Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Partners in healthcare education & training

Pictured from left to right are MC President Dr. Steve Thomas, Midland Memorial Hospital President/CEO Russell Meyers, Marie Hall, Texas Tech University Chancellor Kent Hance and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Dr. Tedd Mitchell.
By Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations and Special Events

It looks like a hospital; it sounds like a hospital; it even smells like a hospital. It’s the F. Marie Hall SimLife Center at Midland College!

A little over a year ago, the state-of-the-art facility was just a dream of MC health sciences faculty. Now, thanks to the generosity of Midland philanthropist F. Marie Hall, the dream is a reality! The Center not only supports interdisciplinary teaching and learning for MC students, but also serves as a training site for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Midland Memorial Hospital employees.

Lea Keesee, director of the F. Marie Hall SimLife Center at Midland College, stated, “Ultimately the residents of West Texas are the beneficiaries of Miss Hall’s generous gift. Students trained in the Center will become the professionals who administer healthcare to all of us. What makes this donation so special is the fact that all West Texans benefit!”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Once a Chap, always a Chap!

Tatum Guinn in the KOSA-TV/CBS7 newsroom at Music City Mall
By Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations and Special Events

“During my first journalism class at Midland College, I realized that I love telling stories about how everyday events affect people,” said KOSA CBS7 reporter Tatum Guinn.

“I really came ‘into my own’ at MC,” she explained.  “I graduated from Midland Christian School in 2008, and there were only 93 people in my graduating class.  The thought of going to a big school was intimidating, to say the least.  Plus, I had the opportunity to attend MC on the Legacy Scholarship.  The minute I walked on the MC campus, I loved it!”

It wasn’t long before Guinn joined the staff of El Paisano, MC’s student newspaper, and tried out for and successfully made the cheerleading squad.

Guinn laughed when she said, “I found that I like the adrenaline rush of getting in front of a crowd—just like I now enjoy being in front of the camera.”

The 22-year-old Midland native first began working at CBS7 in May 2011 as a student intern in order to fulfill college credit requirements for her communications degree at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB).  The news department immediately took notice of her superior news writing abilities.  So, in August, when the station wanted to initiate a 4:30 p.m. newscast, Guinn was offered the position as producer.  She teamed with long-time news anchor Mike Barker to develop a unique approach to an early evening news program.  It wasn’t long before Guinn was ready for another challenge, and so CBS7 promoted her to reporter.

She said that she feels very fortunate to be able to begin her professional career in the Permian Basin.  During her last semester at MC, Guinn had made up her mind to transfer to Texas State University in San Marcos and tryout for cheerleader.  However, a week before tryouts in early May, she broke her foot.

Guinn said, “At the time I was devastated—not because I couldn’t try out for cheerleader, but because of all things to break, it had to be my foot.   I’m all about shoes.  When I graduated from MC, I had to walk across the stage with crutches wearing a bedazzled boot on one foot and a Converse sneaker on the other!”

After completing MC on the Legacy Scholarship, she received the Abell-Hanger Foundation Education Continuance Scholarship, which is awarded to MC graduates and pays up to $6,250 per semester for upper-level college courses.

“As it turned out, that broken foot was a blessing in disguise,” said Guinn.  “I was able to stay at home and land this fantastic job at KOSA!  And thanks to great opportunities provided by Midland College and the Midland community, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree totally debt-free!”

She continued, “My motto is to find something you’re good at and do it — my experiences at MC taught me that.  I still consider myself a Chap, and I always will be!”           

Monday, May 28, 2012

Three More Midland College Student-Athletes Ink with Universities

By Forrest AllenMC Athletic Director

Three more Midland College sophomores have inked national letters of intent to continue their careers at four-year Universities. Danesa Long (Long Beach, CA) and Ornela Bacchini (Buenos Aires, Argentina) of Lady Chap basketball and Sarah Sawyer (Odessa, TX) Lady Chap Volleyball.

Long and Sawyer have signed with NCAA Division I Universities, San Diego State University and Tennessee State University respectively while Bacchini will transfer to Lewis-Clark State College (ID) of the NAIA.

