Tag: Levelland

Local residents voice concern about Lubbock expansion

The South Plains College Board of Regents recently played hosts for a public forum to discuss issues such as the college potentially adding another campus in Lubbock and a need to attract more students to the Levelland campus.

Approximately 100 members of the Levelland community met with the Board during an early-morning session held on March 28 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center Building on the Levelland campus.

During the March meeting of the Regents two week earlier, Joe D. Brooks, a Levelland resident, discussed issues about the college’s potential move to downtown Lubbock.

While Brooks spoke, he asked for transparency from the college’s leadership, especially when it came to the decision-making process for another Lubbock campus.

“Some things develop over time,” Brooks said during the public forum. “But if no one is going to show up at meetings or question people, whose fault is it? This is on all of our shoulders, and the Board even agreed that they need to be more transparent and let the people know what they are doing and why they are doing it.”

At the conclusion of the March Regents meeting, Brooks asked the Board for growth on the Levelland campus in terms of more classes being offered, rather than expanding in Lubbock.

“I know there has been a lot of discussion about South Plains College over the past few weeks, and I want you to know that we are listening,” said Dr. Robin Satterwhite, addressing the audience at the morning forum. “First and foremost, the conclusion we came to is that we need to hit the pause button, and we need to hope and make sure there is understanding and an agreement on the direction of the college and that our Regents have some more time to discuss it.”

Dr. Satterwhite later expressed that he felt very strongly about his opinions about SPC’s presence in Lubbock and how he feels that the college can reach more students. However, the Board needs to come up with a strategy to reach those students.

During the public forum, Dr. Satterwhite discussed how renovating Lubbock City Hall and turning it into classrooms could help students and shift arts and sciences classes from two buildings on the Reese Center campus to downtown Lubbock. This could help future students who are not able to drive to Levelland.

Dr. Satterwhite also articulated ways the Boards plans to expand the Levelland campus and how they are going to draw more students to the Levelland community.

“What I have discovered from this whole discussion is that everyone loves South Plains College,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “That’s probably the most prevalent message that I have heard throughout this entire discussion.”

Brooks explained it was time for all members of the community and the employees of South Plains College to come together and help the Levelland campus grow.

“I think it shows that we need to claim it if we’re all going to be involved,” said Brooks. “When you look across this room, there’s not a better room of people anywhere, a better room of leadership and people who can make opportunities.”

Brooks acknowledged that SPC needs a strong relationship with Texas Tech University, but stated that, economically speaking, the best thing Levelland has is South Plains College.

He explained that it is not Lubbock’s intention to compete with Levelland. However, some of Lubbock’s leaders feel that they deserve a community college.

“We have agreed to sit down with all of you to listen and put groups together and really try to find ways to overcome some of these obstacles,” he stated.

When the meeting was opened for questions and comments, Billy Mack Palmer, a Levelland resident, stated the importance that students have on local restaurants and how the loss of these students have greatly impacted the local economy.

“Students are leaving campus on Thursday, and coming back on Sunday,” said Palmer. “There is also no night classes offered, and with them not here, it’s hard to pick up any business.”

He went on to say that when SPC went to a four-day schedule, it had a negative impact on local businesses.

Dr. Satterwhite responded by saying that there are some classes that are offered Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and there are students taking those courses.

Dr. Satterwhite also pointed out that students stopped signing up for night classes because more students are taking classes online. He explained that if SPC did not offer online courses, then they would lose more students who would decide to take their classes at another community college that offers what they want.

Dave Cleavinger, professor of agriculture at SPC, noted that the change in classes was driven by the students not signing up for the three-day classes, adding that it was because of students who are supporting themselves with jobs or other reasons.

Pat Sykora with Smith South Plains mentioned the importance of the college’s local automotive program, which has been duplicated at the Lubbock campus, and how more students are attending those courses rather than in Levelland.

Annette Sykora of Smith South Plains added that the automotive industry faces a shortage of 37,000 technicians almost every year, and she worries the local automotive program at SPC will deteriorate.

“This is a concern of ours,” said Annette Sykora. “We need to make sure that if we do something on one campus, that it doesn’t make this campus deteriorate.”

Dr. Satterwhite responded to this by saying that the duplication will be revisited, and that they should be careful not to duplicate programs within driving distance.

Eric Rejino, city manager of Levelland, noted that the college’s future is a community-wide issue, and that the city is coming up with new opportunities for growth.

Richard Husen, an attorney in Levelland, said that times have changed, with more college students having to work to afford to go to college.

“There are some things we can be proactive in,” Husen said, “but, there are things we can only be reactive in. If we sit down and look at the records for SPC, I think we’ll find that more and more students are supporting themselves. But this also ties back to the reason why we are at a three-to-four day class schedule.”

The forum concluded with Mike Box, chairman of the Regents, saying, “I am proud to see how many seats are filled this morning. If you look up here, there is not a person up here that you can’t talk to. We need more participation from everyone in the community, from the school district, from the hospital, from the county, and the city. We’re all in this together; this is our town.”

Students garner 14 awards from Texas Intercollegiate Press Association

The Plainsman Press staff recently was recognized with 14 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

The awards were announced during the annual TIPA spring competition and convention, which was held March 14 – March 16 at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi. There were 267 participants representing 30 colleges and universities from across the state at the event. TIPA is the largest student press association in the nation.

The Plainsman Press placed second in the category of Overall Excellence and second for Overall Newspaper Design.

“Good use of graphics and several headlines drew judges to the story,” judges of the Overall Excellence category commented. “Several of the individual features were laid out nicely.”

Said judges of the Overall Design, “Liked the Spotlight page design the best. Good use of color …”

In the competition for previously published material, Adan Rubio, now a print journalism major at Texas Tech University, placed second in the category of Breaking News for a story the Lubbock resident wrote about Senator Bernie Sanders making an appearance in Lubbock.

Kyle Ewing, now an electronic media and communications major at Texas Tech, placed second in the category of Sports Column for a story the Lubbock resident wrote about Justin Hobbs, assistant track and field coach at South Plains College, and his opportunity to compete for the television show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Autumn Bippert, who currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Plainsman Press, received four awards. The sophomore photojournalism major from Georgetown placed third in the category of Ad Design and received an Honorable Mention award in the category of Photo Illustration.

