Category: Spring 2017

College shows growth in enrollment, campus size during six decades

Throughout the past 60 years, dreams have preceded realities at South Plains College. 

In 1957, Dr. Thomas Spencer set out to establish a new two-year college in Texas, the first one in the state in more than a decade.

“The first vote for it was in 1957, and it was defeated,” recalled Nathan Tubb, the college’s first registar who later served as  the academic dean from 1965 to 1981. “So they formed a committee and tried a different way. They put posters in town for it.”

 As president of Blinn College, Dr. Spencer was up to the challenge of starting up a new college in the South Plains region. 

DanceOne of the first faculty to be hired was Earl Gerstenberger, a former Blinn College agriculture and science instructor. Gerstenberger taught agriculture at SPC from 1958 to 1969, then served as Dean of Men from 1967 to 1973. In 1973, he was became Dean of Students, a position he held until 1982 when he became vice president of academic affairs before retiring in 1993.

“I was an assistant football coach, baseball coach and taught physical education at Blinn,” recalled Gerstenberger. “I had a degree in agriculture education, and our president there came up here and started this college, Dr. Spencer.”

Dr. Spencer came to the area before the college started to speak to groups that would be interested in building a college.buildings 1960031

“So he came a year before the college opened and he supervised the forming of the junior college district,” Gerstenberger said, “establishing a tax base for paying for the college, building the campus and hiring the faculty.” 

When Dr. Spencer arrived in Levelland, there was nothing but a field to build a brand new college on. With instructions from the South Plains College Board of Regents, he had $1,086,920.01 to open a college for the fall semester of 1958.

“We were accredited by the Texas Association, but you had to be 5 years old to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools,” Tubb explained. “They sent out a group and they liked what they saw. So they went back and recommended that we get fully accredited by the Southern Association of College and Schools. That accreditation was the highlight of my career.”IMG_6892

 The land for SPC was acquired from the Post-Montgomery estate. The first five campus buildings were built on 44 acres of land that cost $29,566.85. Contractor Harry E. Miller agreed to complete the construction of the college’s first five buildings, which were the Administration Building, Gym-Student Center, Library-Fine Arts Building, Agricultural Shop Building and Auditorium, by Sept. 10, 1958. 

“Almost all of the faculty, there was 19 faculty and three administrators, nearly all of the faculty were young,” said Gerstenberger. “Even the president at that time was in his 40s. The rest of the faculty was young, in their 20s to 30s. It was a new experience for all of us. Everybody did whatever it took to make it go.”

Gerstenberger arrived in mid-summer in 1958, finding the college uncompleted as the first registration neared and classes were scheduled to begin on Sept. 15. The first faculty helped prepare the college to open for the first registration. 

“We had to go in and nail the windows into the library shelving to keep the window from falling in,” Gerstenberger recalled. “All of the faculty and their spouses, in meeting the deadline for opening up the college, went in and helped clean. I went in and helped put in blackboards. It was a closeknit bunch of people, old friends, and we had classes to teach. But we also did other things, whatever it took. Every faculty member had a club or two that they sponsored. It was just a new experience for all of us. It was fun really, but we worked hard too.”

registrationDespite some naysayers in the community, the first registration was a success with 576 enrolling in both day and night classes.

“It started out pretty small,” said Tubb. “There were 202 or so in the day program, and 258 or so in the evening college. We didn’t have computers. We did it all with pencils. There were people in town that didn’t think we would have eight or more students.”

  Faculty worked all night to process the registration for the 60 classes that would begin the very next day. 

“There was a lot of optimism in the Levelland district that we would grow,” Gerstenberger explained. “But there were some negative feelings that we were over-building, and what would happen if students didn’t show up. We had anxiety about having students show up. We had built the school for 500 or so students. A lot of people said that we would never meet that. We had almost 500 students that first semester. We’ve had so much support from the community over the years. To ever be this size, none of us ever thought that would happen. But it did.”

First commencement at SPC was held on May 25,1959, with two graduates from Levelland, Betty Moore Rowell and Billie G. Alexander. One year later, during spring graduation in 1960, 43 students walked the stage. Forty years later, the number of graduates rose to 707, in 1998.

“The first two or three years were pretty small,” said Tubb. “It wasn’t till the fourth year the enrollment started to grow.”

In 1960, the first three dormitories were constructed. Frazier, Stroud and Sue Spencer halls joined the original five buildings. Later, South Sue Spencer, Gillespie and Magee halls were added in 1962, Lamar hall was added in 1995, and the Smallwood Complex was added in 1981. The construction of residence halls allowed the college to enter a period of growth. 

IMG_6902“I like to think of South Plains as a community college,” explained Tubb. “Most junior colleges then just offered the first two academic years and then it would transfer to a university. We started out as having welding, and machine shop. We had a technical building, so we offered a wide variety of things, and that appealed to students in the area. We had an extension course at Reese Air Force Base, and that attracted a large number of students.”

By 1968, SPC’s enrollment had grown from 574 students to 1,641 students in more than 42 programs. 

“It’s an entirely different institution,” Tubb said proudly. “I retired in 1981. Well, it has changed a good deal.”

As the college entered the 1970s, residents of Levelland, Hockley County, the South Plains and Eastern New Mexico realized that SPC was on the educational map.

“After we got up and running in 10 years, there were several community colleges opening in the state, after they had seen how successful we were,” Tubb added.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, the fifth president in the history of SPC, said the most significant changes to SPC since he attended in 1988 are to the buildings on campus, including the entire Student Services mall, which was just a grassy area. Tubb and Southwest Halls didn’t exist, and other buildings such as the current Math Building and the PE Complex had not been built.

graduation 1960008“I am very proud of how the college has grown over the years,” said Dr. Satterwhite, the first alum to serve as president. “The size of the college sets it apart from many others in that it rivals many universities. In a way, I believe that speaks to the demand for our educational experience and allows SPC to command a greater respect in the delivery of higher education.”

Additionally, Dr. Satterwhite said that the growth of the college has allowed SPC to meet a greater number of educational needs of students in both technical and transfer education areas. The growth of the physical plant has also allowed SPC to be a larger part of the Levelland community.

Today, the enrollment has grown to more than 9,000 students across four campuses, with 42 buildings on the Levelland campus. The faculty number nearly 400. 

“South Plains College must focus most on maintaining the culture of student-centerdness and the quality of education that has always been a cornerstone of our success,” Dr. Satterwhite explained. “However, we also need to look at ways to grow our student numbers and continue to identify programs that meet student and industry demand. Also, while having a 60-year-old campus allows for a great amount of maturity across the campus landscape, it also presents some issues for many of the original buildings.”

Dr. Satterwhite added that the college will need to identify opportunities to make improvements to facilities so SPC can continue to provide the best educational experience to our students.Class room

“South Plains College remains a very special place for so many students, employees, and community members,” Dr Satterwhite explained. “The thing that impressed me most about my time at SPC was the faculty that took a genuine interest in my success. After all of my educational experiences, I was able to point back to faculty members such as Ann Gregory, David Etheredge, Larry Norris, and others who have left since I was here, and reflect on the outstanding impact that each of them had on my educational and personal life. That is what makes SPC a great college.”

Six students selected for NASA scholars program

by MATT MOLINAR//Associate Editor


Every year, students who show great interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are selected by NASA to participate in the Community College Aerospace Scholars program.

This year, six South Plains College students were selected to participate in CAS. They will be able to participate in on-sight team projects, get a behind-the-scenes tour of space centers and listen to and speak with NASA engineers, educators, and astronauts.

“We have students go to one of NASA’s 13 space centers,” said Alan Worley, chairperson of the Math and Engineering Department at SPC. “What they typically do is work on a Mars rover prototype. They are put on a team with people from across the nation and have to meet a deadline to present their rovers that will pick up water, sand and rock samples.”

Worley says the students are given a budget in order to purchase pieces. When the rovers are presented, they are placed on a test course.

“When the teams present their rovers in front of Nasa, they are scored,” Worley explained. “It’s kind of like a sales pitch. After looking at the budget, the way the rover performs, and the overall presentation, NASA selects the winning team to sign a contract with. One student is also selected as Engineer of the Week. We’ve had several students in the past who have won that.”

NASA pays for the students to make a trip to the space centers. The only price students are required to pay is for the application fee.

“In order to apply, you have to meet certain requirements,” Worley explained. “You must be a U.S. citizen. And you must be a student who is majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field.”

When selecting participants, the organization looks into the applicant’s background, GPA, and participation in school activities and clubs.

The scholars who were selected from SPC this year include: Melanie Click, freshman Mechanical Engineering major from Sundown; Jim Cook, sophomore Electrical Engineering major from Lubbock; Timmy Frieson, sophomore Construction Engineering major from Lubbock; Ishmael Galindo, sophomore Mechanical Engineering major from Brownfield; Adam Martin, sophomore Computer Science major from Littlefield; and Osiel Valles, sophomore Mechanical Engineering major from Lubbock.