Danesha Long, SO
Long Beach, CA
5'9" Guard
Next: San Diego State University (NCAA Division I, Mountain West Conference)

As a two-year starter for Coach Ron Jones and the Lady Chaps, Long was a two-time All-WJCAC (MVP in 2011) and NJCAA All-Region V selection as well as being named to the 2010-11 NJCAA All-America team as an Honorable Mention selection. In her two seasons at Midland College Long averaged 11.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 62 games. During her time at MC, Long helped guide the Lady Chaps to a combined 50-14 including two post season appearances.

"Danesha is what I call a zero maintenance player," Midland College head coach Ron Jones said. "She comes to work every day and has great passion for the sport. Its rare that your best player works the hardest. Its very refreshing. Danesha is a high energy, very athletic player. She does everything well and is a fantastic teammate. San Diego State got a good one in Danesha."

Sarah Sawyer, SO
Odessa, TX
6'2" Middle Blocker
Next: Tennessee State University (NCAA Division I, Ohio Valley Conference)

Sarah Sawyer is a graduate of Odessa High School and was two-year starter for the Lady Chap volleyball team. In her two seasons Sawyer played in a total of 221 games (73 matches) with the Lady Chaps going 54-19 overall and 17-3 in the WJCAC. Sawyer averaged 1.67 kills and .860 blocks per contest with a .300 attack percentage.

In 2010 Sawyer helped led the team to a 36-6 record including the WJCAC Co-Championship, the NJCAA Region V-West Title and an appearance in the 2010 NJCAA Division I Volleyball Championship where they posted a 2-2 record. As a sophomore Sawyer and the Lady Chaps went 18-13, repeated as the WJCAC Champs and advanced to the Region V-West finals.

"Sarah brought leadership and enthusiasm on the court and she was one of our "go-to" kids. I think at Tennessee State they're going to look for her to be a "go-to" starting middle (blocker). She has a lot of work to do, but she's going to do well and the coach is excited about her and Sarah is excited to be at a new place, away from home and seems eager to get started", said Midland College head coach Tammie Jimenez. "Sarah is a great person and an exceptional student.

Jimenez also feels that Sarah will be successful as a student-athlete, but also in her academic goals. "She's (Sawyer) is majoring in pre-veterinary medicine/animal science and has her work cut out for her as far as academics go, but that's never going to be her struggle because she's such a great student."

Ornela Bacchini, SO
Buenos Aires, Argentina
6'2" Post
Next: Lewis-Clark State College (NAIA, Frontier Conference)

Midland College post player Ornela Bacchini played in 60 games over her two year Midland College career. She averaged 5.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for the Lady Chaps. Although not a highly decorated player for the Lady Chaps, her play was an integral component in the team's overall success over the past two years.

In her two years at MC the team went 50-14 including an appearance in the 2011 and 2012 NJCAA Region V Basketball Tournaments. The team advanced to the Region V finals in 2011.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Midland College partners with local artist to offer glass fusing class

MC Community Programs Continuing Education Department offers new courses taught by Leslie Slaughter of Art Glass Creations

Rebecca C. Bell
Dean, Community Relations & Special Events
“The beauty of glass has always held a fascination for me — from the drama of a church stained glass window to fantastic blown glass in galleries,” said Leslie Slaughter, who was a portrait and sculpture artist for 17 years and is now focusing on glass fusing. Slaughter is owner and principal artist of Glass Art Creations in Midland and will be teaching glass fusing courses at Midland College this summer.

Slaughter’s website is

The first course, Glass Fusing, Introduction, is a fundamental overview of the history, development and usage of glass fusing. This course will cover safety requirements, the science of the kiln’s role and materials usage. The course meets 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Monday and Thursday evenings, June 4-21, and students will work on three projects during this time. Course fee is $250 plus a $15 supply fee.

The second course, Glass Fusing I, is a more in-depth class with six projects using various forms of glass and their design and application options. The class meets on Monday evenings June 25-July 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Course fee is $250 plus a $60 supply fee.