Bippert placed second, along with Kaitlyn Hyde, a freshman photojournalism major from Pearland, in the category of Photo Story for their feature and photos for “Street Eats,” showcasing a food trucks competition held in Lubbock.

Bippert also received an Honorable Mention Award, along with former staff member Tina Gonzalez of Lubbock, in the category of In-Depth or Investigative Reporting for a multi-part series on “Fake News.”

MaKayla Kneisley, a sophomore print journalism major from Abernathy, received three awards. She placed second in the category of Feature Story for her story on “Goat Yoga.”

Kneisley also placed third in the category of Feature Photo for her photo of a woman practicing aerial hoop exercises and third in the category of Environmental Portrait for her photo of chef Patrick Ramsey at the Lubbock Center campus.

The Plainsman Press staff placed third in category of Headline Writing. Said judges, “Headlines are thorough and set the stories apart. Some days, that’s the best you can hope for. Keep up the good work!”

The Plainsman Press staff also received an Honorable Mention award in the category of Overall Excellence for a Website and an Honorable Mention award in the category of Feature Page Design.

Plainsman Press staff members have won 184 awards in TIPA competitions since 2004.

Rez Week encourages celebration of true meaning of Easter

In celebration of the Christian year, the student leadership team of Baptist Student Ministry has planned Rez week 2019 at South Plains College to share and have fun activities with fellow students.

Rez Week is a very important part of the BSM community, according to  Matt Berry, director of the BSM. The events help give the BSM opportunities to share the story of Christ and present a new meaning of Easter.

“We want people to see the true meaning of Easter beyond the eggs and time off from school,” said Berry.

Dedicating time to planning Rez Week since January, the students involved in the event picked a variety of events that everyone can enjoy, whether they are religious or not.

“Most of all, we want to provide the opportunity for the campus to join us in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus,” said Berry.

Starting on April 15 at 11:30 a.m., the 50 Cents Lunch will be provided by First Baptist Church of Whiteface. Later on the same day, a prayer walk around campus will be held, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Both events will be held at the BSM building across from the Levelland campus.

On April 16, there will be a free lunch on the lawn beside Building 2 at the Reese Center campus, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Easter eggs painting will be offered at 1 p.m. in the mall area of the Student Center, beginning at 1 p.m., at the Levelland campus.

On April 17, pancakes and coffee will be offered at the Student Center, beginning at 8 a.m.. At 7 p.m., the weekly worship service will be held at the BSM building, followed by S’mores Night.

On April 18, a free lunch will be served on the Quad, with members of Park Drive Baptist Church cooking hamburgers. At 3 p.m. in the BSM building, a movie night will begin for  students to enjoy and relax.

Look for the Easter Eggs hidden around campus for the event throughout the week. And if you find one, make sure to go to the BSM to claim your prize!

Psychotherapy proves affective treatment for social phobia

“It is just easier to avoid social situations,” you think to yourself. You avoid people and places because the apprehension churns in your stomach.

Palms become sweaty as the fear of not being understood sticks to your thoughts like pollen to a flower.

social-anxietyAccording to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Social Anxiety Disorder, also called social phobia, is an intense fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social situation.

Symptoms can be so extreme that it can affect the person to the point of disrupting daily life, affecting occupational performance, college completion, and making it difficult to get a job.

Dr. Peggy Skinner, chairperson of the Behavioral Sciences Department and professor of psychology at South Plains College, said that there is also a subtype which specifically relates to performance, such as giving a speech, singing, or acting in front of a group.

“The person might avoid all classes that require participation,” Dr. Skinner explained. “They might avoid parties or social gatherings where they might be talking to others.”

Public speaking is a common fear for young adults, according to Dr. Skinner, and a student might see dropping out of college as a better choice than having to take a speech class.

Amy Morris, behavioral health authority director at StarCare Specialty Health System in Lubbock, said that people might not like going to Walmart, the mall, or eating in front of other people because they are self-conscious.

A fear of eating and drinking in front of people is common with social phobia, as is the fear of using public restrooms, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

“Most of the anxiety is related to the person feeling that others will see them in a negative manner,” Dr. Skinner said, adding that the person is so afraid that it can triggersocial-anxiety-disorder-symptoms-and-diagnosis-4157219-5c5db04146e0fb000127c7e9 the fight or flight response or some physical symptoms.

Some of these symptoms may include mind going blank, making little eye contact, or speaking in an overly soft voice.

Other common physical manifestations for social phobia may include sweating, palpitations (where your heart feels like it is beating too hard or fast/skipping a beat), trembling, shaking sensations, chest pain, nausea, faint chills, and fear of losing control/dying, according to Morris.

Morris said those symptoms can lead up to a panic attack if the person does not have appropriate coping skills.

Those who suffer from social phobia can develop major depression and alcohol use, according to ADAA.

“Having social anxiety disorder would be highly distressing,” said Dr. Skinner, “because the person could be very capable and competent and then be too terrified to do things… It is a cycle that then leads to fear of more disapproval and more avoidance.”

Dr. Skinner says that Barbara Streisand stopped performing for years because of anxiety, and Scarlett Johansson avoided performing on Broadway.

According to the ADAA, 15 million American adults are affected by social phobia. It is the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorder.

“My Abnormal Psychology textbook states that over 12 percent of the population will suffer from social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives,” said Dr. Skinner, explaining that millions of people will at sometime have this disorder and many others will have symptoms, but the symptoms are not enough to meet the criteria for the disorder.

Symptoms, fear, anxiety, or avoidance, must be going on for at least six months or more, according to the DSM- 5

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), social phobia can sometimes run in families. But it is not known why some members have it and others do not.

social-anxiety-toronto-1Underdeveloped social skills are another possible contributor to social anxiety.

Social phobia can be treated by psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which teaches different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations to help one feel less anxious. Support groups may also be helpful to receive unbiased, honest feedback about how others see you. Medication, such as Anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and Beta-blockers, can help as well.

Benzos, Ativan, and Xanax are sometimes prescribed as well, but can be addictive, according to Morris.

Dr. Skinner recommended that someone should first try CBT and then use medication if the CBT is not working as expected.

“Seeing a therapist to learn coping skills would definitely be the starting place,” said Morris. “Then, if that is not working and you are still having breakthrough symptoms, then you could see your doctor.”

The toughest part of this disorder may be asking for help, since asking for help is a social action.

“I believe that goes along with any mental health issues,” Morris said. “There is a stigma, and people are embarrassed and afraid other people would not understand.”

