Attendance Affects Grades.

Tests, projects, homework and essays are the majority of what students have to complete to earn an A in a class, but a grade can be lowered if he or she misses more than a few days of class.

Professors set rules and guidelines for their students to follow and attendance is one of the most important, according to some of Midland College’s professors.

MC speech professor Katherine Allen bases less than 10 percent of her grading on attendance and participation. Students are expected to attend class on a regular basis, unless a conflict occurs.

“I allow three on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class and two on a Tuesday, Thursday,” Allen said.

“It is up to the professors as to what percentage of their final grade comes from participation,” said MC professor Mindy Flowers. For some professors, participation grades differ depending on the class.

“When I taught kinesiology activity courses, I counted attendance more because it was an activity course,” Flowers said. “In my lecture courses I count about 20 percent of the final grade on attendance and participation.”

Professors are allowed to set their own attendance requirements, but deans have a say in policy, along with access to all of the syllabi. Allen said deans could point out potential problems to professors.

There are benefits of attendance being mandatory for MC students. “It encourages them to be conscientious about their attendance and helps them realize that they are in control,” Allen said.

Flowers agrees.

“Lectures, activities, discussions all benefit the students. So, if the students are in class, they are benefitted by being present,” she said. “Students are paying for the class, so each time they miss a class, they are just throwing the money away.”

There are students who find the attendance regulation beneficial as well. “One is more motivated to show up. If you don’t do the work, you don’t see the benefits. The same goes for attendance,” said MC student Sarah Sherpa.

Professors do understand that illness and emergencies can emerge, but also feel that they have given students enough days to miss so that they can handle problems that may occur. “Sometimes people do get sick,” Allen said.

“There may be a family emergency or they might have an appointment with a doctor and that (allowed absences) gives the opportunity to take care of that.”

Students are expected to be in class so that they can obtain all of the information given by the professor. “The way I teach is very interactive,” Allen said. “Interaction between students allows them to get to know each other better and practice their communication skills and hopefully feel more comfortable when it gets to the point where they have to stand in front of the class.”

There are also negative effects to having a set amount of absent days allowed.

“The main negative is for students who work full time and/or have other obligations such as family that makes it hard for them to attend class full time,” Flowers said. There are reasons as to why some students find it acceptable to skip class.

A lot of times people think that the teachers aren’t as serious as they appear in class,” Sherpa said. “Even for me, it’s hard to always be serious in class.”

Professors calculate all students’ grades, including participation, because the professors agreed they believe a student has to be in class to fully understand the assignments and want them to be prepared for any assignment in the future.

See MC

Out of Order.

artshow4The week before spring break, Midland College welcomed four artists to put together an art show for students, staff and the Midland community. The Out of Order art show opened on January 27 and will be on display until March 28 in the Allison Fine Arts building. , MC gallery director, Michael Hubbard hosted the art show and introduced all of the artists; Paula Gaetano-Adi, Lily Kuonen, Squeak Meisel and Brian Hutchenson .

The first art presentation that was shown was called the Perpetual Motion Machine by Gaetano, assistant director of studio arts at the University of North Texas. Gaetano’s art piece was performance based and involved six MC art students. The second artist to show his work was Brian Hutchenson. Hutchenson’s art pieces were the stages of life, from birth to death and the miracles that happen in between.

Kuonen is another featured artist who traveled from Florida to participate in Out of Order. Meisel presented his artwork, Throne by performing. MC music student Matt Wimberly played the drums while Meisel balanced on a piece of wood while holding a stack of plates and throwing them to the ground one at a time.

The artists were contacted by Hubbard almost seven months in advance, according to Gaetano. The four met each other the week before the art show’s opening night and each worked to get their pieces put together in time. The artists put together an art show in a week’s time and returned to their homes shortly after opening night was over.

Gaetano encourages others to attend art shows.

“It allows us to see everyday life in a different way. It allows us to see the world critically,” Gaetano said.

She described the art work as “eclectic” and added that the show contains “all different kinds of work.”

