the decision to rescind DACA.

Nafees arrived in the United States in 2004. Her family decided to move in order to see her grandparents. Her grandparents sponsored her family for a green card visitor visa. When her grandparents passed away, her parents were faced with a choice, to live in their home in the country they had been living in or go back to Pakistan.

Nafees’ parents decided to stay in America so their children could be able to continue in school. Her dad said in the film that he made the right decision to stay and is proud of all that his daughter has accomplished, adding that, “This is the dream.”

Seaborn said that he didn’t want the documentary to be about policies and political speak.

daniel and saba 2

“It’s hard to avoid politics in general, but I didn’t want it to be an overtly political film,” Seaborn explained. “I wanted it to be, here’s this person and their spouse that are dealing with this issue that is complicated by this complicated system. I wanted it to kind of be more just like the profile of this couple to put a face to the issue. You can walk away having the movie move you one way or not, but I hope you’d have a better understanding of the humanitarian impact on people, and that it’s a complicated issue. It’s not so cut and dry.”

While Nafees and her family were living undocumented in America, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency or ICE, was called and a deportation case was opened on her parents, sisters and herself.

Nafees and Clayton were married in May of 2016 and had filled out all immigration paperwork for their marriage. They waited more than a year to hear about their immigration interview, just to be told they would be contacted in 60 days and still waited more than nine months. They worried that without DACA, Nafees could be deported and break their family apart.

When DACA did end in 2018, Nafees still had a work permit, so she was still safe without her green card for her marriage. But with a case still open for her deportation, their paperwork for the marriage couldn’t move forward.

Nafees agreed to share her story because she feels that immigration is an important subject in the country that needs to be discussed.

“Our nation is a nation of immigrants, and it’s really important to remember those groups,” said Nafees. “So, in general, I’m a passionate American, and I want to give back to my country. And as I started getting more involved with civic engagement, and also just helping others, I wanted to also speak out for something that was really personal and about our families and about how these things impact us. So I’ve just been kind of an advocate and involved with immigrants, immigrant rights movement organizations and other groups around the country. And just try to advocate as much as I can go.”

Nafees has travelled to Washington, D.C. and various other cities around the country discussing immigration topics. Nafees also won three Grammy Awards in February in part with other dreamers for the “American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope, Music Of Freedom” album.

“I will probably never stop advocating and speaking out about these issues and being there for everybody who’s going through it right now,” Nafees said. “Because I just think that we need to do a lot in terms of educating others. And even though I kind of am getting through my problems, I never can stop thinking about others. Because I know what it’s like, and others helped me a lot. Many amazing young leaders came before me who fought for things like DACA, and now we have those things. I don’t want to forget that.”

  Nafees said she hopes that, as a country, things can improve and find solutions for policy problems facing immigration.

“I hope that families don’t keep being torn apart,” Nafees said, “and I hope that we can find a Dream Act solution, or a solution like the Dream Act, because we really desperately need that. We also need a solution for the 11 million undocumented Americans around the country that, including my parents, lived here for a great number of years. So we never were able to pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, the CIR. It would be amazing if we could do something like that now.”

Seaborn said he enjoyed making this film and wanted to put a face to the people being so often discussed in the news and around the country.

“It’s hard, as it was nice to really get to know Saba and Daniel as much as I did over the period of time,” Seaborn said. “But then it also gets hard to make sure you keep yourself separated the more you get to know them. I’m friendly with them, and I consider them friends. But you have to keep as true with any form of journalism. You have to make sure there’s at least that barrier that my affection for them isn’t going to affect my ability to honestly tell their story. But I do appreciate now that the film is done, I can like relax a little more and just be friends with them.”

‘The Umbrella Academy’ series unmasks different breed of heroes

On first day of October in 1989, suddenly 43 women give birth to gifted children. But none were pregnant when the day begin.

Once again, Netflix surprises with a new movie based on a comic book, “The Umbrella Academy.” The adaptation of a comic novel, “The Umbrella Academy” by Gerard Way, the vocalist and co-founder of the rock band ‘My Chemical Romance,’ and Gabriel Bá, is a classic story of superheroes trying to save humanity from an apocalypse with a little bit of family drama.

the-umbrella-academy-netflix-1550864234The series starts with the reunion of the superhero family after the father Sir Reginald Hargreeves (played by Colm Feore) is announced to be dead.

Sir Reginald Hargreeves is a philanthropist and a very wealthy inventor who adopted seven of  thoses 43 children and raises them to basically save the world.

