Mascot experience leads to cheerleader opportunity

In his first year at Midland College, Eddie Tavarez decided to do something out of the ordinary.

Going from a long-distance runner in high school to a mascot and cheerleader his freshmen year of college, was quite the adjustment.

“I had already known most of the cheerleaders and they told me that they needed a mascot, so I was like ‘all right!’

“They told the coach and he basically told me that I was going to be the mascot one night and people were going to observe me and see how I do,” he said.

Tavarez set out to be the MC mascot, but within one practice and two basketball games, the decision was made that Tavarez would soon be taking the mascot uniform off, and putting on a cheerleading uniform.

“I switched over real quick,” he said. “It wasn’t really my choice; it was more of the instructor at Legacy, which is the place we practice at.

“I went to the first day of practice and they told him [Legacy coach] ‘Hey, he’s going to be the mascot’ and he said, ‘No this is nonsense. Let’s try him out as a cheerleader and see if he can do that.’”

Tavarez then tried out as a cheerleader, and got positive feedback from the Legacy coach. He said, ‘You’ve got a lot of potential. We’ll start you off as cheerleader.’”

From there, Tavarez went ahead and tried out as the role of the mascot as well.

The head cheer coach Ty Soliz had Tavarez try out as mascot the first game against New Mexico Junior College as well as the game against Odessa College.

It was the game in which the final decision was made as to what position Tavarez would be filling.

“He told me ‘you’re suiting up as a cheerleader the next game.’ And ever since then that’s what I’ve been doing!” Tavarez said.

When asked if he liked being a cheerleader better than being the mascot he said, “I actually do like it! I like cheerleading better because that mascot costume is hot.”

Going from a long distance runner to a cheerleader, Tavarez said that the scholarship money the program offered was a significant reason to join, as well as getting involved at MC.

“It’s something to get involved with within the school. I go to all the school sporting events anyway because I’m a sports enthusiast, so I thought why not do something and get paid doing it,” Tavarez said.

“We cheer for volleyball, women’s and men’s basketball, and we’re going to the girl’s regional tournament,” he said. “I also just got word that we’re going to baseball and softball home games for support.”

The cheerleaders support the athletes by obviously cheering for them at the games, but like the athletes they also have to prepare for the games.

“We have practice every Tuesday night at 7:30 at Legacy,” Tavarez said.

“It’s a pretty cool place, they have some impressive trophies and banners everywhere.”

When asked if he thought the sport of cheerleading was hard, he said: “Now that I’m doing it— yes! It’s way harder than what most people think of it; there’s a lot of interesting things about it.”

Taking on this new sport given him more “motivation to work out and do better in school,” he said.

When asked if he recommended this program to anybody else, Tavarez said: “You’re representing Midland College along with the athletes; If you want to get involved and have school spirit I recommend it!”

The MC mascot position is currently available. For information, contact Ty Soliz, or visit

MC police patrol campus, city streets.

Midland College Police have authority for arrests and other duties off the campus as well as on it. “Not only are we able to enforce the law at Midland College, we can also take charge around the city and are sometimes called to attend motor accidents nearby when the Midland police is unable to,” said officer Michele Van Stavern.

Van Stavern said that all of the officers in the MC Police Department are state officials and therefore, unlike Midland police department officers, they have jurisdiction over every county in Texas, including Midland.

She also said that MC officers are called when arrests are to be made out of city limits, whereas the Midland police would not be able to make such arrests.

“As far as tickets go the most common we give out are for speeding on the circle. After all it is considered a street” she said.

Richard McKee, Chief of the Midland College Police Department, said that MC officers are not only allowed to follow people off campus to give them tickets, they can also issue tickets to people who commit traffic violations on Wadley St. and Garfield Ave.

“The MC police has been called to address traffic problems, vehicle burglaries, a few assaults [and] accidents,” McKee said. “We have arrested a number of people who have been involved in violent crimes off campus that are on our campus currently.”