Michael Richardson, MC ceramics and sculpture professor took part in the art show as well, helping Meisel with his performance.

Richardson said that he got to “choose a person to bring in.”

“I chose my sculpture professor from grad school, Squeak Meisel. He does really cool instillations and does performance art,” said Richardson.

The artists were chosen by the art faculty.

“We were leaning towards artists that would push the envelope a little bit,” said Hubbard.

Art students were a part of the show as well and helped with the performances.

“Basically anyone who is in an art class right now was part of the art show,” said Hubbard.

The artists were given complete freedom, according to Hubbard.

“I expected it to be weird. I knew it was going to be a little odd and bizarre,” said Hubbard. The art show told a story and each artist portrayed their own unique was of presenting things. Those who attended the art show witnessed different representations of art and were exposed to art other than the usual paintings, sculptures and displays.

Wentz Tells All in Gray.

For rockstars, being on tour and in an unstable environment can be difficult if they are suffering from clinical depression and heartbreak.

In the novel Gray, Pete Wentz, bass player and lyricist for alternative band Fall Out Boy discusses his experiences with shows, people and how he struggled while touring worldwide.

Wentz incorporates feelings and thoughts into Gray that all readers can relate to on some level.

It’s no secret that Wentz isn’t the most chipper guy in the world. If you listen to FOB, then you know what I’m talking about.

Despite the ‘emo’ stereotype, the band member/song writer has meaning behind every song he writes and plays for the band.

Throughout his novel, Wentz provides the reader with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and distress. Being away from home and handling mental illness alone has got to be rough, no matter how successful and famous you are.

The novel is read like a diary from someone who is at constant war with themselves.

It almost feels like readers are reading their own words.

Gray makes readers feel as if every page were about their life. The novel made me laugh and cry.

There is no escaping empathy with Gray. Wentz sets himself apart from his band to show that being a rockstar isn’t always what it seems.

It’s not all free drinks, free drugs and free girls. Sometimes it’s lying around a tour bus aching to be home.

Day after day, Wentz illustrates his journey in finding himself, loving and losing, and self destruction.

A storm of emotions attack the author and leave him stranded, searching for a way of survival. His way of describing depression is uncanny.
The writer has a history of writing astounding songs and can now add ‘great novels’ to his reputation.

He is a true artist and shows that even the most successful and incredible artists have gone through trials and tribulation.

I found it almost impossible to put the book down once I opened it. It is well written from beginning to end.

The author told a story from the life of a rockstar to show readers that traveling the world, making lots of money and partying all the time isn’t always fun.

It isn’t always a happy experience and no matter the amount of success. It means nothing if you aren’t satisfied with yourself.

I don’t recommend the novel to a young audience, because of the use of language and sexual content, but it is appropriate for anyone over the age of 13.

All fans of FOB or Wentz himself should take a look at Gray.

Every hardcore fan likes to think they know everything about a band or band member, and this would give fans the perfect opportunity to add some information to their collections.

See MC offers family friendly fun, college info

SeeMCtifcolorSee MC is a great time to learn more about Midland College in a family-friendly way, and first-generation students, their families and the whole community are encouraged to come to the event, according to Alfredo Chaparro, director of community services.

Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday April 12, the college will host the third annual See MC/Sí, MC event. This free event will consist of music, fun and food. The event will be outdoors in Beal Plaza on the main campus. A free hot dog lunch will be provided to the first 2,000 lunch attendees.

MC event coordinators not only want first-generation students to come out and enjoy in the activities, they also want to see the community to participate in the games and volunteer to help run booths.

“See, Si MC is a blast. Seeing the community come together to see what MC has to offer and partake in the fun of See MC is a really cool experience,” said MC student and volunteer at See MC, Anthony Rodriguez.

“Getting to volunteer has been a blast. I’ve had the chance to be on both sides. It’s a fun experience, and I encourage everyone to come out and just enjoy,” he said.

