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Mar 21
Public invited to sneak peek of NPCC Foundation Auction House


The public is invited to take a tour of the 2018 North Platte Community College Foundation Auction House. A sneak peek of the home is planned for 5-7 p.m. March 29 on NPCC's North Campus, 1101 Halligan Drive. 

Every year, students in the college's Building Construction, Electrical and Heating Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) Technology programs construct a house from the ground up as part of their training.  

In the process, they gain hands-on, real-world experience and an appreciation for quality craftsmanship that they can take with them into the workforce. 


The house is then sold via silent auction, and the proceeds are used for scholarships for NPCC's building trade students. 

Bids will open on the 2018 auction house at 1 p.m. April 2. The minimum starting bid will be $127,500. Bids will close at 2 p.m. May 4. No online bids will be accepted past noon on that day. 

Further details regarding the house, the auction and other processes may be found on the college's website at:

The public can tour the house from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment, up until the date it is sold.  Appointments for tours can be scheduled through the North Campus Welcome Center, 535-3601. Those interested in more information about the house can contact Fattig at 535-3646, or    

Mar 20
The sky’s the limit for middle school girls


Electrical engineer, firefighter/paramedic, meteorologist, jet pilot – the career possibilities were endless at the Expanding Your Horizons conference at North Platte Community College on Tuesday. 

A total of 314 middle school girls from 16 area schools attended the event. They heard from representatives of 27 different occupations and got hands-on experience doing everything from making flashlights and taking photographs with digital cameras to practicing CPR and stitching up bananas the way a vet would stitch an animal. 

"We've been doing this conference for over two decades," said Bridget Lange, the college's test center coordinator. "The purpose of it is to introduce young girls to STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] related careers, which are not traditional fields for women." 


The underlying themes were empowerment and positive thinking. Kelly Rippen, the college's area dean of enrollment management, encouraged those in attendance to come up with five positive words to describe themselves and to put those words into their phones for quick reference. 

She also challenged the girls to think of creative ways to use their cell phones to enhance the lives of those around them - such as by sending uplifting text messages to friends and family. 

"I want you to spread positivity," said Rippen. "And, I want you to bring your 'A' game every day." 


It was the first time Kylar Graham, an eighth grader from Gothenburg, had been to the conference. She wasn't disappointed. 

"I've had a great time," said Graham, who sat in on sessions about interior design, cosmetology and dental assisting. "My favorite workshop was probably dental assisting – just learning about all the different roles in a dental office and what they all do." 

Cathy Combs-Halligan, the sixth and seventh grade science teacher at Ogallala Public Schools, takes her students to the conference every year. This year, she took 39. 

"The girls love this," said Combs-Halligan. "The conference gives them the opportunity to learn about careers they might not otherwise have thought of and to see the tools of the trade. Every year, my students leave with this positive energy. They have so much fun and become inspired." 


In addition to Gothenburg and Ogallala, the participating middle schools were: Adams, Madison, Our Redeemer Lutheran and St. Pat's from North Platte, Broken Bow, Burwell, Eustis-Farnam, McCook, McPherson County, Medicine Valley, Mullen, Paxton, South Platte and Wallace.

Mar 15
Construction to begin on NPCC South Campus

South Campus map.jpg

Beginning Monday, March 19, the North Platte Community College South Campus will be accessible via Willow Street only. 

The State Farm Road entrance and exit will be barricaded due to construction on the parking lots on the south side of campus. Barricades will also be set up on the northeast corner of the Health and Science Center and on the northwest corner of the McDonald-Belton Building. 

It's anticipated that the State Farm Road access will reopen on May 9, just in time for commencement, and then close again after commencement. 

The construction is Phase One of a project intended to improve the look and functionality of the South Campus. 

Mar 14
High school students win big at scholastic contest


Sutherland High School

Students from 27 area high schools put their skills and knowledge to the test during the 51st annual Inter-High Scholastic Contest at North Platte Community College on Wednesday.

More than 250 applied technology tests were taken on North Campus and more than 700 academic tests were taken on South Campus.

