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Open Petal February 2014

Johnson County Community College

Hiersteiner Child Development Center’s report card: all A’s!

Honors student turns life around



Open Petal February 2014

The open petal is a symbol of JCCC’s openness to new concepts and ideas as it strives to serve each member of the community.

Editor Diane Carroll

The View From Here

Associate VP, Marketing Communications Julie Haas Senior Graphic Designer Randy Breeden

C o n te n ts 13

Photographer Susan McSpadden Writers Melodee Blobaum Anne Christiansen-Bullers Tyler Cundith Writer/Editor Tim Curry


Dennis Day


ommunity colleges in general – and Johnson County Community College in

The Open Petal is published four times a year by Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS 66210-1299. It is produced by Marketing Communications and the Office of Document Services. To find the magazine online, go to and search for “The Open Petal.” To subscribe or to offer a comment, call 913-469-8500, ext. 3886.

attention and emphasis on teaching. We believe every student who puts forth the

time and effort has the capacity to grow from a community college education. That’s reflected in the Student Success and Engagement branch at JCCC. It encompasses some of the areas you’ll read about in this issue of The Open Petal – specifically the Hiersteiner Child Development Center and the college’s athletic program. We also have the enrollment management, counseling and advising, financial aid and student life and leadership functions, as we work to enhance students’ educational experiences and as they prepare for their next steps.

Stay in touch with JCCC by visiting, or like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at JCCCtweet.

Learning comes first at Johnson County Community College. Often, a slogan like that

Or you can connect by visiting and clicking on “Connect with JCCC,” where you can also subscribe to JCCC Update, an email newsletter sent twice a month.

Features 4 Outdoor learning

Children benefit in many ways.

rolls so easily off the tongue that others dismiss it as less than sincere. But at JCCC, this is

8 Spain’s sacred paths

something we firmly believe in – when we say it, we mean it.

At JCCC, we believe students can change their lives through learning. Our purpose is to help

10 One professor’s journey

students do just that, whether their goal is transferring to a four-year school or preparing for a new career. Whatever a student would like to do, we want to help him or her succeed. Sincerely,

When planning your estate, please remember Johnson County Community College. For more information, call the JCCC Foundation at 913-469-3835.


particular – are student-centered. We’re known for our small class sizes, personal

Author to speak on pilgrimages.

Deborah Williams walked to Santiago.

12 Student sets new course

GED program propelled her.

13 GED test gets a makeover

14 Trustee Bob Drummond

Dr. Dennis Day Vice President, Student Success and Engagement

And now it’s online only.

Board members are glad he’s back.

16 The border war

Professor digs up artifacts.

19 Team travels to Las Pintas

In Every Issue

2 The View From Here

15 Continuing Education Teenagers try nursing. 20 Alumni/Foundation NASA engineer to speak. 22 Campus Life 24 Sports National tourney set for March. 26 The Rear Window

On the Cover “Farmer Dave” teaches children from the Hiersteiner Child Development Center how to grow vegetables at the campus farm. With him are Annika Claussen, from left, Theo Elisabeth and Brayden Harth.

Hot water system set up in Mexico. Photo by Susan McSpadden

2 | The Open Petal

The Open Petal | 3

Small scholars, big impact Center earns high marks on reaccreditation By Anne Christiansen-Bullers

Lead teacher Shay Griffin helps Sullivan O’Dell put pajamas on a doll.


epending on how tall you are, the blue sticker on the door of the Hiersteiner Child Development Center is either right at your line of sight or way, way up high.

The sticker itself is a notice to everyone that the childcare center at Johnson County Community College has received reaccreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Its location on the door is an apt metaphor of the center itself – connecting with the parents at their level and urging the children in its care to keep reaching higher. The HCDC recently received exemplary marks on its reaccreditation, improving in leaps and bounds over its last review five years ago. (But even back then, the center had received a very good review.) In fact, for 2013, the center received the equivalent of straight A’s on its report card. Among the report’s highlights were the center’s deeper connections with parents, the enhancement of its outdoor learning environment and the high quality of its teachers. The lowest mark was in the 90th percentile, and in six of the 10 categories measured, the center received more than 100 percent. In these categories, the center showed it was adopting emerging criteria even faster than the accrediting agency expected. In other words, HCDC not only received 100 percent; it got “extra credit.” “All in all, we were very pleased with the report,” said Claire Ehney, manager for the HCDC. “The staff should be commended for their efforts.”

Lead teacher Lisa Havens and Piper Tipton use puffy paint for an art project.

4 | The Open Petal

Connecting with parents Staff efforts included a more deliberate attempt to communicate with parents of children enrolled at HCDC. Those children range in age from 12 months and walking to 6 years old, and they are the children of the students, faculty and staff of JCCC. Five years ago, the staff might have created a newsletter and dropped it in the child’s cubby for the parent to discover. Today, the modes of communication have gone 21st century. “We haven’t eliminated that flyer, but now we email parents, too,” Ehney said. “We’ll put a sign on the door … and we can put a message notification on the check-in computer. They might also get a hard-copy letter, too.” The center also added orientations for families new to HCDC. Staff members offer parents personalized updates, especially for those children having trouble adjusting to time away from Mommy or Daddy. “The teachers try to send them emails (detailing) ‘hey, your child is doing this today.’ They may have left with the child crying, but the teacher sends them a photograph to show, ‘See, they’ve calmed down now and everything is all right.’ It puts the parent’s mind at ease.” Heather Gough’s son, Tristan, had never been to daycare before he began attending HCDC. Gough, a JCCC nursing student, needed a place where she could feel confident in enrolling her son. “My husband is overseas in Afghanistan so, needless to say, it can be a little stressful at times,” she said. “One stress I never have is worrying about Tristan’s care during the day. I know he is in the best hands, and more importantly, he loves going to HCDC. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better place.” The Open Petal | 5

Take it outside During the prior reaccreditation visit in 2008, the grounds outside the HCDC were a soggy mess as the center transitioned from traditional play equipment (slides, swings and a lot of metal) to the “outdoor classroom” concept. After years of fundraising, HCDC was getting new equipment, landscaping and drainage. “It was a real mess when they (the accreditors) were here,” Ehney said. “But that was just what we had to do in order to provide something better.” Today, the natural play environment has 66 varieties of trees, shrubs and plants. Wooden pergolas, stone steps, water play features and outdoor musical instruments create a beautiful, engaging outdoor learning environment. Also outside, behind the center, are a hoop house, raised garden beds and a new potting shed. Children plant seeds as early as February in the hoop-style greenhouse, and they bury more seeds in outside beds after the last frost. In addition to getting the children outside, the gardening efforts have led to another unique initiative: planting, cooking and eating vegetables with “Farmer Dave.”