What’s new at this year’s event is the attendance of Midland Mayor Jerry Morales along with Horace Brown from the KMID-TV news station.

The MC Engineering Club will be using its catapult to sling water balloons hundreds of feet into the air.

Early College High School students will be hosting a sack race, and there will also be a rock climbing wall.

Included in the activities will be 100 seniors from “On Track,” a program that helps high school students graduate on time.

“There are going to be over 300 volunteers consisting of staff members, students and various members of the community. Each volunteer will be put at one of the 50 booths,” Chaparro said.

One of the presentations being held right before See MC will be the screening of a documentary film. First Generation will be shown that day from 9-11:15 a.m. in a “See MC” pre-event. Hosted by Youth & Government Student Organization at Early College High School, First Generation tells the story of four high school students including an inner city athlete, a small town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer, and the daughter of migrant field workers. They set out to break the cycle of poverty and bring hope to their families and communities by pursuing a college education.

“We have to welcome people upfront and show them we are a family,” Chaparro said. “If a family can’t provide guidance to encourage higher education, there is someone here who can provide that guidance.”

MC student Perla Carreon first made her decision to come to MC after checking out See MC.

“See, Si MC is an event where all students and staff come together to show future students all the wonderful qualities of MC,” she said. “Future students will soon find out that MC is a great place to start your college career.”

Chaparro and his son partake in See MC every year. Chaparro’s son has been going to See MC since the eighth grade; his interests in welding led him to quickly become friends with his welding instructor Dan (Rabbit) Ledbetter.

“I come home and every now and then he’ll ask me how Rabbit is doing; it’s nice to see that our staff and students can easily become friends,” Chaparro said.

Son of God no Passion of the Christ

Can you guess the top grossing Rated R film of all time? If you guessed The Passion of the Christ, you are correct. The film is a beautiful but graphic portrayal of the life and death of Jesus Christ.

The graphic scenes in the movie definitely highlighted the title of the film. The film, directed by Mel Gibson, captivated the hearts of its viewers in 2004.

Now, 10 years later, a new film attempting to top The Passion of the Christ has hit the theaters.

With more than 100 million viewers, The Bible series became the number one TV series of 2013, topping some of America’s favorites such as Duck Dynasty. Due to the hype and popularity created by the series, the directors and producers were compelled to deliver a movie.

The Son of God movie, starring Diogo Morgado as Jesus, begins with clips from The Bible, depicting biblical stories leading up to the birth of Jesus. The movie progresses very quickly from his birth to adulthood.

Most expected to see Jesus as a youngster preaching in the temple, as that is one of the major stories of the Bible.

Unfortunately, the movie omitted such a scene. However, the scenes that were shown were rather intriguing.

Watching Peter walk on water and seeing Pontius Pilot slay a man were two scenes that make the movie worth watching.

The death scene of Jesus was a success. It was not as breathtaking as The Passion’s version, but it definitely presented the message of his death very well.

The Son of God movie hit theaters late February. Whereas Passion of the Christ was centered on the death of Jesus, Son of God was centered on his life and his works. Son of God definitely fell short of the bar that was set by the 2004 film. Son of God gets an A for effort.

The beginning of the movie progressed very quickly, but towards the middle of the movie, it became very slow and drawn out. It felt like it was stretched to fill 138 minutes of movie time.

One aspect of Son of God that made it interested, was that viewers got to see the human side of Jesus that captured his followers.

While the movie may have been long enough to create some snores, it also did a good job of creating real emotion and tears from some of its viewers.

Some of the scenery presented in the film seemed was very poor. However, the movie did do a fantastic job creating certain scenes that look legitimate. Even the characters looked their part. In that area, I applaud writer and director of Son of God, Christopher Spencer for his work.

The movie did an excellent job of selecting actors that could very well play their character.

Overall, Son of God was adequate. The PG-13 rated film seemed to have a family friendly feel to it, which is very much unlike The Passion. The movie also failed in accuracy and did a poor job of moving its audience in comparison to The Passion.

