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Mar 20
Colleges 800 miles apart gather to honor Clay Grizzle


BIG SPRINGS, Texas -- Softball players from McCook Community College and Howard College – colleges 834 apart -- gathered before Monday's doubleheader to celebrate an amazing bond these two schools shared.

The schools honored a man who had an impact on both campuses – former MCC and Howard College Speech and Theater Instructor Clay Grizzle, who died suddenly in February.

"Clay and his impact, our colleges have a bond and as a student, you never know the paths you will take and how they will cross with others," said Dr. Cheryl Sparks, President of Howard College.

Grizzle came to MCC in the summer of 2013 having been a professor of theater/drama at Panola College in Carthage, Texas, and Howard College before that.

"What Howard College did Monday for Mr. Grizzle was amazing," MCC softball coach Josh Barnes said.

Upon hearing of Grizzle's death last month, one of his former students at Howard College, reached out to Dr. Sparks to inform the college of his death. It was also the same former Howard College student who spoke at Grizzle's memorial service at MCC – Volleyball Coach Hayley Kobza, who was a student of Grizzles when she attended Howard College.

As she relayed to officials at Howard College and at Grizzle's service,  Kobza said. "Mr. Grizzle was the reason I went into speech for my four-year degree and it is such a small world that I ended up working at the same college as him."

"We already knew his impact on our campus, but what happened Monday shows how great of person he was to all people he met. He supported MCC athletics and MCC overall 110 percent and he is greatly missed."


Mar 20
MPCC leadership students in Texas

Mid-Plains Community College students from McCook and North Platte spent part of their spring break in Texas

The leadership class paused for a photo at Six Flags over Texas. On Monday they went to Corpus Christi to see the beach.

The first day of the trip on Saturday was spent in the San Antonio downtown Riverwalk area seeing the sights and history of the area, including The Alamo.

Throughout the trip, Andy Long has led a combination of leadership reflections and ice breakers to build connections between North Platte and McCook students.

The group includes eight students from North Platte, 11 from McCook, and four sponsors.

Mar 19
Conference offers endless possibilities to middle school girls


"I feel inspired by being here - inspired to do something I didn't know I could do." 

Those words, spoken by Cheyenne Bristol, seemed to be the overall sentiment of students attending the 2019 Expanding Your Horizons Conference at North Platte Community College on Tuesday. 

Bristol is a sixth grader at Madison Middle School in North Platte. She was one of 335 girls from 17 area middle schools who participated in the conference this year. 

"It's the largest turnout we've ever had," said Becky Barner, area career coach for the college. "Expanding Your Horizons is actually a national organization that encourages young women to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NPCC is the only place in Nebraska that hosts an EYH conference. Our goal is to introduce these students to careers they hadn't thought of before." 

Each participant could attend up to three workshops. Tourism, banking, meteorology, beef cattle research, veterinary technology, engineering, horticulture and architecture were just some of the subjects they could learn about. 

The girls operated robots in a robotics class, learned CPR in a fire and emergency services session, participated in a beetle tractor pull in an entomology workshop and watched deputies shoot a Taser during a law enforcement demonstration. The majority of the workshops were taught by women. 

"That's part of what is so cool about this conference," said Jordan Jenik, an eighth grader at Adams Middle School in North Platte. "I thought a lot of these professions were only for men, but women are actually out there, in the field, doing amazing things. I've learned about careers I probably never would have considered if not for these workshops. Robotics is one of them." 

Engineering was another. The instructor for that workshop was also the keynote speaker, Heidi Elliott, an energy educator for the Nebraska Public Power District. 

She brought virtual reality headsets for the students to play with, but her message was serious. Elliott encouraged all of the girls to think about their potential, take opportunities, unleash their "stick-with-it-ness" and draw on experiences and resources. 

"You could be innovative," Elliott told participants. "You could be the next engineer. You could be leading the way in medicine. You have the power. Remember your potential and what you can do." 

Schools attending the conference included: Adams, Madison, Our Redeemer Lutheran and St. Pat's in North Platte; Broken Bow; Eustis-Farnam; Gothenburg; Hershey; Maxwell; McCook; McPherson County; Mullen; Ogallala; Paxton; South Platte; Sutherland and Wallace. 

Lunch was provided by Equitable Bank.

Mar 18
MPCC information technology instructor awarded fellowship

Emmanuel Luke Fellowship.jpg


A Mid-Plains Community College instructor will spend the summer – not on vacation, but rather furthering his education. 

Emmanuel Luke was recently accepted for a fellowship at Montana State University. The six-week program, known as Research Experience for Teachers in Innovative Transportation Systems (RET-ITS), will be hosted by the Western Transportation Institute in Bozeman, Mont. beginning June 24. 

The program will allow community college faculty, as well as middle and high school teachers focused on STEM and Career and Technical Education, to conduct research and develop new teaching tools and materials. 