The story shows how Hargreeves was more focused on the children’s powers and only caring about the results that they could bring, instead of caring for them as children. His inability to get involved in the kids’ lives is evident when he does not even take time to name them. That leads the kids to grow up to be dysfunctional and psychologically damaged heroes.

The characters have a pretty strong presence of the heartless father in they lives, but they also had two nurturing figures to count on in Mom, played by Jordan Claire Robbins, and Pogo, voiced by Adam Godley, a super intelligent talking chimpanzee and loyal server to Sir Hargreeves.

umbrella-academy-sir-reginald-1550238393The characters have unique powers and life experiences that are shown in the development of the episodes. Number 1 is Luther, played by Tom Hooper, who has superhuman strength. Number 2 is Diego, played by David Castañeda, who has the ability for super-precise knife combat and also can breath underwater. Number 3 is Allison, played by Emmy Raver-Lampman, who can manipulate a rumor to become reality by speaking. Number 4 is Klaus, played by Robert Sheehan, who has the power of telekinesis and can levitate. He also can posses and talk with the dead. Number 5, played by Aidan Gallagher, is the only son who was not given a name. The reason that he got stuck in a different period of time during time traveling, and when he finally came back, he is stuck in his 13-year-old body.

Number 6 is Ben, played by Justin H Min, whose power is to have many layers of skin. He died at a young age but is present in the series through interaction with his brother Klaus.

Number 7 is Vanya, played by Ellen Page, who is the mysterious piece of the Umbrella Academy. She is the ordinary child of her superhero family.

Other characters who add a lot of action to the show are the time traveler hitman, Cha Cha, played by Mary J. Blige, and Hazel, played by Cameron Britton. They bring extra mystery to the show that is developed and explained during a few episodes, which make it more interesting. As the show progresses, you start to see the reason the characters are present.

A lot of the series happens afters years of the separation of the family. During the reunion, there are flashbacks to childhood experiences. Also, the siblings attempt to reconnect as a family after the father’s death. It show how their personalities end up creating conflicts while trying to prevent a global apocalypse.

One of the aspects that makes the series very engaging and entertaining is not only is it about superheros, you can find a lot aspects of crime, science fiction, romance, and mystery in many of the episodes.

At first, the series did not look extremely exciting, since the first episode starts a bit slow. But before the episode ended, they definitely got my attention and made me ready to see what else was to come.

I give “The Umbrella Academy” a 8.5 out 10.

Backtalk: Classic jams, modern tunes clash

Vintage music has more profound, nostalgic lyrics


There has always been a debate between generations about what’s better – new music or the classic oldies.

There are a lot of aspects that spark the debate, but one thing I can say for certain is that music has always entertained, educated, or informed listeners for years.

But during the course of time, music has evolved a lot. Music, along with everything else, changes with society. So the music we hear on the radio today is really a reflection of our cultural evolution, and it shows what our society is actually like.

I would bet anything that people in the 1960’s thought the Beatles were bad and swing was good, or that people in the 1920’s didn’t enjoy Jazz as much as “older” music. Even people during Mozart’s time probably thought that “modern” music would be awful and Bach was more desirable.

This got me thinking about what type of music I preferred (my favorite old-school band, rapper, and singer vs. my favorite new-school band, rapper, and singer, etc…). When it came down to it, it was a hard choice, but I would say that I prefer to listen to old-school music because I feel that it has more meaning behind it and carries more emotion.

When turning on a popular radio station today, there will more than likely only be mainstream music playing. In a way, I can understand how it is likeable. From the good beats and catchy lyrics, it’s the type of music that today’s generation has grown up with.

But one of the biggest reasons many people may like the music that’s heard on the radio is because we are forced to like it. Think about it this way: everyone has listened to a song that seemed ridiculous and didn’t like it at the time. But as it is played more and more on the radio, the song doesn’t seem so bad after awhile.

This is a basic psychology technique. But the issue with this is that people may lose interest faster. With the oldies, I find that they never get boring. When the oldies come on the radio, most people are able to sing along to them, and some may even reminisce about the good times from when the song was so popular.

Researchers have been able to show that old music sells better than newer music. Through numerous experiments, they have been able to prove that listeners are more likely to have positive feelings from a piece of music that they have heard before. Familiar music can also be a trigger for remembering stored memories and can induce good moods.

Another reason why I prefer oldies music is because it was recorded with actual instruments. During the early days of recording, musicians had to know how to play the instruments well before recording. With certain modern music, that’s no longer the case.

Freddie Mercury, the lead vocalist for the rock band Queen, was ahead of his time when he said, “There will be a time when technology becomes so advanced that we’ll rely in them to make music rather than raw talent. Music will lose its soul.”