Morris added that with social phobia a person might be concerned that if they ask for help, then they are being foolish or insecure.

Asking for help goes along with the fear of people judging you and making an evaluation about you, so that person might just avoid all situations rather than asking for assistance, according to Dr. Skinner.

“If a student feels self-conscious, then going to the Counseling Center could be one more area when the student is afraid to talk to a new person and also fear that others might see them going into that office,” said Dr. Skinner.

Despite the availability of treatments, fewer than 5 percent of people with social phobia seek treatment, according to the ADAA, and more than a third of people say they have had symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.

Morris said some ways to self-treat, if one is unable to get professional help, include practicing yoga and meditation.

“There is a lot of things out there, like apps that you can use,” she added.

According to Psychology Today, one of the first steps in self-help is to realize that anxiety social_phobia_banneris natural. Anxiety is a natural response when perceiving something as dangerous.

The second thing to realize is that anxiety is not reality. Social anxiety comes from thoughts that exaggerate danger.

The third step one should take is relabeling. Instead of saying, “I’m getting anxious,” say “I’m getting excited.”

The fourth step is to breathe deep and slow from the abdomen. Once you alter breathing, shift your focus to the thing you are doing instead of focusing on the fact that your hands are shaking.

Be willing to experience discomfort and try to tolerate uncertainty. Challenge your anxious thoughts by doing the thing that is causing it. Most importantly, reward yourself, and start taking your life back one step at a time.

Freshman aspires for local entrepreneur legacy

Steven Cabrera plans on creating the next big thing for the Levelland community.

Cabrera, a Lubbock native, is working toward an associate’s degree in business at South Plains College. Humble and dedicated, the 21-year-old has worn many hats through the years and uses his experience to work hard toward building his legacy in the form of his own business in the Lubbock area.

“When I got out of high school, I was leaning toward becoming a chiropractic practitioner,” Cabrera said.

He was devoted to helping people. His mentor was the father of one of his friends, who helped him find his first choice in career paths. Cabrera found himself lacking the dedication to pursue a seven-year degree, however, and reassessed his options and goals.

“I was off to work in an oil field, and another awful job in Sundown,” Cabrera explained. “The money was great, but it was just a means to an end.”

DSC_0320Cabrera wanted to deliver a service that would bring some relief to people in pain. After he had saved some money from his oil field job, he started taking classes in Lubbock to become a massage therapist. Unfortunately, in the middle of the semester, the school’s tuition had been increased drastically, forcing Cabrera to once again find another option.

“I moved to Levelland,” said Cabrera. “I was finally out of my mother’s house and got my own place with some buddies of mine. I had gone through a few more jobs for a few years, but I finally landed at La Bellas Pizza here in Levelland.”

At La Bellas, Cabrera realized that he wanted to make a real impact on the community.

“Seeing a small business thrive, and watching the regulars come in every week, really got me to think,” Cabrera said. “It inspired me.”

The aspiring entrepreneur saw the impact of a small business on a smaller town, and decided that he would like to eventually build his own.

“Money is not the most important thing in the world to me,” Cabrera explains. “I want to give to the community, and I want my future business to stand out, and become a real legacy, a landmark even. Even after I am long gone, I care more for the business to be remembered.”

Cabrera grew up with many siblings in an impoverished family who moved around fairly frequently.

“I had to take care of my younger siblings,” said Cabrera. “My mother just wasn’t really there. I remember having to bring these buckets to water stations to fill the sewage tank in our trailer. At the time, I thought it was just a chore. I had no idea how bad our situation really was.”

Cabrera wants to make a name for himself and his future business.

“I really did start with nothing,” said Cabrera. “Everything I have, I’ve acquired myself.”

He builds a strict routine to stay motivated to try his hardest in class and at his job. Cabrera is confident in his abilities to build the business that he wants and that will make the impact he desires.

Faith leads alum degree in human services


For Melinda Ledesma, Levelland has always been home.

She was born and raised in Levelland. She first attended St. Michael’s Catholic School, before transferring to the Levelland school system.

After graduating from Levelland High School in 1988, Ledesma enrolled in college.

“A week after high school graduation, I immediately started college at Incarnate Word in San Antonio,” Ledesma said. “I transferred to South Plains College after completing the 1988 fall semester at Incarnate Word.”

Ledesma began college majoring in psychology, later focusing on child psychology.

She said her experience while at SPC was memorable.

“I participated in organizations, clubs, and events on campus,” recalls Ledesma. “I was a member of the Spanish Club and Choral program. I was blessed to have a Spanish instructor who took me under her wing and helped me plan my degree in order to graduate with my Associate of Arts.”

After Ledesma graduated from SPC, she transferred to Texas Tech University. She majored in child psychology there as well. During this time, she got married and started a family, which later caused her to put her studies on hold.

After taking a break to raise her children, Ledesma realized she wanted to work in education.

“I experienced a time in my life where I wanted to become an educator,” explained Ledesma, “and had a difficult realization of how important it was to have my bachelor’s degree.”

Ledesma returned to SPC and gained all of the necessary credits needed to transfer to Wayland Baptist University. She decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in human services, and she will graduate from WBU in May.

Ledesma, who serves as the administrative assistant for the Vice President for Student Affairs at SPC, has three daughters who have all attended SPC.

Outside of work, Ledesma enjoys photography.

“I am an amateur photographer,” said Ledesma. “I enjoy natural light, nature, still life, and portrait photography.”

Ledesma is also heavily involved in her church, St. Michael’s Catholic Church, and the Catholic Student Ministry on campus.

“CSM has been my passion for ministry on campus,” said Ledesma. “It has been an amazing experience meeting extraordinary and faith-filled students on campus, who will eventually carry their passion with them when they transfer, carrying their faith wherever they go on their college career.”

Ledesma says that even though she knew how important having a college education is, she didn’t have the opportunity to go back to college. South Plains College makes the process of going back to school better for students.

“There are many opportunities to pursue a degree or certificate program at South Plains College,” said Ledesma. “South Plains College’s efforts to help students succeed allows us as students to transfer to the university of our choice and continue a degree and graduate with the confidence we have earned a quality education.”

Ledesma hopes her story will encourage others who may have had to put their education on hold like she did.

“As an employee of South Plains College,” Ledesma said, “I am not only proud to graduate from SPC, but to also work for an institution that takes great pride in the success of our students.”