To register or obtain more information, contact Brenda Cordero or Ashley Garrett at (432) 685-4518 or

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

U. S. Department of Education awards $1.25 million grant to Midland College

MC Upward Bound program receives continuance grant

Rebecca C. Bell
Dean, Community Relations & Special Events

The Midland College Upward Bound (UB) program provides opportunities for high school students to succeed in precollege performance and ultimately in higher education pursuits. UB serves young people from low-income families and those from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree. The goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants complete high school and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

Midland College was recently notified that the U. S. Department of Education has awarded the program another $250,000 for the 2012-2013 school year, and if all requirements are met at the end that program year, MC will receive an additional $250,000 each year for the following four years. In order to continue to receive funding, the program must meet the following approved objectives each year:80% of participants served during the project year will have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better on a four-point scale at the end of the school year. 85% of UB seniors served during the project year will have achieved at the proficient level on state assessments in reading/language arts and math.

85% of project participants served during the project year will continue in school for the next academic year, at the next grade level, or will have graduated from secondary school with a regular secondary school diploma. 75% of all current and prior year UB participants, who at the time of entrance into the project had an expected high school graduation date in the school year, will complete a rigorous secondary school program of study and graduate in that school year with a regular secondary school diploma.

70% of all current and prior UB participants, who at the time of entrance into the project had an expected high school graduation date in the school year, will enroll in a program of postsecondary education by the fall term immediately following high school graduation or will have received notification, by the fall term immediately following high school, from an institution of higher education, of acceptance but deferred enrollment until the next academic semester (e.g. spring semester). 50% of participants who enrolled in a program of postsecondary education, by the fall term immediately following high school graduation or by the next academic term (e.g. spring term) as a result of acceptance by deferred enrollment, will attain either an associate's or bachelor's degree within six years following graduation from high school.

“We plan to achieve these objectives by providing support services such as, weekly academic advising, supplemental instruction in core subjects, tutoring, study skills seminars, college visits, weekend and summer academic program and postsecondary monitoring of high school graduates,” noted Midland College Upward Bound Director Pervis Evans. “Even though our goals for the years to come are ambitious, I am confident that they are attainable based upon past success and the high level of support and commitment the program has from Midland College, Midland ISD and other community partners.”

Midland College first received funding for Upward Bound in 1999, and for the past 13 years has held tremendous success with its objectives. The program serves approximately 50 ninth- through twelfth-grade MISD students each year with the purpose of encouraging these students to remain in high school and then enroll in college. The MC program currently boasts 100 percent pass rate on the high school TAKS test among the UB students, and 94 percent of the past participants have enrolled in college.

Evans said, “It’s all about giving students opportunities and empowering them. Many of our participants have enormous personal and family obstacles to overcome. I’ve found that if we listen, the students eventually will open up to us; if we can find out their challenges, we can help them academically.”

For more information contact Midland College Upward Bound Director Pervis Evans at (432) 686-4221 or Further information about Midland College’s Upward Bound program can be found at

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MC student in Virtual Choir heard ‘round the world!'

By Lesley Isaacs
Media Specialist

Brenda Aguirre, born and raised in Midland, TX, knew she wanted to sing since she was five years old. Brenda has been participating in choirs since 7th grade, including school choirs and church choirs. Throughout her life, Brenda has been a choir officer, participated in Solo/Ensemble Contests, All-Region Choirs, UIL Contests, All-State Choir and has performed in Washington, D.C. with her high school choir. Today, Brenda is a student at Midland College, and she participates in the St. Stephen’s Church Choir, Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale, the Midland College Chaparral Singers and is a scholarship singer at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Recently, Brenda auditioned and was selected for a one-of-a-kind experience, the Virtual Choir.

The Virtual Choir is a choir composed of recorded voice parts played at one time. Each person in the choir creates an individual recording of their assigned part (soprano, alto, tenor or bass). The videos are then put into one track with accompaniment, which allows all voices and accompaniment to be played at the same time creating one singular song.

The first Virtual Choir experiment was a video called “Lux Arumque,” created by Eric Whitacre. Eric Whitacre is a renowned composer, conductor and lecturer. After Brenda saw the first video, she knew immediately that she wanted to participate. When Mr. Whitacre posted information on auditions for Virtual Choir 3, Brenda was determined to be in it.

Brenda said, “I recorded myself singing using my iPhone about 7 times. It was a real struggle for me because of the many distracting sounds that interfered with my video. For example, toward the end of my second attempt in recording, I was confident that the sound was good until my young nephew walked in to ask me a question.” Once Brenda had her video recorded, she sent it in with fingers crossed hoping to be selected. A couple of months after submitting her audition recording, she received an invitation to attend the launching of the video in New York.