Many styles of modern music rely heavily on computer programs. By using these programs, artists can choose the sounds they want without having actual instruments at their disposal, or even knowing how to play them.

Older songs relied on melody, so musicians took more time to create their music. Some artists took years to come up with some of their songs, and it is because they composed their music while imagining how they wanted it to sound. These days, musicians are able to create a song in as little as a few hours by using computer systems and other forms of technology.

I will say that not all music today is bad. There are a lot of artists, even some mainstream, that still have the depth and talent in their music as older artists do. It disappoints me, though, when I see more underground artists with more raw talent getting less attention than a more popular artist that constantly uses a synthesizer or has someone else write their songs for them.

During the 20th century, artists had to be amazing to win over their fans. And if they didn’t, they were forgotten. So the music industry was more selective when it came to who they were putting in the spotlight.

But it’s hard to say that about artists today. They are not as unique and only make music that will make them more popular. But there is nothing objective about music quality. We judge music quality by our own personal contexts. We invest in it with the meaning of our own life and present emotional needs.

Modern music is always evolving


I prefer new modern music.

I believe new music is better than old classical music because the music that is created today is learned technique. Therefore, people who created today’s music learned from old music.

These learned skills that have been taught show how music has evolved. Of course, talent is a necessity in this industry. Music is very powerful, and many people rely on music.

People all around the world use music for many different reasons. Music was the power to bring people together. People use music when they workout, study, and for meditation purposes.

Music is a very beneficial tool for teaching as well. Teachers use songs for learning and entertaining. That way children are learning while having fun singing tunes. Expecting mothers play certain music for their baby in the womb to accelerate development.

There are a lot of new music types that help people focus and calm down.Music is a type of medicine for people. The many people who choose to listen to modern music may just prefer modern music because they dislike the characteristics of old classical music.

There are various reasons why people choose modern music over old music. First of all, new music has a different sound. Technology has changed significantly during the past 20 years. Sound production has evolved. Musicians have had to evolve with the time. Artist are creating new sounds and collaborations with different people. Many artists now have freedom to produce the type of music they want people to hear, instead of being forced to produce something their label wants to be produced.

When I listen to musicians talk about how they pour their heart and soul into their music for their fans to hear, that is why I listen to now music. To me, modern music is a way that the artist is able to express a part of themselves to their fans. The fans who support and love modern music appreciate that.

Today’s technology allows musicians to update fans with notifications on social media about music information such as album release dates and performance announcements. This allows modern music information to be shared and more accessible.

Modern music is better to listen to because there are so many amazing emerging new artists in many types of music. There are also a lot more ways to buy music from new artists, such as on iTunes or buying subscriptions for music apps. These opportunities are offered to modern musicians that increase the amount of ways fans can access their music.

I like listening to a lot of different types of modern music. I like listening to new creations that artists come up with and challenging myself to learn the words to new songs. One of my favorite apps for music is Pandora. My top three favorite channels I listen to are Today’s Hits, Today’s Country, and This Year in Country Radio. When I relax or want to calm down, I like to listen to instrumental calming music.

The newest challenge that I am currently overcoming is leaning all the songs on Ariana Grande’s newly-released album titled “Thank You, Next.”

New music can create topics to talk about, because there is always new music dropping and people listening.

‘Abducted in Plain Sight’ tells harrowing story of kidnapping

Manipulators are careful and meticulous planners.

Netflix’s new documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight” tells the story of a family that falls prey to the manipulative charms of a neighbor, who then abducts the family’s daughter.

06-abducted-in-plain-sight.w700.h700Robert Berchtold also know as “B,” was a master manipulator who tormented a Washington family with brainwashing, arson, death threats, and aliens.

Berchtold gained the trust of the Broberg family by being a member of the same church and posing as a family man who loved kids. He was also the new guy in town making friends.

“B” was able to kidnap one of the Broberg children twice. The first time he kidnapped a daughter, he was taking the child horseback riding and gave her an allergy pill that was later found out to be sleeping medications so that his victim would be unconscious.

While hiding out in Mexico in a mobile home, “B” would play the recordings of aliens saying that the child needed to breed with a male friend to complete the mission, and  told her that he and the child were both aliens.  If she did not complete this task, terrible things would happen to her family. Her dad would disappear forever and her sister would go blind if she did not have a child with her captor by age16.