Professor pens urban fantasy novel


For Stephen Sanders, South Plains College has always been a part of his life.

Sanders, who was born in Lubbock, lived in Levelland until he graduated from SPC with his Associate of Arts degree in English in 1994. After SPC, Sanders attended West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas,where he pursued a double major in English and speech.

“I was hired in the middle of my student teaching semester to take an English position at Nazareth, Texas,” said Sanders. “After a year there, I moved to Levelland and taught at Levelland High in 1998.”

While teaching at Levelland High School, Sanders began working on his master’s degree in English and creative writing from Texas Tech University, where he graduated in 2008. Eight years later, Sanders was hired as an English instructor at SPC.

While working at Levelland High School, Sanders got the idea to write his first novel. The novel, which is an urban fantasy, is titled “Passe-Partout.” The novel tells the stories of two characters, Amos and Cyprus, who live centuries apart. Cyprus uses writing to bridge the gap between generations and understand Amos’ story. The novel was published this year and recently put on Amazon Kindle.

In 2007, Sanders married his wife Kristy, who is a physical education teacher at Capitol Elementary in Levelland. Sanders and his wife also have a son, Stellan, who was born in 2012.

For Sanders, deciding to attend SPC as a college student was an easy choice to make.

“I grew up about six blocks from the Levelland campus,” said Sanders. “So I felt it was the next logical step for me after high school.”

Sanders said he wasn’t ready to attend a large university. He said he wouldn’t have been as prepared for college if he hadn’t attended SPC.

“I was fortunate in my decision to attend here,  because when I started in 1992, I was not ready for a large university,” said Sanders. “I had to grow up a bit more and learn how to be successful in the college setting.”

Sanders says that his favorite thing about teaching at SPC is the people.

“I have great students who are motivated to learn and who want to do well,” said Sanders. “Everyone here is always so kind, so generous, to their students and to each other.”

Sanders also praises his department chair, Sharon Race.

“Everyone should be so lucky to have a Sharon Race as their chair,” he said.

As a professor, Sanders said he likes the opportunities he has to truly “geek out” with students about English.

“English is the only subject that is truly integral to success in any major at any American university,” he explained. “So everyone has to take at least one Composition and Rhetoric course.”

To Sanders, classes such as Composition and Rhetoric courses don’t have to be an agonizing experience.

“I’ve found that if a teacher truly loves their subject and works to communicate that love to their classes,” said Sanders, “students will look forward to attending the class and will work hard in that class.”

This spring, Sanders is teaching Composition 2 and Creative Writing. Last fall, he taught Composition 1, along with the classes he currently teaches.

Traveling frequently promotes personal growth

Traveling is a great way to learn and gain new experiences throughout life.

I enjoy traveling very much. I have traveled so much growing up, and every time I travel or go somewhere new I learn something new.

I think every student should have a travel bucket list, whether it’s a town only 50 miles away or in a different country. Traveling is an experience everyone should get to have. On of my first trips was to visit family who lived six hours away, and I still haven’t forgotten that time. My first plane ride also is a memory that has stuck with me.

IMG_7856Traveling has taught me many lessons. I have learned how important it is to save up for trips, and how to budget while on my trips. I have met new people, seen new places, and have amazing memories from the places I have visited. I have been to so many places in the United States, and each trip has always been different. Every trip has a unique story with it.

Growing up traveling, I have learned my way around Texas and how to go to where I want to go. I love traveling out of state on road trips, especially west. California is fun to visit. I always make sure to visit the beaches.

I have traveled to many monumental places. I went to Washington, D.C, and the history there is so interesting. There are so many places to go and things to see. The White House, the Arlington National Cemetery and even George Washington’s house are among my favorites. On every trip I go on, I always make sure to get a souvenir and take tons of pictures.

Travel is also a great way to just get away and relax. Resorts are great for having a peaceful getaway. I favor resorts because I had such great experience, and I like how everything you want is there. Great food, pools, and fun activities are available to do with your family. Last summer, I went to Italy, and it was so awesome. I wrote down a list and saved up money. I gave myself enough time to plan everything and get everything paid for.

I really encourage students to travel. It’s so much fun going to places you’ve never been 586F9986-F1EB-490A-AC3C-6B8029E28B52-2before. Visiting the Colosseum in Rome was so crazy. I couldn’t believe I was actually there. Being in places you see on TV or in movies is so breath-taking to me.

I like accomplishing my traveling goals, and I hope you start a travel bucket list for yourself. Learning history and visiting Europe was a great experience, and I highly recommend students travel to wherever you desire.

Making memories and going to new places will even teach you things about yourself. You will learn how you are in new places, and whether you are good with directions or how well you do budgeting with your money.

Green New Deal aiming to reduce carbon emissions entirely

A bill to reduce America’s impact on global climate change is being developed by Democrats, much to the dismay of the many Republicans who claim it isn’t feasible or even that it’s radical.

The Green New Deal (GND) echoes a portion of Obama’s stimulus package from roughly 10 years ago, which primarily focused on improving the economy and avoiding a depression. Tens of billions of dollars, however, created jobs and infrastructure to produce clean energy. While many Republicans don’t afford much attention to climate change, some Democrats have talked about the Green New Deal in a radical way, suggesting changes that are beyond reasonable considering our country’s dependency on fossil fuel.

AOC photoAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez, upcoming Democrat and state representative of New York, has repeatedly said on the record that the goal of the Green New Deal policy is to reach 100 percent emissions-free energy production, a noble goal with a caveat. Reaching zero carbon emissions just isn’t achievable overnight. Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) pushes it as a goal, making Republicans nervous that a green energy initiative will prove a costly, radical undertaking in which Democrats bite off more than they can chew.

Details about what the new policies will look like, and if they will affect other energy resources, are slim. But to much Republican delight, AOC is not on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s committee to create the GND.

Despite Democrats praising the green initiative, AOC has been given most of the credit, since she has acted as the catalyst for it and fanned its flames through interviews and social media. AOC has released a preamble to the GND, boasting goals of creating jobs, focusing on renewable energy and charging companies for carbon emissions. Her intense support has led to her having to shelter the majority of the criticism for the concept, though. Her Socialist affiliation also has left a sour taste in the mouths of many Republicans.

Stimulus packages have proven necessary to protect the economy from excessive decline in the past, but the huge sums of money put into a select industry does constitute a redistribution of wealth. The GND is already being defamed as a socialist policy before it has taken any shape that will actually pass a vote. While a stimulus package could once again prove necessary in the future, most stimulus packages aren’t so heavily focused on a single industry, but are more diversified. The opposition of the GND has been quick to cite the half a million dollars Obama’s stimulus funneled into a failed solar energy company, Solyndra.

President Donald Trump has already mocked AOC publically, referring to her indirectlyGND speech as a “bartender,” and vowed to oppose the GND in 2020. The plan may prove to be unreasonable, but writing it off so early also is troubling, considering the evidence stacked in favor of climate change. The GND poses the risk of making the nation’s energy production far less efficient than countries with less moral hang-ups and wasting taxpayer money on dying solutions such as Solyndra. But the concept of green energy shouldn’t be written off.

As a military, economic and political superpower, the United States can influence the world and should pursue green energy while encouraging others to do so. Environmental specialists have already predicted that climate change will become somewhat irreversible in less than two decades. This, paired with other countries contributing mass amounts of carbon emissions to the problem, means a complete, instant switch to green energy might not be enough to prevent this.

The world is already behind the curve on the problem, and politicians will fight about solutions for years to come. But the reality is that it is too late to avoid serious repercussions, and green policies can’t reasonably be enacted all at once, but gradually.

Track teams continue to impress at halfway mark in outdoor season

The South Plains College men’s and women’s track teams captured seven event titles in their last meat, which marked the halfway point of the outdoor season.

The David Noble Relays were held on April 6 at the LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field in San Angelo.

Sophomore Bryson Deberry placed first in the men’s high jump, clearing the bar at 7 feet, 1.5 inches. In the men’s javelin throw, freshman Bryce Spencer hit a mark of 171 feet, 5 inches, placing sixth overall. Riley Finnegan placed sixth in the men’s discus throw with a mark of 163 feet, 6 inches.

In the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, sophomore Jesse Madrid placed first, clocking a time of 9:41.09. Andrew Bosquez placed first in the men’s 5,000 meters with a time of 14:58.63, while Alex Kitum placed third in the event with a time of 15:18.95.

In the the men’s 400 hurdles, Moitalei Mpoke and Deion Lightfoot placed first and second, respectively. Mpoke crossed the line at 51.11, while Lightfoot posted a time of 53.67.

In the men’s 4×100 meter relay, Brandon Letts, AJ Pemberton, Adrese Atkins, and Willari Watson placed first with a time of 40.01.    

In the women’s 5,000 meters, Gladys Jemaiyo placed first with a time of 17:25.78. Lynda Martinez placed first in the women’s 1,500 meters, crossing the line at 5:11.50.

In the women’s 100 meters, sophomore Ruth Usoro placed fifth after posting a time of 11.83. In the women’s 400 meters, Geordan Blanchard placed second with a time of 58.09, while Alyssa Hernandez posted a time of 1:00.35 and placed fourth.

In the women’s 800 meters, Itzel Garcia-Santos placed second, clocking a time of 2:14.97. Janiel Moore placed third in the women’s 400 hurdles with a time of 1:04.37.

In the women’s 4×100 meter relay, Usoro, Patrice Moody, Elon’a Jones, and Blanchard placed fourth, posting a time of 46.70.

The teams also competed against some top NCAA Division I athletes and some of the top teams in the country at the 92nd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays held on March 27 – March 30 at Mike A. Meyers Stadium in Austin.

Lightfoot placed second in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, crossing the line at 14.16. Denvaughn Whymns placed second in the qualifiers with a time of 14.05. However, he did not finish in the finals.

Bosquez placed third in the men’s 1,500 meters section B, crossing the line at 4:01.25.

Deberry placed second in the men’s high jump, clearing the bar a 7 feet, 0.25 inches.

Freshman Dorcus Ewoi finished ninth overall in the women’s 1,500 meters with a time of 4:41.52. In the women’s long jump, Usoro placed fourth with a mark of 19 feet, 10 inches.

Jemaiyo finished eighth in the women’s 5,000 meters with a time of 17:71.51.

Miller captures all-around title at Western Texans College Rodeo

The South Plains College women’s rodeo team placed first in the team standings, while the men placed third at the Western Texas College Rodeo.

The event was held April 4 – April 6 in Snyder.

The Lady Texans improved to third in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association standings in the Southwest Region with 1,704 points, trailing Tarleton State University (2,356) and Weatherford College (1,742).

Freshman Kaytlyn Miller won the women’s all-around title with 380 points. She is currently ranked first in the Southwest Region in the women’s standings. In goat tying, Miller placed first with a time of 7.1 in the long round, following up with a 6.8 in the finals. She averaged 13.9 and added 170 points. Miller also placed third in barrel racing and sixth in breakaway roping, accumulating a combined 210 points in those two events.

The Texans are also ranked third in the NIRA Southwest Region with 2,535 points. The Southwest Region is led by Tarleton State with 3,105 points, and Clarendon College is second with 2,835 points.

In team roping, Grady Quam and Cisco’s Paden Bray placed second overall, running a 6.3 in the long round, and finishing with a 5.8 in the finals. They finished with an average of 12.1 and earned 115 points for the Texans. Stefan Ramone paired with Tarleton State’s Jhett Trenary and tied for second place, running a 5.9 in the long round and a 6.2 in the finals. They averaged 12.1 and collected 135 points. Kyler Bell placed fifth alongside Eastern New Mexico’s Stran Thompson with an average of 15.4, while Logan Kenline took on the bull with Cisco’s Cheeto Valliant to finish sixth with an average of 29.0.

In tiedown roping, Ramone placed fifth with a time of 8.1 in the long round and a 12.6 in the finals, adding 80 points. Kenline placed fifth in steer wrestling after a 5.6 run in the long round and a 14.7 in the finals, tacking on 35 points. Dawson Stewart placed eighth with a 19.0 average and added 50 points.

Mocktail Madness encourages fun without alcohol

Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol is a serious crime.

Drinking and driving is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI). However, even consuming a small amount of alcohol can lead to harmful situations.

This is what the Alcohol and Drug Committee (AoD) at South Plains College was trying to teach students at the Mocktail Madness event which was held March 5 in the Sundown Room in the Student Center Building on the Levelland campus.