"As an IT instructor, I have always been and still am amazed by the power that technology has given us to practice and implement innovative methods that improve our students' lives inside and outside of the classrooms," said Luke. "Workshops or seminars such as RET that help community college faculty develop and conduct new research skills and that empower them to teach new materials in the classroom are invaluable."  

Research projects will focus on the unique challenges of rural transportation systems and on the development and testing of new infrastructure materials, technologies and models designed to improve rural transportation. 

Luke will be expected to implement new teaching materials and activities into his classroom based on what he learns. His goal is to gain the expertise and ability to translate similar research to his students to encourage more interest in STEM programs. 

"I hope to provide more resources to arm students at MPCC with stronger knowledge in technologies and beyond," said Luke. "I want to educate my students on the endless opportunities in information technology and information systems, with the hope of working side-by-side within IT after graduation on real-world problems in rural America." 

Luke has been an instructor at MPCC since 2014. 

Mar 14
Students from 14 area high schools at MCC Inter-high Day


MCC Interhigh day 1.jpgHitchcock County, Eustis-Farman, McCook High School

take home top academic awards at MCC Inter-high Day

Hitchcock County, Eustis-Farnam and McCook High Schools claimed divisional championships Wednesday in the Inter-High Day academic competition at McCook Community College.

More than 250 students from 14 area high schools were on campus taking tests in 29 academic categories.

Eustis-Farnam won first place among the small-school division. Medicine Valley was second and Maywood High School was third.

Hitchcock County won the division 2 with Arapahoe second and Dundy County-Stratton third.

McCook was first in the large-school division, Southwest was second and Sutherland third.

Here are the top three placers in each of the academic tests:

Accounting – 1. Jacob Rupe, Eustis Farnam; 2. Sunnie Stephens, Southwest; 3. Lexie Sines, Cambridge.

Keyboarding – 1. Lillian Wiese, Dundy County-Stratton; 2. Ben Hafer, Sutherland; 3. Joszelyn Nickelson, Eustis Farnam.

General Business (Team) – 1. McCook, 2. Sutherland, 3. Southern Valley.

Marketing (Team) – 1. Southern Valley, 2. Maywood, 3. Dundy County-Stratton.

Graphic Design – 1. Savannah Ellis, Southern Valley; 2. Riley Books, Sutherland; 3. Miah Long, Perkins County.

Information Technology – 1. Drake Brunswick, McCook; 2. Sederick Kehler, Hitchcock County; 3. Santigo Giraldo, Cambridge.

Advanced Math – 1. Jacob Woodmancy, Perkins County; 2. Suzanne Roggenkamp, Southwest; 3. Luke Reikofski, Wauneta-Palisade.

Algebra I – 1. Lindsey Rippen, Hitchcock County; 2. Kirkland Nicholson, Southwest; 3. Jeb Kohl, Perkins County.

Algebra II – 1. Darian Hutto, Hitchcock County; 2. Austin Adam, Southwest; 3. Ian Tomlin, Cambridge.

Geometry – 1. Dionte Perkins, Hitchcock County; 2. Addison Randel, McCook; 3. Zachery McArthur, Cambridge.

Music Instrumental – 1. Camilo Cushman-Cabrera, McCook; 2. (tie) Jayda Dwyer , Hitchcock County and Jason McIntosh, Maywood; 3. Kassi Cooper, Hitchcock County.

Music Theory – 1. Elaine Roggenkamp, Southwest; 2. Kassidy Michaelis, McCook; 3. Olivia Sis, Dundy County-Stratton.

Music Vocal – 1. (tie) Jayceea Hanson, McCook and John Lee, Arapahoe; 2. (tie) Brett Soderlund, Southwest and Mary Baum, Hitchcock County; 3. Kassidy Michaelis, McCook.

American Government/History – 1. Michael Hazen, Medicine Valley; 2. Jackson Koller, Arapahoe; 3. Tate Hartley, Maywood.

Athletic Training – 1. Jenny Linden, Southern Valley; 2. Jayden Widener, Maywood; 3. Colton Hearn, Arapahoe.

Biology – 1. Noah Nicklas, Medicine Valley; 2. Isaac Goshert, Arapahoe; 3. Autumn McCauley, Hitchcock County.

Chemistry – 1. Sydney Reichert, Dundy County-Stratton; 2. Christian Timm, Eustis-Farnam; 3. Kailee Miller, Southwest.

Engineering (Team of three) – 1. Jayce Bischoff, Eustis-Farnam; JD Bartrell, Eustis-Farnam and Madeline Hinze, McCook.

Family and Consumer Science (team) – 1. Arapahoe, 2. Medicine Valley, 3. Southwest.

Fire Science – 1. Joseph Fischer, Sutherland; 2. Lincoln Waters, Dundy County-Stratton; 3. Eli Handsaker, Maywood.

Health Occupations – 1. Jacquelyn Hinze, McCook; 2. Johanna Sughroue, Southwest; 3. Branigan Schaben, Arapahoe.

Welding – 1. Brandon Leslie, Southwest; 2. Jaxson Dueland, McCook; 3. Jay Porter, Southwest.

Sociology – 1. Emily Kjendal, McCook. 2. Maggie Weatherwax, Arapahoe; 3. Autumn McCauley, Hitchcock County.

Criminal Justice – 1. Emily Kjendal, McCook; 2. Olivia Behrends, Wauneta-Palisade; 3. Cooper Schutz, Arapahoe.

English Composition – 1. Olivia Sis, Dundy County-Stratton; 2. Shane Horwart, Cambridge; 3. Madeline Hinze, McCook.

English Literature --- 1. Connor Moorhous, McCook; 2. Laynee Merrill, Hitchcock County; 3. Brooklyn Elwood, Sutherland.

Theater Acting – 1. Hannah Whitson, Arapahoe; 2. Chasity Samaniego, McCook; 3. Philip Boyd, Dundy County-Stratton.

Theater Improvisation (team) – 1. McCook, 2. Sutherland, 3. Southwest.

MCC Facts – 1. Wade Burkert, McCook; 2. Riley Mai, McCook; 3. Jayden Claflin, McCook.

Mar 13
McCook Community College prepares for sale of Husker tickets


A map shows the lineup for ticket sales at McCook Community College.

Tickets for the Nebraska vs. Colorado State spring volleyball match will go on sale Saturday in McCook. They will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the McCook Community College Graff Events Center, 401 E. M St.  

Tickets are $10 each, are limited to four per person and must be paid for with cash. They will only be sold to those ages 16 and up who provide identification. Anyone 2 or older must have a ticket to watch the game. Seating is general admission only. 

Tickets will be sold from the southeast ticket booth in the lobby of the Graff Events Center. The southeast doors to the building will open at 11 a.m. 

Due to the large amount of people expected, the ticket line will begin on the northeast corner of the Graff Events Center parking lot. Barricades will be set up along the east side of the building to help with organization, and MCC event staff will be on site to facilitate an orderly system for entry.  

In order to promote fairness and equal opportunity to all ticket buyers, saving places in line for large groups or cutting in line will not be allowed and will be monitored by college staff.  

There will be absolutely no entry to the Graff Events Center before ticket sales begin. Restrooms will be available across the street in McMillen Hall from 6 a.m. to 1p.m. 

The match is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 20.

Mar 13
NPCC music department presents spring concert

spring concert NPCC.jpg

Christopher Terry, of Grant, and Maximus Wohler, of North Platte, sing during a Spring Band and Choir Concert Tuesday evening at North Platte Community College. 

Song selections included: "Light in the Hallway," "When the Earth Stands Still," "Widecombe Fair," "Play That Funky Music," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "The Seal Lullaby" among many others.

Mar 12
Mobile glass lab a hit at MCC


More than 250 people checked out the Hastings College Mobile Glass Lab Wednesday at McCook Community College. That number included several classes of students of all ages as well as artists, community members and those curious about the big truck parked at the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center.

Michael Beahm, art instructor from the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center, led the demonstrations both from a chemical perspective and also from the art perspective.

The mobile studio included a furnace that heats to more than 2,000 degrees to melt glass — plus houses all the equipment that’s needed, including a pipe warmer, annealer, tools and LP gas.

This event was a collaboration among Hastings College, McCook Senior High, and McCook Community College, the McCook Educational Foundation and the McCook College Foundation.


Mar 12
NPCC electrical students host fish fry

fish fry3.jpg

Jake Elmshaeuser, electrical technology instructor at North Platte Community College, fries up a batch of walleye Tuesday on NPCC's North Campus. The electrical department hosts the fish fry every year to give the college's students and employees an opportunity to relax and socialize half way through the semester. 

Mar 11
NPCC students inducted into PTK


North Platte Community College inducted 30 students into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society on Sunday. 

PTK is the world's largest and most prestigious academic honor society for two-year college students. Inductees were selected based on grade point average. They included: 


Big Springs - Caprice Brown 

Brady - Jessica Most 

Gering - Kaylee Bohnsack 

Grand Island - Dustin Myers 

Imperial - Rogelio Vargas 

Lewellen - Ramona Steward 

McCook - Abby Johnson 

North Platte - Nicholas Bussard, Jamon Davis, Nicholas Doucet, Joshua Golden, Matthew Haynes, Haiden Kreber, Dasia Lively, Gabrielle Menghini, Megan Morash, Lisa Pickett, Dalton Prokop, Joseph Pucket, Jonathan Spradlin, Karly Stahl, Wendi Stover 

Ogallala - Giselle Berol, Brady Pochon 

Thedford - Danya Mintle 


Fleming - Bailey Chintala 

Wheat Ridge - Emily Anderson, Aurora Storrer 


Rome - Tommaso Mostarda 


Maputo - Nelo Nducuia

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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​