McKee said that last year there were 17 accidents reported on campus, not including those that take place on the perimeter (Garfield Ave. and Wadley St.)

“Most of these accidents take place in the parking lot” he said. “We did have one that involved an intoxicated driver who took out one of the poles in the center median by student housing. We had another vehicle rollover where a guy was cutting across the Chap Center parking lot in excess of 60 mph, lost control, hit the median went over the fence and out into the airport area.”

McKee also talked about a student who was also cutting across the Chaparral Center parking lot at a high-speed rate who hit the concrete median so hard it deployed his airbags and ended up totaling his vehicle.

He said that most of the accidents are caused by people backing up in the parking lots or going for the same space and not seeing each other.
McKee said that in his opinion, the number of crashes that take place on campus has not increased since the boom hit. Occasionally there are serious vehicular accidents, but they are rare. The major crashes occur at the intersections of Garfield Ave. and Wadley St., but those are not counted towards MC records because they are generally handled by the Midland police department. There have been some serious accidents but no fatalities accounted for.

Documentary Lifts Spirits.

Sometimes people need an eye-opener to make them realize that life has much more to give than what appears. Religion plays a huge part in helping people see things clearer and more in depth. In January a friend and I went to a showing of Dead Raiser, which was held in the lecture room in the Marie Hall Academic building.

We weren’t sure what to expect, considering the flyers that were placed around campus didn’t give much information, except time and location. Though we were clueless walking in, the title was enough to pull us in. I had my own expectation as to what the documentary was going to be about, like maybe zombies or exorcisms.

I honestly thought I was going to be terrified by film evidence of something paranormal. I was completely wrong.

There was a man from New Jersey who appeared in the film and started speaking before the showing. It turned out that the documentary was about Christians who have made horrible decisions and have lived a dark past but have found God and became strong in their faith and beliefs.
I am a Christian but haven’t attended anything church or religious related since I was a sophomore in high school.

I almost left because I didn’t want it to be a seminar telling everyone what to believe and do because I’ve been to churches who had priests who crammed religion down my throat, almost making me give up religion all together. In the end, I decided to stay.

I wasn’t even half way through the film when I started to sob uncontrollably. Luckily the lights were out so people couldn’t see my nose and mascara running. I don’t know why I started crying, but I couldn’t stop.

When the film was over, the lights were turned on and I couldn’t even look the speaker in the face.

The man ended the presentation with a prayer, and a lady I have never seen nor met in my life sat next to me and started praying. She blew my mind. She knew things about me that no one in the entire world does.

Her prayer even included things that I have a hard time admitting to myself, which made me cry even more.

As my friend and I were leaving, the presenter stopped me and asked to pray with me.

Yes, I still had snot and makeup all over my face.

And to my surprise, he knew even more about me than the first person who prayed over me. Again, he is from New Jersey, and I’ve never seen him in my life.

Trying to grasp what was happening was difficult, but felt a huge weight lifted off of me when I left.

It was then that I knew Christianity is an important part of life,

God does exist, nice people do exist and religion is the key to starting a healing process.


MC uses awareness weeks to draw students’ interest

“We like to have these big, colorful, in-your-face posters (about events and special-emphasis weeks and months) pinned up around campus to make sure the students see them,” said Stephanie VanCuren, student activities coordinator.

Unfortunately, when students only have 10 seconds to get from one class to another, they don’t have time to stop and admire the creative and informative posters that are hung up all over campus.

What these posters contain is what is happening at Midland College, whether there is a blood drive on campus or if there is an upcoming comedian performing.

Special-awareness weeks at MC can come in many different forms, but students will never be disappointed with what the school has in store for students, VanCuren said.

Along with the posters that are posted all around campus, there are faster ways to receive upcoming events.

“We have a lot of ways the students can get connected with what is going on at MC; there are faster ways to receive info about awareness weeks and upcoming events,” VanCuren said.

A student can use Facebook to receive notifications about what’s coming up.