Many viewers are likely to be disappointed. The exciting, upbeat trailers compelled viewers to watch the film.

However, the movie as a whole failed to deliver that same kind of excitement and passion.

Midland College professor releases book

To improve education at the K through 12th grade level, the process must start at the bottom in the classroom and work its way up through the system, according to Joe A. Willis, MC adjunct speech professor and author of Teaching Lessons: Creating a Cultural Infrastructure for Great Schools.

Willis’s inspiration for writing his book Teaching Lessons comes from 35 years of experience in the field of education.

Willis taught at the high school level for 15 years and then at the college level for 20 years before retiring in 2012. Willis still teaches part time at MC in addition to writing and his other interests.

The book addresses the need to improve the K through 12th grade education by changing the culture and the perception of how the education system should work.

The wrong questions are being asked, so the wrong answers are being given, Willis said.

Too much emphasis is put on who should run the school and how, not on how schools can be improved to help the students learn more effectively.

“The solutions that are being offered by others revolve around changing the macros systems,” Willis said.

Willis believes that the culture that surrounds education today only focuses on the application of information to work in a career rather than a well-rounded knowledge base.

“I think that anybody who cares about education should read the book,” Willis said.

Willis spent about 20 hours a week over the last two or three years writing and editing the book. He had about 10 or 12 people who he knows read chapters to make sure the message Willis was trying to convey was coming through.

As a first-time author, Willis had to self-publish his book. It is very difficult for first time authors to get a publisher to pick up their book, since the publisher does not know how the author’s books will sell, he said.

He found this discouraging since he wanted to make people aware of the issue.

“You need to publish this because people need to hear it, but that did not go far,” Willis said.

One of the publishers who Willis spoke with said he really liked the idea but could not do it for business reasons, but the publisher said if Willis could show that the book would sell, Willis should give him a call.

Willis’s goal is to sell 1,000 books by the end of the year.

What Willis said he is really looking forward to the response that he will receive from people who have read the book, to get their input and for them start asking the right questions to those who are in charge of how education is organized.

“My goal with the book is to turn the corner and get a new conversation started that is more fruitful,” Willis said.

Without the 35 years of experience in education, Willis said he probably would not have felt the same way, and would not have written the book. He said if the education system is not changed, it will not create the kind of culture that is needed.

“Our future economic growth is based on our ability to educate people,” Willis said.

Teaching Lessons was released at the beginning of March.

It is available for purchase online at There will be several book signings in the Midland area: noon to 2 p.m., March, 29 at Hastings Book Store; and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. April, 22 at the Spring Hill Suites.

A full listing of book signings is available online at joewillis.netJoe Willis Pic

MC Baseball players commit to OU

Midland College baseball players Chris Shaw and Thomas Mcllraith will be playing for the Oklahoma Sooners this fall.

The players are finishing out the season at MC and are preparing for their transfer to the University of Oklahoma.

Mcllraith and Shaw signed with the OU last fall. Both players were presented with playing offers from other universities, but after their visit to OU, the players said it was an easy decision.

Mcllraith and Shaw visited the campus together in October of 2013, prior to making their decision.

Mcllraith and Shaw watched the OU baseball team practice, hung out with the players, and learned more of what the OU baseball program had to offer.

“I love what they are doing with the baseball program,” Mcllraith said. “I really enjoyed the weekend I got to spend with them.”

“I chose OU because it is a great place to go. It has an atmosphere that is bred for excellence,” said Shaw, who is originally from Canada.

Their time spent interacting with the current OU baseball players increased their excitement.

During their visit, the MC players became impressed with the new OU coaches.

“They have brought in a couple of new coaches who are looking to make a positive impact on the program,” Shaw said.

Both players are excited to see how the new coaches will benefit the Sooners baseball program.

“The new coach was focused on a national championship, and that’s what it’s all about,” Mcllraith said.

The players are anticipating the future competition between OU and other teams in the Big 12 conference.

Playing at the Division I level will bring in competitors like the University of Texas, Kansas State University and OU’s top rival, Oklahoma State University.

