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Dec 07
Spencer named NPCC Business Student of the Month

Whitney Spencer.jpg


Whitney Spencer, of Grant, is North Platte Community College's Business Student of the Month for December. 

Spencer graduated from North Platte High School in 2012 and is currently studying business administration and event planning online at NPCC.

"I selected NPCC for the flexibility that the college offers through online courses and for the amazing faculty members," said Spencer. "I have enjoyed all my instructors and have been lucky to have their guidance." 

Business instructor Jimi Cole nominated Spencer for the recognition. Cole said online classes take a lot of work and commitment, and Spencer has displayed those characteristics. 

"She is very engaged in the online classroom, has a positive outlook and takes the time needed each week to perfect her work," Cole said. "It has been a pleasure having Whitney in class, and she is most deserving of this award." 

Spencer is on track to graduate in May. After that, she plans to continue her education in business and science. Her goal is to one day obtain a Master of Business Administration degree as well as a doctorate in physics. 

In addition to learning about new things, especially science and space, Spencer enjoys spending time outdoors, fishing, reading, writing, volunteering and spending time with friends and family. 

She and her husband Alec have two children, Cozette and Derringer. 

Dec 05
NPCC introduces English honor society


Members of North Platte Community College's new chapter of Sigma Kappa Delta celebrate the chapter's inception Wednesday morning. Pictured left to right are: Member Jonathan Hastings, of North Platte; Vice President Ashley Linke, of Cozad; Chapter Sponsor Kristi Leibhart and President Jeannette Carmel, of North Platte. 

An English honor society is now available to students at North Platte Community College.

NPCC received national approval for a Sigma Kappa Delta chapter on Tuesday.  

SKD is the English honor society for two-year colleges, and NPCC is currently the only college in Nebraska to offer it. 

An inaugural induction ceremony is planned for this weekend. 

"I am thrilled that after a lot of hard work and perseverance on the part of some students who are very dedicated to English and the world of academia, Sigma Kappa Delta is finally coming to fruition," said Kristi Leibhart, English instructor at NPCC. "Sigma Kappa Delta will open up so many new opportunities for our students and provide another means to reward them for their academic accomplishments." 

It's a goal Leibhart has been working toward for the past two years. 

"When I was in school, a Sigma Tau Delta chapter was available, which is an English honor society for students at four-year colleges and universities," said Leibhart. "It was a very visible sign on campus that people were interested in English, and it was a true honor for students to be part of. I wanted to start something similar at NPCC that would reward academics and provide something to aspire to in the classroom." 

Leibhart said six members are required to form a SKD chapter. She knows of about 100 individuals at the college who are eligible. 

"It's not limited to English majors," said Leibhart. "Anyone who has completed at least 12 credit hours, who has a minimum GPA of 3.0, who has completed at least one English class and who has received an A or a B in every English class can join. Participation doesn't automatically guarantee induction into Sigma Tau Delta if students transfer on to a four-year institution, but it can make the process easier." 

In addition to providing an honor to list on résumés, SKD offers numerous scholarships to its members. There are opportunities to enter writing and photography competitions, present at national conferences and be published in the "Hedera Helix Literary Journal," the SKD's official publication. 

"We plan to do a variety of activities at the local level as well," Leibhart said. "We would like to conduct community service projects, such as reading to nursing home residents, or collecting books to send to prisoners. Film nights and poetry slams have also been discussed." 

The chapter's induction ceremony is open to the public. It's scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the McDonald-Belton Theater on NPCC's South Campus. 

Members will receive green and gold honor cords to wear at commencement as well as a commemorative SKD pin. Refreshments will be provided. 

Anyone interested in joining the new honor society can contact Leibhart at

Dec 04
NPCC softball team donates Play-Doh to children’s hospitals

hospital donation.jpg

NPCC softball players pack Play-Doh and stocking caps into boxes bound for children's hospitals. Pictured left to right are: Alea Binkly-Putman, Megan Hernandez-Belew and Ashlynn Krueger.

Patients in two regional children's hospitals are in for a big surprise.

Boxes full of fun are headed their way - courtesy of the North Platte Community College Knights Softball Team. 

The Knights hosted a "Strike Out Childhood Cancer" themed game in September in honor of Ian Galloway, of North Platte. An avid fan of Knights softball, Galloway used to throw out the first pitch at games. He died a little over year ago at the age of 7. 

The Knights called for a "gold out" in his memory because gold is the color that represents childhood cancer. Admission to their game was a container of Play-Doh. 

Those donations were packed up Monday into two boxes – one bound for the Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha and another for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City. 

Each box contained 15 four-packs of Play-Doh, two super color packs, 30 individual containers and a cookie treats Play-Doh set. The hospitals also received handmade stocking caps created by former NPCC custodian Nancy Eisele.

Dec 04
MCC Winterfest Concert rescheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.

McCook Community College's concert, "Winterfest", which was postponed because of weather last weekend has been rescheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. at Memorial United Methodist Church, 105 East E.

This concert will feature the MCC Concert Choir, Chamber Strings, Chamber Ensemble, and Children's Choir.

The public is welcome. Admission is free.

Dec 03
NPCC students relax with oxygen bar/massages

North Platte Community College provided its students with an opportunity to unwind and relax Monday - ahead of a week of finals. 

The Student Life department and Learning Resource Center joined forces to offer a variety of stress-relieving activities in the LRC. Those included an aromatherapy oxygen bar designed to increase energy and alertness, massage chairs, spine alignment machines and free hot chocolate and apple cider.


Emily Breinig, of Maxwell, takes a break from studying to experience the oxygen bar. Sydney Mullin.jpg

Sydney Mullin, of Gothenburg, receives some aromatherapy at the oxygen bar.  chairs2.jpg

Trinity Langley, of Sidney, and Isaiah Pucket, of North Platte, relax with a massage.


Natalee Hall, of Loveland, Colo. and Mikayla Gibson, of West Valley City, Utah, try out the spine alignment machines. 

Dec 03
MCC science symposium set for Friday

science symposium.jpgMCC science symposium set for Friday

The fourth annual McCook Community College science symposium is set for 1 p.m. Friday at the Weeth Theater in Tipton Hall. MCC freshman Ethan Wilcox will present his findings from an experiment he did this semester on roly polies. In addition, his instructor Rob Bogardus, will present his own research on tree swallows. The event is free and open to the public.

Wilcox is a freshman at McCook Community College who enjoys science. His goal is to major in Molecular Biomedical Biology – a field that will require research skills. On Friday he will discuss his research on whether isopods (roly polies) are better at breaking down cultivated plant litter or the litter found in natural environments. Bogardus will present research on how tree swallows select their mates and how that choice affects their lives and the lives of their nestlings.

This semester Wilcox took over MCC's new research facility -- the former greenhouse on the west side of Barnett Hall. After gaining insight into scientific research through the first several weeks of the class, he formulated his research and then mid-semester -- over an extensive two-week period of monitoring -- he let groups of isopods feed on distinctly different plant diets. Following that, he performed chemical and statistical analyses to detect differences in how much they ate and how effective they were are digesting different native or cultivated plants.

On Friday he will reveal his findings at a public science symposium, designed to give him additional experience both in preparing and communicating scientific work.

"This class was a lot more exciting than I thought it would be," Ethan said. "I guess I was expecting more reading and book work but it was more hands-on work than I expected." He also realized that planning out all the aspects experiment ahead of time requires a lot of "detailed thinking" but it's one of the most important things he learned from the class.

"Hands-on experience in original research is now an essential part of undergraduate science education," Bogardus said. "For students to be competitive when they eventually apply for medical, pharmacy, veterinary, graduate school, or similar programs, they need to demonstrate that they have actually done science, not just learned about it."

After taking biology and zoology at MCC with Rob Bogardus, Ethan decided to get a head-start on gaining research experience through MCC's BIOS Research 2500 class.

This is the fourth year, this course has allowed biology students to create and conduct original research, creating their own experiments to answer questions that have never been tested before.  It's a one-semester experience in being a scientist, and helps prepare them for future science careers.

Ethan worked closely with more than 300 terrestrial isopods, also known as roly polies, pill bugs or wood-lice (they are actually crustaceans like lobsters.) The scientific name for these common isopods is "armadillidium vulgare," and they are important contributors to plant decomposition and soil quality.

Because he took this class – in his first semester after high school -- Ethan firmly believes that having the scientific research experience definitely gives him an advantage when it comes to the next phase of his science career – wherever he goes, or whatever field he ultimately decides to pursue.

Dec 03
STEM Club makes holidays brighter for local children

Angel Tree.jpg

Patrick Haynes, of North Platte, examines a set of action figures donated to the Salvation Army Angel Tree program on Monday. 

Haynes is president of North Platte Community College's STEM Club, which is hosting two Angel Trees this year. 

One tree is located in the middle of the Health and Science Center, on NPCC's South Campus, at the bottom of the main staircase. The other is in the lobby of the W.W. Wood Building on NPCC's North Campus. 

The adorning ornaments list ages and genders of local children in need and provide gift suggestions. 

People are encouraged to take an ornament from either tree, purchase a gift listed on the tag and then return the item, unwrapped, to The Salvation Army or to the Health and Science Center by Dec. 14. 

Gifts returned to the Health and Science Center should either be left under the tree or delivered to Jared Daily's office in Room 217. 

Gifts can remain in the shopping bag with the accompanying ornament. Salvation Army volunteers will wrap them and distribute them to the children.

Dec 03
NPCC to host holiday concert


Lisa Pickett will be among the music students performing during a holiday concert at North Platte Community College on Tuesday. The concert begins at 7 p.m. It's free and open to the public. 

North Platte Community College will sing in the holiday season with a band and choir concert Tuesday at 7 p.m. The concert will be in the McDonald-Belton Theater on NPCC's South Campus. It's free and open to the public. 

"Our performing groups have rehearsed the entire semester to present a variety of Christmas favorites and some non-traditional selections," said Pamela Koch, music instructor. "These students are extremely talented and will be excited to see their friends and family in the audience. I would encourage everyone to come support the music department." 

Song selections will include: "What Child is This?," "Silent Night," "A Big Band Christmas," "Saxes With Attitude," "Superstition," "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and "Mary, Did You Know" among many others. 

Koch will direct the instrumental ensemble. Kristin Simpson will direct the choirs, and Sue McKain will serve as the collaborative accompanist. Both are adjunct instructors for the college. Guest Gregg Todd will serve as a percussionist. 

The following is a list of performers. A "*" denotes select choir members.  

Full choir: 

Chelsea Leal*

Lisa Pickett*

Devin Wolcott

Alexandra Burke*

Tia San Miguel*

Case Axthelm

Isaiah Pucket

Maximus Wohler*

Austin Leal

Benjamin Miles

Justin Morgan*

Josue Pop-Villa de Leon

Dylan Rogge* 

Jazz Band 

Saxophone - Chelsea Leal, Valerie Perez, Devin Wolcott 

Trumpet – Alexandra Burke 

Trombone – Dylan Rogge 

Guitar – James Burke 

Bass – Dillin Burch 

Percussion – Austin Leal 

Keyboards – Pamela Koch

Dec 03
MCC's 'Caring Kids' to auction recycled holiday wreath

MCC'S CARING KIDS learn about "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" while making their Christmas Wreath. They are, from left, Angel Vazquez, Kale Sattler, Caden Rowe, Kacy Anderson, Abigail Nielsen, Jackie Sattler and Zoe Kinne-Garcia.

NEWS FROM MCC'S BCE; upcoming classes, workshops

MCC's 'Caring Kids' auctioning recycled holiday wreath

The Caring Kids class, sponsored by the Business and Community Education Department at McCook Community College, has culminated their semester of learning "All About Recycling" by creating a holiday wreath. That wreath is now entered in the McCook Chamber of Commerce Festival of Wreaths.

In keeping with the class theme this semester the students created a wreath from the pages of an old book.

The "Old Book Wreath" is on display at the Keystone. Silent auction bidding will take place now until the night of the Festival of Wreaths which is scheduled for Dec. 5, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Anyone can stop in the Keystone and place a bid at any time up until Dec. 5. The proceeds from the wreath will go to the McCook Pantry, the organization chosen by the kids.

The Caring Kids class is sponsored by the Business and Community Education Department at MCC and meets once a month at McMillen Hall.


Whether you want to take a class for fun, to improve your skills, unleash your creativity, grow your business or prepare for a new career, Mid-Plains Business and Community Education Department at McCook Community College can help. Offering both traditional classroom and online classes, MCC can meet your individual learning needs. Please join us in one or more of the following classes. Pre-registration is required, so call today at 345-8122.

Personal Development

CPR for the Layperson (Includes 1st Aid): The CPR part of this class is a hands-on approach to an emergency, focusing on the skills needed to respond to a patient that is not breathing. Included in this training is first aid for choking. The first aid part of the class also contains information on how to manage illness and injuries in the first few minutes of an emergency until professional help arrives. This class can be offered at other times and can be delivered to individual organizations and businesses. Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 6-10 p.m., Marc Harpham, $65, Fire Station.

Lifestyle/Wellness/Arts & Crafts

Canvas Creations: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Canvas Creations is a new BCE monthly course that will unleash your creativity. This month with just a couple hours and a paint brush, artists of all skill levels will create an acrylic 14-by-18-inch canvas painting of a tranquil winter scene featuring a shimmering Christmas tree in the foreground. So grab a friend and come for fun and adventure while creating your very own masterpiece to take with you when you leave. Saturday, Dec 8, from 11 a.m.- -2 p.m., Rachiell Roberts, $29, McMillen Hall, room 213.

Introduction to Reiki: Learn the history of Reiki (Raykey), the Japanese technique of stress reduction and relaxation. Students will learn to access energy channels on a physical and spiritual level. Students will leave with information and tools necessary to start their self-healing journey. Instructor Karen Ackermann is a certified Reiki master practitioner/teacher,. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 10 and 11, from 6-9:30 p.m., $65, Student Union.

Nov 27
MCC Winterfest concert Saturday at 7 p.m.

MCC choir for concert.jpgMcCook Community College's music department -- under the leadership of Dr. Mirna Cabrera -- presents its Winterfest concert  Saturday at 7 p.m. at Memorial United Methodist Church, 105 East E.

This concert will feature the MCC Concert Choir, Chamber Strings, Chamber Ensemble, and Children's Choir.

Admission is free.


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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​