According to Worley, between 350 and 400 participants were selected to participate.

Cook was selected to attend the program from April 10 to April 13 at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. He says that his time was well spent, interacting with noted engineers and researchers.

“I originally was told by a friend that I needed to apply,” Cook said. “The experience was very much worth it. There were 44 students there from all over the country.”

Cook says he benefited most from the group rover project and presentation.

“I had never really done a group project before,” Cook said, “especially with students who are in the same or similar major. That’s what I want to do. I want to work with a team developing new technology.”

Cook says he wishes to dedicate himself to working on a solution that could remove manpower from war zones.

Cook will be graduating from SPC this semester, with plans to attend Texas Tech University in the Fall. He says he one day hopes to work for Tesla.

“I had the opportunity to speak to somebody who works for Space X, which is a company owned by Elon Musk,” Cook said. “I got to ask him exactly how I get into working for an Elon Musk company, and he was able to give me some very helpful information.”

Cook says that a few of the students who attended the program were volunteers who had previously been selected.  Although he would like to return as a volunteer, he says he simply just does not have enough time.

“I really wish I could go back and do it all again,” Cook said. “But unfortunately, you are only allowed to participate once because of the cost that NASA pays for. I would have absolutely no problem going back and doing it again.”

Worley says the reason the program is so important to STEM students is because it “splashes a resume” and teaches the student skills they could only receive while working at a real job instead of in a classroom.

“It opens all kinds of doors,” Worley added. “It opens doors to different jobs, internships and other opportunities. The main thing they learn is how to work as a team. They get a great dose of what to expect in the real world.”

SPC students have been participating in the CAS program since 2002. Worley says that 10 students have taken internships at NASA. Ronny Baccus and Brian Butcher are two SPC alum who currently hold jobs at NASA.  A total of 133 students from SPC have attended the CAS program.

“I’m proud of anyone who set goals and goes for them,” Worley said. “Whatever it is. We just want our students to know that there is no ceiling.”

[Photo courtesy of Alan Worley]

Student joins campus police force

by HANNAH NELSON//Staff Writer


A South Plains College student will be turning in her textbooks for a uniform as she becomes the newest member of the Campus Police Department.

Ada Hinojos is now a very familiar face as she joins the Campus Police Department.

Hinojos graduated from the South Plains College Police Academy in August of 2016. For her, the SPC Police Academy was both challenging and fun.

“South Plains has amazing professors,” Hinojos said. “They helped us through everything. They helped us even after we graduated. They helped us find a job. They made sure we were set.”

Hinojos has now transitioned from being a student at SPC to becoming an employee and officer.

“It is different,” she explained. “Just because I see the students and they knew me as a student, and now I am an employee.”

One thing that Hinojos has learned so far since being a part of the police department is the different personalities around her.

“I am learning to speak to different types of personalities,” she said.

She has learned a lot about SPC’s dynamic and unique aspects of the college.

“The school is more family oriented I have noticed,” said Hinojos. “We all try to help each other out. You don’t just leave someone behind and just let them figure it out on their own.”

As time goes on, Hinojos wants to learn and familiarize herself with the students on campus.

“I just want to know the students more,” Hinojos said. “That is my goal.”

She says that she wants the students to be familiar with her, and for her to be familiar with them. She hopes that she can be someone who students feel comfortable coming to.

“For sure, I want to make them feel safe,” Hinojos said. “I don’t want them to feel afraid to come to me.”

Hinojos said that she wants to ensure that students understand they can come to her for anything. They should also feel comfortable around her.

“They can call me or come to the office,” said Hinojos. “I am not here to scare them. I am here to help them out. Even if it is just advice in here. I want them to know that.”

Since the department is small, Hinojos is able to work hands-on with the chief, Nick Castillo. She is also able to gain experience.

“Here, I get to do a little bit of everything,” Hinojos said, “versus a big department, where you are just in patrol or just one thing.”

Being able to get hands-on experience with everything is what drew her to SPC, and one of the main things she enjoys about her position.

“I am a very active person,” said Hinojos, “and I like to dip my hands into everything I can.”

Being the only female in the SPC police department, Hinojos is excited to be available for female students.

“There are some things a female doesn’t want to tell a male,” explained Hinojos. “I hope that it will help the female students be able come to me and tell me what is wrong.”

As for her personal life, Hinojos, 24, attended high school in Plainview. She also is celebrating her one-year anniversary with her husband.

“We don’t have any kids right now, but we want to have a family later on,” she explained. “We just wanted to get our careers started.”

Hinojos still attends classes at SPC. She is taking Law Enforcements classes, with the goal of completing her degree next semester.


Lubbock Center set to accept students for fall

by SARA MARSHALL//Editor-in-Chief


Just in time for the Fall 2017 semester, South Plains College will be opening a new campus for college and dual-credit students seeking technical and workforce careers and certificates.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for South Plains College,” said Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of the college. “We feel like it’s going to really reach out and meet the needs of an expanded number of students in the Lubbock area.”

In 2015, SPC purchased the Shamrock Chevrolet automotive dealership on Avenue Q with hopes of converting the building into a new, stand-alone campus. The Lubbock Center has more than 77,000 square feet of instructional space, with eight high-tech computer classrooms with Internet access and 10 instructional classrooms with multimedia capabilities.

The Lubbock Center will house a millwork lab, metals lab, welding lab, automotive technology lab and construction trades lab. The construction trades lab will also function as a rapid response training lab.

“There will also be admissions, financial aid, advising and testing, tutoring and business services,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “These will help support the overall needs of a student, including registering for classes, taking classes and paying for classes. All the things you would need to do, you can do right there at the new SPC Lubbock Center.”

For the past 20 years, SPC, Lubbock ISD and other community partners worked together at the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to teach cooperative technical education programs. This cooperation has led to the expansion of the program and the shift to the Lubbock Center.

“We’re vacating the space we have at the Byron Martin Center,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “That’s owned by Lubbock ISD, and we’re going to be freeing up space for them. It’s a very positive separation. They needed more space, and it’s an opportunity for SPC to have a stand-alone facility where we have more of a presence in Lubbock. It’s been a great relationship with Lubbock ISD, and even during the departure it continues to be a very positive relationship.”

Most faculty and staff at the Lubbock Center will be comprised of preexisting employees from the Byron Martin ATC, who will be permanently moving to the Lubbock Center, along with student support staff from the Reese Center campus will be helping support the center.

Many of the programs once offered at the Byron Martin ATC in Lubbock will be offered at the Lubbock Center beginning in Fall 2017. Registration for fall classes began April 19.

“It’s going to be very heavily focused around the technical education,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “While we are going to offer some transfer education within the facility, it’s going to be limited.”

In recent years, Culinary Arts has become a very high-demand field of education and occupation. SPC has recognized this demand and is including this new program at the Lubbock Center beginning Fall 2017.

“We’re very excited about the new addition of a Culinary Arts center,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “The growing number of restaurants, particularly in the Lubbock area, is just phenomenal. The Lubbock Restaurant and Hotel groups have reached out to all the educational facilities, and they are in desperate need of kitchen workers, cooks, managers.”

This new culinary program will provide students with a deeper understanding for the culinary arts than what would be learned through on-the-job training.

“Talented employees are moving from restaurant to restaurant, and the restaurants have a difficult time filling those positions,” Dr. Satterwhite explained. “The Lubbock schools are also developing their own culinary programs, which are not in competition to our own program. Really, they’re in compliment of our program, because they are only going to take a student up to a certain level of proficiency, and that’s when our program will take over.”

Construction and renovations on the Lubbock Center began roughly a year ago, led by the McCutchin Construction Company based in Levelland.

“They have done a remarkable job of keeping us on time and on schedule,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “They’ve enabled the project to move really smoothly. There have been very few surprises during the process, and I attribute that largely to their work.”

Dr. Satterwhite said he does not believe that the Lubbock Center will pull away existing students from the Reese Center, also located in Lubbock.

“[The Lubbock Center] is really going to take those students at the Byron Martin Center and shift them over,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “So I feel like it’s going to meet our existing needs we have in Lubbock and some growing needs with the dual-credit students. I think we’re going to have a growing population of students who want to identify a career opportunity in one of these areas.”


Texas House bill tightens leash on service animal fraud

by TYLER YORK//Online Editor


Texas may soon be cracking down on people attempting to take their pets where they don’t belong.

In April 2017, the Texas House of Representatives introduced House Bill 2992, which would set up legal recourse for people who misrepresent their animals as service animals.

According to the bill, it would be classified a misdemeanor “if the person fits an animal with a harness, collar, vest, sign, tag, or leash of the type commonly used by persons with disabilities” in order to receive special access or benefits normally reserved to service animal handlers.

This act, as of the current bill’s text, would be punishable with both a $300 fine and 30 hours of community service in a position that serves those with disabilities or visual impairments.

The bill is receiving mostly positive reactions, including that of Jeana Stearns, a Huntsville, Texas native and Emotional Support Animal (ESA) owner.

“I liked most of it, but still have some issues,” said Stearns regarding the bill.