B’s wife was a key manipulator, as she begged the Brobergs not to report the kidnapping. The family kept quiet for a few days before finally getting the FBI involved. They were able to eventually get them to return home from Mexico after the family agreed not to press charges. The FBI begged them to stand firm, but the family was afraid of Berchtoldblackmailing both the mom and dad. Berchtold had had sexual relations with both the mother and the father. The family was afraid of being judged, and so they wrote out an affadavit allowing the kidnapping to be legal.


The second time the child was kidnapped was when the parents sent her to Utah to work for “B” and he ended up hiding her at a Catholic school in California under a false name. This was during the time of the Lebanon crisis, so he posed as a CIA agent, which was why nobody questioned what was going on in California at this time.

16th birthday, when she realized that nothing occurred to her family when she expressed interest in a different boy and attending drama camp at Brigham Young University.

Berchtold was never convicted of any crimes against the family. The mother and daughter of the Broberg family went on to write a book exposing him, and he started to harass the family again. That’s when they filed a restraining order. Berchtold was convicted in another case of pedophilia years later. Rather than facing the jail sentence, he went home, took all of his heart medication, drank a bottle of Kahlua and ended up killing himself.

This documentary shows how easily a family can be manipulated and lead to easily trust people. The reenactment through the ‘70s gritty film of home movies ads an extra layer of creepiness to the story. I found the story hard to watch at times, not because film was bad, but because of how parents could be so trusting and so manipulated. If you’re a true crime junkie and looking for an interesting film to watch, I highly recommend watching “Abducted in Plain Sight.” I would rate this 6 out of 10

Difficult start with higher education motivates professor

Dr. Erika Warnick looks to always make the learning process exciting for her students.

An associate professor of reading and education at South Plains College, Dr. Warnick grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. She moved to Lubbock 14 years ago after working for 17 years as a college recruiter, researcher and research assistant.

She was always passionate about teaching and wanted specifically to be a college professor.

So to achieve this dream, she decided to return to college. Dr. Warnick got her PhD in education in 2013 from Texas Tech University. She is currently working on a second master’s degree in reading and writing from Western New Mexico University.

This semester, Dr. Warnick is dedicating her time teaching college reading strategies, teaching integrated reading, and English 1301. She also teaches an online class of Learning Frameworks, both for seven weeks and 16 weeks.

Before she became an instructor at SPC, Dr. Warnick attempted a music degree at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire. Her skills as a musician made it possible for her to pursue her education, along with her passion of playing the flute. But she found herself struggling with academic classes.

“After my first semester, my music grades were fabulous, but all of my other grades were not,” explained Dr. Warnick. “So I was put on probation. Then the second semester came, and it didn’t get any better.”

After visiting her family, she decided to take a break from school and work. But she later realized how difficult life can get.

“I was a teacher’s aid, and I got paid nothing,” Dr. Warnick recalled. “I mean, very little. And if classes were cancelled, I didn’t get paid, and so I started to kind of see what life was like if I didn’t have a plan and I didn’t have a good job.”IMG_0055

Grateful to receive a second chance to pursue a college education, Dr. Warnick said she did “a complete turnaround.” She found tutors, went to the academic resource center, and met with faculty to make sure they knew her and her story so they knew she was serious.

After graduating with honors, Dr. Warnick was hired by the college that she attended. She says that her love for teaching grew while she was working as a recruiter in 2002 at a college in Boston. She not only had to go to classrooms and introduce the high school students to college, but she also met parents and explained the application process. That made her realize she wanted to be involved in the process of teaching.

She returned to college to get a doctoral degree to become a college professor. In 2013, while working on her PhD, Dr. Warnick was introduced to SPC.

“I just started meeting people at Texas Tech who had either gone to SPC or worked at SPC, and they just always said such great things about the school,” explained Dr. Warnick.

Her first contacts with SPC were through Dr. Gail Malone, who is now her boss, and an ex vice president of the college.

One of the reasons why Dr. Warnick was very interested in teaching at SPC is the fact the college is focused on the success of the student,and there is an emphasis on teaching.

Dr. Warnick said she always looks to share her first experience in college with her students to encourage them to improve themselves and see that everyone is capable of being successful, not only in college but with overcoming a difficult time in life.

“I just don’t want students to make the mistakes I made,” said Dr. Warnick.

Using her experience as a student who struggled in college, Dr. Warnick tries to make her class an engaging environment where students can have fun and learn.

“I’m always trying to keep it moving and change it so that it’s exciting and people will be encouraged to learn,” said Dr. Warnick. “I think there needs to be opportunities for students to apply and try in a safe environment where they can make mistakes but learn and almost self correct.”

She said that a challenging part of her job is when she sees a student who could give or do more, but maybe is scared.