“Only those who participated in the Virtual Choir 3 received the email, which meant I had made it,” said Brenda. Virtual Choir 3 is using the song “Water Night,” and is composed of 3,746 videos uploaded from 2,945 singers from 73 countries singing one or more parts. “Water Night” is a 14-part piece of music based on a poem written by Octavio Paz.

The Virtual Choir 3 video was used to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the loss of Titanic. On April 14th, the video was heard in Titanic Belfast, an iconic new Visitor Centre located in the heart of Belfast, Ireland. The Centre is dedicated to the birthplace of the Titanic.

According to the website of Eric Whitacre, the creator of Virtual Choir, “Following the celebrations around the opening of the new building and marking 100 years since the loss of Titanic, the projection of the Virtual Choir 3 in the atrium of Titanic Belfast will provide a moment of contemplation for the lost souls.” Brenda has a passion for choir, but the one thing she finds vital for people to know is that “the most important thing to remember overall in a choir is the actual music and what the composer is trying to share with the world. Singing is from the heart, and everyone has the ability to be the one voice that can change the world.”

The video of Virtual Choir 3 can be seen at

Monday, May 21, 2012

June 7 Reception to Open New Exhibit at McCormic Gallery

A caricature subject
Dr. Jacobs met in his travels
This summer’s exhibit at McCormick Gallery, located in the Allison Fine Arts Building on the Midland College campus, will feature caricatures by Associate Vice President of Instruction Dr. Stan Jacobs. Over the years, Dr. Jacobs has had the pleasure of drawing caricatures of various people in the Midland community.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held Thursday, June 7, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. in the gallery. The public is cordially invited to attend, to meet with Dr. Jacobs, and enjoy light refreshments. Admission is free.

Dr. Jacobs will be retiring in August after 41 years of service to MC. The light-hearted caricature exhibit will allow the community a chance to smile once again as we reflect upon the career of MC’s first art instructor, a cherished MC administrator and a Midland legend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Summer Tour: Rep's from UT, TTU coming to MC campus

Do you have questions about transferring to a university?
Want to know more about our programs?
Not sure what’s required for admission?

Representatives of Texas Tech University and University of Texas at Austin will be visiting YOUR area ... specifically, the campus of Your College!

Dates: Thurdays June 14, 2012
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Location: Midland College – F. Marie Hall Academic Building – Amistad Atrium

More information about transferring to TT at

Questions? Contact us at:
J.D. Gragg, Transfer Recruitment Manager
Texas Tech University
(806) 834-3257
Or email:

Dates: Wednesdays June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25, 2012
Time: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
Location: Midland College – F. Marie Hall Academic Building – Amistad Atrium

More information about transferring to UT at

Questions? Contact us at:
(432) 230-5227
Or email:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Children's center at MC celebrates end of school year

On Friday, May 4, the Helen L. Greathouse Children’s Center (HLGCC) at Midland College held their Pre-Kindergarten Graduation for their 5-year-old class in conjunction with the end-of-the-school-year party. The party theme for this year was... “Under the Big Top."

The schedule of events included the children dressed as circus animals singing and dancing. The program closed with the 5-year-olds receiving their graduation certificates.

The Center was established in 1986 and was originally located adjacent to the Davidson Family Health Sciences Building on the MC campus. In 1996, the Center was named in honor of Midland philanthropist Helen Greathouse. In March 2009, the HLGCC expanded and opened a new 8,000-square-foot facility. Today the Center has 85 children, ranging in age from 4 months to 5 years.

This year’s celebration was somewhat bittersweet, as long-time HLGCC Director Rita Stotts will be retiring at the end of August. Stotts has been with Midland College serving as a teacher and director of the Center for 26 years.

Remarkably, she remembers all the children who have gone through the doors of the HLGCC. In the hallway of the Center are bulletin boards with pictures of children who have attended the HLGCC since its inception. Stotts is able to recall stories about each of those children, many of whom still keep in touch with “Miss Rita.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lady Chap Softball Sees Eight Named to All-WJCAC, Four to All-Region V West Teams

Debra Lovell
By Forrest Allen
MC Athletic Director

Congratulations to MC coach Tommy Ramos who saw several members of his Lady Chap team named to the 2012 All-WJCAC and All-NJCAA Region V West softball teams. Ramos also led the Lady Chaps to the NJCAA Region V West Championship game this season where they finished as runner-up. Midland College finished the season with a 47-16 overall record, including going 3-2 in the regional tournament.