Much of the reason Stearns supports the bill has to do with her own experience seeing handlers try to pass off their animals as service dogs, or SDs.

“I have seen at least two cases that the SDs [were] questionable,” said Stearns. “I have seen and talked with at least four other SD owners with their fully trained SDs. They have seen more. Since I live about one hour north of Houston and with the bullet train moving in, I’m sure that I’ll see more issues coming into town.”

Stearns gives some examples of red flags when encountering a person with a suspect service dog.

“This parent was claiming her 8 [month] old puppy that she had to take everywhere and had to carry—I never saw the poor thing touch the ground—was her SD,” Stearns recalled. “She even had a play area for it at her work place. With toys, food and drink. Everyone was welcomed to visit and play with the pup.

“She would carry it into the school building and around the halls,” Stearns added. “I never saw a vest (which is OK) but whenever anyone would ask why, she would say that it was her SD. Everyone was allowed to pet it.”

In many cases, petting a service dog can cause the dog to lose focus and miss involuntary signals from the handler that could potentially prevent a seizure or other dangerous medical condition.

“Fully trained SDs are not to react with anything but their handlers,” said Stearns.

But Stearns also said she wishes lawmakers would focus more on helping protect those with Emotional Support Animals, or ESAs.

“I think that the bill simply doesn’t help any legal ESA,” Stearns said.

“I agree that fakes cause lots of problems, but so do people that run the stores or housing,” said Stearns. “I know of people that finally get into housing and now have to fight to keep their (legal) ESA but end up paying a pet deposit and pet rent just so they can keep the housing. The housing lists are around two years long where I live.”

Ultimately, Stearns says Emotional Support Animals are often looked down upon, compared to Service Animals, and she thinks they both deserve higher legal status.

“I like to think of ESA as equals to EMTs,” Stearns said. “Although, they don’t do as much as doctors (SDs), they do assist in the saving of others.”

“Those that need ESAs don’t have a choice,” Stearns added. “Just like those with SDs don’t have a choice. ESAs and SDs assist with saving lives and should be treated with respect.

Texas House Bill 2992 is currently pending in committee, and is set to go into effect September 2017, if passed.

Dewbre serving as vice president of NCMPR

by VANESSA DELGADO//Staff Writer


There is no better job than doing what you love.

Dane Dewbre is currently the vice-president and president elect for the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR).

He is also the Associate Dean of Marketing and Recruitment at South Plains College.

NCMPR is made up of marketing and public relations professionals who are particularly involved in community and technical colleges.

“I’m a big supporter of community colleges,” said Dewbre. “That’s what makes what I do fun.”

One of the reasons Dewbre loves community colleges is because of their diversity. At most universities, there is typically only the stereotypical college student. But at a community college, there is a wider range, such as parents, single parents, grandparents, and many others. Each one has a different path and background. There is a wide variety of students and community colleges. Universities offer great benefits as well, but Dewbre found his passion at SPC.

Dewbre says that what he does is more than a job to him. It is what he loves to do, and it shows in his work. He helps those who are also trying to do what they love. If you love what you do, then you will never have to work a day in your life, because it won’t feel like work, according to Dewbre.

Dewbre received his associate’s degree at SPC in telecommunications, before going on to attend Texas Tech University. After graduating from Texas Tech, Dewbre got a job at Clovis Community College in New Mexico at the age of 21. He was in the marketing department there for four years. While there, he was introduced to NCMPR.

He started as a District 4 director for NCMPR, and then later became an executive board member.

Since he is now vice president and president elect, he is preparing for next year when he will become president. He recently attended the American Association of Community Colleges conference to talk about Word of Mouth marketing. He has been involved with NCMPR for almost 20 years.

Dewbre explains how the field of marketing and public relations has been altered.

“Digital media has been one of the biggest changes in the past few years,” he said.

Dewbre has worked hard through the years to do what he loves. He has a very obvious passion for community colleges and says he is privileged enough to work for one and with others.

“Sometimes it gets so busy it gets a little difficult,” adds Dewbre.

Hard work is always a must for anyone to reach his or her goals. Some advice Dewbre offers is, “Believe in what your’re doing… make sure you know what their mission is and what they’re about, and bring that connection to your job.”

Dewbre’s son, Sam Dewbre, is already following the great steps that his father has left for him. He is graduating from SPC in May as well.

Dewbre will soon become the president of NCMPR and has big shoes to fill. But his experience has prepared him for this great opportunity.


Commencement ceremonies set for May 12

by BRANDI ORTIZ//News Editor


There will be a change in the ceremonies for this year’s graduating students.

South Plains College will host the 59th annual Spring Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2017 on May 12 in the Texan Dome on the Levelland Campus.

Students who have earned, or will be earning, their associate’s degrees or certificates of proficiency will be honored during the commencement ceremonies.

Previously, the ceremonies were split in two according to the students’ last name. Now, ceremonies will be separated by degree.

The first ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m., and will recognize students graduating in the following fields: Associate of Arts, Associate Degree Nursing, Vocational Nursing, Commercial Music, Design Communications, Cosmetology, Electrical & Power Transmission Technology, Fire Technology, Law Enforcement Technology, Sound Technology, Video Production Technology, and Welding Technology.

The second ceremony will begin at 1 p.m.. Students receiving a degree in the following areas will be recognized: Associate of Science, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Applied Rehabilitation Psychology, Child Development, Emergency Medical Services, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care, Surgical Technology, Accounting Associate, Automotive Collision Repair, Automotive Technology, Business, Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Computer Information Systems, Diesel Service Technology, Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Industrial Manufacturing/Emerging Technologies, Office Technology, Paralegal Studies, Real Estate, and all dual-credit majors.

According to Robin Coler, graduation clerk at SPC, caps and gowns will be distributed for free starting May 1 through May 11 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.. Students at the Levelland campus can pick them up at the Admission and Records Office in the Student Services Building, while students at the Reese Center, Byron Martin ATC, and Plainview Center can pick up caps and gowns at Reese Center’s Admission and Records Office in Building 8.

All students graduating during the first ceremony must report to the Physical Education Complex by 8:45 a.m., and those graduating during the second ceremony should report at 12:45 p.m.

Graduates with special needs will have access to the elevator located at the east end of Texan Dome to get to the floor for the Processional. For arrangements, contact Linda Young at (806) 716-2577, or Dawn Valles at 716-4675.

Guest in wheelchairs will have a designated area on the upper level of the Dome.

BackTalk: Airstrike in Syria fires up debate

United States bombing pales in comparison to Syrian civil war

by TYLER YORK//Online Editor

The atrocities committed in Syria should come to an end. But random bombings ordered by the United States will only make the situation worse.

Chemical warfare has become an unfortunate staple of war. But its roots run deeper than the last few decades. Its prohibition on the battlefield actually dates back to the 17th century.

The Strasbourg Agreement, signed by France and the Holy Roman Empire, was a treaty to prevent the use of poisoned bullets in battle.

In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles made poison gas illegal in Germany. In 1925, the Geneva Protocol set up a ban on chemicals in warfare, including gases, liquids, devices, and biological agents.

Even as recently as 1993, Syria had participated in the Chemical Weapons Prevention treaty. This agreement created a timeline for the end of use and destruction of chemical stockpiles in 192 states.

In 2013, the United Nations discovered Syria had been producing and stockpiling chemicals for warfare. Syrian president Bashar Assad had allegedly ordered the Syrian military to use Sarin gas on civilian targets.

Most recently, in April 2017, the attack on Khan Shaykhun is the deadliest chemical attack in the Syrian civil war since the attack four years prior.

In 2011, the United States first became involved in the Syrian civil war by providing aid to rebels in the form of food, water, and trucks. This evolved into cash, intelligence, and later, full-on training of Syrian rebels. But this is not uncommon.

The Syrian civil war has become a proxy war. It has created an opportunity for many states and countries to use tactical resources to oppose external enemies. A prime example is Russia, which has been using its own planes and helicopters to attack Assad’s enemies in the war for several years.

In April, President Donald Trump called for 59 missiles to hit a single airbase in Syria as a punishment for the recent chemical weapons attack.

The question of President Trump’s recent bombing order isn’t about whether the United States should intervene in Syria. The problem is the act comes off as uninformed righteousness.

That justification completely ignores the years of violence and terror wielded by a leader on his own people. It is, at once, too strong for an outsider’s butting in, and too weak for a global superpower’s righteous justice.

The United States has already involved itself in the war, with no positive results whatsoever.

Without formal action, running around the outside of a war that doesn’t involve the United States can only ramp up the already dangerous situation. Not to mention the possibility that seeing the United States getting involved in such a flippant way might only encourage other nations to do the same. There is a real danger here of escalating the Syrian civil war to a war of a much larger scale.

President Trump’s erratic bombing order is heavily out of proportion with the brutality of the Syrian civil war. The United States should do something to stand up for the victims in Syria, but not based on immature and misguided whims.

