Kyle Van Pelt wants to be prepared for anything.
"Engine work, body work, diesel – you name it, my plan is to be able to fix it," said Van Pelt, who is using North Platte Community College to move toward his goal.
The McCook native is currently studying Auto Body Technology at NPCC. He has already earned diplomas in two of the college's other programs, Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology.
By the time he graduates, he will also have earned a certificate in classic car restoration. He then plans to take online classes through NPCC to obtain an Associate of General Studies degree and hasn't ruled out throwing in some business classes as well.
"Ultimately, I would like to open my own automotive/diesel shop where I could accept any kind of project that comes through the door," Van Pelt said. "I really enjoy helping people. When someone calls me and says, 'Hey, I have this problem with my vehicle. Could you come check it out?' I absolutely love getting phone calls like that."
His passion for helping others, coupled with a desire to work with his hands, led him to his current career choice.
"I knew if I was going to go to college, it was going to be for something I enjoyed and could make money at," said Van Pelt. "There are cars everywhere, so there's always going to be a demand for services related to them."
Because what he wanted to go into is so specialized, he only considered two colleges. NPCC is closer to his home, which allows him to go back on the weekends and work one of two part-time jobs that he has.
Van Pelt was also already familiar with NPCC because a cousin of his had gone through the Diesel Technology program a few years before he did.
"The main reason I came to NPCC, though, was because the instructors have years of experience in the fields they teach," Van Pelt said. "I didn't want someone who didn't have any experience trying to teach me out of a book."
The classes at NPCC have allowed him to learn the way he does best – hands-on, and the small class sizes have given him the opportunity to bond with both his instructors and his classmates.
"I met my best friend on the first day of class," Van Pelt said. "He is from a small town, too, and has the same interests I do. We clicked in the first five minutes of sitting next to each other. That friendship helped me get my bearings, and it will be a lifelong friendship."
Van Pelt graduated from Southwest High School in Bartley in 2016 with only about 20 classmates. He believes anything bigger than NPCC would have been intimidating.
"The thought of transitioning from high school to college was actually pretty scary," Van Pelt said. "In high school, I wasn't the talkative person I am today. I didn't like to talk to people, and I didn't really have any friends. I know I wouldn't have survived a four-year college or university, and if those were my only options, I probably wouldn't have gone to college at all. NPCC broke me out of my shell. It opened doors I didn't know existed."
That includes participating in social elements of college life - some of which include public speaking. Van Pelt is both a student ambassador and resident assistant. He is often called upon to help with tours and to promote NPCC to prospective students, which he is now more than happy to do.
"NPCC is like a home away from home," Van Pelt said. "The community here is fantastic. If I didn't have to go home on the weekends for work, I would probably be here hanging out with my friends. It's the best college I could ever imagine going to."
Members of North Platte Community College's Phi Beta Lambda chapter helped Santa respond to more than 30 letters from local children Thursday. Pictured back row, left to right are PBL members Nikki Rawn and Shawn Christianson, of North Platte and Valerie Perez, of Venango. Pictured front row is Danya Mintle, of Thedford. Not pictured is Amanda Payne, of Dunning.
North Platte Community College nursing students wrap gifts Monday afternoon as part of the Santa Cop program at the North Platte Police Department.
The Santa Cop program collects donations all year long, so during the holidays, toys can be purchased and distributed to children in need throughout Lincoln County. NPCC nursing students always volunteer to wrap the gifts. This year they were joined by members of the NPCC Softball Team.
The students wrapped more than 1,000 gifts for 83 children in an hour and a half.
Actors and members of the MCC Theater Department's presentation of this past weekend's "A Welsh Christmas Remembered" gathered for a post-show discussion Sunday at Sehnert's Bieroc Cafe.
The discussion included insight into staging a devised production and the creative process with the actors, musician and directors. Also there was talk about author/poet Dylan Thomas and the MCC Theater in general.
Laptops, desktop computers and other electronics that have been phased out at North Platte Community College will now be available to the public year-round.
NPCC has launched an online auction site that will take the place of the on-campus surplus electronics auction of years past. The site can be accessed at https://airauctioneer.com/mid-plains-community-college.
All of the equipment offered has been cycled down through the college departments and eventually phased out. It still has the ability to serve a personal use for gaming, bookkeeping, etc. Everything will be sold 'as is' with no warranty.
"The process will be simple," said Casey Blake, area technology Help Desk supervisor. "Bidders just create an account or connect an existing Google or Facebook account and start bidding. They will receive email updates on items they've bid on, and a live view will be available. Bidders will even have the chance to 'buy now'."
All payments will be due at pickup, and must be made in the NPCC Business Office, 1101 Halligan Drive, North Platte. Only cash or checks, no credit or debit cards, will be accepted. Winners must also have the winning bid email with them at pickup.
Because of the holiday break, the auction will initially only run through Dec. 18. All items purchased must be picked up by the end of the business day Dec. 23. The auction will continue after the college reopens, Jan. 2.
Nearly all 200 cookies baked by Mrs. Claus and the elves were gobbled up at Santa's workshop last week at MCC. While children were busy decorating cookies and playing holiday games with MCC students in the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center, Santa was busy posing for photos with more than 180 people. Admission to the workshop was a canned goods.