Diana de la Paz
Named the All-WJCAC first team for 2012 were Debra Lovell (third base), Diana de la Paz (shortstop), Kayla Parra (outfield) and Yolanda Rios (pitcher). Earning All-WJCAC Honorable Mention honors were Genevieve "Gee" Estrada (first base), Marlene Fields (outfield), Meghan Macias (catcher) and Holly Herrington (pitcher).

Kelcey Gomez
Selected to the All-NJCAA Region V West team this season were Lovell, de la Paz, Kelcey Gomez and Rios. Lovell was also recently nominated to the NJCAA All-American team, but won't know if she earned this honor for another few weeks.

Yolanda Rios
Lovell, who set a single season team record for home runs with 25, recently signed to attend Utah Valley University next season while de la Paz and Estrada will play for Lubbock Christian University. Rios will attend Rogers State University (OK) next season, Macias has inked with Lee University (TN) for 2012-13 and Parra is unsigned. Fields, Herrington and Gomez will each return to MC next season as sophomores.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

MC alum named as SRSU Outstanding Biology Undergraduate

Glynis Barnes, a Midland College (MC) alumna and Sul Ross State University (SRSU) baccalaureate candidate, has been named as one of two SRSU outstanding undergraduates in biology.

Barnes will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from SRSU; however, all of her classes have been held on the MC campus. Since 2002, almost 100 Midland-based students have graduated from SRSU under the MC-SRSU Science Initiative. The Science Initiative offers four-year degrees in biology, geology and mathematics. Students take all of their classes on the MC campus via distance learning.

"We hope that by providing the opportunity for students to stay at MC and finish a four-year degree, they are able to complete more hours with us," stated MC Vice President of Instruction Dr. Rex Peebles. "This makes degree completion a reality for our students who cannot leave Midland due to family and job responsibilities."

In addition to excelling in biology and science-related courses, Barnes is also one of MC’s superior piano students. Even after graduating with an Associate of Science degree, Barnes continued to take piano classes at MC while continuing her studies from SRSU. In September 2010, she was featured in a piano duet with MC Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Nicholas Elderkin during the MC All-Steinway School inauguration.

This summer, Barnes plans to attend the Region 18 Education Service Center Alternative Teacher Certification Program so that she can teach science at the secondary level.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Partners for First-Generation-to-College success

Rebecca C. Bell
Dean, Community Relations & Special Events

For many individuals, there is no question as to whether or not they will enroll in higher education beyond high school—obtaining a college degree has been instilled in them since they were infants. Such students typically have parents who are college educated and who view post-secondary education simply as the next logical, expected and desired stage in the passage toward personal and career achievement.

For others, enrollment represents a deliberate attempt to improve their social, economic and occupational standing. Many of these students are the first members of their families to enroll in any education beyond high school. For these “first-generation students,” post-secondary education offers both opportunity and risk, since it represents a departure from family traditions.

On Saturday, April 21, approximately 1,500 people attended MC’s first See MC/Sí, MC event. The free event, targeted for potential First-Generation-to-College (FGTC) students, consisted of college information, music, fun and food for all ages.

“The See MC event represented a welcome mat to a segment of the community that typically does not visit our campus,” said Director of Community Services Alfredo Chaparro, who served as event coordinator. “While our major emphasis was targeted to school-aged students so that they could see the benefits of attending college, we also realize that many of their parents are potential college students. So, we were delighted when we saw that many parents accompanied their children to the event. It was definitely a family event.”

Midland College is dedicated to encouraging higher education participation by FGTC families. During the fall 2011 semester, 1,483 FGTC students attended Midland College, and during the spring 2012 semester, there were 1,392 FGTC students attending. See MC/Sí, MC offered an opportunity for the Midland community to tour the campus and find out about college admissions, financial aid and instructional programs.