“Farmer Dave” knows how On a warm summer day, children gather under the shade of a tree, sitting on split-log benches. Farmer Dave is grilling on the porch of the potting shed, and the smell of cooking peppers wafts toward eager faces. The shed, built to resemble JCCC’s iconic red barn, was funded by the Student Sustainability Committee and the Center for Sustainability. Farmer Dave, otherwise known as David Smith, associate professor of hospitality management, said he asked for money to build the shed for two reasons. First, the HCDC needed a place to store all the equipment that comes with having a garden: rakes, hoes, sprayers and pots needed a forever home. Second, Smith wanted an outdoor interaction area. He tweaked the design of a prefabricated outbuilding so the shed had a porch on one side. Here, Farmer Dave, as the kids know him, takes center stage. One day he might read a story about vegetables. Another day, he’ll cook. The next visit, he might lead them out to the hoop house to check on “their” plants. Back when Farmer Dave was just “Chef Dave,” Smith had the idea to partner with a school to teach the basics of gardening and food selection at an early age. Even though some form of a childcare center has been on the JCCC campus since 1979, Smith had no idea of its existence. “It was only after I went into the community, searching for a partner, that someone said to me, ‘Well, why don’t you just work with the childcare center just right there on campus?’ I said, ‘I had no idea there was one.’ When I approached the staff here, they were really excited about the idea, and we’ve been building the program from there.” Grants and benefactors have helped grow the program, so much so that children and their parents take home extra vegetables and herbs. 6 | The Open Petal

“We had a bunch of Swiss chard (a leafy green) up front to offer parents, and one parent said, ‘Oh, my child will never eat Swiss chard.’ The child popped up and said, ‘Yes, I would. It’s good. Have you tried it?’ She took some home,” said Mary Thibault, HCDC supervisor.

HCDC “Report Card”

Learning comes first

(As scored by the NAEYC Academy for Childhood Program Accreditation, 2013)

Angie Claussen, counselor for JCCC, has two daughters who attend HCDC. Annika is 5, and Alina is 2, and Claussen has been making drop-offs and pick-ups at the center for almost four years.

Relationships: Promotes positive relationships among children, parents, and community – 100 percent. Curriculum: Promotes social, emotional, physical, language and cognitive learning – 90 percent.

“The fact that HCDC is a center with an educational mission and national accreditation makes me feel good about what the girls are doing during the day,” she said. “The teachers are all well-qualified and really genuinely love the kids. The variety of activities they get to participate in is wonderful!”

Teaching: Uses appropriate and effective approaches to children’s learning – 100 percent. Assessment: Provides information on children’s development using formal and informal approaches – 100+ percent.

Ehney said the center looks for teachers with degrees in early childhood education, not just applicants who declare they like working with kids.

Health: Protects children and staff from harm and promotes nutrition and health of children – 100+ percent.

“Our teachers are very committed to childhood education,” she said. “We also act as a laboratory for the early childhood education department here at the college. That experience can prove invaluable for those college students, and for our students, too.”

Families: Recognizes the importance of a reciprocal relationship between families and programs – 100+ percent.

Teachers: Employs a teaching staff with educational qualifications, knowledge and professional commitment – 100+ percent.

Community relationships: Establishes relationships with agencies and institutions that can help the center support its goals – 100+ percent.

Gough, the parent of Tristan, said she picked up on that learning atmosphere immediately.

Physical environment: Creates an environment, both indoors and outdoors, that fosters growth – 100 percent.

“Once I took a little tour I realized how this center is absolutely there for the children’s learning. Other centers I looked at I felt like my child would just be ‘watched’ all day. This center’s curriculum for the children is absolutely amazing, and Tristan truly loves it there,” she said. “He has learned so much in this short year. It just amazes me.”

Leadership and management: Administers the program efficiently and effectively, making sure all children, staff and families are included – 100+ percent.

Timeline 1979 – A childcare center called the Child Play Center opens to accommodate 18 children.

Peace of mind

1986 – As enrollment grew, so too did the waiting list for childcare. The center expands to include more children.

Because of the Hiersteiner Child Development Center’s high marks, Gough and Claussen said they can breathe a little bit easier while they go about being a JCCC student and employee.

1988 – Construction begins on a childcare facility on the west side of campus. When opened, it was named The Children’s Center.

“I’m not spending time out of my day calling to check on the girls and make sure they are okay. I know that if I am needed, they will call me. I’m also able to work a bit longer because they are so close; I don’t have the travel time to and from the center. The biggest advantage is that I don’t have to take time out of my day to worry about how the girls are doing!” Claussen said.

2003 – A new addition is completed, which includes two more classrooms and an early education lab classroom.

“I love knowing that my child will be well taken care of while I am in classes,” Gough said. “It really means something when I feel like I am able to trust wholeheartedly that my child is truly in the best loving and teaching hands.”

Young preschool classrooms: student-teacher ratio: 9:1

2004 – The center is renamed the Hiersteiner Child Development Center in honor of donors Walt and Jean Hiersteiner.

Fast facts Toddler classrooms: student-teacher ratio: 4:1

Preschool classrooms: student-teacher ratio: 10:1 Open: 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fees: Vary, based on schedule selected and whether parent is student or employee. Consult for the most recent fee schedule.

Teacher Kathleen Brown holds Phoebe Frazier while Joe Dice plays in the Bug Garden classroom.

Location: West side of campus, between sports parking lots and Horticultural Science Center.

The Open Petal | 7

The roads to Santiago College scholar to share research on pilgrimage routes

Story by Diane Carroll

The map shows four main routes to Santiago.


ou trust the road and the road


That’s one of revelations Beebe Bahrami gleaned during her first pilgrimage to St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Since then, she has encountered other mysteries while walking the paths that pilgrims have taken to sacred sites all across Spain. Walking day after day, she said, can be a transforming experience. “You just walk,” she said. “It’s so simple yet it is an adventure. It’s like you suddenly decided to be open to the unknown. Oftentimes, the unknown is not just the road but all of these things going on inside of you. It can be a liberating, cleansing experience.” Bahrami, an anthropologist and freelance writer, is author of two books: The Spiritual Traveler – Spain: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Pilgrim Routes and Historic Walking Guides: Madrid. She will give two presentations when she visits Johnson County Community College as a scholar-in-residence from March 10 to 14. The first talk, which is free and open to the public, will focus on the pilgrimage roads to Santiago de Compostela, where the tomb of St. James the Greater is believed to lie under the cathedral. It will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, in Hudson Auditorium at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. A pre-talk reception will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Regnier Center’s Atrium. The second presentation, at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 13, in the Hudson, will be on Bahrami’s work on a travel memoir she is writing about southwest France, a region that particularly captured her imagination. It will be open to students, faculty and staff. Bahrami grew up in Boulder Colo., but often visited relatives in Iran. She felt the influence of the two cultures but did not realize that she wanted to study anthropology until she spent her last college semester in southern Spain.