“The OU baseball program has had a lot of success in the past. We hope to help the team maintain that success,” Shaw said.

Mcllraith and Shaw are both in their second year of Chaps baseball.

Mcllraith will continue to play pitcher at OU, and Shaw will continue playing catcher.

Both players are planning to make the best of their baseball season at MC.

Both Shaw and Mcllraith said they intend on working as hard as possible to help bring the Chaps to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado on May 25.

MC disability services branch out

Midland College offers services to students with any special needs, helping them possess the skills necessary to compete in the everyday workforce, according to disability counselor Dale Williams.

His office is used to help students with disabilities identify a career path and to help them learn the skills that path may require.

“These students are granted academic accommodations in consent with the Americans with Disabilities act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,” Williams said.

Students with special needs are encouraged to contact a counselor in the disability assistance office as soon as possible. Once students are out of high school, the laws change. The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the law for special needs students from birth through high school.

According to, “IDEA is our nation’s special education law. The IDEA guides how states, school districts and pubic agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.”

Before IDEA was established, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the law in effect. Section 504 of this act continues to play an important role in education, especially for students with disabilities who may not qualify for special education services under IDEA, Williams said.

These laws are meant to protect these students from discrimination. Once an appointment is made, they are required to bring documentation of their disability or disabilities to student services.

Acceptable forms of documentation include: testing results from high school, assessment results from Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), results from a private psychologist or diagnostician, assessment report from a neurologist or other medical doctor or diagnostic results from any branch of the armed services.

“I thought getting into college was hard enough, but once I heard all the things kids with disabilities had to go through just to get help in school, getting in was a piece of cake,” MC student Mary Ruth said.

At the meeting, the disability specialist will discuss the services and accommodations at Midland College that seem appropriate for the student’s disability.

Enrollment assistance is also discussed, along with information about majors and admission requirements for the college.

A variety of support services are available for MC students with special needs. Services include interpreters, assistance with taped test takers, readers, scribes, and tape recorders, assistance with the registration process, adaptive equipment and test accommodations.

Williams said the department aims to help disabled students realize they’re just like everyone else. “Just because you have a disability it doesn’t mean you can’t work; everyone needs a job and everyone can work,” Williams said.

“We received a grant last semester that was given to us to fund the access lab for students. I’m really excited to start working with students with this lab and see what great things come from it,” Williams said.Dale Williams

Remembering Texas Independence Day

Earlier this month, 40 proud Texans of Midland gathered at the Haley Memorial Library to remember and celebrate Texas Independence Day.
The ceremony consisted of reading the proclamation of Texas independence followed by the pledge of allegiance to the United States and Texas flags. The ceremony was concluded with a three-musket salute and cannon volley, followed by three cheers for Texas.

Sheri Merket, an eighth-generation Texan, has attended the ceremony for many years. She said events like this are an excellent way to commemorate Texas history, and that it is critical that Texas history is continued to be taught in schools.

Ralph White was one of the re-enactors who participated in the musket salute. White was dressed as an Alabama Red Rover, who volunteered to help fight for Texas independence.

“We are here to celebrate our Texas history,” White said.

Prior to 1836 Texas was part of the Republic of Mexico, after Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821. Already under Spanish rule, the Spaniards planned to encourage colonization of Texas by allowing Americans to settle in Texas.

During the 1820s, the Mexican government instituted programs to allow American settlers to immigrate to Texas. The immigrants would provide a buffer zone between Mexico and the Indians living in Texas who would raid settlements in Mexico.

As more and more Americans immigrated into Texas, the Mexican government officials feared that they would lose control of the population.
The government tried to limit the immigration by putting heavier restrictions on immigration and on imported goods.

This polarized the Texans who eventually pushed them to the point of revolution.

On March 2, 1836, the 58-member body that met to discuss the option of independence.

They signed Texas’s declaration of independence, which formally broke Texas’s ties with Mexico and established the Republic of Texas.