War declaration necessary to prevent further Syrian attacks

by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor

President Donald Trump just ordered an airstrike on the Syrian base that launched the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, and liberals are standing behind him.

Americans are coming together for the first time in support of President Trump’s decision to retaliate against Al Assad’s use of chemical warfare, but it was not enough. If President Trump wants America to be involved, we need to get wholeheartedly involved.

Assad has been assaulting civilian cities since the conflict started in 2012, and he’s showing no signs of stopping. Although President Trump said that we couldn’t let children being attacked with chemicals go unnoticed, they are the same children that he refused to let into this country. He even attempted to leave visa holders in the Middle East to deal with the conflict, instead of coming back to America.

But America retaliating only because of the chemical warfare says that we are OK with everything else he is doing, and I am not.

I am not disregarding the American lives, or other innocent lives that might be lost, if we went to war. But I believe with the few hundred lives that we might lose, we would stop Assad from taking thousands more. And, no one life is worth more than another.

I understand that it is our duty as Americans to protect Americans. But, furthermore, we are all humans, and I believe that it is also our duty to protect humanity and keep an entire culture from being wiped off the map.

America already had the highest military budget of all the world leaders. Then President Trump increased it when he got into office. Russia may be intimidating because they’re known to be tough, but their military doesn’t stack up to ours.

North Korea also continues to demonstrate that they are not a threat to us, because they haven’t been able to successfully launch anything.

But if America wants to go to war, we won’t be alone. Major powers such as France and Germany that were on opposite sides of the first two world wars are on the same side, and they’re all against Assad and terrorism.

It seems, at first glance, like it might be a cut and dry conflict, but it’s not.

In January 2012, protesters were marching in Aleppo when security officers fired the first shot, killing one man. The total death toll of the incident reached eight people. The rebels began to organize and their society collapsed. To muddy things up, Assad began releasing terrorists into the rebel groups to make it harder for other countries to back them.

The insurgents and terrorists broke off from the rebels and formed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Then, secretly, Under President Barak Obama, the United States and the CIA began training the Syrian rebels, and Russia started giving aid to Assad’s forces that were fighting the rebels.

I think it’s time for the United States to declare war on Assad, and the rest of the major world powers will join in against the terror of Russia, North Korea, and Assad.

Lowering renewal age of driving licenses reduces risks for elderly

by VANESSA DELGADO//Staff Writer


Many people die from accidents involving a vehicle, whether they were a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.

People are always looking for new ways to make our roads safer. Car accidents are almost always caused by human error, rather than mechanical malfunctions.

Most senior citizens who have their driver’s license have been driving for quite some time. Most of them have become more skilled throughout the years. But because of illness, fading vision and hearing impairments that come with old age, after 70, the driver should have to retake the driving test every 10 years due to concerns involving safety.

My grandfather has the early stages of on-setting dementia. He has loved to drive his entire life. But soon after the effects of his illness started surfacing, he started running into things when he was driving. My grandmother has never had her driver’s license. Therefore, my grandfather was their only means of transportation. He insisted that he was perfectly fine while driving.

But one day, my grandfather dropped my grandmother off at a doctor’s appointment and then proceeded to head to the store. My grandma did not see my grandpa for 36 hours after that. There was an Amber Alert sent out, and cops were out searching for his vehicle. He was later found hours away from home.

To ensure his safety and the safety of others, his license was revoked.

This is only one example of how dangerous it can be for the elderly to have a driver’s license if it is not periodically checked.

They might not be particularly happy about it, but it will protect many people from possible accidents. Currently, in Texas, after age 79, the only additional requirements is they have to renew their license in person, and they have to do a vision test.

After the age of 70, the number of accidents goes up. This is no coincidence, and people need to start taking notice that this is a problem. There are plenty of efforts made to prevent drunk driving. But hardly anyone recognizes the risk with elderly drivers.

Not only are they in danger, but the people around them are too. They can have a slower reaction time, as well as other problems that cause car accidents.

If they are fit to drive, then it won’t be that much harder to take an extra 30 minutes to complete a driving test. It can prevent accidents and save money, time, and even lives down the road.

I do not understand why so many are against the idea when it has so many benefits. We need to start making it a priority to protect the elderly from others and themselves.

Having to renew a driver’s license every 10 years will not be too much of an inconvenience. It is better to spend this little bit of time protecting people from others and themselves, than having to pay the price later.

People have spoken up about it before, but not nearly enough. That needs to change.

Legalizing prostitution may lead to positive outcome



The global sex trade has become a big industry for prostitutes and a problem for victims of the sex trafficking epidemic.

Prostitution is a taboo issue that has been debated in many countries, including the United States. Some countries have legalized the practice, while others have simply decriminalized it. If regulated correctly, prostitution could be legalized while cracking down on human trafficking.

While humans deserve the free will to sell their bodies as they please, this can open doors for sex traffickers to run underground businesses. The current laws for the sex trade exist to protect and reduce the number of victims.

In the state of Texas, it is a crime to even suggest that you may be buying or selling sex. If you are convicted more than three times for prostitution, you will serve jail time. So what happens to the girls who are stuck in the practice?

Unless they’re lucky enough to live somewhere such as Lubbock, which has a task force that is actively involved in keeping women out of prostitution, they may be out of luck.

This is why prostitution should be legalized. If the goal is to keep these girls off of the streets, we should start by opening up brothels outside of the city limits for those who are seeking a job in prostitution. This way, we can increase tax revenue while reducing the number of those who might conduct business with an underage prostitute or human trafficking victim.

People who oppose the legalization of prostitution believe that legalizing it would create a higher STD rate. But we must take into consideration how brothels in Nevada operate. Contractors who work in Nevada brothels are required to test for STDs and STIs at least monthly.

People who oppose also believe that the human trafficking rate will increase. But there is no logic behind that. At worst, we may see the numbers remain the same if it were to become legalized. Legalized brothels would be state regulated, just as those in Nevada are.

Legalizing prostitution could help combat human trafficking. In Germany, prostitution was legalized, which dropped human trafficking rates by 10 percent during the first decade of 2000, according to a study done by Harvard Law.

With prohibition laws in place, pimps can threaten human trafficking victims with the prostitution laws, making it less likely for them to trust law enforcement. If the practice were legalized, a relationship can be formed between trafficking victims and law enforcement.

According to Donna M. Hughes, a researcher on human trafficking from the University of Rhode Island, legalization of prostitution would mean the practice would be regulated. These regulations would determine where, when, and how prostitution can operate. Decriminalization of prostitution is what I would consider a very bad idea.

When a legal offense becomes decriminalized, all laws regarding the act are eliminated and law enforcement officials are no longer able to intervene. If prostitution were to become decriminalized, the probability of somebody being forced into prostitution would become much higher.

So let’s say the United States legalized prostitution. While the state is regulating brothels, law enforcement can begin to focus on serious sex trafficking crimes. People who voluntarily prostitute themselves would be kept out of jail, while illegal pimps and traffickers are charged for enslaving people.

Morally, I think prostitution is wrong. But who am I to judge somebody for his or her choice of profession? I have had the pleasure of meeting an escort who holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. This person is hard working, determined, and excited about his career in the sex industry. Although it may not be my cup of tea, if somebody is that passionate and determined about a profession, why shouldn’t they be able to do it?

In the United States, $1.2 million is spent each year on enforcement costs regarding prostitution arrests. The spending is not worth it, because prostitutes will pay their expenses or spend time in jail and get right back to it.

While I understand that the prostitution laws are in place to protect children and reduce human trafficking, prostitution should be legalized in order to truly combat human trafficking and reduce the amount of dedicated prostitutes in jail and in the streets.

Good mothers deserve more appreciation

by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer


Mother’s Day is a day out of the year for you to recognize the mothers around you. But for all they do for us, they deserve more than just one day.

I was blessed with one of those moms who would drive 30 minutes to Wal-Mart at 10:30 the night before a project was due just to make sure that we finished it, and that it was perfect. She would iron every piece of clothing my siblings and I wore, and she always made sure that we never did without.

She worked as a helper for my dad, who is a welder, for almost 15 years, which meant long hours in the sun and in the cold. More often than not, it also meant drive-thru dinners. We never knew the difference. After she stopped working with my dad and began working in the school cafeteria, she would pick me and all of my friends up from school with hot, fresh cheese sticks and soft drinks for all of us.

I don’t think I realized how lucky I was to have a mom like her then, when I would gripe at her for dancing in front of my friends and complain when I didn’t get my way. But I definitely thank God for giving me the best mom I could ever ask for.

I’m immensely grateful for all the memories she made sure that we made growing up. She would drive to my school when I was in Kindergarten and drop off my bike, then ride her own bike back to pick me up at the end of the day so that we could ride our bikes home together. She always had random crafts for us to do, such as painting popsicle sticks or finding sea shells to make picture frames out of. These are memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Now that I’m an adult, she is one of my best friends. Anytime that anything happens to me, I immediately pick up the phone to call her and tell her. She doesn’t get annoyed when I call her 12 times in an hour because I’m trying to make chicken fried steak and have no idea what I’m doing. She’s always patient with my brother, sister, and I, and she is always the biggest supporter in our corner, cheering us on at any given time. She’s also the first one to call us out when we’re wrong.