MC President Dr. Steve Thomas noted, “Midland College does events well, but not all components of our community participate in our events. The See MC/Sí, MC eventhad somewhat of a different taste and feel, as it brought a strategically important population to campus. The event was a successful major outreach effort for Midland College to recruit first-generation-to-college families.”

During the April 21 event, a contest was held among MISD Title I schools to see which school could have the most participation at the event—this included students, parents and faculty/staff. South Elementary won the contest, and will receive a $500 check to go toward school uniforms andsupplies.

Liz Zenteno, associate director of MC’s Cogdell Learning Center, said, “South Elementary and MC partner in a great many projects. The close proximity of South to the Cogdell Learning Center allows us to accommodate families with some of our services, such as GED classes, English as a Second Language classes and basic computer classes. Midland College has also participated in a number of South Elementary School events promoting attending college. While we know that these families feel comfortable at Codgell, we were also thrilled that they participated in the See MC/Sí, MC day at the main campus. Congratulations to South Elementary for winning the contest. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership!”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MC "Technical Shoot Out" Scholarship Scramble set for June 29

Midland College
2nd Annual "Technical Shoot Out" Scholarship Scramble

Friday, June 29th, 2012 • Hogan Park Golf Course
4-person scramble • 11:30 a.m. check-in • 12:30 p.m. shotgun start

Supporting Midland College students enrolled in:
Air Conditioning/Heating, Automotive, Aviation Maintenance,
Computer Graphics, Diesel, Fire Science, and Welding

Midland needs trained technicians, and Midland College needs your help to enable students to stay in college and become productive skilled employees. This fundraising event provides scholarships for students pursuing degrees and certificates in MC's Technical Studies programs. Last year we raised over $10,000, and we would like to double that amount this year! Please help support us in this important endeavor by getting out and playing golf during our 2nd Annual "Technical Shoot Out."

Entry deadline is June 15, 2012

CLICK HERE for a downladable/printable registration form (Adobe .pdf file)

Cost is $ 75 per person or $300 per team
Supper and Awards immediately after the tournament
Entry deadline is Wednesday, June 15, 2012 (first 36 teams signed up)
Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place teams, longest drive, closet to the hole and chipping contest.

 Sponsors are needed to help make this event a success.

CLICK HERE for a downladable/printable sponsor letter (Adobe .pdf file)

Sponsorship opportunities for this event are:

Corporate Title Sponsor / $ 5,000
includes 8 players, title recognition and signage

Corporate Partner / $ 2,500
includes 4 players, event recognition and signage

Hole Sponsor / $ 800
includes 4 players, signage at tee box

Team Sponsor / $ 400
includes 4 players and recognition

Contact Us
Should you have questions, please contact us.

Curt Pervier432-685-4676

Karen Harris432-685-4799 Fax 432-685-6472

Loss of courtesy, civility in classroom takes its toll on modern teachers

Mary Braselton
Director, Associate of Arts in Teaching Program
Midland College

The April 10 Education page column by Kristie Hayward relating a certain time warp caught my attention as I had already begun this article. In particular, the question of a former principal “Is that really a battle you want to fight?” sounded familiar from my own high school teaching days. I appreciated her response, “Well, yeah, it is a battle I want to fight” because I believe, like Kristie, someone has to care enough to fight for students. The surprising thing to me about that article is that Kristie is only nearing 40 years old, but she has the school memories of a much older time. As a matter of fact, that age group started school for the first time around 1978.

Let’s take a short trip down memory lane to revisit educational discipline. Remember, in the 1800s, society took for granted that the Golden Rule, courtesy, fairness and good manners were the standard of conduct. Then, fast forward to our parents who related stories like “If I got into trouble at school, it was double trouble when I got home.” My father told me that he once had to cut a willow switch for his punishment at school. Then, when he got home, he had to cut yet another switch for the second spanking from his mother. Now, I am not advocating returning to the days of sparing the rod, especially when it involves willow switches, but it is no secret that behavior and the subsequent discipline have changed over the years.