Beebe Bahrami on the Camino-Chemin in France near Auch. Photo by Sarah Hoskin Clymer

8 | The Open Petal

Bahrami wrapped up her bachelor’s degree in biology and went on to earn a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She taught college classes for a time but left academia to devote herself to research and writing.

Professor Deborah Williams spent two weeks walking the Camino de Santiago last spring. Read her account on Page 10.

“I fell in love with Spain,” she said. “I thought: ‘What on Earth am I doing in biology?’ I completely shifted gears.”

Bahrami’s first pilgrimage to Santiago in 1995 was a spur-of-themoment decision. She and her husband were on a bus headed for a little fishing village in northwest Spain. With no food or water, they decided to get off the bus and instead walk toward Santiago. As the hours passed and they started to get thirsty and hungry, they began to regret their decision. When they spotted a woman outside a car, they ran to her asking where they could buy water and food. The woman opened the trunk of her car and handed them a huge bottle of mineral water. “That’s when we realized we had just received the first blessing of the pilgrim road – which is that you trust the road and the road provides,” Bahrami said. “I was infused by the magic of that generosity.” The second blessing came later that day when a couple they met along the way opened their summer hotel weeks early to offer them a place to sleep and shared their dinner. The pilgrimage to Santiago is one of the most well known in the world. Bahrami is fascinated with the layers of history and lore that surround it. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims from across Europe flocked to Santiago after hearing that the remains of one of the closest companions of Jesus had somehow mysteriously come to be buried there. St. James was executed in one of the early persecutions of the church. A pilgrimage to Santiago can start from anywhere. The Camino de Santiago is a network of the most commonly used routes. The most famous route starts on the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains; it takes more than a month of walking for most people. Other routes are as long, or longer, and can begin farther afield in Europe or along the coast, from the south, or by arriving by boat from the north. To learn more, visit Bahrami’s website at The Open Petal | 9

Famous statue of St. James-Leon, Spain.

St. James Cathedral, the final destination, looms in the background.

A trail marker shows the way.

Deborah Williams walks across an ancient stone bridge en route to Molinaseca, a village in Spain.

Movie was the motivation Professor walks famous pilgrimage in spiritual “adventur-cation” By Anne Christiansen-Bullers


he movie The Way propelled Deborah Williams, associate professor of science, off her couch and onto a pilgrimage across northern Spain.

Some people are couch potatoes. She’s more of a couch sprout. “I was just watching and decided, ‘I want to do that,’” she said. A scant few months later, she was. Williams walked a portion of the Camino de Santiago for two weeks at the end of May and beginning of June in 2013. The trail itself has many routes, and Williams chose to walk the most popular path, which is called the Camino Francés. From Leon to Santiago de Compostela, she walked approximately 194 miles. “I can’t wait to go back,” she said. “Because of time constraints, I couldn’t complete the entire thing, but I would love to do that some day… It was just so amazing.” In the movie, Martin Sheen plays a father who disperses the

10 | The Open Petal

ashes of his recently deceased son while walking the famous pilgrimage. Along the way, he meets interesting characters, contemplates his life choices and finds a sense of peace he didn’t know he’d lost. It was a lot to live up to, but Williams said her experience was very similar to the film. “There are always people around you on the path. I call it ‘autonomous collectivism’ because you can be right beside someone but be solitary in your own thoughts,” she said. At night, small rural hostels would welcome pilgrims with carbohydrate-heavy meals and simple sleeping arrangements. Williams said she began to look forward to these ancient rest stops not only for the food and bunks they provided but also for the wealth of characters and company provided by the other walkers. “Here we were, all together, probably never going to see each other again, and yet were sharing this experience, sharing each other’s company, and really having a wonderful time,” she said.

Williams begins her two-week walk to Santiago on the outskirts of Leon in Spain.

Where someone came from She considers herself a fan According to Camino de Santiago became their name. She pilgrim and JCCC science professor of “adventur-cations.” She’s was of course “Kansas,” driven from Lawrence, Kan., Deb Williams, walkers don’t say and she has fond memories to Alaska and Yellowknife “hello” in greeting other pilgrims of meeting up with fellow (in Canada), and she’s travelers along the trail, driven the Dempster along the route. Instead, they say, including people she called “Buen Camino!” It translates to “good Highway across the Arctic “Australia” and “New Jersey.” Circle to Inuvik. This journey” or “good road.” She was also happy to see a summer, she’s considering small group of U.S. college a trip to Easter Island to students walking the Camino as part of a summer class. see Polynesian moai and then to Baffin Island to see Inuit inuksuit. “The walk is certainly challenging physically, but it’s also rewarding emotionally – having people around you sharing On the trip to Baffin Island, she hopes to see polar bears their experiences with you,” she said. “while they’re still around.” Williams also found a spiritual aspect to the trek. Though the path was originally traveled (and protected) so Christians could visit the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Williams’ sense of spirituality sprung from “biophilia.” The term, coined by American biologist E.O. Wilson, means “a love of life.” “While I’m walking, I’m looking through the lens as an ecologist. I’m looking at algae, I’m looking at landscapes, I’m looking at slugs,” she said. “I do believe that you can’t just visit a country. You have to walk through it.” “Not knowing what I’m going to experience along the way – that’s what I like,” she said.

In three to four years, she said, she’ll return to the Camino de Santiago “to see where the road takes me – literally.” During the June board of trustees meeting, Williams shared the details of her adventur-cation with the board. She said the life of an academic can be stressful, especially in her additional role as president of the faculty association, but the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate is one aspect of her job she truly appreciates. “People have been really interested in the trip,” Williams said. “I’m halfway tempted to organize a trip. I might look into that.” Another idea has sprouted … The Open Petal | 11

By Diane Carroll

Honors student transforms life through college programs

Gaelyn McGhee speaks about her experiences at JCCC during the annual State of the College event in September.


aelyn McGhee is on a promising path.