She is constantly encouraging us to not just let life pass us by, but to actually live. Whether that means jumping out of an airplane at 11,000 feet in the air, or returning to school, her response is always, “Do it. One day you’ll be old and won’t have the chance.”

When I had my own son, I finally realized the love that my mom has for us, and the depths that she will go just so that we could always have everything we could need or want. Society paints a picture of moms who have it all together in a Mrs. Clever-esque world with this insane notion that when you become a mom you automatically gain super mom powers. But nobody tells you about the hard stuff, the yucky stuff, the hide yourself in the bathroom for five seconds of silence stuff, the sleepless nights, or the broken hearts that you just can’t fix when you have a kid. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

But my mom never let us know when times were tough. If she was having a down day, we didn’t know about it as kids. If she made a promise to us, she always kept her word, no matter how many obstacles she had to jump through or go over to get it done. I pray that if I can just be half the mother that she is, I’ll be alright. And one day, maybe, just maybe, my son will think of me the same way.

The next time you see your mom, give her a big hug and say thank you. You don’t know the sacrifices that she has made in order to make sure that you have everything you need, and that you are happy and healthy. And if your mom is anything like mine, she deserves all the praise every day of the year. Flowers and presents are nice, but nothing beats hearing that all of her efforts through the years didn’t go unnoticed.

So, hi Mom. Thank you for every single thing you do for me. I am forever grateful for you, and I wouldn’t be who I am, or where I am, without you. I love you more.

Graduating student gives insight to college experience after military

by SERGIO MADRID//Editorial Assistant


College is a whole other beast than the military, but one I needed to switch my brain back to normal as I was in a state of constant worry in the military.

Seriously, it seemed anytime I was relaxed in the Navy, I would get in trouble.

I started my time here at South Plains College in the Commercial Music Building where I studied music. The more I learned about music, the deeper I wanted to explore it.

Some of the instructors, such as Sonny Borba and Ed Marsh, had some very interesting classes, which I attributed mostly to the way they deliver the information.

Though, after a certain amount of time, music theory and the way some of the instructors taught was causing me to become disenfranchised with music.

There are so many rules and regulations some have in regard to music and how it’s meant to be played. Also, most of the students there are worried about learning music rather than making music, which was my end goal.

I didn’t want to move around the “structure” of music, but rather let it move around me, the way I write and the way I play. I came to this conclusion a few weeks into my second semester, and decided to drop a few classes and look for another major to pursue.

Knowing that becoming a song writer was my goal, I looked toward literature and contemplated becoming an English major, as I wanted to do more than just read and write.

During this time of changing majors, I formed a band with a few old friends from high school who were jamming a lot while I was in the Navy.

We were hanging out one night and I told them how I picked up the guitar in the Navy and would write songs from time to time. I played a song for them, and we haven’t looked back since.

In my search for a new major, someone told me about the journalism program they offer at SPC and how good it was. I looked into it and decided to give it a shot.

After a rough first semester, I decided I could really get into journalism if I applied myself a bit more. Though most of the people who are pursuing journalism are not what I consider my kind of people.

I found some comfort in my final two semesters at SPC in the Newsroom, talked with some pretty cool people, and acquired some new skills to help me through the rest of my college career and possibly in my professional career as well.

The paper allowed for me to write about concerts, festivals, bands, dogs (mainly my dog) and other things I took an interest in. But it also allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and explore other aspects of media.

Other than music and journalism, I came across a few other classes I enjoyed, such as Geology. I became a member of the “Rock Whisperers,” the geology club led by professor Aaron Greene. There is also sociology, studying people, society, and doing interactive projects, taught by Brant Farrar.

Some classes took a lot out of me and were focal points of some of my semesters. Chemistry and college algebra were two among those classes. I’m good with math, but sometimes juggling everything I do outside of SPC and my class loads were a bit much. But it showed me that I am the type of person who can handle a multitude of tasks, though sometimes with help.

Being older, more mature and having many grown-up priorities, it is hard to connect with younger students whose biggest worry is whether their parents are going to buy them something. You want to hang out or meet up at a party or bar, but something always seems to come up.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy myself or vacation, but there is a culture change I want to install within my family. Most people in my family are uneducated and lack motivation to change their hardships. They don’t want to do more than they need to get through the work week.

I grew up differently, not wanting to be like them. I didn’t want to follow in their path of early-unwanted pregnancies and low-income jobs.

Leaving Lubbock to join the military was the first step. Finishing college was my second, and now I look toward continuing education, making a name for myself to honor my late grandfather, and setting a positive example for my younger cousins, my niece and nephew, and someday kids of my own.

Journalism still very much alive despite technological advances

by BRITTNY STEGALL//Opinion Editor

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Just as the world evolves, so do the things around us.

Journalism, to some people, may be dead. But to this journalist, it is only evolving. I hear all the time as a journalism major, “Why did you choose that career. You know its dying, right?” To some of you, that might be the case. But there is one thing everyone who agrees with that statement fails to realize. While print newspapers and nightly news might disappear with the years to come, there is a rise in the internet and social media.

No one can say journalism is dead. Journalists may die, but journalism never will. It is alive and well, and it will continue to be. It might just be in a different form than you would expect. There will always be a bright future for myself and other journalists, no matter the year or what technology they create. The world will always need credible and great journalists. The internet is the fourth medium of journalism, so how can journalism be dead if the internet is considered to be just that?

This generation of journalists and the ones who will come after us need to embrace this evolution instead of fighting it. Just like we learn to ask the right questions and how to format our stories, we need to learn how to use the internet, different mediums, and gain experiences in different areas to the best of our abilities. We need to learn to make the best out of a sticky situation.

The journalism field has come a very long way, from the 1830’s when a penny press was made to now when you have major newspapers such as the Boston Globe and The New York Times. Then there is the internet, where you have everything at your fingertips with the touch of a button.

Journalism will always be evolving, just as it did in the years before any of us were born. It’s up to us to adapt just as the journalists before us did, if this a career path you wish to pursue. The world will always need journalists who are trustworthy and credible just as much as the world needs policemen and doctors. The world will always need journalism. So if you’re a journalist or wanting to major in journalism, do not ever let someone tell you that your career field is dying.

Just as journalist and professor, Samuel G. Freedman said in his book, “Letters to a Young Journalist”:

“Personally, I have no doubt that journalism has as much of a future as a past,” he said. “Human beings will keep wanting to know what’s news. They’ll keep wanting to hear a good story. They’ll keep wanting to have a lucid explanation, a smart analysis of the events around them. That stuff will never, ever go out of style.”

There is no doubt that journalism will continue to evolve, just as it has done in the years prior. But storytelling will never go out of style. And storytelling is what keeps journalism alive. But in order to keep ourselves alive as journalists, we need to embrace the change in our career field and take it in full stride.

New sound causes rift among Paramore fans

by HANNAH NELSON//Staff Writer


Fans around the world are freaking out about Paramore’s newest release.

As this new era approaches, everyone is eager to see what the future holds for the band.

The last time that Paramore released a new album was in 2013 with their self-titled album, “Paramore.” However, Paramore is now back with their new single “Hard Times.” Information was also announced about their new album, “After Laughter.”

Paramore completely dropped the ball with the news of their new album and release of a single. The band really didn’t promote anything up until the day before the single release. All that fans ever received were very strange and vague Twitter posts.

A few days before the release, band members Hayley Williams, Taylor York, and Zac Farro teased bits and pieces of the album artwork. This turned out to be a really smart move. Instead of hyping up the release for weeks and weeks, they just shocked their fandom. This caused an immediate freak out between “ParaWhores.” Every music news outlet quickly had stories about Paramore, and fans were posting all over the internet about it. Paramore ended up even trending before noon.

The single, “Hard Times,” is a completely different direction from their previous music for most fans. The song has old-school styled vibes and a unique funky rhythm. When first listening to the song, old-school fans have to take a step back. This isn’t the normal style that is expected from Paramore. The song starts out with a very joyful intro that completely contrasts with the lyrics. Williams begins the song with, “All that I want is to wake up fine, tell me that I’m alright, that I ain’t gonna die.” The song really reflects a dark time for the band and getting through the “Hard Times.” They are not the same Paramore as they were for “Brand New Eyes” or one of their most popular releases, “Riot.”

Paramore has been a band for more than 11 years and have created five albums. Their first album was released in 2005, when the lead singer was only 16. It wouldn’t make sense for the band to be creating and writing the same music.

True music grows with the artists. As people change, the music is going to change like it should. The band is smart to change their music to fit who they are now as individuals. If the band kept releasing the same style of music, it would become boring.

As for the album set to release on May 12, it is hard to know exactly what fans can expect. Obviously, the album is going to be different than previous releases. After the album cycle of “Paramore,” the band lost their bassist Jeremy Davis, leaving Williams and York as the only remaining members.