“That’s why I encourage them and, I want them to be successful,”  Dr. Warnick said, “because I know they can.”

Dr. Warnick says that another challenging part of her job is to not only make sure students are receiving the right material and encouragement, but also the preparation involved to speak to the students.

“I have learned a lot of lessons of my own,” Dr. Warnick added. “But I have had to do a lot of research and read about different teaching techniques to be able to speak to different learners.”

Her professional goals are to continue to be part of the SPC faculty, and be more involved in getting to create opportunities and courses for students in the future.

Besides being an instructor, Dr. Warnick enjoys practicing with her flute and attending Lubbock Symphony concerts. She also enjoys the company of her little cat, Yogi, and her family currently living in Lubbock, Texas.

Another of her hobbies is travelling with her husband Jay. They are fascinated with history, so they spend quality time taking road trips to visit different towns and learn about it.

Dr. Warnick said that her favorite activity is being in the classroom. Her passion for teaching is very engaging and helps make the experience of learning enjoyable.

“When you get to do what you love, you don’t worry about the money or anything,” Dr. Warnick explained. “I have found what I love, and I found where I love it.”

Dr. Warnick added, “I tell my students I could win the lottery and I’ll still be here on Monday morning at 8 a.m.. Because I love what I do.”

‘Alita’ accentuates brutal cyberpunk universe

Every city on Earth has been all but destroyed, with the exceptions of Iron City and the floating city of Zalem directly above.

“Alita: Battle Angel” brings a post-apocalyptic cyber-punk universe to life with stunning visuals, heart-breaking scenes, and intense battles.

It is the year 2563, and a cataclysmic war between the people of Earth and the “United Republic of Mars,” coined “The Fall” or “The Great War,” has left Earth in ruins.

dimsCybernetics and robotics are part of daily life in a place called Iron City. It has a giant scrapyard in the center, which is supplied Zalem. Zalem is the last floating city on Earth, where only the elite can live. Zalem dumps all of its junk, including damaged cyborgs, down on to Iron City. Iron City inhabitants live a mostly subservient life to those on Zalem, with a large factory that produces and ships parts and goods for the floating city.

Alita is a cyborg that was found in the scrapyard by Dr. Daisuke Ido, who is the best engineer in Iron City. Ido is originally from Zalem, and he was sent down to Iron City after his daughter, who was also named Alita, was diagnosed with a rare disease.

Ido repairs the amnesiac Alita by giving her the body he created for his daughter. Later, through her muscle memory of a lost fighting technique, she experiences flashbacks of her past and starts hunting answers.

The Factory is operated by a sort of criminal conglomerate, led by a man named Vector. Vector makes the factory and himself money through a game called “Motorball” and other criminal activities. Motorball is a gladiatorial racing game. The only rule seems to be “get the ball in the hole” at the end of a large, concrete track. Motorball players are typically cyborgs or humans in an exo-suit, equipped with special racing gear and weapons to fight off opponents. There are no teams.


Many people in Iron City have cybernetic enhancements. It is not uncommon to see a normal-looking human with two robotic arms that are specifically engineered for an occupation. Many humans exchange their own body parts for robotic upgrades in an attempt to live better lives. People with interchangeable body parts face certain risks, however.

The criminal conglomerate that runs and oversees “Motorball” and the factory hires young criminals to poach valuable body parts from the citizens of Iron City. Vector hires a young man, Hugo, as one of his poachers with the promise of sending him to Zalem after he pays Vector 1 million credits.

Additionally, the big, bad, “Nova,” who lives in Zalem, collects body parts of the people he admires. The world Alita lives in is truly a dog-eat-dog world, where the strong prey on the weak.

“Alita: Battle Angel” brings a beautiful, rugged landscape to a post-apocalyptic Earth. Even the “Badlands,” which is the area outside of Iron City, is a beautiful natural scene with a handful of the terrible reminders of war that had once torn the land.

Most of the movie was filmed in Austin, Texas. A gorgeous scene of The Badlands features some of Texas’ beautiful landscape.

“Alita: Battle Angel” was a very good adaptation of the manga and anime versions. I hope to see a sequel hit the big screen in the future. I give “Alita: Battle Angel” an 8/10.

Persisting panic attacks steal breath away from young adults

Without warning, the panic comes crashing down. Your esophagus feels like it is closing up.

Gasping for air, your heart pounds out of your chest, and the thought of possibly dying lingers in your mind. Sweating and becoming dizzy, you sit down, too weak to stand. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, calmness overcomes the panic.