“At least 103 students attended the event, and I had several students after driving the peddle car with drunk goggles say, ‘Man, I don’t ever want to drive drunk,’” said Crystal Gilster, director of Health and Wellness at SPC. “So, I would say the event was a great success.”

Mocktail Madness was a great way for clubs and organizations to get involved, because it was a way to promote their organization, along with a chance to win money for their organizations. The purpose also was to show students how to have fun without drinking and encourage safety.

IMG_0326.JPG “This is the first year that our president, Denisha Lewis, brought back Black Student Union to SPC,” said sophomore Josiah Spence. “We wanted to come back and try to raise money for our organization, but we also want to raise awareness of what BSU is and tell students that it is a club for all races. BSU is a club to bring cultural awareness and bring people to the culture of Black people and the society that we live in.”

The 10 clubs involved and their booth themes were: Black Student Union, Speakeasy, Prohibition; 6th Man, Shooters Basketball; Design Communication, Dead End Kids; Student Government Association, Beach theme; Residence Hall Association, Pep in your Step; Plainsman Press, Newsies; Law Enforcement Club, Folsom Prison Blues; Catholic Student Ministries, Fiesta; Intramural Sports, Sports Bar; and Anime Club, Drink of Fate Death Brigade.

In order for clubs to participate, they each had to come up with a theme for their booth and serve a signature non-alcoholic mocktail to students. Once students checked in at the event, they were given a punch card and two poker chips to participate.

The punch card was used to keep track of how many drinks they had throughout the night. If a student had too much to drink, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) would give them “drunk goggles” and the student would have to drive a pedal car through an obstacle course.

The poker chips that were given out were used as a way for students to vote on the best mocktail of the night and the best booth. The club with the most poker chips by the  end of the night was awarded cash prizes. The winner for best mocktail was a tie between Catholic Student Ministries  and their Horchata Mixer and Black Student Union and their Prohibition Punch. The winner for best booth was Black Student Union.

“I think students are going to get a lot of opportunities from coming to this event and IMG_0336enjoy their time with their friends without the influence of alcohol,” said sophomore Erica Wiggins.

Students who attended the event had the opportunity to enter a drawing for Uber credits and gift cards. Winners were Autumn Bippert, Ulises Cardoza, and Ricardo Torres.

“I’m really impressed with the outcome,” said Miranda English, the director of Student Life at SPC. “We really did get to engage students in the safety aspect that we wanted to. So having students sit down with TABC representatives and realize that even though they’ve only had two drinks, what it does to their body and how it impairs their ability to function really opened some eyes.”

Scholarship gala raises funds for current, future students

Raising financial support for future and current students at South Plains College was the goal  for this year’s Scholarship Gala.

The 21st Annual Scholarship Gala at South Plains College was held February 28. This year’s event was hosted by City Bank at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland, Texas.

According to Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations at South Plains College, “This year’s Scholarship Gala was very successful.”

“The event was very close to a sellout,” she added. “But last year’s gala was a complete sellout. This year’s Scholarship Gala was a success.”

More than $228,000 was raised at this years Scholarship Gala, according to Gerstenberger.

The Scholarship Gala is an annual event that brings together a community that raises money for student scholarship awards. Raising funds is the main reason for having the gala, but it also gives SPC a chance to show guests how much their donations are valued and how a scholarship award can impact a student’s academic success, according to Gerstenberger.

The theme for this year’s event was “Unlimited Opportunities.” The gala is responsible for creating opportunites for students who want to continue their education.

This event is planned in advance, and tickets were sold months before.

While students choose to further their education, scholarship awards are able to assists students financially. All profits from the gala go directly to student scholarships.

“My favorite part of the night is being able to see how amazing this fundraiser is, and how much money is raised for student scholarships,” said Gerstenberger.

The night began with a private cocktail hour for guests with top-level sponsorships. This was the second time that alcohol was available for sale at the event, with all profits from sales going into the scholarship funds.

Guests were seated and served a meal while entertainment was provided by students in the Creative Arts Department at SPC. There were three performances delivered by students attending SPC.

Also participating in the event were Campus Ambassadors who represent SPC and the college’s values. Guests also participated in live and silent auctions, as well as raffles.

“The Scholarship Gala is a benefit for the students and the student ambassadors that get to attend and participate in the evening,” said Gerstenberger.

Last year, students attending SPC received more than 900 scholarships.

Alum discovers passion for art following advice from professor


Many college students know what it is like to change their major.

For Catherine Argueta, changing her major was also part of her college experience.

Argueta was born and raised in Lubbock. She graduated from Lubbock High School in 2007.

After high school, Argueta decided to attend South Plains College, a decision she based on the smaller class sizes.

“Everything about SPC seemed like an easier transition from high school.” Argueta explained. “I absolutely loved being a Texan! All the professors were great. I especially loved my Art professors, which is why I ended up changing my major to Art.”

Argueta came to SPC majoring in Biology, with a minor in Art, but soon realized she enjoyed her Art classes more than her Biology classes.

“Both were equally stressful,” said Argueta. “But I felt that I was more focused in my Art and Art History classes, therefore I was more successful.”

Argueta also knew she wanted to work with children. After talking to professor Allison Black, she learned about the Visual Studies program at Texas Tech University.

“She (Black) talked about how a teaching certificate in Art was a bit different than other subject areas,” explained Argueta, “and that once I received my certificate, I could teach any grade level I wanted. Once I heard that, I jumped on board and changed my major.”

After attending SPC, Argueta transferred to Texas Tech. Where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Studies with an emphasis in painting. She also received her teaching certificate so she could teach art.

“I love having the ability to showcase my students’ work,” said Argueta, who now teaches art at Cavazos Middle School in Lubbock. “We do lots of exhibits and competitions throughout the year, and now you can always find Cavazos artwork throughout our community, like the South Plains Fair, the Civic Center, the Arts Festival, et cetera…”

When she isn’t teaching art, Argueta spends most of her time with her kids, Catalina, 2 , and Jason, 8.

“I also think it is important to continue creating,” explained Argueta, “so I always make sure to do my own art, whether it’s a small five by five drawing or painting, or just doing the projects I assign to my students, whatever it is, as long as I keep my artistry going and growing.”

For anyone pursuing a similar path, Argueta advises others to “keep at it.”

“I think a lot of people have this misconception of what art school is about,” said Argueta, “like it’s easy. It isn’t. I spent countless nights studying or in a studio. It is definitely hard work, but you just have to keep going and doing what you feel is necessary.”