Dundy County Stratton.jpg

Dundy County Stratton

The applied technology competitions consisted of both written test and hands-on elements. Students were judged in the areas of auto body, automotive/diesel, building construction, electrical, welding and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

On the academic side, students took exams on everything from accounting and athletic training to chemistry and information technology. They presented 3-5 minute monologues in a dramatic arts competition and performed solo vocal and instrumental pieces among a variety of other activities.


Callaway High School

"This contest gives students a chance to shine, show off their talents and earn scholarships for themselves and their school," said Kelly Rippen, the college's area dean of enrollment management. "We have so much academic, hands-on, creative and artistic talent in our area. It's our pleasure to host these students and allow them to show what they can do."

Winners in each academic category received a medal and a $500 scholarship to the college. Additionally, those placing first through third earned certificates for up to three credit hours of summer tuition.

Hershey High School.jpg

Hershey High School

Winners in the applied technology categories also received scholarships and tuition vouchers, but instead of medals, took home equipment that applied to their particular test areas. The top three students deemed to be the "hardest workers" of the day were presented with T-shirts.

Schools earned points based on how many winners they had. The top three point earning schools in each division received a plaque and a $500 scholarship to award to a student of the school's choice. Schools were also able to qualify for a scholarship by having any of their students place in the top three.


Cody-Kilgore High School

Results are as follows:


Top School Division 1

First – Dundy County Stratton

Second – Hershey

Third – Perkins County

Top School Division 2

First – Sutherland

Second – Callaway

Third – Garden County

Top School Division 3

First – Cody-Kilgore

Second  - Thedford

Third - Leyton


First – Spencer Pleschourt, Eustis Farnam

Second – Larren Fear, Sutherland

Third – Jacob Rupe, Eustis-Farnam


First – True Ford, Cody-Kilgore

Second – Sunnie Stephens, Southwest

Third – Ashley Kragelund, Southwest

Athletic Training

First – Bryan McGahan, Hershey

Second – Nicole Dewey, Southwest

Third - Jordan Callihan, Paxton

Biological Science

First – Keegan Nitsch, North Platte St. Pat's

Second – Bonnie Naughtin, Sutherland

Third – Kenzie Barnes, Cody-Kilgore

Business Communications

First – Marlee Taylor, Thedford

Second – Sydney Adamson, Cody-Kilgore

Third – Bethany Burklund, Hershey


First – Joshua Kruse, Leyton

Second – Justin Wiens, Mullen

Third – Olivia Sis, Dundy County Stratton

Creative Writing

First - Bryanna TenEyck, Paxton

Dramatic Arts

First – Delane Hugunin, Eustis-Farnam

Second – Hannah Sullivan, Wallace

Third – Xandra Burke, Paxton

Fire Science

First - Wyatt Lemon, Dundy County Stratton

Second – Wyatt Standiford, Hitchcock County

Third – Bryce Grothman, Perkins County

Grammar and Composition

First – Natalie Boyd, Dundy County Stratton

Second – Olivia Sis, Dundy County Stratton

Third – Sydney Thompson, McCook

Health Occupations

First – William Dowse, Sutherland

Second – Tina Wallace, Dundy County Stratton

Third – Leela Keck, North Platte

Information Technology

First – Ben Masten, Thedford

Second – Lars Gray, Sutherland

Third – Alex Porter, Southwest

Introduction to Business

First – Colin Hoatson, Sutherland

Second – DJ Hardwick, Dundy County Stratton

Third – Brooke Bode, Hershey

Literary Analysis

First – Sydney Thompson, McCook

Second – Rebel Sjeklocha, Maywood

Third – Taylor Mullen-Beck, Paxton


First – Peyton Stanczyk, Garden County

Second – Nathan Kemling, Perkins County

Third – Luke Christen, Mullen

Music Instrumental

First – Ran Aoki, Dundy County Stratton

Second – Valerie Perez, Perkins County

Third – River Hudson, Hershey

Music Theory

First - Isaac Stallbaumer, Callaway

Second – Nathan Kemling, Perkins County

Third – Alex Porter, Southwest

NPCC Facts

First – Spencer Johnson, Callaway

Second – Grace Sommer, Maxwell

Third – Britni Bandy, Hershey

Personal Finance

First - Colin Hoatson, Sutherland

Second – Hannah Higgins, Thedford

Third – DJ Hardwick, Dundy County Stratton


First – Peyton Stanczyk, Garden County

Second – Thomas Peck, McCook

Third – Michael Hazen, Medicine Valley

Vocal Music

First – Vayle Berger, Callaway

Second – Hannah Sullivan, Wallace

Third – Dalton Evans, Sutherland

Word Processing

First – Alyson Holt, Leyton

Second – Dominic Ralston, Sutherland

Third – Brooke Bode, Hershey 

Applied Technology:

Auto Body

First – Garrett Brenning, McCook

Second – Micheal Jaeger, Cambridge

Third – Thatcher Patterson, Cambridge


First – Logan Hansmeier, Ogallala

Second – Brady Henderson, Medicine Valley

Third – Tanner Carr, North Platte High

Building Construction (Team)

First – McCook: Garrett Brenning, Jared Detty, Tyler Lytle, Ian Shepherd

Second – Perkins County: Matt Aerni, Jack Kennicutt, Tyson Patrick

Third – Cody-Kilgore: Caustin Hill, Mason Hill, Kyen Langfield, Waylon Schneider


First – Colton Hewgley, Hershey

Second – Josh Malmkar, Perkins County

Third – Logon Dowling, Sutherland

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

First – Shane Simmerman, Ogallala

Second – Micheal Jaeger, Cambridge

Third – Ryan Davis, Ogallala

Welding Division 1

First – Keifer Smith, North Platte High

Second – Tevon Schomp, Hershey

Third – Jacob Kolar, Hershey

Welding Division 2

First – Tanner Burge, Perkins County

Second – Lex Wilde, Thedford

Third – Mason Ward, McPherson County

Hardest Workers (in no particular order)

Colton Gydesen, Central Valley; Mason Ward, McPherson County; Michael Jaeger, Cambridge

Mar 13
MPCC to offer series of suicide prevention trainings


Mid-Plains Community College is offering a series of workshops designed to help save lives. 

MPCC received a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska about a year ago enabling the college to provide free Suicide Prevention Training to its employees and communities within its 18-county service area. 

That training is now being rolled out to the public. The schedule is as follows: 

  • March 21 – 11 a.m., Broken Bow Community Campus 
  • March 21- 5:30 p.m., Valentine Community Campus 
  • April 9 – 6 p.m., Imperial Community Campus 

The Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training takes about 1.5 hours to complete. Its intent is to help participants understand how to talk about suicide, identify the signs of suicidal thoughts and feel more comfortable engaging with someone who may be thinking about suicide. 

"The stigma surrounding suicide is powerful, and therefore, suicidal people are often reluctant to ask for help," said Dr. Brian Obert, area dean of student life. "Most people who attempt suicide do not want to die. Often they want their lives to change, but do not know how to get help, or are afraid to ask for help. We want to prepare people to provide that assistance." 

Although there is no cost to attend the trainings, pre-registration is required. Those interested can call the MPCC Business and Community Education department at (308) 345-8122 to sign up.

Mar 13
Area high schools to benefit from applied technology simulators


Paul Knopick, area enrollment coach for Mid-Plains Community College, demonstrates the functions of an AC / DC Electrical system. MPCC plans to roll the system out to area schools in the fall.

Area high school students who haven't previously had the opportunity to learn about electrical technology, or heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, will have that opportunity this fall. 

That's thanks to four new applied technology simulators that will be rolled out by Mid-Plains Community College. 

"We want to fill a gap," said Gail Knott, MPCC area associate dean of outreach. "We want to introduce students to curriculum that a lot of our area schools don't have the means to provide." 

The simulators are the result of an Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) project started in June of 2016. The purpose of the project was to expand technical learning opportunities within MPCC's 18-county service area. 