She’s set to graduate from Johnson County Community College in May and expects to be at a four-year university next fall. She holds a 3.94 grade point average. And, after spending a college semester in Spain through JCCC’s Study Abroad program, she sees a potential future as a history professor or perhaps a career related to international relations. Her life is 180 degrees away from what it was when she was in middle school and high school. Her immune system was sickly and she used to get a lot of colds. Her parents divorced. Kids at school picked on her routinely. She felt a lot of pressure with her schoolwork because she generally signed up for every advanced placement class that was available. “It just proved too much for me and I sort of had to back away,” said McGhee, now 24 and living with her mother in Shawnee. “It was just because I was going through too much at the time.” “I didn’t feel ready to take my GED,” McGhee said, referring to the General Educational Development test, which counts as a high school degree. “I was scared, too, because I had done so badly my last year in high school. I had always been a straight A student and to suddenly have D’s and F’s was a shock.” Eventually, by fall 2011, McGhee started feeling better about herself. She built up the courage to enter JCCC’s Adult Education Program to prepare to take the GED. There she met Chris Specht, a transition counselor and volunteer coordinator with the program. 12 | The Open Petal

“Chris really helped me out,” McGhee said. “I was really nervous but all of the people at the Antioch (Library) branch were so patient with me and I was furiously trying to finish in a month so I could go to JCCC in January 2012.” McGhee passed in December 2011 and became a JCCC student the following month, as she had hoped. One of the first classes she took involved participating in the Model United Nations program. She was familiar with it because she had taken part in it during middle school. She became active with it at JCCC and, as a result, traveled with a JCCC team to St. Louis, New York, Chicago and China to participate in Model U.N. competitions with students from other schools. McGhee said a number of JCCC faculty have helped her out, including counselor Dave Ellis, Barbara Williams in the international education office and professor Brian Wright with the Model U.N. program. Specht said it’s been fun for her to see how McGhee’s experiences at JCCC have transformed her life. “She was a quiet, shy, rather nervous young person when I met her in 2011. She’s blossomed into a confident capable woman who is achieving her goals and dreaming big. I wouldn’t be surprised if she pursues her master’s or PhD some day.” McGhee has even surprised herself a bit. “I’ve been kind of flabbergasted when I think about it because it’s just been in two and a half years that I’ve done all of this.”

Adult education program incorporates updated GED By Julie Haas


lthough the GED (General Educational Development) test changed on Jan. 2, 2014, Johnson County Community College did not change the attentive, caring way it helps people prepare for it.

“I never tire of poring through that list looking for the names of students with whom I have worked. After these students have earned their Kansas high school diploma, many have gone on to enter college and/ or get better jobs. Knowing that lives are changed by what we do at JCAE is extremely rewarding. Working with these students isn’t a job – it’s a joy!”

Changes to the test: The new GED has been updated to reflect what students are currently studying in public high schools. The test is no longer available in a pencil-and-paper format; it is offered only online.

Learners can get ready to take the new GED test through the Johnson County Adult Education Program (JCAE), which is co-sponsored by JCCC and the Johnson County Library. Classes are located in community centers throughout the county with teachers and volunteer tutors who offer one-on-one support. “The role of the tutor is a point of pride for us and a great benefit to our students,” said Janice Blansit, program director, at JCCC. More than 170 volunteers work with a teaching staff of 60 on a self-paced learning program that identifies what individual students need to know and addresses those gaps. Dana Carr, a counselor at JCCC, has been a tutor for JCAE since 2006, working with students one night a week at the college’s Olathe Center on 151st Street. “My background is language arts education, so I thought I would help people strengthen their reading comprehension and become better writers,” she said. “But the most interesting and unexpected aspect of being a volunteer is that I work with lots of adults who are math-phobic. Being their study-buddy is a chance for me to use other skills.” Carr finds working with students preparing for the GED test to be energizing and uplifting. There are times, she says, at the end of her own working day when she’d just like to go home herself, only to find her energy renewed when she arrives at the center and find dedicated students who won’t leave until they close the door and turn out the lights. “I get there and work with someone who has been on their feet since 6 a.m.,” she says. “I find the students inspirational.” The GED is not an easy test, as the practice questions show ( Those who pass it may proudly participate in GED graduation ceremonies, held on campus during commencement week festivities in May. “That’s an emotional time for staff and students and their families,” Blansit said, as participants celebrate their significant achievement. Test completers earn a Kansas high school diploma from the Kansas Board of Regents. Over the past five years approximately 16,600 Kansas adults have taken the GED test, with more than 95 percent passing the exam. In 20122013, 185 students earned a GED credential through JCCC’s program. “The JCCC Testing Center sends the names and scores to us after each GED test,” said Bea Peeke, ABE/GED coordinator.

Completers are encouraged to enroll in college classes at JCCC to continue their education, working with transition counselors to help them prepare for college classes. “The GED test opens doors to college, better jobs and the satisfaction of earning a high school credential,” said Andy Tompkins, CEO and president of the Kansas Board of Regents. In addition to GED test preparation, JCCC’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) program offers basic skills instruction in reading, writing, math and everyday survival skills and instruction in English as a second language (ESL). The new GED test continues to measure high school equivalency and provide detailed information about a testtaker’s readiness for college and career training programs. But it has been updated to reflect what students are currently studying in public high schools in alignment with the set of “Common Core” standards. The 2014 version of the GED test (the tests are usually updated every 10 years or so) is offered strictly online; the old test was also available in a pencil-and-paper format. The new test offers fewer modules than the previous version – four instead of five – by combining reading and writing into a unit called “Reasoning Through Language Arts.” Other modules in the new test are mathematical reasoning (both quantitative and algebraic problem solving), science (life, physical and Earth and space science) and social studies (civics and government, U.S. history, economics and geography). On the new test, question formats include multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answers and extended response (meaning a written essay) as well as types that can only be performed on a computer, such as drag-and-drop. The old test was mostly multiple choice. The cost for all four of the 2014 modules is $120, with $30 charged for each re-take. For more information about the GED program and preparation for the test at JCCC, call 913-469-7621 or go to html. The Open Petal | 13

Drummond back at work on board of trustees By Diane Carroll

Bob Drummond


ob Drummond has served on the board of the United Way of Greater Kansas City. And on the board of the Salvation Army. And on the board of the Olathe School District. And when he had a chance to serve a second term on the board of trustees at Johnson County Community College, he applied for the opening. “It’s in my blood,” Drummond said of his interest in volunteering. “I so much believe in giving back to the community.” Trustees chose Drummond over 12 others who had applied to complete the term of Melody Rayl, who resigned from the board in July. Drummond, who rejoined the board in October, will serve until June 30, 2017. “We were very blessed to have an outstanding round of candidates,” trustees chairman Jerry Cook said. “My reasoning for selecting Dr. Drummond had to do with his four years of experience on the board and his background as an educational leader. His sensitivity to make sure that he hears both sides of an issue when making a decision affecting the college also was very important to me and the college.” Drummond previously served on the board from 2009 to June 30, 2013. He ran for a second term but lost in the April 2013 election. Trustee Jon Stewart pointed out that Drummond finished fifth in that election in which the top four candidates were elected.