For a while, the future for Paramore seemed bleak. No one knew if they were going to continue as a band or separate.

However, the band is back and ready to face the music world again with their new style. One of the biggest announcements was that drummer Zac Farro was returning to the band. This seems to be a big topic for this new album.

This new era is going to be a very exciting time for the band and fans. Even though not every person is a fan of the new music style and direction, Paramore is definitely going to be the band to watch out for this summer.

Experiences in Newsroom inspire student to seek new path

by HANNAH NELSON//Staff Writer


The summer before starting at South Plains College, I went to orientation and met my advisor.

At that point in time, I was a Journalism major and was assigned to Charlie Ehrenfeld as an advisor. I went in and randomly decided to change my major to advertising. This wasn’t the best decision that I made in my life. I should have definitely stuck with journalism. However, I’ve changed my major more than the weather in Texas changes. Poor Charlie had to deal with changing my major for me and putting me into classes he isn’t even an advisor for.

While making my schedule, there is one class that Charlie put me in: Publications 1. It wasn’t until my first day in class that I realized that I would be writing for the campus newspaper. I spent most of my first semester learning and improving my writing. If I ever looked at one of my articles from my first semester in the Fall of 2015 and compared it to my writing now, it would be completely different. I ended up taking a break from the paper that spring semester. However, I learned during that break how much I missed writing. As soon as registration opened for the Fall 2016 semester, I was in Publications 2. For me, this semester was a completely different situation than my first. I was so excited to start writing again. I really started to venture out of my comfort zone with stories, taking on more stories than I normally would.

The experience that I have gotten from the Plainsman Press has already helped me tremendously. You learn to be confident in your writing. You don’t know who is going to read one of your articles, so you have to trust your own writing, especially when it comes to opinions. When I write an opinion, I am putting my own personal thoughts out for people to agree or disagree with. I’ve learned be confident with my own thoughts to share with any reader. The Newsroom also teaches you how important each individual is to the final publication every two weeks. It is so cool to see a whole classroom full of such talented people come together and create an amazing paper. Plus, thanks to the paper, I can now write 500 words about anything.

My favorite experiences from being a part of the Plainsman Press are from my concert reviews. My review about the I Prevail concert is one that I will always be proud of. This article gave me the ability to write about something I was very passionate about and enjoyed. Regardless of writing a story or not, I was going to the concert. I Prevail has been one of my favorite bands for a while. I spent weeks before the concert talking to I Prevail’s publicist to get a press pass for the event. It was sure an amazing experience to cover and review a concert as a fan.

For this article, I had to take my own pictures that night at the concert. One thing I have always tried to avoid is pictures. I will write anything but avoid taking pictures at all costs.  I faced a huge fear, and was able to take pictures during the concert in the photo pit. The pictures didn’t turn out that bad, if I do say so myself. I had one of the best times of my life during this concert, and I am able to remember it forever with my article.

The best semester, by far, has been this spring. I have had so many amazing experiences and formed relationships with so many great people. I could go into the Newsroom at any time during the day and just hangout. Even if I didn’t need to work on a story, I could always just go and sit in the Newsroom at the back table.

I can normally always find Sara in there playing music, and I could never complain about the station choices. The best music, in my opinion, was always playing in the room. Our Editor-in-Chief, Sara, is someone in the Newsroom I know I can always talk to. Whether I need help with sources, writing, or the printer, she has always been able to help me.  She is someone I can just go and hang out with in the Newsroom during my off period.

This semester, I have met so many friends through the Newsroom. Dez has been such an amazing person in my life this semester. We met at the back table of the Newsroom, which is my normal spot. Throughout the semester, I have learned a lot of things that Dez and I have in common. She is a really cool person to talk to and be around. We now message on Snapchat and geek out over tarot cards and colorful hair. She is now my go-to hair stylist after helping me get the orange hair I had been wanting all semester.

This semester, I also met Ryan, who will talk about Paramore and “Rupaul’s Drag Race” with me during class. We will sit down every Tuesday and talk about the latest “Drag Race” episode. We predict who we want to win and go home. It has been really fun to find someone to share things I enjoy with.

As for Charlie, I always loved joking around with him about my pink, and now orange, hair. I am so thankful that I was put in that Publications 1 class my first semester. My life would have been completely different if it wasn’t for the Newsroom. Who knows what I would be doing if I didn’t find my love for writing.

Being a writer for the Plainsman Press for three semesters has been one of the best parts of my time at SPC. I didn’t even know how much I loved writing before this last year on the staff. I will be continuing to write at West Texas A&M, but it can never replace the Newsroom. I’ve loved being a part of it. I want to thank the entire staff for being such incredible people. I will miss walking into a room that welcomed me every day.

Friendships, experiences give student everlasting memories

by BRITTNY STEGALL//Opinion Editor


Just like many great adventures, mine must come to an end.

Journalism is not just a career. To me, it is a way of life. It is my way of changing the world. I joined the journalism field in the hopes of one day changing the world. I believe there is good in this world, but someone has to be out there to find it. My love for writing goes beyond just diaries and journals; it is part of my life. Without it, I believe I would be lost. I did not decide to pursue journalism until my junior year of high school. It is one of my best decisions in my life.

Joining the Plainsman Press has also been one of my best decisions I have made since graduating from high school. It has been my second home at South Plains College. My first semester in college was the fall of 2016. To say I was nervous was an understatement. My second day of class, I walked into Publications. This was my first of many steps towards the career path I chose. The Plainsman Press staff welcomed me. They welcomed every single one of us with open arms.

My first semester on the staff, I was only a staff writer. You could say I was just testing the water, before diving straight in. It was rocky in the beginning, with late stories, nervous interviews, and long nights. But I would not change a single thing, minus a late story here and there. I learned what it was like to essentially be a journalist. I know when I graduate and actually get a real job in journalism that it will be very different. It will be longer nights, stories, and hard-headed people…. More than there are in this Newsroom. But I would not trade a single thing for a different chance.

This semester, my second, I became the Opinion Editor. That was not in my plans. I heard about how hard it was, and the late nights from 2:30 p.m. to possibly sometime the next morning, every other Tuesday and Thursday. I had no desire to be there that late, but a certain pinky promise made me change my mind.

Charles Ehrenfeld, a.k.a. “Charlie” to us all, is truly one of the best advisors and friends to all at SPC. Fate did not land me Charlie as an advisor, but my career field did. Near the beginning of my first semester, I made a pinky promise to him, a promise I fulfilled this year. I promised I would become an editor before a left. I want Charlie to know how thankful I am to him, for holding me to that promise. All the long Tuesday and Thursday nights were worth it. Through the struggles, arguments, and all the victories, I loved every bit of it. It was tough, and I wanted to pull my hair out and cry sometimes. But it was worth it. I learned so many new things this semester that I never thought were possible, and it was all because you held me to that pinky promise. So, plain and simple, thank you.

Friendships are something special and on this staff. You gain many. Many of these friendships I hope will hold through the years, no matter how far apart we are, or the different paths we take. You may not like some people, and you may get angry for people not turning in a story, but it is like a family. It is a family; it is the Plainsman Press family. I know I have not been on the staff as long as some, but I believe the experience is just as good.

And these are my experiences with a few of the editors: First, there is Sara Marshall, editor-in-chief.

My first semester, I did not think I wanted to get to know her. There was nothing against her, I was just hesitant. If anyone ever gets the chance to meet her, do it. She will change your life. I got to know her this semester, and it was too short to say goodbye. She is by far my best friend on this staff. She is always there to give a smile, hugs, a helping hand, or words of encouragement. Whatever you needed, she was there, even if she had a page or a story she had to finish. I would sit and talk to her for hours after class, and she kept me sane. Checking to see if I was OK, and just stopping to say hello are among her best qualities. She deserves so many thanks, and I cannot thank her enough for what she has done for me, not only on the staff but in my life.

Unlike many on the staff, Steven keeps to himself most of the time. We did not do much on the paper together, but he was always there to talk to. I do enjoy talking and anyone who likes to listen. He was always there to enjoy a conversation with. Steven always kept a calm composure, and he always had my back and made sure I was OK. Thank you for being a friend that I could always count on.

Computers and me do not really work well with each other, but Tyler showed me the ropes a bit. I know so much more than I did a semester ago, and it is because he took the time to show me how and teach me. New staff members joining next semester are very lucky to have Tyler. He is not only a good I.T. guy, but a good overall person.

A friendship that is probably one of the strongest in the room, I had more than just publications with Miss Brandi and Alex, and I am very pleased that I did. Goofing off during Paper Night talking about anything and everything are some of my favorite memories I will have with you both on the staff. Brandi had my back at times when I might have needed it, and you both always gave me a laugh. Thank you for being you.

Let me just say how scared, nervous, and out of place I was while taking my first photograph for a teacher feature I wrote my first semester. I barely knew how to even work the camera, but Tovi was there to help. She is one of the best photographers I know, and she gave me the confidence to take my first photograph. She helped me with the Man on the Street pictures and taught me how to grayscale and get the brightness and contrast just right. She gave me many laughs and smiles by just talking to her. If someone were the light in a dark room, it would be her.