She also advises to be prepared for the emotions of teaching.

“I think this is what a lot of first-year teachers struggle with,” Argueta explained. “Kids can be difficult sometimes, but they are also so, so amazing.”

Despite the struggle at times, Argueta knows that what she is doing has impacted many students.

“It’s definitely worth it when a student tells you how much you’ve impacted their life,” said Argueta, “and how grateful they are to have you as their teacher.”

Former student become published speech professor


Before becoming a professor at South Plains College, Kelley Finley was a student who was involved in many campus organizations.

After getting her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayland Baptist University and Texas Tech University, respectively, she returned to SPC for the opportunity to teach speech to college students.

Finley grew up in Bledsoe, Texas on a cotton farm. She had to commute to school every day.

“I went to school in Whiteface, 23 miles from my hometown,” she recalled. “We didn’t have a middle school or high school, so we had to commute.”

According to Finley, she chose to attend SPC because it was so close to home.

“I had no career aspirations,” she said. “I just didn’t know what else to do after high school. SPC was affordable, and my parents had both attended SPC. So it was an easy choice.”

As a Texan, Finley was very involved on campus. She lived on campus in Smallwood Apartments. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges, and served as a Campus Ambassador and as president of the Baptist Student Ministry during her time at SPC. She was also a member of the forensics team and participated in the Miss Caprock Scholarship Pageant.

“At SPC, I met Laura Dickinson, who taught Public Speaking and was the coach for the forensic team,” said Finley. “She encouraged me to continue my education and to think about getting a Communication degree.”

After attending SPC, Finley transferred to Wayland Baptist University. While at WBU, she pursued a Mass Communication minor. Finley was very involved at Wayland, just as she was at SPC. She participated in plays with the Theater Department and also helped with the TV department.

By her final year at Wayland, Finley found what she wanted to do.

“My senior year, I decided I wanted to teach speech to other college students,” she explained, “so I knew I had to get my master’s.”

After Wayland, she attended Texas Tech University to get her master’s degree. While attending Texas Tech, she served as a Teaching Assistant. Being a TA helped Finley know that she truly wanted to teach. While attending Texas Tech, she worked at a daycare, as a waitress, and at Cavender’s Boot City in Lubbock.

After Texas Tech, Finley taught English and speech to high school and middle school students in Whiteface for four years. At the end of those four years, there was an opening at SPC.

“I loved my time at SPC, and I knew it was where I wanted to end up,” she explained. “I applied as soon as there was an opening, and when I was offered a job, I jumped at it! It’s a great place with great people and great students.”

Finley currently teaches Public Speaking, Introduction to Communication, and Business and Professional Speech. She also has been serving as the president of the Faculty Senate.

Finley also recently wrote a textbook with fellow instructor Janine Fox. They wrote the textbook “Entry Level to Executive: All Communication Counts” because they believed students shouldn’t be paying upwards of $100 for a speech textbook. They also decided to write the book to fit the needs of their students.

“We like that it’s a consumable, that we have tear-out pages in the back,” explained Finley. “We like that our students have that option. We like the way it looks. We like that it’s marketed to South Plains College, and when you get that book you don’t say, ‘Wow, that was a huge waste of money.’ It’s got resumes and interviewing,  so even if you only use it for public speaking, it’s got stuff you can use well into your adult life. We’re proud of it, and it was a labor of love.”

When not teaching, Finley spends time with her family and is very involved in the community.

“In my spare time, I read and watch movies,” Finley said. “I have three kids,  so my spare time is usually spent with them.”

Finley is also on the King’s Kids PDO board and helps on Wednesday nights with the children’s program at First Baptist Church in Levelland. She also enjoys researching issues relating to health and essential oils.

For students who want to obtain a Communication degree, Finley says it is a very useful degree to pursue.

“You can do so many things with a Communication degree,” she explained.

Finley also encourages teaching at the collegiate level.

“If teaching is your thing, then I highly recommend you teach in college,” Finley said. “It is the best job ever!”


Women place third at NJCAA National Indoor Championship

Freshman Dorcus Ewoi was crowned the national champion in the women’s mile run, while the South Plains College women’s track and field team took home the bronze medal in the team standings at the NJCAA National Indoor Championship.

The championship meet was held March 1 and March 2 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

The Lady Texans finished with 63 team points. Barton County placed first in the team standings with 119 points, while New Mexico Junior College placed second with 103 points.

Sophomore Ruth Usoro placed fifth in the women’s 60-meter dash with a time of 7.56, adding four points for the Lady Texans. Usoro also placed second in the women’s triple jump with a jump of 41 feet, 0.25 inches, garnering eight more points.

Ewoi captured the national championship in the women’s mile run with a time of 5:03.16. Freshman Gladys Jemaiyo finished sixth with a time of 5:09.46. The two combined for 13 points in the event.

Jemaiyo and Ewoi also placed second and third, respectively, in the women’s 3,000-meter run. Jemaiyo crossed the line at 10:11.58, while Ewoi finished with a time of 10:12.79.

Jemaiyo placed third in the women’s 5,000-meter run, clocking a time of 17:16.70.   

In the 4×800 meter relay, Itzel Garcia-Santos, Nyia Sena, Angela Rodriguez, and Lynda Martinez finished fourth with a time of 9:36.25. In the women’s 4×400 meter relay, Janiel Moore, Patrice Moody, Hanah Mills, and Elon’a Jones added three more points with a time of 3:58.34.

The Texans placed fifth in the team standings with 53 points. Iowa Central placed first with 90.5 points, followed by Barton County (Kansas) with 80 points. Cloud County placed third with 63 points, and Coffeyville (Kansas) finished fourth with 59.5.

Deion Lightfoot added nine points for the Texans by placing third in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.04. Denvaughn Whymns finished sixth in the event with a time of 8.13.

In the men’s 60-meter dash, sophomore Willari Watson finished sixth overall with a time of 6.81, adding three points.

In the men’s 6×800 meter relay, Japhet Toroitich, Ulyses Cardoza, Bosquez, and Yusuf Mohammed finished fifth with a time of 7:50.55.

In the men’s 3,000-meter run, freshman Alex Kitum finished seventh, crossing the line at 8:31.79 and earning two points.

