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Photographer and Editor







Across the pond

Studying abroad offers a global perspective


Jordan arseneau

Distinguished Alumnus and camera man for the TV show “Chicago’s Best”


Dream job

Gage Koziol’s journey from student to union operator


In the dirt

Why Agri-Hort students are digging the experience


Mother molly

How Molly Ferrell is living up to her nickname


It’s a golden year!

KCC’s 50th Anniversary begins in 2016


make a plan

Why planned giving helps your financial peace of mind

Canterbury, England

Across the Pond

Studying Abroad Offers a Global Perspective Jan. 11, 2015 The moment the wheels hit the runway, and my flight had finally arrived in London, it was like being a kid again. As if I was strapped in my booster seat as I’m breaking my neck trying to absorb everything that surrounded me. Even after a six hour flight with hardly any sleep, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the countryside. Hills dancing up and down stretched the whole way to Canterbury. The way the fog could cut through these hills, masquerading the cottages burrowed in between, felt like a national landmark in itself. Fabricated with luscious green grass that begged for your attention, as sheep floated like puffs of white smoke across the fields. And I had hardly seen anything yet. A flier at KCC sparked his interest. A scholarship turned interest into reality. From January through March, Zack Rupp spent his final semester as a KCC study abroad student in England. Jan. 11, continued… Driving into Canterbury was as close as I’ll get to time traveling. Seeing how the Canterbury Cathedral towered over the city, demonstrated how the history of this country stood proud. After settling in to my new home for about


twenty minutes, I decided to wander towards the Cathedral, and discovered the High Street. Rupp, a Momence resident, took the opportunity to get a global perspective on learning after receiving the Gulchinski Study Abroad Scholarship. His courses at the Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury, Kent, England included British Literature, Modern British Society, and Ethics. Jan. 30, 2015 Although the British pride themselves on their history, they almost seem to forget it. As the city grows around the historical places in Canterbury, like a weed growing through the cracks in a sidewalk, most people tend to neglect its presence. I recently visited St. Augustine’s Abbey, the site where Christianity first came to England, it is tucked away in middle of Canterbury Christ Church University. A historic place lost between the bustle of everyday life. Even I had walked past it a couple times without even realizing it. Courses taken in England were accepted for credit toward his KCC degree. “One of the big differences with England is that 25% of what you learn is in class, and 75% of it is your self-appointed study,” Rupp said. “More of it is hands-on in the classroom here. So, it’s more of an independent style there.” The amount of independent study gave Rupp time to travel. March 4, 2015 Landed in Shannon, Ireland with blood shot eyes, because God knows I can’t trust myself to wake up earlier than 6 a.m. to save my life. Moment we touched down in western Ireland, everything felt like it was coming together. I was away from Canterbury, the city. Rolling hills stretched out across visibility.

Zack Rupp

The smell of farmland was in every breath I took, reminding me of home a bit. In addition to England and Ireland, Rupp also visited Belgium, the Netherlands and France. He returned to the U.S. on March 28. April 14, 2015 I found my way to Amsterdam and Paris in the beginning of March. These trips were a bit more special than most because my girlfriend, Julia, was able to come visit during her spring break. On my last day in England, I was lucky enough to make the three hour trek to Stonehenge as my last goodbye to this country I became so attached to. And as much as I was going to miss England, I couldn’t land soon enough. Moment the plane landed I wanted to rip my seat belt off and sprint towards arrivals to see my family after three months. The study abroad program brought me experiences and life lessons I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else, and I’ll always be grateful for that. Looking back on my time in England almost seems like a daydream; completely surrounded by strangers that turn out being some of the best connections I’ve made, all left behind in England. In addition to studying abroad, Rupp was involved at KCC as a student ambassador and GED tutor. He graduated from KCC in Spring 2015, and he will transfer to Columbia College Chicago to major in cultural studies. Read all of his blog posts at https://acrosstheblog94. Big Ben, London



KCC graduate Jordan Arseneau describes work as “a blast...It’s pretty amazing to get paid for what I love to do.”

Jesse Arseneau

JORDAN ARSENEAU has been behind the camera since childhood when he and his twin brother and best friend Jesse, also a former KCC student, used to make videos.

“Before the days of YouTube, Jesse, our friends, and I used to write scripts and shoot video on 8mm camcorders,” said Arseneau. “When it came time to go to college, we didn’t know how to start a career in this line of work.”