Of course, this is a popular way because this is a good use of our social media, she said.

“We look through our Facebooks all the time to see what’s coming up and who’s going where,” she said. “So why not friend MC and you too can receive notifications about special drives and awareness’s coming up.”

Texting is another trending way that students can receive messages about events. All a student has to do is text @midlandchaps to receive a message so they can participate in any happenings going on.

“I recently signed up to receive text messages from MC telling me about the upcoming awareness weeks we are having on campus,” said Daysha Wentz, MC student. “This is a fast way to figure out what’s going on,”

MC also offers Sex Ed awareness activities where they inform students and others who are willing to come learn about STDs and the cons of a sexual relationship before marriage.

Coming up in the next month, MC will be hosting the House of Chaps, which is an open mic-night to showcase talents.
A Casino Night event is also happening on March 25.

“We have so much for the students to participate in the months to come,” VanCuren said.

Black history month comes to MC campus

MC Professor James Fuller recently sat down with El Paisano and talked black history. Walking in to Fuller’s office, it’s hard not to notice that his walls are covered in pictures of what he called “some of his favorite African American advocates.”

Fuller is a strong advocate for justice. This is why his inspiration in the black community is Congressman John Lewis.

“I have so many inspirations, but the one that inspires me the most is Congressman John Lewis,” Fuller said. “He is my inspiration because he is still alive and advocating for justice.”

One of the photos in his office features a meeting with Lewis in Austin on March 23, 2003. “I fought too long and too hard to end discrimination based on race and color, to not stand up against discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” Lewis said from a previous interview.

When asked about what black history month meant to him, Fuller said, “I knew you were going to ask this question; this question always comes up. Black history to me is an affirmation of what American history is, 365 days of the year.”

For Fuller, black history month is not just celebrated one month out of the year, it is celebrated year round.

The month of February is a month where all of the United States commemorate and celebrate the many contributions made by the people of African descent. He said this month celebrates African Americans who have fought for rights for their generation.

These many generations of African Americans have served in the military, have educated themselves to the highest standards, and have overcome poverty, the professor said.

The origin of black history month dates back to the early 1900s, starting with Dr. Carter G. Woodson. He traveled to the state of Illinois to participate in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation.

The celebration lasted three weeks, and within that time, Woodson gathered other men to participate in the cause. They created a society that would teach what is known about African American history today. A society was created on Sept. 9, 1912 and called the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH).

“Black History means to me what it probably means to a lot of African Americans out there who care about what our history means to them. It means that we can always look back to where we came from and feel proud at where we are now,” said Jason McGhee, an African American advocate in the military.

“Black History Month is full of the struggles of the African Americans who did fight for their freedom for many years. Black history month is a celebration that we won those battles.”

On Track prepares local students for college

The On Track program is doing better than ever according to Liz Zenteno. The program is designed to get local high school seniors on the right track to beginning their college journey.

Previously, Midland College tried to help seniors with applying for college through a program that was known as College Connection.

This program was designed to help high school seniors on the college application site known as Apply Texas.

However MC noticed that the seniors needed more help than just the application process, and they need to start the process way sooner than what they were doing on their own.

So they came up with On Track to “get students to take action now with admissions, financial aid, and idea of their degree,” Zenteno said.
Program administrators first start by attending all the local high schools and getting the seniors to fill out an information card where they leave their basic contact information.

Once they receive the contact information, they then start to move forward in the process by contacting who is interested in MC and giving them information about meetings that are coming up for them to attend to start the process.

There should never be a reason why the students don’t know dates and times of every upcoming meeting because a text is sent out to them ahead of time telling them when and where the meetings are taking place, she said. The first meeting drew students in December.

The first meeting was about Legacy Scholarship community service hours. Information about what they can do now, how many hours they need, and the difference between Legacy Scholar hours and Texas Scholar hours was presented.

The second meeting, which took place on in January, was an even bigger success.

Zenteno said “about 78 students attended. Forty of those students were first-time students and 38 were returning students. Overall there were 120 people including parents.”