he served as vice president for campus life and director of admissions and financial aid. Drummond, of Olathe, was born in Omaha, Neb. His father worked for Standard Oil and the family moved around because his father was transferred a lot. He attended elementary schools in four different cities in Iowa and Nebraska and graduated from East High School in Sioux City, Iowa, where he met his future wife, Julie. She recently retired from 20 years of teaching in the Olathe School District. Drummond said he wanted to serve a second term on JCCC’s board because he is a big believer in higher education. “Having the opportunity to work at one of the finest community colleges in the nation is a real privilege for me. I just felt that if I was offered the opportunity to come back and be able to work with the new president and the current board – that would just be a privilege that I couldn’t pass up.” The college faces a number of challenges, Drummond said, but it also has strong leaders to deal with them. During the recession, the college spent a lot of its cash reserves “but obviously to continue to do that is not responsible,” he said. Enrollment also has been down in recent years and one of the challenges will be to draw more students, he said. The college has found some ways to cut spending, he said, and continues to look at ways to become more efficient.

Drummond was an “outstanding trustee” during his first term, Stewart said, and he “brings positive energy and solutions to the many issues the trustees must address.”

Drummond said he sees adjunct professors as “very very important” to the college. But as enrollment grows, he would like to add full-time faculty.

Drummond is president and chief executive officer for KidsTLC, a nonprofit organization in Olathe. It serves children, youth and families who are facing challenges from autism, mental health or wellness issues. He oversees more than 200 employees and several hundred volunteers.

Drummond said he likely would not support another mill levy increase in the near future and believes the college should be very careful in asking students to pay more tuition.

Before joining KidsTLC a dozen years go, Drummond spent 30 years at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe. There 14 | The Open Petal

“You have to find a balance in all of that,” he said.

High school students taste life in ‘hospital emergency room’ By Anne Christiansen-Bullers High school students treat a “baby” in a health simulation lab at the college.


here aren’t many institutions that can brag about “an award-winning ITCH.” Johnson County Community College can, however. The particular ITCH in question is a Continuing Education program at JCCC aimed at introducing teenagers to careers in health care. The program ITCH – Introduction To Careers in Health – was selected to receive a 2013 Exemplary Program Award on behalf of the National Council for Continuing Education & Training (NCCET).  The award was presented during NCCET’s 2013 annual conference in October in Baltimore. Each year the NCCET selects only a handful of programs to receive this national recognition.  ITCH began at JCCC in 2012 as a four-day exploration of practicing life-saving skills, decoding medical mysteries and gaining hands-on experience in caring for patients.  Students in grades 9 through 11 were invited to participate in a variety of activities, including working with patient simulators in the college’s Healthcare Simulation Center, sometimes referred to as the SIM lab.  Patient simulators are computerized mannequins programmed to exhibit certain symptoms so they can be diagnosed and treated accurately. The simulators can talk, blink and provide outputs like blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate.  On the very first day, ITCH participants were given a set of scrubs and a nametag and immediately began skill-building activities. On the last day, participants practiced what they learned on simulators conveying the symptoms and injuries of a certain patient, such as an unrestrained teen in a motor vehicle accident, a diabetic patient and a person experiencing cardiac arrest. 

In between the scrubs and the final patient simulation, the teens also were able to meet with healthcare professionals and ask them questions about their jobs. “ITCH represents a true partnership between JCCC’s Continuing Education and credit programs,” said Phil Wegman, program director for Continuing Education at JCCC.  “It takes a lot of people and departments to make this program successful. JCCC Career Pathways funded the project, and the nursing department made arrangements for us to use the SIM lab and nursing facilities.  “The EMS (emergency medical sciences) department arranged for Life Flight to fly in and brief the students on their role in emergencies, and the ITCH instructional staff did a superb job working with the students,” Wegman said.  The ITCH program was created with the future job market in mind. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts 3.2 million new jobs in healthcare by 2018, and 10 of the top 20 fastest growing jobs will be in healthcare.  “At the beginning of the class, we asked for a show of hands of those interested in becoming nurses or paramedics, and only a handful raised their hands. At the end (of the program) with the same question, 19 out of 22 participants raised their hands,” Wegman said. “Obviously the program had a positive impact and influenced participants to become future healthcare providers.” The program will be offered again, most likely in June, for high school students entering grades 9 through 1l. For more information, contact Wegman at or at 913-469-8500, ext. 4446.

The Open Petal | 15

Exploring the Border War College Scholar shares local archeology of Civil War era By Anne Christiansen-Bullers Scholar Ann Raab (inset) leads a group looking for evidence of the Border War during the Civil War.

The digging is taking place at two sites in Bates County, Missouri.

ust below the soil lies the history of the Civil War and evidence of its ensuing volatility and destruction along the Missouri-Kansas border. You just need to know where to look, a scholar at Johnson County Community College explains.

subsisting or economically thriving. Raab’s research points to years of subsistence living because of the hardships of war and reconstruction.


or sought refuge along the Missouri border, and because there was no way to distinguish a combatant from a noncombatant, an entire swath of land along the border was ordered depopulated.

Ann Raab, adjunct professor of anthropology, will share her field findings and dissertation research about the region’s often-overlooked history in the Civil War.

“And because the Union wanted no place where the guerrillas could hide, they burned down every building; they burned down every field. Everything was destroyed by fire,” Raab said.