Business as usual in public education was changed forever by the 1969 court case Tinker v. Des Moines. Fifteen-year-old John Tinker wore a black arm band to his high school in Des Moines, Iowa, one day in a silent, peaceful protest to the Vietnam War. The principal told Tinker that he could not wear his arm band to school because it was disruptive and created a distraction (status quo school law at that time), and promptly suspended Tinker, his sister, Mary Beth, and a friend, Chris Eckhardt, who also wore black armbands. Their parents then filed lawsuits on behalf of their children. The rulings were in favor of the schools; eventually, the case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that wearing a black arm band in protest of the war was a First Amendment right — an expression of free speech. It was a win for students and parents and a loss for public school authority.

It might be argued that this began an arduous decline in discipline in public schools throughout the 1970s and ’80s as student rights and parental rights often trumped school officials’ rights. Principals no longer could bluff students with penalties or paddling. Add the erosion of the schools’ in loco parentis power to the erosion of the nuclear family, and schools found themselves in the position of creating new and sometimes controversial policy to address an increasing number of diverse disciplinary issues. All administrators must assure that teachers’, parents’, and students’ rights are maintained while managing the heavy academic responsibilities of the 21st century.

Research indicates that new teachers’ greatest fears involve discipline, parents and motivation. Because most of these teachers are recently out of a public school setting, their collective memories cause them to choose early childhood education rather than the secondary fields that are so dramatically in shortage. Still, as the following story will demonstrate, early childhood has no guarantee of angelic behavior.

I used to teach an adult Sunday school class, and one morning a teacher asked for prayers for one of her 5-year-old kindergartners who referred to himself by an obscene word. When the teacher spoke with the boy’s mother, the woman laughed and said, “Yeah, he calls me that all the time.” The question now is not “Is this a battle you want to fight?”but “Can you fight this battle?”

Many academics choose the college/university classroom specifically to avoid these issues associated with public schools, only to find that classroom incivility is in college classrooms, as well. Certainly, college personnel do not deal with parents, but motivating students to learn (and behave) at any age is a far cry from what most of us experienced.

We understand that the classroom is a microcosm of the macrocosm. If uncivil behavior is pervasive in society (macrocosm), then it is not a stretch to understand that the classroom (microcosm) represents society at large. Members of society meet in our classes daily.

Telling stories like these almost never makes us feel good, but rudeness is a source of frustration in our daily lives, whether it is dealing with interminable telephone robots or watching in horror as a young boy tosses a grocery store basket over a ledge in a mall.

Remember when Oprah dedicated a series of shows to the topic of rudeness? After giving numerous examples, she began an “Acts of Kindness” program. Her media attention induced others to start projects such as “Pay it Forward” and “One Good Turn,” among others. Some time has passed and the media focus on kindness has faded. Most of us would agree that her attention to the topic raised awareness, but it was short-lived.

This column first appeared in the April 30, 2012 edition of the Midland Reporter-Telegram, and appears here, in its entirety, with the MRT's permission.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Update from Lubbock ...

MC Athletic Director Forrest Allen reporting from NJCAA Reg V West Softball Tournament, on the campus of Lubbock Christian University, in Lubbock, Texas ...
Round 2: Midland College Lady Chaparrals 4, Odessa College Lady Wranglers 0. Next round, MC Lady Chaps vs Howard College Lady Hawks, Friday (TODAY), 2:30 p.m. Game will be streamed at

Thursday, May 3, 2012

MC celebrates art — the art of words and the visual arts!

By Rebecca Bell 
Dean of Community Relations and Special Events

Over 70 students entered the 24th Annual Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest, and on April 26, four of those students were presented with monetary awards ranging from $100 to $600 for their “art” of words.

When MC Dean of Arts and Sciences William Feeler welcomed attendees to the poetry awards he said, “The Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest is one of the most prestigious in the state. Thanks to the generosity of the Levitt family, the dollar amounts of the contest awards are among the largest of any poetry contest in the nation.” Hilda Simmons Levitt studied creative writing at Midland College in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The contest was established in 1988 by her husband Stanley to honor his wife’s memory, her love of poetry and her love of Midland College. Today, the contest is underwritten by the Levitts’ daughter Carol Schwartz.

Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest winners were presented with plaques and monetary awards.  Pictured from left to right are fourth place winner Sarah Machuca, second place winner Jené Brown, contest judge Amy Fleury, MC English Instructor and contest coordinator Brendan Egan, first place winner Corey Wood and third place winner Chantell Ramirez
Following the awards presentation and poetry reading by contest judge Amy Fleury, the MC Community Relations Office hosted the opening reception of the annual Spring Student Art Show. Phenomenal pieces of art — ceramics, watercolors, oils, mixed media, digital photography, and others — were proudly displayed on the walls of McCormick Gallery. Former MC Art Instructor and retiring Associate Vice President of Instruction Dr. Stan Jacobs said, “I can safely say that our art program at MC is in good hands and promises a bright future for our students.”
MC student Gwen Hutson stands beside her portrait of James Dean, representative
of “Giant,” the movie Dean was working on at the time of his death.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MC receives grant for college prep class with FREE tuition

Rebecca C. Bell
Dean, Community Relations & Special Events

Class of 2012 high school graduates and GED completers have the opportunity to participate in a FREE college-readiness program and subsequently enroll in nine hours of FREE college credit. The college readiness courses will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, May 7-June 28, from 5:00-9:00 p.m. at the Midland College Cogdell Learning Center located at 201 W. Florida Street.

The Intensive College Readiness Program (ICRP) is being provided through a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board with the purpose of providing intensive, accelerated instruction in reading, writing and math skills that will help students perform better on the THEA college entrance exam, place out of developmental education and improve academic skills. In addition to receiving free tuition, students who pass the college readiness course will also receive Midland College (MC) Bookstore vouchers and free pre- and post-THEA exams. ICRP also provides for career counseling and early advising for the fall 2012 semester.

Other grant-funded resources include instructors, aides, student interns, college-readiness curricula and textbooks, advisors and counselors and AZTEC learning computer software. During the eight-week ICRP May/June class, reading, writing and math instruction will be integrated into all areas of study.

MC Dean of Adult and Developmental Education Lynda Webb said, "The program, which provides 60 hours of intensive, accelerated instruction not only will help current high school graduates, but also will enable GED graduates and reentering adult learners to perform better in college. Additionally, the program will provide 10-20 hours of information sessions to improve student awareness of college success strategies and college support resources. Programs such as this also improve enrollment and persistence."

To register and/or obtain more information, contact the MC Office of Adult and Developmental Education at (432) 684-5323.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MC Students Participated in Family Science Night at the Petroleum Museum

By Paul Mangum, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology at Midland College
The following students represented Midland College as volunteers at the Petroleum Museum's Family Science Night "Wild for Wildlife," presenting a 'Butterfly Launcher.' Olympia Carrasco, Haley Dinsmore, Richard Farmer, Janelle Gillean, Sara Mizzles, Kaci Nguyen, Melissa Perez, Jarren Templeton, Hannah Yoxsimer, Collin Zabel and Samuel Pedraza. Thank you all. You did a great job.

Kaci Nguyen, Sara Mizzles, Samuel Pedraza, Olympia Carrasco, Janelle Gillean, Haley Dinsmore waiting for Family night to begin.
Samuel Pedraza, Olympia Carrasco, Janelle Gillean, Haley Dinsmore help kids decorate their butterflies.
Kaci Nguyen is helping a kid launch the butterfly using a paper airplane launcher.
Sara Mizzles helps launch a butterfly while Sam Pedraza dodges the butterfly.

Students learn skills from basketball team

Kristen Medrano, kindergarten student, holds on to the rim after dunking with the help of Midland College basketball player Melvin Tabb Friday at San Jacinto Elementary.
Albert Cesare|Odessa American
By Caylor Ballinger
The Odessa American

Joshua Mata, 13, didn’t miss a beat as he learned new basketball passing techniques while signing rapidly to a friend nearby. “It’s fun to play,” Mata said.

The eighth-grader at Ector Junior High was one of about 30 hearing-impaired students at San Jacinto Elementary on Friday participating in the second annual basketball camp taught by the men’s Midland College basketball team. The students ranged from pre-school to high school seniors.

Mata signed to his friend Nicholas Rincones, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Ector Junior High, as players taught them basketball skills. “It’s fun to watch the guys dunk,” Rincones said through an interpreter.

The Regional Day School Program for the Deaf within the Ector County Independent School District is in San Jacinto, Ector Junior High and Odessa High with about 49 total students in the program.

CLICK HERE to read the full story by The Odessa American.