"After some discussion, our committee decided something needed to be done in the high schools," said Knott. "We surveyed the principals, superintendents and counselors at all 35 high schools within our service area, and 96 percent of them said the simulators would be useful." 

The survey also indicated a need for training in two main areas: electrical and HVACR. 

After months of research, the committee found exactly what it was looking for in Indiana-based Amatrol, a company that creates innovative, interactive equipment for industries and education. 

The equipment 


Paul Knopick, area enrollment coach for Mid-Plains Community College, demonstrates the functions of an applied technology simulator recently purchased by MPCC. The house is part of a Thermal Technology 2 Learning System, which will be used to train area high school students on heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration.

MPCC purchased four units from Amatrol: an AC / DC Electrical Learning System, a Portable Programmable Logic Controller Learning System (PLC), a Motor Control Learning System and a Thermal Technology 2 Learning System. 

The AC/DC is designed to teach students how electricity is used for power and control in industrial, commercial, agricultural and residential applications. It covers industry-relevant technical skills, including how to operate, install, design and troubleshoot basic AC and DC electrical circuits for various applications. 

The purpose of the PLC is to provide education about troubleshooting skills, such as input and output testing, software testing and application troubleshooting. 

With the Motor Control Learning System, the focus is on operation, installation and applications for electric relay control of AC motors. The system also includes lockout/tagout components to teach vital motor control safety steps. 

On the HVACR side of the things, the Thermal Technology 2 system will provide training for three types of thermal systems: air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pumps. Students will learn industry-relevant skills including how to operate, install, analyze and adjust those systems. 

Each unit comes with progressive Learning Activity Packets that amount to about 40 hours of curriculum per unit. 

"The beauty of it all is that students can work on these units one-on-one, or the equipment can be used to teach a portion of the curriculum, such as AC/DC or coolant, to an entire class," said Knott. 

The total cost of the simulators was $90,000, the majority of which was paid with Perkins funds. The rest was made up by the college's AQIP funds.   

What's next 


Paul Knopick, area enrollment coach for Mid-Plains Community College, flips a switch on a Thermal Technology 2 Learning System recently purchased by MPCC. The system will be rolled out to area high schools in the fall.

Knott is currently making arrangements for the simulators to be transported among the various high schools in MPCC's service area. 

"It would be ideal if we could find retired electrical or HVACR technicians to move the units back and forth, set them up and provide instructions to the teachers," said Knott. "So far, we have about half the people we need to do that." 

In the meantime, the college has modified a trailer it already had to carry the simulators, and last week, applied technology instructors from the area high schools were on campus to watch demonstrations by Amatrol representatives. 

The immediate plan is to send the AC / DC Electrical system and the Thermal Technology 2 Learning System on the road while the PLC and Motor Control systems stay at Mid-Plains. 

"The PLC and Motor Control are a little more advanced," Knott said. "So, the plan is to hold them back for our college instructors to use in their classrooms and for industry training. We've had requests from [Becton Dickinson], Valmont, Sargent Irrigation and others for this type of training. Now we can provide it." 

More information about the applied technology simulators, the schools they are going to and upcoming trainings is available through Knott at (308) 535-3605. 

Mar 12
Registration underway for summer/fall classes at MPCC


Mid-Plains Community College students head to their next class. Registration is now open for summer and fall classes at MPCC.

Registration is now open for summer and fall classes at Mid-Plains Community College. Registration for current students opened on Monday. The general public can begin signing up on March 19. 

On-campus, online and distance learning options are all available. The majority of the classes are six to eight-weeks long, allowing students to rack up credit hours in a short amount of time. 

Some of the summer classes will begin as early as May 14. 

Courses offered this summer include, but are not limited to: Bookkeeping for Business, Introductory Accounting I, Introduction to the Visual Arts, Sculpture I, Fundamentals of Photography, Play Reading, Public Speaking, Beginning Spanish I, General Biology, Basic Anatomy and Physiology, Personal/Professional Development, Customer Service, Personal Finance, Principles of Selling, Non-profit Management and Leadership, Supervisory Management, Business Communications, Business Computer Systems, E-Marketing and Couch Reconstruction and Upholstering. 