Unleashing the Wolf: The Archeology of General Order No. 11 will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, in Hudson Auditorium in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. A 6:30 p.m. reception in the Regnier Center Atrium will precede the event. The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend. Raab has studied two distinct sites in Bates County, Missouri, for evidence of Civil War-era conflict that revolved around a little-known executive order. That order, General Order No. 11, forced anyone not within one mile of a military zone to evacuate their homes. The order, Raab explained, was in reaction to the raid by William Quantrill that left more than 180 people dead in Lawrence, Kan., in 1863. Because the guerrillas lived 16 | The Open Petal

Evidence of those fires remains yet today, and Raab has chronicled the history by digging into layers of Missouri soil. “There’s lots and lots of evidence of burning in very, very hot fires … We find burned wood, but we also find the stone used in foundations. When it gets hot enough, it changes color and breaks in specific ways. But we also find melted glass, melted metal. You need an entire structure to burn in order to get that kind of heat,” she said. After the war, some of the residents returned to the depopulated zone to rebuild, but they found a bill for back taxes on the property waiting for them, Raab said. Some chose to leave, and some never even ventured back, she said. For those who did stay, archeological study reveals that times were hard. Artifacts can reveal whether residents were merely

“Are you using your money just to keep your house standing? You expect that in a frontier, but there’s generally a reversal of that pattern as people become more established and able to improve their socioeconomic standing,” Raab said. “We don’t see the reversal of that trend at all, and it was because of what was happening at this time.” Raab plans to present photos from her digs from farmsteads near what was once West Point, Mo., (now near the current town of Amsterdam, Mo.,) about 50 miles southeast of JCCC. “The town (of West Point) was burned down twice,” Raab said. “After the second time, it was never rebuilt.” Thanks to the generosity of the landowners, and the relative obscurity of other scholarly study in the area, Raab has been able to find numerous artifacts that help her better understand the history of the area. Raab said she’s always been interested in archeology and anthropology, even as a girl growing up in northern Kansas City. After pursuing a bachelor’s degree in theater, she

decided to further her studies in anthropology, receiving a master’s degree from California State University-Northridge in 2005 and a doctorate degree from the University of Kansas in 2012. She has been teaching archeology and anthropology on both sides of the border: at the University of Missouri-Kansas City since 2008, and at JCCC since 2011. Her education also crosses that same border. Her bachelor’s degree is from Avila University in Kansas City, Mo., and she remains a self-professed “huge MU (University of Missouri) fan” by virtue of growing up in Kansas City, Mo. Yet her doctorate is from the University of Kansas. “That border still has great ramifications in this area,” Raab said. “Most people know a little bit about the history of why that is the case, but I’m amazed at how much of this history they don’t know, and that’s one reason I want to share it.” Raab will present as part of the JCCC College Scholar program, which showcases faculty excellence in research fields that go beyond the classroom to make scholarly contributions to knowledge within the professor’s academic discipline.

The Open Petal | 17

Harnessing the power of the sun By Melodee Blobaum

JCCC students worked with local residents in Las Pintas, Mexico, to provide a hot water system for homeowners there.


ou might say that Dan Eberle got into hot water when he and a group of six students visited Mexico last spring.

The assistant professor of energy performance and resource management and his students designed a solar-powered water-heating system that brings hot water into homes in the Santa Rosa neighborhood of Las Pintas, Mexico, located on the outskirts of Guadalajara. Many of the homes in the community have only limited access to hot water, Eberle said. Some residents use immersion heaters like those used in stock tanks to heat water, others use a butane heater. However, those methods can cost as much as 50 cents a day, a huge bite out of the budget when the average weekly income is less than $100 per week. What Las Pintas has in abundance is sunshine and Eberle and his students harnessed the power of the sun both to heat water and to power a pump to bring that water into the house.

Homeowners worked with JCCC students on the solar-powered project.

18 | The Open Petal

The challenge, Eberle said, was to create a system that could be built cheaply, using materials that could be salvaged or purchased inexpensively. His original plan was to build a system of coils that would lay atop a flat roof, absorbing the sun’s heat like a hose left in the sun. The problem was that such a system could only produce about two gallons of hot water in a day, far short of the 20 gallons that Eberle said was

needed by a family for personal hygiene, food preparation and washing clothes. So he and his students devised a different system, one that included a pair of barrels: one to hold the water that was being heated on the roof of a house and another to provide weatherproofing. It also included a pump powered by small solar panels that put the heated water into a storage tank and then moved it into the home. The effectiveness of the setup was quickly proven. The group installed the first system one morning, finishing in time for the afternoon siesta. By the time Eberle and his students came back at 5 p.m., the water in the storage tank was ready to use. “For one adult, that was the first time he’d ever had a hot shower in his home,” Eberle said. In exchange for the water-heating installation, the five families in the community whose homes now have the system installed have each agreed to recruit five others for a water heater installation, resulting in an exponential growth of the availability of hot water in homes. Eberle described it as a dramatic demonstration how just a small input of resources from the JCCC students “planted a seed that would be a real life-changer.” JCCC has a long-term relationship with the community in Las Pintas, sending teams of students, faculty and staff to assist with the community’s health needs since 1998. The Open Petal | 19

NASA engineer says curiosity changed his life

Pinnacle award recognizes manager of Performing Arts Series

By Diane Carroll

By Anne Christiansen-Bullers Emily Behrmann, who has served as general manager of the Performing Arts Series since 2009, was honored by the Johnson County Library Foundation.

Adam Steltzner will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27.


dam Steltzner grew up in a dysfunctional family in the San Francisco Bay area.

He struggled at school. As he went through his teens, he began playing in a band, hoping to build a career in music. One night, after a gig, he looked at the sky and noticed that a constellation of stars had moved from where he had seen it earlier that evening. That got him thinking. Why did that constellation move? His curiosity eventually propelled him to study at a community college and then at a four-year university where he earned a bachelor’s, a master’s and a PhD. Now he speaks to students and others about the value of looking into whatever might intrigue you – whatever sparks your curiosity. “It’s work worth doing,” Steltzner likes to say. People listen because Steltzner’s curiosity about the night sky led him to where he is today – a lead engineer and rocket scientist who successfully led a rover landing on Mars in 2012. His team at NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory figured out how to slow down the rover named Curiosity from a speed of 13,000 miles per hour to a dead stop on Mars in just seven minutes. Steltzner will speak on How Curiosity Changed My Life as part of the college’s Polsky Practical Enrichment Series. The event, open to the public, will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27, Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be available in the lobby. The 20 | The Open Petal

event is free but your reservation would be appreciated. You may send an email to During the presentation, Steltzner will talk about the challenges and setbacks his team experienced during the 10 years they spent together designing, building, testing and tweaking the Sky Crane, the innovative part of the landing gear that made the mission possible. He’ll also talk about how much he valued breakthrough thinking from his team. Steltzner also was in charge of all of the mechanical engineering elements of entry, descent and landing for the Mars Exploration rovers. In 2004, he was among the scientists and engineers featured on the NOVA episode MARS Dead or Alive, which chronicled the process that ultimately delivered the rovers Spirit and Opportunity to Mars. Also during the talk, Steltzner will share his observations about the power of human curiosity and how it can change the world. He believes that audacious goals, unbridled thinking and breakthrough innovations can make the seemingly impossible possible. Steltzner is working on a book that will be titled The Right Kind of Crazy: The Science of Executing Transformative Ideas. The Polsky Series is underwritten by the Norman and Elaine Polsky Family Supporting Foundation within the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in partnership with Johnson County Community College. It includes topics that generally are not offered elsewhere. For more information, visit


mily Behrmann credits her father for her early interest in the arts. His vocation was that of lawyer and judge, but his avocation of music left a lasting impression on her.

“He loved music, he wrote music and he played piano with several jazz bands throughout his life. He even made the rounds of retirement communities after he himself retired, playing piano for the residents,” Behrmann said. “He took requests and generally made people happy through his music.” Last fall, Behrmann was honored for her work as general manager of the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College. She was named the 2013 Pinnacle Award winner for excellence in the arts. The award, chosen by the Johnson County Library Foundation, is presented to “an individual whose work … has had a significant influence on the well-being of our community,” according to the organization’s awards Web page.  Behrmann has planned, managed and promoted the Performing Arts Series at the college as general manager since 2009, but her time at JCCC coincides with the opening of the Carlsen Center in 1990, where most PAS performances are held.  “Being part of a new facility appealed to me, so I started out as event manager there,” Behrmann said.  Behrmann received her bachelor’s degree in music with an

emphasis in voice from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music. She began her career in arts administration with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City Symphony before joining JCCC. Her current role includes arts promotion and education as well as administration. “I think about the impact of the JCCC Performing Arts Series on a daily basis. We’re not a stand-alone arts organization. We’re in a unique position because of our affiliation with the community college, so it’s important that we find as many ways as possible to connect the series to the educational mission of JCCC.  “We pride ourselves not only on programming a widely diverse series of performers, but by reaching out to the community with and through these performers,” she said.  Outreach efforts include bringing busloads of school-aged children to campus for a special show, taking an artist off-campus to a class at a community center and booking workshops, demonstrations and performances for audiences unacquainted with the arts.  “These kinds of activities are integral to our success, and they build an audience for arts organizations everywhere. The community sees us as a resource for the performing arts, and we deliver,” Behrmann said.  Behrmann’s award is the second nod for an employee of the Performing Arts Series at JCCC. Angel Mercier, program director for arts education, received the Pinnacle Award in 2010 for excellence in arts education. The Open Petal | 21

Online Exclusives

CAMPUS LIFE Datebook Feb. 21-23 and Feb 28 to March 1-2, Academic Theatre, Four X Tenn, Tennessee Williams One-Acts, Fridays, 7 and 9 p.m. Saturdays, 2, 7 and 9 p.m. and Sundays, 2 and 4 p.m. Bodker Black Box Theatre. Free.

March 6, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Academic Concert, Celebration, Polsky Theatre. Free.

March 12, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Scholar-inresidence Beebe Bahrami presents The Pilgrimage Roads to Santiago de Compostela in France and Spain, Hudson Auditorum in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 6:30 p.m. reception in the Regnier Center’s Atrium. Free.

Thousands of students find their career paths through JCCC. To read more about these students, go to and search for the student’s name.

March 12, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Academic Choir Concert, Polsky Theatre. Free. March 27, 7 p.m. Thursday, Polsky Series features NASA engineer Adam Steltzner who will speak on How Curiosity Changed My Life. Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center. Free.

April 23, 7 p.m. Wednesday, College Scholar Anne Raab, also an adjunct professor of anthropology at JCCC, will present Unleashing the Wolf: The Archeology of General Order No. 11, which will focus on her research on the local archeology of the Civil War era. Hudson Auditorium. 6:30 p.m. reception in the Atrium. Free.

On stage For tickets and information about these and other events sponsored by the Performing Arts Series, visit or call the JCCC Box Office at 913-469-4445. David Finckel, cello and Wu Han, piano 8 pm. Saturday, Feb. 22

Danú 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8

Turtle Island Quartet 7 p.m. Sunday, March 9

Mother knew best

Try what you like

An affordable price

The right fit

Tyler Bagby’s dream job would be working for General Motors. For now, he works as a car detailer, putters in his dad’s garage fixing up a Nissan 240 SX and studies at JCCC. His automotive technology professor helped him get three scholarships to help pay the way. He plans to get a business degree from Pittsburg State University. “I’ve always been a B student,” Bagby said. “I have to work hard but I’ve always believed that if as long as you work for it, you’ll get it. Things will work out.”

Chris Leak was thinking about becoming a firefighter when his mom suggested that he check out the conductor training program offered by the National Academy of Railroad Sciences at JCCC. Leak followed up, completed the program and says he thinks he will enjoy being a conductor. Why had his mother suggested the program? She had completed conductor training four years earlier.

When Emily Alley began her first semester at JCCC, she took only classes that appealed to her. Her mother was not keen on that approach but Alley was paying her own way through her participation in the Kansas National Guard. The classes she took were public relations, videography, fashion merchandising and design, automotive and fencing. She hoped one of them would lead her to a career path. She was right. After one semester at JCCC, she headed to Pittsburg State University and completed a journalism degree with an emphasis in public relations. Now she’s working on a master’s degree.

Richie Wolfe never planned to go to college. He thought it would be too expensive. But then, while searching for colleges on the Internet, he ran across JCCC’s broadcasting program. The video production classes appealed to him. “I was able to take electives right off the bat,” he said, “and it is way cheaper than any other college in Kansas City that offers these classes.” Now he is an executive producer for JCAV News, the student Internet radio station.

Raquel Kramer has a friend to thank for finding her life path. The friend knew that Kramer would be a good fit for JCCC’s culinary program but Kramer never took the step to apply for the program. So the friend applied for her. It’s probably one of the nicest things anyone has done for her, Kramer said. “I absolutely love it. There have been so many opportunities here and I’m going after as many as I can.”

Leading the way

At the Nerman

These students have been in charge of student media outlets for this academic year. They are Stephen Cook, from left, editor of The Campus Ledger, Zoe Allen of JCAV broadcast and Bill Butts of ECAV Radio.

The Nerman acquired Resplendent and Left in the Dust in 2012. Form #15 went on view for the first time last fall as part of a show. It was such a big hit that Bruce Hartman, the museum’s executive director, decided to leave it up after the show closed.

22 | The Open Petal

All about automobiles

Robert Lostutter

Toshiko Takaezu

Resplendent, 2011 Watercolor on paper 4 x 4” Collection Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art Gift of the H. Tony and Marti Oppenheimer Foundation

Form #15, 1990 Stoneware, 45 x 15” Collection Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art Gift of Dean E. Thompson, Overland Park, Kan.

Karl Wirsum Left in the Dust, 2012 Acrylic on canvas with painted frame, 52.5 x 40.5” Collection Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art Gift of the H. Tony and Marti Oppenheimer Foundation

Photo by Susan McSpadden

The Open Petal | 23


National tournament returns to its roots By Tyler Cundith

Moberly celebrates a win during the early 1980s.