This meeting gave information about the TSI and how to schedule classes they can attend to help prepare them for college. Also every student who attended was given a voucher of taking the TSI assessment for free which is a value of $29.

So far the program is doing well by having more seniors involved and getting a head start on the process of applying to MC.

Each meeting that is coming up has different topics that are covered to help ease students into the process. At each meeting organizers do not like to leave the students and parents with unanswered questions, so the program administrators provide the opportunity through an app for the seniors to text what questions they have.

Zenteno said “seniors and parents are hungry for the information.”

Also to help seniors have their questions answered at every meeting, there are current MC students who attend to help the seniors get a better feel of what college life is like at MC.

Zenteno said they tell the seniors to do more than just attend classes and then go home but to get involved with activities around the campus.Students that have attended these meetings have had a good attitude about the process.

“They have energy, the questions just come in, and some students brought their friends the second meeting,” Zenteno said,

The main goal of this program is to get seniors on the right track to beginning their college journey. Zenteno said she “wants to get the word out that everybody is welcomed.”

Students have attended from Coleman, Lee High School, Midland High School, Premiere, and Greenwood.

About 70 percent of the students are first-generation.

Zenteno said the idea of this program is to have “smoother transition from high school to the first semester of college.

To not have every student wait till the last minute and to not have everybody wait in line in May and June, but to start now.”

MC prepares for West Texas History Symposium

Midland College is preparing for the second annual West Texas History Symposium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 22.

The West Texas History Symposium and Journal was established by Jim and Paula Henry in 2011 as way to help preserve the history of the West Texas area.

The inaugural symposium was held in April 2013.There were four presenters at the symposium.

The topics of the papers varied, including MC librarian Cecelia Miranda’s “An Old, Grainy Photo: Alfredo Rueda Quijano and the Mexican Revolution of 1911,” which followed her uncle activities during the revolution, and MC adjunct professor Christopher Buck’s “Before and Beyond Spindletop: The ‘Other’ Texas Economy,” which explored the history of Texas’s economy.

MC history professor Todd Houck attended the first symposium and was impressed with the presentations and the topics they were over.

“All the papers were really well done,” Houck said.

The Henrys donated $500,000 to the MC Chaparral Circle Endowment Fund to endowhistory professor William Morris as the Henry Chair of History. Morris’s duty as chair is to collect research papers written by community college professors from the greater West Texas area and publish a selection of them in the West Texas History Journal and organize the symposium for the authors to present their work.

Paula Marshall-Gray, MC professor of history and anthropology and director of the honors program, is in charge of the publicity for the symposium and will be the editor of the journal. Marshall-Gray would like to see more students come to the symposium.

“We want the students to understand what talented professors we have at Midland College and in the area,” Marshall-Gray said.
Some of the topics for the upcoming symposium include: “Samuel Burk Burnett and the 6666 Ranch” by Damon Kennedy, MC history professor; and “Frank Welch, Architect: His Legacy in Midland, Texas” by Terry Gilmore, MC government professor, and J. Don Wallace MC director of alumni relations and development.

The Henry Chair of History was founded to help preserve and promote the history of West Texas. It also provides a venue for professors at community colleges to have their research published, according to Marshall-Gray.

“We are on the tip of the iceberg of our history out here,” Marshal-Gray said.

The symposium will be held in room 101 of the Marie Hall Academic Building. Cost is $2.50 for students and faculty with a valid ID card and $5 for the public. All participants will get a box lunch at noon and will receive a copy of the 2014 journal.

MC golfers self-driven

IMG_1112The second semester of a year-long golf season is always the most rigorous, according to Midland College golf team members. The players attribute much of their motivation to MC golf coach Delnor Poss.

With the help of Poss and the determination of the players, the Chaps intend on going far. Delnor Poss has been coaching golf at MC since 1978.
His experience in the sport is definitely beneficial to the players,” said team member Jacob Boggus.