There are many more people on the staff, but they are just a few who really changed my life. But there are a few people who changed my life and helped me on this journey before I began it.

My parents and brothers are always there for me, and they never fail to always tell me how proud they are. They are my number one fans, and my mom has every one of my papers. They are more than just my support system; they are my family. Without family, I believe you would go nowhere in life. Whether they’re blood or not, it is still a family. I always knew I could do anything because of them, and I am forever thankful for that. I love you all for being the support system I need.

To my wonderful boyfriend, Timothy, thank you. Thank you for always having a part in my journalism life. Thank you for listening to countless stories and giving me your feedback. Thank you for believing in me that I could be an editor when I was scared to become one. You always have faith in me, and you never doubt that I can do anything I set my mind to. You are one of my biggest fans, and I know you always will be. I love you and thank you.

So this is why my journey as an editor for the Plainsman Press has come to an end. In the fall of 2017, I will be at Angelo State University, majoring in Mass Media with a specialization in journalism. I plan on making the newspaper there a home. I’m not sure if I will have the same relationships I have on the Plainsman Press, but I will treasure every moment that I had here. I’m beyond excited to start my new journey, and cannot wait to see what the future holds for me.

Student reflects on friendships made in newsroom

by STEVEN GEHEGAN//Sports Editor


It has been a long, memorable two years, as I have discovered what it is I want to do with the rest of my life.

After graduating from Frenship High School in 2014, I thought I had a plan in mind. I was going into the field of computer science. I had always been good at math and was able to work well with computers. I spent my first year at South Plains College as a computer science major. After a year, I had discovered that might not be what I want to do. And after thinking things over during that summer, I had decided that I wanted to try to be a sports writer, and work for a university.

So, at the start of my second year, I enrolled in several journalism classes, including Publications, which is where my life changed. The first year I spent mostly writing sports opinions and whatever else was needed. At first, I was shy and was not real close to many of the people on the newspaper staff. But that changed when I became an editor for my final years, when I met many people who I will remember for the rest of my life.

Of course, I will start off with the man who has been my mentor for the past two years, Charlie Ehrenfeld. While it may seem like at times he was tough, he always cared about me, and all of what he did made me a better sports writer. I am the writer I am because of his blue pen, and I will take everything that I have learned during the past few years and carry it with me for the rest of my life. I will always be thankful for all that he has taught me.

I will start with the first real friend I made at the paper. During my second semester, I made a great friend in Haiden Hawkins. While she was only a writer for one semester, she remained around the News Room. I was always happy to have all the classes together and being there to help each other with school work, even if it felt like I helped her more than she helped me (especially with math). But I still enjoyed working with her the longest out of all the people I met at the News Room. She is an extremely quirky person who I will miss.

Then there are the people who I had the honor to meet when I spent my first semester as an editor, and got to spend some extremely long and fun nights with. There is Riley Golden, someone I knew from Frenship, but got a chance to get to know him even better. Riley is a great guy who I always enjoyed getting to know and learned about videogames from. Riley was always with Matt Molinar, a great person who was always there to help me when I needed it this semester. I got to know Matty even better. 

Then there was another person I went to Frenship with, Tovi Oyervidez. While I never got a chance to meet her in high school, I got the honor to meet her in the News Room, and I am sure she is the nicest person that I will ever meet in my entire life. She was always there when I needed something and was always doing things to help me out. I always wished I could have done more for her, and was glad I got to spend some of my 21st birthday with her. Thanks again for the present. It made the night better. I always have enjoyed seeing her, because, no matter what, she was always happy and will be hard to ever meet someone like her again.

Then there is Brandi Ortiz, who I got to know when we had a science class together with Tovi. I had fun eating lunch with her every other day before class while we all tried to get though geology. I enjoyed working through long nights with her because she was funny and always made me feel better. I got to have lots of fun celebrating her birthday with her.

I also met Alex Perez, someone who always expressed her emotions, while being a kind and friendly person to me. While I did not get to spend as much time with her, something looking back on now I would change, she always seemed like a kind person who enjoys her life. Despite not being as close to her as some of the others, I always enjoyed the time we spent together and will miss her when I am gone.

Then there where the two guys who I am close to. The first is Sergio Madrid, who I got to know during the past few years with the classes we had together. Then there’s Dominick Puente, the only person I can talk sports with and all the things that I did outside of class. I enjoyed the time that we spent between class together sharing stories of the things that he has done and what we are going to do with our lives. It was always nice to talk sports with you, since most of the others knew very little about any kinds of sports, and passing on what knowledge I have to help you out next semester.

Then there are the people I got to know during my last semester here, starting with Tyler York. Tyler is probably one of the nicest guys I have ever met. It is always nice meeting someone else from Florida. While we did not spend a lot of time together, I enjoyed getting to know you through the videos you posted, and the time we spent in Dallas. I enjoyed sharing a room with you and getting to know you. I am happy you were nice enough to put up with me on my 21st.

Then there are two non-editors, Jordan Patterson and Desiree Mendez, who I got the privilege to get to know. I was happy to spend time with Jordan when we competed together in the sports event at TIPA and helping prepare for that. Also, I was happy to spend a longer amount of my free time in Dallas with her, especially since we share the same opinions about most of what happened in Dallas. Then there is Desiree, who was always nice and friendly. She seems to think about everyone else but herself, and I will miss her a lot.

Then there is the very loud Brittny Stegall. She always says what she thinks to me, and she is always willing to listen to me. I enjoyed the time we spent getting to know each other this semester. She always seemed so pure, and the more time I spent around her seemed to make me a better person. I wish you the best of luck with your life in San Angelo.   

Then I saved the last person for the one who I will miss the most from the News Room, Sara Marshall. During the past year, I got to know her, and I am the biggest fan of why we became close. But I will always be happy that it happened. I always enjoyed being able to talk to you about what was going on in my life, and you being able to help me with all my problems, no matter what they were. I always felt that we were good friends, even though I spent a lot of time giving you hell, while you would relate me to a female dog. I will always remember you as one of the best friends that I have had in my life, and will miss you the most when we go our separate ways. Thanks again for all that you have done for me, and I wish you well in the future.

I will miss all of you, and the News Room, with all the time I put in there. I will miss it all when I am gone.

Newsroom changes life of journalism student

by SARA MARSHALL//Editor-in-Chief


Some of the first words I ever heard in the newsroom were “The newsroom will change your life, if you let it.”

At the time, I just laughed. They were such unassuming words, innocent and empty. Or so I thought for a very short time.

I began my academic career at South Plains College during the Fall 2014 semester, right after graduating from Andrews High School that spring. Despite being in journalism all three years of high school, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to pursue an Agriculture Communications-type of degree.

After a semester of trying to do that nonsense, I realized my heart and soul was still in journalism. I desired to write stories that would move people to heartbroken tears, or want to laugh with sheer joy. I yearned to capture photos that not only told the subject’s million-word story, but added depth to my many words inked on the pages before me.

It was time I got back into the world of journalism.

Two years, several awards and multiple positions later, I’m realizing the weight of those very first words I heard in the newsroom. I quickly realized my dad was right; I should have stayed in journalism all along. In two short years, I’ve lived the good, the bad and the seriously ugly. But I honestly don’t regret a single moment.

Journalism can be absolute blast. But for me, it has also been extremely physically, mentally and emotionally taxing.

I’ve lost copious hours of sleep while staring at empty Word documents, trying to force some type of coherent thought on to the blank pages before me. Seriously, writer’s block is the stuff real nightmares are made of. And being a perfectionist with a procrastination complex makes it a million times harder on my already fragile college student mental and emotional state.

But those many, many lost hours of shut eye have led me to some of the most moving, brilliant stories. In two years, I’ve told so many stories. I’ve encouraged voices which had once been unknown to be heard by the world. I’ve told happy stories about beautiful puppies and their hard work helping people. I’ve painted breathtakingly painful scenes of a young girl’s repeated sexual assaults. I’ve shown that SPC isn’t as small a town as I had once thought (thanks, Banner Boy!). I’ve toured the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico, and was able to make lifelong connections to federal agents there.

This past year, I have been the editor-in-chief of the Plainsman Press. What a ride it has been. I’ve learned so much as a writer, photographer, editor and person. Some of my best and worst, moments of my last year at SPC have occurred during this time and within the Newsroom walls. But every moment was worth it.

Being in the newsroom, I’ve met some of my closest friends. Each newspaper staff member has touched me in some way, even those who were here only for a short time. I guess that’s the problem with having such a big heart.

Everyone in the newsroom becomes a family, in a way. Though we can be a bit dysfunctional at times, there’s nothing I would change. I love all my staff so very much, and I wish I could recognize all of you. But, unfortunately, I only have so much room on my page.