QuickBooks, Intro to Microsoft Word, MS Office Activation, Integrated Information Processing, Intro to Information Technology, College Prep Reading, College Prep Writing, Intro to Criminal Justice, English Composition I and II, Short Fiction, Fundamentals of Mathematics, Elementary Algebra, College Algebra, Trigonometry, Elements of Statistics, Music Appreciation, American Government, Intro to Philosophy, Human Relations: People Skills, Marriage and Family Relationships, Nursing Assistant and Medication Aide are also available. 

A complete list can be found at:

It is recommended that those interested in registering for classes make an appointment with an advisor first by calling (308) 535-3701 in North Platte or (308) 345-8102 in McCook. 

MPCC provides numerous scholarships, grants and loans to qualified students. For more information about financial assistance, call (308) 535-3705 in North Platte, or (308) 345-8112 in McCook.

Mar 08
Nursing students create care basket for child with cancer

nursing students.jpg

Mid-Plains Community College nursing students stand behind a care basket they created for 13-year-old Olivia Meixner, of McCook. Meixner was recently diagnosed with cancer and has just started treatments in Omaha. 

The nursing students wanted to do something special for her to boost her spirits. 

care basket.jpg

They filled a teal and pink basket, Meixner's favorite colors, with blankets, puzzles, coloring books, a purse, approximately $100 worth of gift cards and various other items – all of which they purchased themselves. They also each created a handmade card to include with the gift. 

The basket will be given to Meixner's family, who will take it to her in Omaha. 

Mar 08
Youth Summer Sign-Up planned in Ogallala


The Mid-Plains Community College Ogallala Campus will host its second annual Youth Summer Sign-Up on March 21. The event is scheduled for 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Ogallala Auditorium. 

Parents are invited to take their children and register them for a variety of summer activities. More than 30 organizations that plan and host summer events and programs specifically for youth have been invited to be on-site to explain their programs and answer any questions parents might have. 

"It's basically one-stop shopping for summer activities for children," said Mary Pierce, MPCC Ogallala Campus coordinator. "The goal is for parents to be able to sign their children up for all their summer activities, from the library's summer reading program and swimming lessons, to baseball, softball and MPCC's 'Try it Out Thursday' program." 

Information about other youth-related groups and activities that occur outside of summer will also be available. 

Those who would like to reserve a space to promote their youth-related activity are asked to contact the MPCC Ogallala Campus at (308) 284-9830. Booth spaces are free and can accommodate either a 6-foot or 8-foot table.

Mar 07
MPCC Rodeo Team to host fundraising rodeo

JT Bradley.jpg

MPCC Rodeo Team member JT Bradley, of Brewster, wrestles a steer in Fort Dodge, Iowa in September. The entire team will benefit from a fundraising rodeo March 16-17 in McCook. (Photo courtesy of Tim Fuchs and TFC Photography)

The Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team will host its annual fundraising rodeo in McCook on March 16-17. Performances will begin at 7 p.m. each night at the Kiplinger Arena at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds. 

Admission for the regular performances is $10 per person with the exception of children 12 and younger – who will be admitted for free. 

The public is also welcome to attend slack, the overflow from the regular performances, for free. That will begin at noon on March 16 and at 10 a.m. on March 17. 

Both concessions and team merchandise will be for sale throughout the event. Proceeds will go toward a combination of scholarships, practice equipment and travel expenses for rodeo team members. Previous purchases have included a horse trailer, roping dummies and a bucking machine. 

"We don't have a major expenditure planned right now, but when you're dealing with that many animals, there are often unforeseen expenses that aren't in the budget," said Garrett Nokes, MPCC Rodeo Team timed event coach. "We try to help out the team members however we can." 

Both the Nebraska State Rodeo Association and the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association sanction the rodeo in McCook. It is sponsored in part by a grant from Red Willow County Tourism. 

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Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

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.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​