Seminole Junior College’s Belinda Chander (left) and Dixie Woodall were named Most Valuable Player and Coach of the Year during the 1976 tournament.

The timing is good for the JCCC’s women’s basketball program too. Though they lost the region title last year for the first time since moving to Division II in 1999-2000, head coach Ben Conrad has built the JCCC women’s program into one of the elite in the country, winning 30 or more games four straight years. JCCC last hosted the NJCAA tournament in 2004, when the Lady Cavaliers finished seventh overall.


he National Junior College Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Tournament is back! Two years ago, Johnson County Community College was selected to host the NJCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament on a three-year agreement beginning in March 2014 and ending in 2016. The 2015 championship will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the inaugural NJCAA women’s tournament, which has direct ties the college. Basketball fans around the country know Dr. James Naismith as the “Father of Basketball” but few know that former JCCC athletic director and men’s basketball coach Orville Gregory was the originator of the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The idea for the women’s tournament was born ironically when the JCCC men’s team missed its bid for participation in the 1973 men’s national tournament. If men could feel such disappointment at not making the tournament after losing in the region playoffs, what must women players feel when they didn’t even have a national tournament to go to? That was the thought that propelled Gregory to set up first inquiries into the possibility of a women’s tournament. Gregory conducted a survey of all the NJCAA member colleges to see if there was any interest in a national invitational women’s basketball tournament. The initial response was tentative. By December 1973, only seven teams had shown interest in the tournament. Then the idea caught on and other teams made inquiries. The new interest came

24 | The Open Petal

too late for a 1974 tournament, but the decision was made to go ahead with the first national women’s tournament in 1975 on the JCCC campus. That tournament was not only groundbreaking for women’s basketball, but all women’s sports for two-year colleges in the country. It was the only national championship offered by the NJCAA for women. Today, the NJCAA sanctions 23 national championships for women in 13 sports, and in women’s basketball there are three divisions with 405 schools that field a team. “We are excited that the NJCAA decided to return the tournament to Johnson County Community College,” said JCCC athletic director Carl Heinrich. “We believe it is an amazing opportunity to show off our program, the campus, the city of Overland Park and the Johnson County community. JCCC has a proven track record of running quality championship events, and the participating teams and fans will have a wonderful experience.”

Winning a national championship in their own backyard would be a great tribute to Gregory, but Conrad’s focus is on the task at hand – playing one game at a time. “Getting into the national tournament of our region is going to be really tough,” Conrad said. “Highland will be a top team in the nation when it’s all said and done, and there will be a couple of really good teams that won’t make the field. That being said, obviously if you host, you want to be playing, but as for extra pressure, not really. I try to live in a day-by-day process-oriented existence that doesn’t allow me to worry about things four months down the road. Right now, all I can control is how much better our team can get today.” During those first eight years (1975-82) JCCC hosted the tournament, no Lady Cavalier team qualified. In 2004 JCCC hosted as a favor to the NJCAA, and Johnson County did qualify, finishing seventh overall.

Robin Hendrix was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after leading TruettMcConnell to a national title in 1980.

attractive host site for a variety of reasons, including being centrally located and having a women’s basketball program with a history of being nationally competitive. “From an administrative standpoint, Johnson County has all the intangibles in place to host a successful event – great facilities, leadership, marketing, sports information, etc.” Leight said. “Every championship host adds their own ‘flavor’ to the tournament. It is our hope, when naming a national championship site, that 30 years from now our student-athletes look back with a feeling that playing at the national championship was one of the best memories of their athletic career.” Heinrich is confident the staff he has in place to run the championship the next three years will provide a true championship atmosphere for the fans and participants. “The success of this tournament will be a direct result of the people putting it on,” Heinrich said. “I don’t decide to take this on if I don’t have quality people to pull it off and make it successful. A first-class competitive experience is paramount. It is also a unique fact that the tournament is coming back to where it all began.”

Heinrich said the NJCAA wanted JCCC to commit to a threeyear agreement back then, but the timing wasn’t right. “There was a lot going on at the school during that period,” Heinrich said. “The Nerman Museum and Regnier Center were being built, so we couldn’t justify the resources and commitment needed to run a top-notch championship event for an extended period.” Pam Vassar, assistant dean of student life at JCCC, served as the tournament director in 2004, and will reprise that role the next three years. Mary Ellen Leight, NJCAA executive director, says JCCC is an

Tournament facts

This year’s national tournament will take place at JCCC from March 18 to 22. Sixteen teams will participate. The Open Petal | 25

THE REAR WINDOW Members of the JCCC student senate can be serious when the situation calls for it but also know how to have a good time. Goofing around after a photo shoot are Jeffery Redmond, from left, Osama Al-saleh, president Elliot Rogers, Jessica Fiona and Brenden Brower-Freeman.

Morning light mixes with the tables on COM Plaza creating some nice texture and contrast.

Coach Lafayette Norwood watches his team practice at the Overland Park Golf Club.

Photos by Susan McSpadden

Worth a look back


ith students, there’s always something going on. The golf team wrapped up its fall season with an impressive display at the KCKCC Blue Devil Fall Classic, beating runner-up Ottawa University by 48 strokes. The culinary team came home from South Korea with gold, silver and bronze

medals, and the academic theatre department pulled off another engaging production. Meanwhile, student senators enjoyed a light moment after a photo shoot. Kathryn Ratzlaff, a student on the culinary team, prepares desserts for a trial dinner in preparation for competition in Korea.

School mascot Jean-Claude encourages runners as they pass by during the college’s first Lace Up for Learning 5K Run-Walk in October. The event raised about $6,000 for student scholarshps.

Besides being interesting and entertaining, Dead Man’s Cell Phone also had some really cool sets and lighting. Students with the theatre department starred in the play.

The signage on the face of the Carlsen Center was recently updated. It is shown here reflecting in the glass.

For more photos, visit Or connect with Facebook by going to the college home page at and clicking on “Connect with JCCC.” 26 | The Open Petal

The Open Petal | 27




Johnson County Community College

8 p.m. Saturday, March 29 Live on stage! Rex Smith, Rita Coolidge, Thelma Houston, Yvonne Elliman and David Pack (of the band Ambrosia) Act now for best seats! | 913-469-4445 Performing Arts Series | Johnson County Community College NO ONLINE FEES | FREE PARKING | BEER AND WINE AVAILABLE

Openpetal spring 14  

Spring 2014 issue of JCCC's Open Petal Magazine.

Openpetal spring 14  

Spring 2014 issue of JCCC's Open Petal Magazine.