Sophomore Bryson Deberry tacked on eight points for the Texans in the men’s high jump, placing second after clearing the bar at 7 feet, 0.50 inches. In the men’s long jump, sophomore Holland Martin placed second with a leap of 25 feet, adding eight points, while Whymns placed third in the event with a mark of 24 feet, 7.75 inches, picking up six points for the Texans.

Martin also placed second in the men’s triple jump and tacked on eight more points with a leap of 51 feet, 5.50 inches. In the men’s pole vault, freshman Rylan Olguin added four points with a fourth-place finish, clearing the bar at 14 feet, 9 inches.

Texans make Final Four appearance at NJCAA National Championship

After capturing a national title a year ago, the South Plains College men’s basketball team advanced to the 2019 NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament, but fell short after reaching the final four.

The second-seeded Texans fell to No. 3 seed Vincennes State College (Indiana) 85-67 in a semifinal game of the NJCAA tournament.

The NJCAA tournament was held on March 18 – March 23 in Hutchinson, Kansas.

SPC didn’t allow the Trailblazers to secure much of a lead for the majority of the first half, controlling Vincennes’ lead to within one or two possessions until the final four minutes. The Trailblazers utilized a 13-7 run in a four-minute span to widen the gap to 38-31 by the end of the first half.   

The Texans re-gained some ground at the beginning of the second half, tying the game at 47 after two made free throws from sophomore Deon Barett with 14:32 on the clock. Vincennes then went on an 11-1 run in the next two minutes to take a 10-point lead at 58-48.

Despite the Texans’ best efforts, the Trailblazers continued to tack on points, increasing the deficit through the remainder of the second half.

Sophomore Gaige Prim led the scoring for the Texans, recording a double-double with 29 points and 15 rebounds, despite having to return to the bench after picking up his fourth foul early in the second half. Prim shot 10-for-16 from the field, with nine of his points coming from the free-throw line.

Sophomore Chris Orlina poured in 14 points, knocking down four of his nine attempts from the floor. Barett added seven points, shooting 2-for-6 from the field, including one three-pointer. Sophomore Jonah Antonio chipped in six points on 2-for-7 shooting from the floor, hitting a pair of three-pointers

Redshirt-freshman Christian Wilson tossed in six points off of the bench, shooting 2-for-2 from the field and hit both of his free-throw attempts in his 13 minutes on the hardwood.

Despite shooting 43.8 percent from the floor, the Texans were out-rebounded 30-40 and had a 14-4 turnover margin.

SPC topped Eastern Florida State College 82-74 in the Elite-Eight round of the NJCAA tournament on March 21.

Orlina led all scorers with 23 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the field, including 2-of-4 from behind the three-point arch. Orlina also hit nine free-throws and pulled down six rebounds. Barett poured in 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting form the field, including 5-of-10 from behind the three-point arc.

Prim recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 4-for-6 from the floor and adding eight points from the free-throw line. Sophomore Trey Wade had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting.

Sophomore Koray Gilbert added seven points, while Antonio had five and sophomore Charles Jennings had three.

The Texans shot 49.1 percent from the field and 37 percent from the three-point arch. They also out-rebounded the Titans 37-26.

SPC knocked out Trinity Valley Community College 82-75 in the Sweet 16 round of the NJCAA tournament on March 19.

Prim and Wade led the scoring for the Texans. Prim poured in 22 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field. He also hit 10 free throws and grabbed nine rebounds. Wade shot 10-for-16 from the field, including one three-pointer, accumulating 22 points as well.

Barett recorded 15 points, shooting 4-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-7 from behind the three-point arc. Antonio added 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field.

SPC shot 49.1 percent from the field and 35 percent from the three-point line.

The Texans competed in the NJCAA Region V tournament held on March 7 – March 9 at the Moody Coliseum in Abilene.

In the first round, SPC topped Temple College 87-79 on March 7. Wade recorded a career-high 31 points in the victory.

The Texans then defeated Ranger College 85-75 in the semifinals of the Region V tournament on March 8. Prim and Orlina paced SPC with 29 points and 18 points, respectively.

The Texans secured the Region V title after pushing past Odessa College 73-71 in the Finals on March 9. Prim led the scoring with 27 points, while Orlina wasn’t far behind with 20 points in the win.

Teams impress at Sweetwater Rodeo

The  South Plains College men’s and women’s rodeo teams won  three events at the Ranger College Rodeo, drawing them closer to the top of the Southwest Region .

The Lady Texans finshed third on the weekend  after earning 162 points. Tarleton State won with 310 points, while Weatherford College placed second with 180 points.

The Texans finished fourth with 225 points. Ahead of them were Western Texas College with 310 points, Weatherford College with 495 points and Tarleton State with 595 points.

The event was held March 24 in Sweetwater.IMG_1170

With three rodeos left, the Lady Texans are currently sitting in third place in the region with 1,324.5 points. They trail Tarleton State and Weatherford College, who have a 2,245 and 1,505 points, respectively. The Texans are in fourth place in the region standings with 2,155 points, whileTarleton, Weatherford and Clarendon are the front runners now.

  Freshman Elle Eagles led all Texans with 150 points and an average of 14.3 in goat tying. She placed first with a time of 7.6 in the long round and 6.7 in the finals.

The Texans had two cowboys in the steer wrestling finals. Logan Wiseman won the event with 123.3 points. Dawson Stewart grappled his way to third place, adding 80 points to the total. Wiseman had a time of 4.7 in the long run and 3.9 in the finals. Stewart had times of 4.9 in the long round and 4.6 in the finals.

Stefan Ramone teamed up with Tarleton State cowboy Jhett Trenary in team roping. They placed fist with a time of 12.4 in the finals, collecting 120 points.

The Texans gained another 20 points when Colton McCarley paired up with Texas Tech’s Cameron McCarley. They averaged 19.0 for the rodeo.

McCarley was one of three Texans competing in the tiedown  roping finals. He placed  fifth with a time of 19.6 and was awarded 55 points.

Hayden Cloward placed sixth in  tiedown roping with a time of 23.0 and earned 20 points for the Texans. Britton Bedke placed seventh with a time of 109.5. He ran the fast time in the long round, before missing the finals and received 50 points.

The two teams return to action on April 4 at the Western Texas College Rodeo in Snyder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Former student pursues business endeavors in Thailand


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

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

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

With no plan, Hargrove decided to go to college.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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