MC golf has maintained winning records throughout the past 15 years. The team has held titles such as NJCAA champions in 1992, 1995 and 2008, with several years of second and third place national victories as well.

Team member Russell Lara said, “The season has gone pretty well so far; hopefully we can get better and reach our ultimate goal of a national championship.”

Nationals is considered the biggest tournament of the year. This years’ national tournament will be held in Burlington, Iowa, May 11-16.
Word of MC golf hasn’t only reached local golfers. The team consists of eight members, with players from Texas as well as foreign countries, including England, Scotland and South Africa.

Oswin Schlenkrich, team member from South Africa, was put in touch with coach Poss with the help of a former MC golf player.

So far this season, the golf team has had three second-place finishes, two third-place finishes and two fiisrt-place wins.

Team member Trace Morrow said, “There are seven to eight teams on average participating in the tournaments.

The competition is close, but we have been able to place in every tournament so far.”
The teams’ next tournament is the Ronnie Black Invitational held in Lovington and Hobbs, New Mexico, March 2 and 3.


New director steps in at WRTTC

As the new ambassador for Midland College at the Williams Regional Technical Training Center in Fort Stockton, director George Tarpley wants ensure opportunities for credit and continuing education classes for rural West Texas students.

The WRTTC is a satellite campus of MC located in Fort Stockton.

It offers classes for associate degree, occupational and technical certificate programs, and GED preparation courses for rural West TX students.

Tarpley was hired by the WRTTC last December. Tarpley grew up in Abilene TX and graduated from Abilene High School in 1979.
He then attended Tarlton State University in Stevensville, TX. Tarpley graduated with a bachelor’s in agricultural education and a master’s of science in teaching.

Tarpley spent one year teaching vocational agriculture.

“I just knew that wasn’t my passion,” Tarpley said.

Tarpley was then hired by the Williams AgriLife County Extension office north of the Austin area.

Tarpley worked in a training position for four years. He was then hired as the agriculture program leader in Palo Pinto County in the Fort Worth area.

He worked there for five years before moving to Fort Stockton as the County Extension Specialist.

While at the Fort Stockton Extension, Tarpley worked on developing child education programs, managing and coordinating adult volunteer efforts to help extension agents with the educational programs.

Tarpley spent 21 years working in the Agrilife district six which encompasses 23 West Texas counties before retiring.

“I spent 21 years in that capacity, retired from theextension in July (2013) and then had the opportunity to go to work for Midland College in December,” Tarpley said.

Tarpley has worked with all levels of education in his various positions but this was his first time working for a college.

“I have been in education all of my life as a profession, but this is the first time I have actually been formally involved in the higher education side of things,” Tarpley said.

Before getting the director’s position at the WRTTC, Tarpley had accepted a job with Fort Stockton ISD as the agriculture teacher. The FSISD knew that Tarpley was looking at the position with WRTTC but its officials wanted him to work on their agriculture program for as long as he could. Tarpley spent seven weeks working for the FSISD.

Before leaving for the WRTTC, Tarpley was able to coordinate a replacement teacher for the FTISD agriculture program.

“It was a pretty seamless move from me leaving the high school and coming over here (WRTTC),”Tarpley said. “I was there one day and gone the next,” Tarpley said.

Tarpley plans to work closely with local businesses to find out what jobs are going to be in demand in the future. Then the WRTTC can work with the schools in the surrounding area to help students know what degrees would be good choicesto earn, in order to fill the positions in demand.

“I want to make sure we have the conversation far enough in advance that we understand what is coming and what we need to be preparing the work force,” Tarpley said.

Tarpley wants to present the WRTTC as a resource that is closer than the main MC campus for people who live in rural areas and who areinterested in pursuing higher education.

“Education is first and foremost a way for a society can build and address problems,” Tarpley said.

The emphasis of higher education for students at the WRTTC is multi-faceted.

“The ability to for them to take information and process it is as important as being technically trained,” Tarpley said.mt_headshot