Panic Disorder, according to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), comes on suddenly and are repeated attacks of fear which will last several minutes or even longer. NIMH also stated in an article, “Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms,” that panic attacks can occur at any time, and some may feel like they are having a heart attack.

top-symptoms-of-panic-attacks-2584270_FINAL-5bcdfd4d46e0fb0051228ee5Dr. Peggy Skinner, chairperson of the Behavioral Sciences Department and Professor of Psychology at South Plains College, said that “Panic attacks feel like a heart attack because the body is responding to a perceived danger, and the sympathetic nervous system responds with a fight or flight reaction.”

Dr. Skinner added, “If you really had to run or fight, your heart needs to beat faster.”

Dr. Skinner said that when someone is in this fight or flight reaction, people perspire in order to cool the body. Their blood pressure will increase, and the stomach will empty, which could make one feel sick.

“Those all are signals of a heart attack as well,” Dr. Skinner said. “Then these fightorflight symptoms increase the perception of danger, and this escalates.”

Dr. Skinner also mentioned that panic attacks usually occur in young adults who are in their 20s and 30s.

“They occur across the life span,” said Dr. Skinner, “and some children have them. But the majority are young adults.”

She added that 75 percent of panic attacks are experienced by females rather than males.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 2 to 3 percent panic-disorderof Americans experience panic disorder.

However, WebMD clarifies a distinction between having panic attacks and having panic disorder by stating that one in 10 adults in America will have panic attacks each year, and about a third of people will have one in their lifetime. But most people do not have panic disorder.

“Not everyone who has panic attacks has panic disorder,” said Lynn Gregory, a counselor at South Plains College. “Panic attacks can turn into panic disorder if left untreated.”

Dr. Skinner mentioned that a variety of things can cause panic attacks.

“It often occurs with a person who has some level of anxiety that is then triggered by stress,” explained Dr. Skinner.

The higher the level of stress, such as a break up, failing a class, or a family disruption, is likely to bring on the first attack, according to Dr. Skinner

“The first attack then causes the fear of having another attack,” Dr. Skinner said,  “along with the social stigma of having something wrong.”

People may remember the situation or place in which the panic attack occurred, according to Dr. Skinner, and that could become a new trigger, which causes the person to avoid those things. If left untreated, it can sometimes develop into agoraphobia, which is a fear of being outside.

Some symptoms of panic attacks include physical manifestations such as a pounding or fast heartbeat, sweating, feeling dizzy/faint, fear of dying or becoming insane. Other symptoms are trembling/shaking, shortness of breath/feeling smothered, chest pain, nausea, stomach pains, numbness/tingling in the body, feeling unreal, and having a choking feeling. These symptoms in an attack usually last between 5 and10 minutes. However, they can linger for hours.

Gregory explained that a diagnosis is also made if panic attacks are not caused by drugs or other substance usage.

Some biological factors may run in families, according to Dr. Skinner, “such as the predisposition to anxiety.”

“The person might also learn to respond to certain physiological sensations from seeing another family member with panic attacks,” added Dr. Skinner.

Researchers have conducted several studies in order to pinpoint particular parts in the brain which are involved with anxiety and fear. Fear comes so humans can deal with danger, triggering a protective response immediately without conscious thought.  The fear response is believed to be coordinated by a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is at the end of the hippocampus and is part of the Limbic System.

According to the “Brain Made Simple,” the amygdala is the reason why humans are afraid of things which are outside of our control. The amygdala also controls how one reacts to an event perceived as possibly being dangerous or a threat.

“Panic attacks and panic disorder are treatable,” Gregory said, “following a complete physical exam to rule out physical issues like heart or thyroid problems.”

images 1Gregory said that for those diagnosed with panic attacks or panic disorder, the main treatment is therapy.

A good way to start treatment is by learning about stress and how to deal with stress, according to Dr. Skinner.

“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the best because it helps the person recognize the triggers or signals and explain them,” Dr. Skinner explained. “If I feel a fear, I learn to look at that fear as one that is rational or irrational and develop ways to cope.”

Another type of therapy is exposure therapy.

“This is where the person learns to have other responses when exposed to the fearful situations,” Dr. Skinner said.

Dr. Skinner explained that it is sort of like telling a child who fell off their bicycle to get back on, instead of putting the bycicle away and being afraid of the possibility that they could fall again.

“Medication may also be combined with therapy,” said Gregory, with SSRI antidepressants being the first choice for treatment.

“Medication has proven very effective for people with panic disorder, but can only be prescribed by a physician or other medical professional,” added Gregory.