McCook Community College Music Department presented its holiday concert "Winterfest" Sunday night which included performances from the concert choir, the children's choir and a couple combined pieces.
North Platte Community College Welcome Center staff filled stockings for clients of the Rape/Domestic Abuse Program of North Platte. Pictured back row, left to right are: Shelby Hills, Heather Pucket, Erika Kampschnieder, Peggy Fisher, Carol Garrison and Angie Mohr. Pictured front row, left to right are: Kristen Grimes, Mary Wiese, Kara Hagan, Beth Tabares and Danya Mintle. Not pictured was Jessie Sylte.
A group of employees at North Platte Community College is embarking on an effort to bring cheer to the families of victims of domestic violence.
Twelve staff members in NPCC's South Campus Welcome Center have been filling stockings with soap, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, socks, hairbrushes and other necessities that the Rape/Domestic Abuse Program of North Platte will give to clients and their families. Games, puzzles, markers, coloring books, toys and other items are packed into the stockings for children.
RDAP is a nonprofit victim service agency for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, human trafficking and stalking. It serves six counties including Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, Thomas, Hooker and Cherry.
Although the organization has been in service since 1985, this is only the third year for its Christmas Stocking Program. The stockings will be delivered to RDAP on Dec. 5.
Beth Tabares, financial aid specialist for the college, is one of the NPCC employees helping with the effort this year. She's no stranger to the cause.
"My family has supported the charity in the past," Tabares said. "It's a wonderful program and a wonderful opportunity to provide essentials to those who might not otherwise be able to afford them."
This year, she easily convinced her colleagues to become involved, and together, they will be able to supply stockings for five of the 12 families on RDAP's adoption list. More are expected to need assistance before the season is over.
The stockings are given to RDAP clients the week before Christmas. Recipients are typically clients that RDAP has been working with on a long-term basis. Because the organization offers ongoing advocacy services, a lot of the families who receive stockings are either in shelter, are staying with RDAP or are part of a support group, alternative therapies or strength-based advocacy.
More information about RDAP and the services it provides can be found online at: nprdap.org.
They aren't real, but observers will have to remind themselves of that.
In the coming weeks, a new mother and baby will take up residence in the nursing simulation lab at North Platte Community College. Their wide blinking eyes, gasps and reactions to their new surroundings are incredibly believable – almost as good as the real thing.
The mother, Victoria® S2220, is the world's most life-like childbirth simulator. Her baby, Super Tory® S2220, is the first newborn simulator developed to meet the challenges of neonatal care specialist training in real environments.
Victoria and Super Tory are not the first simulators NPCC has used to train nursing students, but they will make educational scenarios more realistic than ever.
"There are a lot more bells and whistles with this mom, than on the simulators we've had in the past," said Marina Makovicka, nurse educator and chair of the college's health occupations division. "We can put real OB belts on her, can code and intubate her and her tanks can be filled with different types of mock bodily fluids. She also comes with three bellies, one with a 27-week-old fetus in it, so we can do ultrasounds."
Another belly can be cut open to give students an up-close look at C-sections.
"She has realistic skin that can be stitched up, and then new skin goes on," Makovicka said. "When you walk in the room, she will look at you - follow you around with her eyes."
Victoria's interactive eyes are more than unique — they are game changing. Not only can she track objects, her eyes can also reveal signs of stress, stroke, head trauma, drug use, nerve impairment and many other diseases and conditions.
Victoria can be used to simulate early pregnancy complications, high-risk deliveries and postpartum emergencies that students might not otherwise witness during clinicals.
She can be converted into a non-pregnant patient if needed and comes with a vascular system so students can practice assessments. Audio streaming capabilities allow nursing instructors to talk through Victoria to the students. Her airway, breathing and circulation are programmable.
"She is capable of birthing a full-term baby of realistic size and weight," Makovicka said. "The baby will stay alive for at least 10 minutes. It breathes, cries and has a heartbeat."
Like her mom, Super Tory can blink her eyes. She can cry, grunt with visible mouth movement, extend her arms and legs, go into seizures and convulsions, and her muscle tone is programmable. Super Tory's chest rises and falls as she breathes, and her breakthrough respiratory system accurately responds to mechanical ventilation support like a real newborn.
The introduction of Victoria and Super Tory will allow the college to phase out the original mother, Noel, and baby, Hal, simulators, which have been used for the past seven years. Their life expectancy was five years.
"We take very good care of them," Makovicka said. "I give them baths and treat them like they are human, which is part of the reason they held up so well even though they went through a lot. The original mom birthed 427 babies in our lab."
Victoria and Super Tory were purchased from Gaumard Simulators for Health Care Education for $110,649.15. The money came from the college's instructional equipment fund.
The goal is to have both simulators set up by January so students can begin training on them.
North Platte Community College students Antonia Villani, of Frederick, Colo., and Alex Baldner, of Broomfield, Colo., prepare gift bags for visitors Wednesday night during NPCC's Santa's Workshop. The event was open to the public. Among other things, children created ornaments, decorated cookies, played games and visited with Santa.
Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.
Area Communications Specialist
Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator