A Publication of Connors State College
V O L U M E
Knight Earns Nationâ€™s Top Honors
N U M B E R
C O N N O R S S TAT E C O L L E G E WARNER CAMPUS 700 College Road Warner, OK 74469
Inside this issue V O L U M E
N U M B E R
THR E E R IV E R S PORT CAMPUS 2501 N 41st St E Muskogee, OK 74403
A D M I N I S T R AT I O N IN TERIM PRESID ENT Dr. Ronald S. Ramming I N TE R IM V IC E PRESID ENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS Dr. Julie Dinger V IC E PRESID ENT FOR FISCAL SERVICES Mike Lewis
CONNECTION LA YOUT & D ESIGN Stacy Pearce CONT RIBUT ORS Cindy Anderson Dr. Ryan Blanton Kaylee Casey Jonathan Dallis Zadie McElhaney Clint Mefford Brandon Miller Stacy Pearce
3 COMMUNITY 6 C O W B OY FA M I LY 8 AT H L E T I C S 10 E D U C AT I O N 14 C A M P U S L I F E 17 F E AT U R E
K ni ght E ar ns N at i on’s Top H on or s Lam b V i s i t s “B e A C ham p” C amp Pearc e, D al lis Top O C P R A C ompet it ion Shooting Spor ts Hosts Paralyzed Vets Community Golf Tour ney Benefits Athletes S um m er C am ps Meet Strebeck, Hagebusch, Edmonds and Coleman Football Alumni Reunion CNFR • Baseball Academic All-Americans Nwagboso Competes for Great Britain Judgers Exhibit Sheep in Sedalia Laureno Drafted to Cleveland Indians S ec ond C hanc e Pel l P i lot P rogram McElhaney Reaches CNFR Shooting Spor ts Team Targets Classroom S l ip ‘ N S lide K i ck bal l WOW E vent s
Connors State College, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. This publication was printed and issued by Connors State College as authorized by the Director of College and Community Relations. The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination or endorsement is intended by Connors State College.
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Knight Stops All Competition, Earns National Honors
aleb Knight, the Cowboys’ 20-year-old catcher from Checotah, has been on a path to play baseball as a career since he was a young boy. Graduating from Checotah High School in 2014 and Connors State College in 2016, Knight has made one thing clear about his life – baseball is more than a game, it’s his passion and a way for him to stand out among the others. During his time on the field and in the classroom, Knight has shown he has the character to lead his teammates and classmates to success. Knight has received much well-deserved admiration from his friends, family and community members during his time at Connors State, and, in 2016, was recognized by the NJCAA Division I Baseball Committee as the 2016 Spalding Defensive Player of the Year, earned a spot as an Academic
All-American, and was named to the prestigious 2016 American Baseball Coaches’ Association Rawlings Golden Glove Team. Providing consistent leadership and performance from behind home plate, Knight proved to be an invaluable asset for Connors State throughout the 2016 season. Serving as a constant deterrent to baserunners looking to advance, Knight ranked in the top 20 in the country in runners caught stealing. “I chose Connors State because Coach Keith has an extremely successful baseball program, and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Knight. “My two years at Connors State have been the best years of my life. I’ve made life-long friends and memories that will never be forgotten.” Knight started 57 of 57 games played behind the plate for the Cowboys, recording a .997 fielding percentage. He
committed just one error. Knight added 45 assists and seven pickoffs, and threw out 19 of 25 runners trying to steal. At the plate, he hit .404 with 10 doubles, 12 home runs and 67 RBIs. Connors State finished the 2016 season with a 48-11 overall record, ranked 7th in the country. “Caleb had a great year for us – he just continued to improve his craft behind the plate as the season went on,” said Perry Keith, Head Baseball Coach and 2008 NJCAA Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee. “He was extremely solid every day at a very difficult position; people will never realize the toll that the catcher position takes on your body and how tough Caleb really is.” Knight is continuing his education and baseball career at the University of Virginia.
Lt. Gov. Lamb Returns to McPeak’s “Be A Champ” Camp
or years, Connors State College has hosted Rep. Jerry McPeak’s “Be A Champ” show cattle and lamb camps on the Warner Campus, allowing youth the opportunity to spend a few days learning to work with livestock, to show respect to others, and to value a college community. According to McPeak, camps like these will ensure that Oklahoma’s $6 billion
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agriculture industry will thrive for years to come. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, who grew up raising cattle near Enid, returned to camp for the fifth summer as a guest speaker. “This camp lays the ground work for your future success,” Lamb relayed to campers. “When you return to school this fall, remember the lessons you’ve learned
here, and strive everyday to be the best version of yourself.” More than 400 participants attended one of this summer’s three sessions. The camp, in it’s 27th year, helps students get a strong dose of motivation as they learn showmanship and livestock grooming techniques from camp alumni.
“We Are Connors State” Campaign Tops OCPRA Competition
he College and Community Relations department of Connors State College won four awards during the 2016 Oklahoma College Public Relations Association Annual Awards Banquet on July 11, 2016. Stacy Pearce and Jon Dallis took first place honors in the overall college marketing campaign category with the “We Are Connors State” campaign. The College and Community Relations staff gave life to the campaign in fall 2015, with the primary objective of developing greater brand recognition for Connors State as a preferred two-year college. The goal was to present a campaign which would appeal to every student – by telling the stories of current students, faculty, staff and alumni. “This campaign sprouted during a meeting with our recruiting department, in which we discussed the need to craft a message that would appeal to our diverse student population,” said Pearce, Assistant Director of College & Community Relations. “We started with one student - Zadie - developed her story, and then proceeded to find others who fit the bill. Each person was selected specifically to showcase another segment of our family, to relay to future students that, at Connors State College, they will find a home.” The audience for the “We Are Connors
State” campaign is extremely diverse. From traditional students to non-traditional, single working parents, this campaign bridged the gap between students and appealed to a wide variety of demographics within our community. Parts of the “We Are Connors State” campaign included recruitment postcards, mailers, and various recruiting materials; website and print advertisements; multiple radio advertisements, played on both local stations and Pandora; a video feature; digital signage and social media graphics, all of which worked in tandem with one another, hitting the marketing strategy home. “When we first began thinking about this campaign, we all had a feeling that this could be something different than previously done at Connors State,” said Dallis. “We have a team here who are confident in their work, and can create photos and graphics that look visually stunning, and appeal to a mass audience. Even though we have such a small team, we work well with one another and never shy away from creativity and supportive feedback.” “We are very proud of our marketing department for winning this category,” said Dr. Ron Ramming, Interim Connors State College President. Individually, Dallis received both
honorable mention and third place in the Radio Advertisement category for “It’s Time”, an ad with the sole purpose to remind listeners that it’s time to start thinking about going back to college to start or finish their degree, and “I Am Connors State – Zadie McElhaney,” an advertisement featuring rodeo student Zadie McElhaney telling her Connors State story, and encouraging listeners to find out more and start their story online. Pearce won second in the Holiday Greeting category, with her design “Merry and Bright,” a rustic greeting card featuring a spin on the Connors State logo, and holiday decorations. “Our marketing department works hard throughout the year on a variety of projects for departments across campus, and for events in our local communities,” said Dr. Ryan Blanton, Associate VP For External Affairs. “We are proud that their outstanding work has been recognized in competition against others across the state.” The competition saw 498 entries from 40 institutions statewide, many of which have large public relations staff or utilize outside marketing firms. One hundred percent of the copywriting, design and production work for Connors State’s entries was produced in-house.
Shooting Team Hosts Paralyzed Vet Organization at Range
n August 9, the Connors State College shooting sports team hosted the Oklahoma Paralyzed Veterans from Oklahoma City. The group came to Warner to enjoy a day of shooting trap and skeet at the Dr. Stuart Woods Shooting Sports
Complex and Wetlands. “We really enjoyed having the veterans out to shoot, said Brandon Miller, Shooting Sports Team Coach. “It was nice to be able to do our small part to help those who have sacrificed so much for our country.”
The shooting complex was open to the public, and a few community members received the opportunity to shoot with some of our country’s finest. Miller and the team plan to continue to open the range to the public on certain days of the month.
Community Golf Tourney Benefits Athletes
ourteen teams made their way onto the Cobblestone Golf Course in Muskogee early Saturday on June 11, 2016, for a shot at the top prize. The teams were comprised of fourteen foursomes, each doing their best to show off their skills and enjoy a fun round of golf. The competition was the annual Golf Scramble, presented by Connors State College’s athletic department. Proceeds of the day’s event go to athletic scholarships for potential Cowboys and Cowgirls. Tee off was at 8 a.m., and the cool morning air was accompanied by birds chirping and the sun peeking through the clouds as the tournament began. The competition was fierce, but in the end only one team could walk away the victors. The team who took first place
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and the cash prize was Harrison Tire of Muskogee; in second, Armstrong Bank of Warner; and third was Jack Harrison’s team. “We had a great day of golfing,” said Bill Muse, Connors State Athletic Director. “We raised some great funds for the athletic department and we all had a nice afternoon. What more can you ask for?”
Summer Camps Bring Thousands to Connors Campuses Connors State hosts a number of summer camps for area students to attend. From elementary to high school, Connors State doesn’t shy away from opening campus to future cowboys. Camps this year included: Perry Keith’s Baseball Camps, ‘A Tradition in Excellence’ Livestock Judging Camp, Gear Up, CSC Summer Academy, Bill Muse’s Cowboy Basketball Camp, CSC Science Camp, 4-H Archery Camp, Camp MD and MASH Camp, Little Cowgirl Basketball Camp, and McPeak’s ‘Be A Champ’ Show Cattle and Lamb Camps.
Cowboy Family Earl Strebeck, Alumnus
arl Strebeck was born and raised in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, and for as long as he can remember, has always loved to draw and paint. Although he received little encouragement in grade school, he was excited and eager to begin when he took his first art class in junior high at Sallisaw. “I took all the art courses I could in junior high and high school,” said Strebeck. “Then, I completed two years at Connors State, 1958-60, where I had courses in Art taught by Mrs. Ruth White.” After finishing at Connors State, Strebeck continued his art major at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. After his
college experience, Strebeck taught art for 30 years in two high schools in Missouri; seven years at St. James and 23 years at Rolla. While teaching, he pursued a Master’s degree at the University of Missouri at Columbia, graduating in 1975. During the Alumni and Friends Reunion, Strebeck displayed a small retrospect of his work, starting in 1954. “I have only one painting that I completed at Connors State, ‘A Portrait of Mrs. Lucille Hurd’,” said Strebeck. “My work is a variety of styles because as a teacher, I had to be knowledgeable and teach all the styles of art from Realism to Abstract.”
Sandy Hagebusch, Staff
andy Hagebusch, the purchasing specialist and accountant for Connors State College, was born and raised in the small community of Alluwe, Oklahoma. Hagebusch said she began her adult life, just as her parents and most of her family, by graduating from the same high school as those before her. “We laugh that when the last Hagebusch graduated, the school had to close its doors,” said Hagebusch. In 1972 when she graduated, businesses focused on hiring employees with experience, rather than a college degree. This fit nicely into Hagebusch’s plan, as she was unable to afford college tuition, instead jumping head first into the work industry. “I worked various jobs for around 20 years before deciding on college,” said Hagebusch. “Working full time and going to college full time was certainly a challenge, but like so many others, I persevered and succeeded.” Hagebusch earned an associate degree in accounting from Rogers State University.
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Hagebusch said she decided to make Connors home because she was impressed by the college and felt she would be able to use her educational and work history to help Connors State. She has been with the college for seven years. “I enjoy the opportunity to contribute in a small way to the further education of our students, while enjoying the small town ambiance within the college, and family feel of teamwork and coworkers,” said Hagebusch. “Connors State has provided me with the opportunity to contribute to many lives in various ways while providing many blessings to my life.” Hagebusch is a breast cancer survivor of four years, while husband Bill is a major heart attack survivor of two years. “For the past 32 years I have lived near Warner with the love of my life, Bill Rogers,” said Hagebusch. “We enjoy a quiet ranch life with our mules, dogs and chickens. We share his three children, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren – enjoying every visit and
hug we are lucky to receive.” “We continue to give our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ all the Glory for His healing grace and many blessings,” said Hagebusch. “We enjoy the old ways, as well as the new ways of life, in that much of our free time is spent in a wagon hitched to our mules, traveling the area with our dogs beside us. We would like to travel to Canada in our mule drawn wagon in the near future, but will have to see how things pan out. Life is good.”
Daniel Edmonds, Faculty
aniel Edmonds, Coordinator of Academic Advisement and Agriculture instructor, chose to work at Connors State because it gives him the opportunity to share his knowledge and experiences within production agriculture and politics. Here, Edmonds has the opportunity to impact students, challenging them to think critically, ask questions, find solutions and find problems. “I get to serve as an educator, advisor, and mentor to others, while promoting the importance of agricultural science,” said Edmonds. Edmonds said his recent promotion as an academic advisor was a personal goal. “Connors State has given me a career which allows me to provide for my family and allows for rapid advancement within the college,” said Edmonds. In addition to teaching, he also serves as the faculty advisor for Agriculture
Ambassadors. He serves in an academic administrative capacity, as well as the Coordinator of Academic Advising. Edmonds graduated from Oklahoma State University with both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Plant and Soil Science and is pursuing a Doctoral degree from the same. At Connors State, he teaches a number of agricultural courses. Edmonds said Connors is a rural, relaxed environment with good people who share in the mission of educating, advising, and mentoring students to be successful in their academic endeavors, as well as in life. “It provides a university rated education at a community college price and atmosphere. Students have greater access to personnel resources,” said Edmonds. “It’s a great place to start one’s higher educational pursuits.” Edmonds lives on rural acreage with his wife Lauren and their four children.
Lee Coleman, Student
ee Coleman grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and had dreams of working as an engineer, but life had a different path set for him. During his junior year of high school, at Captain Shreve High, Coleman tore his ACL during a basketball tournament. “After my injury, I had surgery to get my ACL repaired and began physical therapy soon after,” said Coleman. “I had the greatest physical therapist, he not only was an amazing PT, he was a great person as well. He really impacted my life. After that experience I realized I wanted to work in the medical field and hopefully impact lives like he had mine.” After this moment, Coleman knew he wanted to work in the medical field in some fashion. His mother is an Occupational Therapist for the VA and was one of his main influences in pursuing a
career in the medical field. Coleman graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, and then chose Connors State College to further his educational career. Colman said he chose Connors because he had heard the nursing program was unmatched in the state. “Connors State nursing has given me an opportunity to learn and grow scholastically as well as lay a foundation of knowledge for my future career,” said Coleman. “I’m class president of the spring 2017 nursing class and I’m a member of the Student Nurse Association chapter on the Connors State campus.” After Connors, Coleman hopes to work as an ICU nurse. “Eventually, I plan get my Masters of Science in Nursing and either become a
Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Anesthetist,” said Coleman.
Remembering the Aggies – Football Alumni Reunion
ifty or sixty years ago on fall Saturdays in this area, OU and OSU weren’t the only football programs that fans talked about. Many folks would spend those Saturdays watching the Connors State College Cowboys hit the gridiron. And while the program itself never achieved on the field greatness like its older and bigger cousins, it did turn out its share of standout individuals who showed that success in athletics isn’t always about wins and losses on the field. A group of about 50 of those former Cowboys gathered for a reunion on the Warner campus July 21 to help mark the 50th anniversary of the final year that football was played at Connors. The reunion was the brainchild of CSC athletic director Bill Muse. “Earlier this year we were attending the funeral of Harold Cagle, one of the Cowboys football coaches during that era, and a lot of the former players were there and that’s kind of how it all got started,” said Muse. There isn’t much really known about the Connors football program. No one at the
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event was sure when the program started (there is a photo showing the 1920 team), what kind of records they had or any statistical information. Muse sees the event as an opportunity to hopefully gather some of that lost information from the folks who were there and to begin preserving some of the stories and information about the football program. Among the success stories both on and off the field for Connors was Dan Sullivant. A multisport athlete, Sullivant came to Connors in 1955. He joined the Marines the following year and then returned to Warner in 1958 where he became a NJCAA All-American while also playing baseball and setting conference track records in shotput and javelin. He finished his college career at Northeastern State University before a highly successful high school football coaching career at Okmulgee, which included a 1975 state championship and membership in the Oklahoma Coaches Association and Connors Hall of Fame. His on-field success and friendships from the Connors days carried over into
his coaching career at Okmulgee. “I was fortunate to have good athletes and good coaching staffs at Okmulgee,” said Sullivant. “But I also took a lot from what I learned under Coach Tom Johnson at Connors. I also ran into a lot of guys who I played with that were in coaching as well, like Bobby Jack Dunlap who coached at Muskogee and we developed a pretty good rivalry over the years.” Pete Evans is another of those names from the Connors football past and, like Sullivant, is a member of the Connors Athletic Hall of Fame. Due to a leg injury his freshman year in 1955 he missed most of that season and it affected his play during his sophomore year, as well. Evans had a chance to continue playing at Southwest Missouri State, now Missouri Southern, with the help of Coach Johnson, but instead opted to just be a student at Northeastern State. And, like Sullivant, most of his success occurred following his playing days, as he got a degree and went into coaching with successful stints in Kansas before returning to Warner to be an assistant coach and teacher under Cagle in the school’s final years of football.
In 1969 he went back to high school coaching where he had great runs at Warner, Ketchum and Chouteau before retiring after 39 years of high school coaching. Evans noted that playing at a program like Connors, while maybe not glamorous, instilled a solid work ethic in a lot of young men of that era. “There’s something about going to a school like this where you have to do some extra work to win that taught me a lot when I started coaching,” said Evans. “I just kept telling myself to keep working and don’t give up and you’ll get to those places where maybe the facilities will be better and that hard work will pay off.” Perhaps Sullivant best summed up the important part that junior college programs like Connors played. “The junior college football program meant so much for those young athletes who needed one or two more years before they were ready to go to a four-year program,” said Sullivant. “Many of those guys I played with did go on to bigger schools but I think the fellowship and friendships we made at Connors was what it was all about.” Article reprinted from The Muskogee Phoenix.
Rodeo team member Jeremy Carney (heading, pictured at right) competed in the CFNR in Casper, Wyoming, on June 12-18, 2016.
Baseball NJCAA All-American Academics
hree Connors State Cowboys baseball players have been named National Junior College Athletic Association Academic All-Americans for the 2015-16
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academic year: Tim Smithson, Jared Young and Caleb Knight (photos, left to right). All three players were starters on the Cowboys 2016 Conference Championship
team with a record of 48-11. This is the second time Smithson has been named Academic All-American.
CSC Forward Named to Great Britain’s U20 Roster
U Judgers Exhibit and Sell Sheep in Sedalia
tudents from the CSC Livestock Judging team exhibited and sold three wethers at the Midwest Stud Ram and Ewe Sale in Sedalia, Missouri, in June. These sheep were raised at the Connors sheep unit, overseen by Assistant Judging Coach Nolan Hildebrand. All three sheep had a strong showing with highlights including: reserve champion natural colored wether; fourth overall Hamp wether; and fourth overall, and second high-selling, crossbred wether. “For us to exhibit highly competitive sheep in Sedalia is no small feat, as it is the largest sheep sale in the country,” said Hildebrand. “Multiple judgers worked hard this past year and these results prove that. As their coach and the flock manager, I could not be more proud of their work.” All three lambs were born out of the donation ewes the college received last year from Middlesworth Club Lambs, Iowa; Kennedy Livestock, Iowa; and Allen Show Lambs, Oklahoma. Students showing in Sedalia were Chris Hart, Georgia; Jesse Henson, North Carolina; and John Nelson, Oklahoma. The CSC Sheep Unit would like to thank Roger Morton, Larry McFarland, and Todd Trennepohl for their help at the farm.
nited Kingdom native Kingsley Nwagboso, the 6’10” sophomore forward for the Connors State Cowboys men’s basketball team, was named to the roster of Great Britain’s Under-20 European championship division B 2016 team. The final roster of Great Britain’s team was announced on July 9, 2016, just days before the team headed to Greece to prepare for the 2016 FIBA Division B European Championship. Nwagboso is set to play ball for the Connors State Cowboys this fall under head coach Bill Muse.
Jonathan Laureno Drafted to Cleveland Indians in 25th Round Pick
onnors State third baseman Jonathan Laureno was drafted by the Cleveland Indians with their 25th round pick in the 2016 Major League Baseball amateur draft. The infielder from Puerto Rico, a .407 hitter with 12 homers and 66 RBIs, Laureano can play multiple positions but had a fielding percentage of .900 at third base for the Cowboys. “Jonathan had a very good career at Connors State and can truly play anywhere on the field,” said Perry Keith, Head Baseball Coach and 2008 NJCAA Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee. “He is ready to get into an organization and get going with his pro career.” Connors State finished the 2016 season with a 48-11 overall record, ranked 7th in the country.
he Department of Education announced Connors State College was selected to participate in the new Second Chance Pell pilot program, an experiment announced in July 2015 to test whether participation in high quality education programs increases after expanding access to financial aid for incarcerated individuals. The pilot program will allow eligible incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants and pursue postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs and support their families when they are released. Connors State is one of 67 colleges across the U.S. selected to participate in the pilot program and will allow the college to expand its 19 year partnership with Jess Dunn and Eddie Warrior Correctional Centers in Taft, Oklahoma. Through the Second Chance Pell pilot program, Connors State may provide Federal Pell Grants to qualified students who are incarcerated and are likely to be released within five years of enrolling in coursework. This will increase enrollment to roughly 225 incarcerated students in educational programs. “This is a program that will truly change lives for the better,” said Dr. Ron Ramming, Interim President of Connors State College. Ramming was instrumental in starting the partnership with the correctional
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facilities nearly two decades ago. “I remember our first graduate from Eddie Warrior, she worked hard to earn her degree, and after her release she was successful in rebuilding her life,” said Ramming. “I am very proud of her and our correctional center education program.” A 2013 study from the RAND Corporation, funded by the Department of Justice, found incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who did not participate in any correctional education programs. RAND also estimated for every dollar invested in correctional education programs, four to five dollars are saved on three-year re-incarceration costs. “The evidence is clear. Promoting the education and job training for incarcerated individuals makes communities safer by reducing recidivism and saves taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “I applaud the institutions that have partnered to develop high-quality programs that will equip these students with invaluable learning. The knowledge and skills they acquire will promote successful reintegration and enable them become active and engaged citizens.” Ramming noted that providing Pell Grants to qualified individuals will greatly
improve access to college classes within the correctional centers. “Financial resources have always been the single largest barrier for our incarcerated students,” said Ramming. “We have seen in the past that when we invest in their education, our incarcerated students enroll in more classes, perform better academically and are significantly more likely to graduate and successfully re-enter society.” Connors State was selected as a site for this pilot program because of a demonstrated focus on supporting successful re-entry and a history of offering educational programs which result in meaningful degrees which prepare students to continue their postsecondary education. Through partnerships with the correctional institutions, community-based organizations, local non-profits and foundations, Connors State will expand its ability to enable, prepare, and support incarcerated students in re-entering society as productive and engaged citizens. Experimental sites, such as the Second Chance Pell pilot program, allow the Department of Education to test innovative practices in the delivery of Pell Grant dollars and use the resulting evidence to inform improvements in policies and processes in Federal student aid.
McElhaney Interns at CNFR
s a competitor on the Connors State College Rodeo team, the ultimate goal for Zadie McElhaney was to make the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming. This summer, the dream came true – in a different arena from the one she expected. For years, McElhaney has dreamed of a career in rodeo broadcasting. To gain experience in the public relations and marketing field, she worked for the CSC College and Community Relations Department, writing articles, taking photos, and developing videos. After finding a small article in the Collegiate Rodeo News advertising an internship in the CNFR media room, McElhaney took a chance and applied. After graduating in May from Connors State with an Associate Degree in Agriculture Education, Communications and Leadership, she made the trek to Wyoming for a 10-day CNFR internship. “Qualifying for this internship allowed me to make many media contacts, learn skills to further my education, while allowing me to reach my goal of making the CNFR – just in a little different sense,” said McElhaney. “I was able to work under ESPN and ABC news anchors, Wyoming news stations and newspapers, rodeo magazines, the Cinch Western Wear media team, and various other media groups.” McElhaney led interviews with rodeo coaches and contestants, wrote articles about champions, assisted media with conducting interviews, and took pictures during events. “Attending the CNFR as a media intern was definitely the highlight of my summer,” said McElhaney. “I am thankful to have had the knowledge from my time at CSC to meet the qualifications to receive the internship.”
Aiming For Success – Shooting Sports Team Earns Inaugural Division of Agriculture Education Awards
onnors State College has the only junior collegiate shotgun sports program in Oklahoma and, at just three years old, it is already proving to be among the most competitive in the nation. In March 2016, the 20-member team competed against 700 shooters from college teams across the country at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas. The team shot in the disciplines of trap, sporting clays and skeet. Two CSC shooters tied for third place and went to a shoot off. “That was a big deal for our team,” said coach Brandon Miller. “Ninety-five percent of the teams we compete against are from four-year universities and it’s a big advantage to have a student on a team for four years instead of two. Even so, our team demonstrated they can be competitive with the best of them.” For the most recent season, the team traveled 8,000 miles and shot more than 17,000 competitive rounds.
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In addition to a talented team, CSC boasts a first-class shooting facility. The Dr. Stuart Woods Shooting Sports Complex and Wetlands at the Gary Harding Research Ranch gives the team an edge. “Not only does the facility allow the team to be better prepared for competition, but also the college is able to host regional tournaments for 4-H and FFA members,” said Miller. “The complex itself is a great recruiting tool, with exciting expansions in the works for the future.” The future looks bright for the program, says Miller. “This sport is going to continue to grow across the country,” said Miller. “We have excellent support from the school and the community. There is a growing national interesting in shooting sports as a leisure sport rather than just hunting.” Miller says the sport benefits students by teaching discipline, perseverance and commitment. “This is a sport where missing one or
two targets can make a huge difference in competition,” said Miller. “It’s not about being able to shoot 25 out of 25 once, it’s about doing that consistently. That takes practice and dedication.” Miller has high praise for the students who participate in the program. He says the primary goal shared by the program and the college is for students to graduate. “Shooting is secondary to earning that degree and moving on,” said Miller. He notes that he is most proud of two awards the program won in 2016 in the classroom. The CSC agriculture department for the first time established attendance and GPA awards to present to one of its program areas. The shooting team won both based on their cumulative attendance records and grades. “It was really neat to be able to place our name on both of these awards in the first year,” said Miller. “That’s a testament to the quality of students we have on our team.”
SLIP ‘N SLIDE KICKBALL On August 30th, Connors Student Activities hosted a few games of Slip ‘N Slide Kickball at Cowboy Square on the Warner Campus. Derek Drake, SA Coordinator, utilized the open courtyard south of the Student Union because he felt it was the best place to grab students’ attention as they passed by after dinner.
KENYATTA WRIGHT As the Connors State student-athletes made their way back to the Warner campus for the fall semester, team coaches and members of administration wanted to encourage the students to make smart decisions and do their best academically and athletically. Kenyatta Wright, former OSU and NFL linebacker, and current regional FCA representative, came to the Warner campus to speak frankly with the students, telling them his stories of glory on field and missteps in life. Wright brought forth the truth to the college athlete life, saying they are often held to a higher standard, simply because they represent both their team and their school, giving something for the students to think about as they enter their fall semester.
WEEKS OF WELCOME During the first few weeks of the fall semester, Student Activities, FCA, and other campus organizations hosted events on the Warner and Muskogee campuses, including a Welcome Back Luau, Game Show Night, Cookout, Grocery Pong, and an FCA Block Party, among others. 18
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LIBRARY SERVICE ORGANIZATION FAIR On August 24th, the Connors State Library hosted its annual Service Organization Fair in the Warner Student Union. Dozens of vendors set up booths, offering valued information and service opportunities within the Warner and Muskogee communities.
FISHING TOURNAMENT On August 29th, the Shooting Sports Team and Connors Student Activities teamed up to host a Fishing Tournament at the Harding Research Ranch. Dozens of students, faculty and staff took to the water to catch the winning fish. The Winning Team - Briley Cozad, Mason Gawf and Zane Arnold.
C O N N O R S S TAT E C O L L E G E 700 College Road | Warner, OK 74469
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A publication of Connors State College in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma -- the Connection: Volume 6, Number 5.