She also mentioned that doctors will typically work hand in hand with therapists to help those suffering with panic disorder.

According to Calm Clinic, in the event of a panic attack, the first thing to do is to reduce the anxiety, and the second is to decrease the likelihood of having panic attacks.

Some of the steps to reduce anxiety are to take conscious control of breathing by taking slow, deep, breaths. Then get to a quiet place, which will help to regroup. Panic attacks are self-limiting and will end. Consciously imagining a positive situation, such as picturing a beautiful nature setting, also can help.

Steps to decrease the likelihood of having panic attacks are learning about anxiety and panic attacks, learning how to intuitively relax muscles, and desensitizing through exposure, gradually being exposed to the things which may cause the fear.

Dr. Skinner said that all mental health seems to have a stigma attached, though it is better than it used to be.

Dr. Skinner explained that some people are able to say, “Hey, I’m a little off today because I have a cold,” but aren’t yet able to say, “Hey, I’m a little off today due to having a panic attack.”

Dr. Skinner says it would be nice for people to one day be able to say that, adding “articles about mental health helps to educate people and hopefully continue to reduce the stigma.”

Dr. Skinner suggests that SPC students searching for help should begin with SPC’s Counseling Center. She also suggests to try another therapist if you feel that one is not helping, instead of quitting treatment.

Counselors at the Health and Wellness Center at South Plains College can screen for panic attacks and panic disorder. They can even treat some cases and make appropriate referrals when needed.

Gregory said that each session is kept confidential.

Deadline for graduation applications set for March 6

If you are completing your degree or certificate requirements this semester or during the summer semester, don’t forget to apply for graduation.

Applications for May graduation are currently available to students who have met all requirements. The deadline for applications is March 6.

Students should first meet with their program advisor for verification of degree requirements.

To be eligible to graduate, a student must complete all degree requirements by May or August 2019, have at least a 2.0 grade-point average or better, and complete the free online graduation application.

To apply for graduation, students must sign in to their MySPC account, go to Texan Connect, then click on Student Registration/Planning, select apply for graduation, and fill out the online graduation application.

When the application is turned in, administrators will put it under review after final grades are posted.

Students who are approved to graduate will participate in the spring graduation ceremony that will be held on May 10. If a student is not able to participate in the graduation ceremony, he or she has to be excused and given permission to graduate in absentia.

For help, students can contact their program advisor, or go to the Student Services Building and see Robin Coler, the graduation clerk, in the Admissions and Records Office.

Alcohol and Drug Committee plans drunk driving awareness with ‘Mocktail Madness’

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in accidents caused by drunk drivers.

That is equivalent to one person every 48 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Alcohol and Drug Committee (AoD) at South Plains College has put together Mocktail Madness, which will be held on March 5 at 5 p.m in the Sundown Room in the Student Center Building on the Levelland campus.

This is an opportunity for any clubs or organizations at SPC to raise money while educating students on the dangers of underage drinking and driving. The purpose also is to show students how to have fun without drinking and encourage safety.

“Mocktail Madness is kind of the brainchild of our Alcohol and Drug Committee on campus,” says Miranda English, director of Student Life at SPC. “We just want students to show up and have fun while looking at all the booths that are set up.”

English also explained how the AoD wanted to find a way for students to have fun without putting themselves in danger.

To participate, each organization must come up with a themed booth and serve a signature non-alcoholic “mocktail” to students. Throughout the night, students will have the opportunity to to vote for best booth and best mocktail. The winning clubs or organizations will be awarded cash prizes.

Students who attend will also be given a punch card to check the number of drinks that they’ve had throughout the night. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commision (TABC) will be monitoring the number of “mocktails” that students consume. If they decide a student has had too much much to drink, they will hand out “drunk goggles” for students to wear. Students will then have to drive a pedal car through obstacle courses.

There is no cost for students to attend, and it is a great opportunity for clubs to recruit for their organization.

Sanders announces run in primaries on platform of unrealistic free services

Bernie Sanders recently announced his intention to run for the Democratic Party nomination, giving Americans another chance to see a Democratic-Socialist president.

Late February marked his decision to run, and almost immediately after ActBlue launched a campaign donation website to support the prospective nominee. Expensive healthcare with Affordable Care Act rates rising yearly, paired with astronomical student loans, have drawn a large number of young voters to Sanders. His Socialist policies promise to use government funds to grant free healthcare and higher education to all American citizens.