One of the first people who was nice to me in the newsroom was Jenny. Oh goodness, this girl has been there for everything I’ve had to deal with since joining the paper. She has seen me cry at the dumbest things, and she has laughed with me for the best moments. She taught me that it’s OK to brag about all the animated films you watched last weekend while you were home alone.

Jenny proved to me that you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself, even when there’s people who dislike who you are. Even though we don’t go to school together right now, she still tries to help me with assignments and stories. She tries her best to give me photography tips, even if they don’t stick. I don’t know what I would do without Jenny by my side the past two years, and I’m so happy to have her in my life. I cannot wait until I get to go to school with her again.

Another group of people I’ve become friends with is ‘the squad.’ This ragtag group of people are absolutely crazy, but they’re great. They’ve all taught me to chill out, and that I need to worry about personal health more than deadlines. Alex is a seriously hardworking girl, and I wish I could be as determined as her. Some may only see a pretty face, but I know that she has equal parts smarts and sass. Matty and Riley sometimes drive me crazy, but they’re wonderful and hard workers when they want to be. I know that Matty will be a fantastic heir to the editorial throne.

Then there’s Brandi. Oh my gosh, this girl has been my rock this year in the Newsroom. She’s a girl after my own heart, trying to be tough when the world feels like it’s crashing down around you. She’s taught me that it’s OK to be upset and that sometimes a hug is the best cure for anxiety. Sometimes you just need a hug.

More recently, I’ve befriended several other staff members. There’s Steven and Dom, crazy sports writers who know that I know absolutely nothing about sports. They totally love when I struggle to explain the sports section as we’re going over the paper. They’ve become the brothers I’ve always wanted, and I’m seriously going to miss the random, and occasionally ridiculous, talks when waiting between classes. We can level with each other and be real, and I appreciate that friendship so much.

Next there’s Brittny, beauty queen and occasional sass queen. She’s an absolute delight, and too sweet for words. I have no idea where she puts all the sarcasm and attitude in her little body, though. It will be a mystery for always, I’m sure. And there’s Hannah, who never seems to know which hair color she wants each month. Though her exterior seems rough and unapproachable, this girl has been the most dependable, trustworthy friend I’ve had in a while.

Lastly, there’s Tyler and Des, the two ‘adultier adults’ in the newsroom. Tyler is an absolute nerd who has shown me that technology is a lot cooler than I had thought, though I’m still learning about it. I don’t know if I’m friends with him because of how awesome he is, or because of how awesome his wife is. And then there’s Des, journalist, cosmetologist, full-time mom, Cub Scouts Leader, and soon-to-be Girl Scouts Leader. She has proven the value of never giving up what you want, even if you had to put it on hold for a while. She never gives up, and she’s seriously one of the strongest people I have ever known.

And the professors, goodness. Well, being the oldest of three girls, I’ve gotten used to my dad always pushing me to be better than I was yesterday. I had absolutely no idea that when I entered those doors to Room 130 in the Communications Building, I was going to inherit two more dads to watch out for me.

First, there’s Charlie. This man drives me absolutely crazy, but I love him so much. He’s one of my biggest cheerleaders and tries to give me every opportunity to put myself out there and go farther in my career. We’re both so stubborn, so we butt heads a lot (especially at 4 a.m.). But, at the end of the day, he’s still there, encouraging me in my personal life and my writing.

Then there’s my third dad, Billy. He’s never taught me, but he’s always watching out for me and trying to encourage me. Though he teases me relentlessly, I know he means well. Whenever I have a serious problem and Charlie isn’t around, he always lends an ear and gives me advice, which typically fixes everything.

My actual dad is just as encouraging of my journalism career. All of my family has been so supportive of my writing and photography, always reading my stories and calling me when they love (or hate, if it’s politics) something I’ve written. My parents are the first people I call whenever I get an award, the first I share my new stories with. My little sisters are the reason I push myself so hard to be a good writer, especially my youngest, Rea. I want to prove to her that even though she’s a girl, she can do anything, be anyone. My family is my biggest inspiration in my writing.

Lastly, if it weren’t for the newspaper, I probably never would have started dating my fiancé. We started dating the summer before I became photo editor, and I’ve been with him ever since. Devon has been there for every breakdown and struggle I’ve dealt with. But he has always encouraged me to keep going, despite all those moments. Even when I wanted to quit, he pushed me to keep going because he knew I would regret it, and he was right, like usual. If it weren’t for Devon, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now, winning awards and kicking butt. And I’m so happy I get to share the rest of my life with this crazy dork.

So, the newsroom really did “change my life,” as Charlie once promised me it would. So thank you to everyone who has made me who I am today. You’ve all helped me realize my full potential as a journalist, student and friend. I’m going to miss this life, but I’m so happy I have all of these wonderful memories.

Geology club takes weekend trip to explore Southwest

by SERGIO MADRID//Editorial Assistant

geology trip geology club group photo on boulder in big bend canyon

The Rock Whisperers explored some of the Southwest’s most beautiful and interesting sights, applying classroom knowledge during a much-needed weekend getaway.

The geology club is one of the more intriguing groups at South Plains College. We can agree studying the Earth is fascinating enough, but to actually experience the Earth is what draws students to it.

Aaron Greene, geology professor at SPC, has led the group for quite some time and with much enthusiasm. He has made an impact on many students, such as geology club president, Garret Fowler, who says Greene’s class is the reason he is now pursuing geology as a profession.

A trip of a lifetime, or at least one worth remembering, definitely helps leave a mark on students. This year’s geology club trip was just that.

On April 22, the geology club, better known as Rock Whisperers, set out for a weekend exploring Carlsbad Caverns, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and Big Bend.

The first stop was at a local BBQ joint in Carlsbad, (N.M.) Danny’s BBQ, where some students filled up a little too much before the long hike through Carlsbad Caverns.

Once we arrived at the caverns, Greene allowed for the students to check the Gift Shop, where a multitude of handmade goods, such as pottery, colored rocks, and small animal sculptures were sold.

On the way inside the caverns, there is a scale model map of the caverns, with information about different regions of the caverns.

There is a theater right outside the main entrance to the caverns, and a point-of-no-return spot where a park ranger explains the basic do’s and don’ts of the caverns, as well as to spit out your gum, for whatever reason. There is a spit bucket specifically for gum.

Inside the caverns, you are continuously walking at a downward angle for a couple of miles. The deeper you go, the cooler it gets, and there are a multitude of forming and broken stalactites and stalagmites. Some have even reached points of contact with each other.

This is a fascinating sight, as it takes thousands of years for these structures to form, usually at a pace of less than 10 centimeters every 1,000 years.

By the time you make it through to the other side of the caverns, your feet hurt and your neck is cramped from looking every which way, as there is something to see at every twist and turn.

Another amazing feat they managed was building an elevator inside the caverns to get people from the bottom to back up top near the place you entered the caverns from.

After the caverns, the group gathered back on the buses and headed to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Upon arriving at the park, the group set up camp. By that time, it was late and time for dinner. Ryker Allison, a geology major at SPC, and a couple of other students began cooking fajitas marinated by, Sean “Rader” Reilly’s wife. Reilly was one of a couple student-veterans in the group.

As the sun was setting, I broke out my guitar and played a few songs until Fowler set up his telescope and everyone peeked at Saturn and its four moons. It was hard to see but still very much intriguing.

In the morning, the group broke down the camp, took a look at a small museum inside the information center that displayed the wildlife within the park, and headed for the next campsite in Big Bend. The ride was long and dreary, filled with desert sand, mountain scape, and winding roads.

On the bus, students passed around a spiral notebook to write a story with everyone contributing a sentence. In our epic, a mean man named Bjorn came across a shell named Marcel, and I hesitate to tell you the rest.

Nonetheless, this was a great way to get everyone interacting with each other while also passing time.

Upon arriving at Big Bend, the group once again set up camp, and a few students went down to the river to look at Mexico. It looked just like the United States side, but there was something about knowing you were staring into a completely different country.

After resting a bit, the next step was an old mining town inside of Big Bend National Park called Terlingua.

Terlingua, now a “ghost-town,” has some rich history that mostly involves the mining that took place there. But it also has a great view of the canyon and a famous restaurant.

That restaurant is the Starlight Theater, famous for being an old movie palace but now offering the infamous “Diego Burger,” a pound of beef from hell.

Four club members attempted to finish the burger, but only three were victorious. We paid the price though, as it weighed heavy in our stomachs for quite some time.

The group then headed back to camp and waited for an arriving meteor shower. As we laid under the stars, deep conversations began, and the group shared stories back in forth, pointing and counting every shooting star we saw.

The following morning, Fowler and I woke up before everyone else and got a good look at a bunny that seemed like it was being hunted by a low-flying vulture.

Also, a roadrunner worked its way through the campsite just as we were taking it down. It was cool to see how these animals unassociated with people tend not to mind or stray from humans in that matter.

On the way back to Lubbock, the spiral notebook got passed around. This time, each of us added to a drawing, dealing with Bjorn and Marcel, and, of course, professor Greene. It was quite the masterpiece.