2000px-Bernie_Sanders_2016_logo.svgBefore the 2016 presidential election, Sanders ran in the Democratic primaries and was not far off from Hillary Clinton’s level of support by the time he dropped out of the race. His supporters were mostly Caucasian men under the age of 40, a group more likely to embrace socialism than most other Americans. He ran a grassroots campaign of donations, protesting the campaign funding system and setting a precedent he will need to follow as he runs again to avoid criticism. Once it became clear Sanders would not win, he encouraged his supporters to vote for Clinton.

The appeal of free services that improve quality of life is plain to see, but the word “free” isn’t exactly accurate. Money for these services must come from somewhere, and the richest of Americans certainly aren’t keen on paying for it. Sanders’ tax plans focus on taking money from rich taxpayers to fund his free education and healthcare, though these plans don’t account for adaptation.

Foreign bank accounts, oversized tax breaks and hiding assets already keep the bourgeoisie’s pocketbooks plump to some extent, but this phenomenon could easily grow as Sanders’ legislation begs for more money. Conceptually, his policies are admirable. Unfortunately, the future of a country isn’t worth gambling on putting pipe dreams into practice.

The senator from Vermont has clung to his ideals fervently for decades, but his crushed hopes for the socialist actions of other nations seems to point to a different narrative than simple political passion- willful ignorance. He praised Cuba for their Socialist accomplishments, ignoring the problems and dissent that the Castro regime incurred without considering that socialism gives the government more power in a world where that power can be abused. He claimed once that the American dream was easier to achieve in Socialist South American countries such as Venezuela, which has since suffered corruption and human rights abuses.

Sanders has also praised countries such Denmark and Sweden for their policies, resulting in a public statement from Denmark’s prime minister claiming that the country is not Socialist, and doesn’t appreciate Sanders’ praise. The country’s government has been trying to wean its citizens off of government services, pushing them farther from socialism.  Throughout his political career, Sanders has watched socialism rob people of rights and quality of life, but has stood up for socialism nonetheless.

If  Sanders were to somehow possess the magic formula to transform our country into a socialist state without suffering the problems every socialist country has faced, he would still have the problem of representing a party he doesn’t entirely agree with. Sanders is technically an independent, and that does not sit well with all Democrats, nor do his Socialist views. While he may accrue massive support and funding like he did during his last run for the Democratic nomination, he could very well drop out and encourage his supporters to vote for party leadership’s preferred candidate. Sanders dropped out of the last nomination process and seemed to only funnel some extra votes toward Hillary Clinton, a wasted effort.

Unless Americans fall in love with socialism and demand Sanders far more than they did in the last election, his chances are slim. He likely would not only have to win the most public support out of the potential nominees, but have that support by a wide margin to convince the party that’s running him to allow him on the ballot for president. The most probable outcome of the 2020 election will be incumbent Donald Trump running against someone who is not a Democratic-Socialist.


Kindness, honesty often overlooked


With Valentine’s Day over, I was thinking, it would be good if we could be nice all year long.

It seems that we deal with negative people every day, either in what they say or what they do. Many times, it is directed specifically at a person or a group of people.

We need to ask ourselves, ”How would I feel if someone said this about me?”gossip

When I was a child, we used to play a game called gossip. We lined up, and the first


 person whispered something into the person’s ear beside them. They turned to the next person and whispered what they thought they heard.

I say, “what they thought they heard,” because many times they did not hear it correctly, or it wasn’t said correctly. This went on down the chain of people.

The last person would say out loud what they think they were told. There was a lot of laughter, because it rarely was close to the truth.

Many times, this is what is going on today.

My mom used to tell me that when someone says something about another person, go to the person and ask them if it is true. Do not believe it just because it was said.

As a mom, I raised my sons the same way. If they came home and someone had said something that was not known to be true, I would say, “Go to the person.” If it ended up being a lie, I personally went back to the person to confront them about that lie.

Even in our childhood movies, we learn this message from Bambi’s mom: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” If only everyone could practice that.

istockphoto-693210524-612x612What kind of world would we create if we all practiced this?

As I think of a way to close this thought, I have to ask myself, how do I live up to this opinion? As I look back on my life, I know there were times when I did not live up to it, and for this I am ashamed. I pray that I was able to say, “I am sorry” to the one or ones I hurt.

How would this would be if when we meet people, we would say, “I know something good about you,” and we treated people just that way?

What kind of world would be created if we shook hands and you could tell by the hand shake that there was a truthful assurance of friendship?

Wouldn’t life be much happier if the good in all of us is what people could think about and talk about?

These things may seem impossible at first, but it is up to us to make it happen. No one can do it alone. We have to decide if we are willing to try. You would be doing the world a favor by practicing, “I know something good about you, and you know something good about me.”