Jordan and Jesse were part of a single parent household and they knew early on they would be responsible for paying for their own education. Jordan met with several KCC faculty members and weighed his options before choosing KCC. Both brothers began their college careers at KCC in 2000 following graduation from Kankakee Trinity Academy. The brothers saved their paychecks from working part-time at a local discount retailer. In addition, they received MAP grants, and were part of KCC’s TRiO Student Support Services program which mentors first generation college students. After graduating from KCC in 2002, Arseneau transferred and received his bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Illinois State University in 2004. He immediately started working at WCIA in Champaign-Urbana as a news and commercial photographer. Five years later, he landed his current job at the Tribune Broadcasting Company.

Jordan Arseneau

Arseneau’s hard work has paid off. He has earned three Emmys and has been nominated a total of eight times. One Emmy was awarded in 2011 for Outstanding Achievement for Magazine Programming – Program/Special/Series. The other two Emmys were for Outstanding Craft Achievement Off-Air: Editor-Program (Non-News) in 2013 and 2014. Arseneau is a photographer and editor at Oak Brook Productions, a television arm of Tribune Broadcasting. His current assignment is working as the sole editor and photographer on the “Chicago’s Best” series. “Chicago’s Best” is a food and lifestyle show that spotlights restaurants in the Chicago area. “I look forward to coming to work, and I have blast while I am here,” said Arseneau. “It’s pretty amazing to get paid for what I love to do.” Some view going away to college as a “rite of passage” according to Arseneau, but he said two years of working hard at KCC led to his dream job today.

Jordan on the job at Oakbrook Productions

“At the time, I didn’t realize what a wise choice going to KCC was,” said Arseneau. “Here I am, years later, nearly debt-free from school, while so many of my colleagues have thousands of dollars’ worth of debt.”

“KCC OFFERS STUDENTS AN EDUCATION CLOSE TO HOME WHERE THERE IS ACCESS TO A FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE AND ALL THE PREREQUISITES NEEDED TO HELP STUDENTS FOCUS ON CAREER COURSES WHEN THEY TRANSFER.” – JORDAN ARSENEAU “My career has been an amazing ride so far,” said Arseneau. In addition to enjoying his career, Arseneau also devotes time to South Suburban Vineyard Church, in Flossmoor, which he helped establish in 2009. He lives in Homewood with his wife, Nikki, and their two sons.



“This is the first articulation agreement for the Manufacturing Technology program at KCC; however, we are also working with other colleges and universities to bring even more options to our students,” said Anderson.

interviewed for his dream job, but he didn’t get it. He didn’t have the experience or the education the company wanted.

Disappointed, he decided to go back to school. Not sure where to begin, Koziol started exploring his options. The Bourbonnais resident looked close to home and discovered he could get the training he needed at Kankakee Community College. “I was working in a kitchen at a retirement home, and I didn’t want to be there for the rest of my life,” said Koziol. “I found KCC offered a program in the field I wanted to be in, and I enrolled immediately. That decision changed my life.” Within six weeks of taking classes at KCC, Koziol earned five industry Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) certifications. With his new education on his résumé, he became a machine operator with Pactiv in Grant Park, one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of food packaging and food service products. Koziol took advantage of tuition reimbursement opportunities at Pactiv to enroll in more classes at KCC. However, while he was working full-time and going to school, his dream job at CSL Behring was open again. He interviewed for the union operator position, and this time he was hired. “Within seven months of starting my KCC education, I landed my dream job,” said Koziol. “I can’t wait to see how far my KCC education will take me.” Mark Anderson, coordinator of KCC’s Manufacturing Technology program, describes Koziol as a straight “A” student who embraced the program. “Gage is an excellent example of how the program leads to immediate employment,” said Anderson. “Many opportunities within the manufacturing industry are available from numerous companies in the Kankakee area.” Koziol is on the path to earn an Associate Degree in Manufacturing Technology at KCC. He also hopes to take advantage of an agreement with Governors State University (GSU) to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree.


KCC’s Manufacturing Technology programs were developed as part of the Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing, which includes 21 Illinois community colleges. The manufacturing production skills taught are based on the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) criteria. The MSSC is an industry-led, training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s front-line production and material handling workers. “Students can finish a number of short-term training certificates as they progress through the program, and can join in the A.A.S. program at multiple points, depending on their assessment results and educational and career goals,” said Anderson. Most classes in the Manufacturing Technology program are held at the college’s state-of-the-art Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Center. The MITC has sophisticated classrooms and labs for welding, machine tool fabrication, and millwright programs. “It is a unique space for students to learn because they will gain hands-on experience,” said Anderson. “Unique to our program is a fully-functional and operational core measuring machine (CMM) with a qualified instructor.” “The Ford plant is known for hiring employees on the spot who have CMM training,” said Anderson. “There are also several other employers who seek students with CMM training.” Kankakee-area companies, which have hired KCC students with manufacturing technology certificates, include Pactiv, VanDrunen Farms, and Heartland Harvest, Inc., Anderson said.

“There are many opportunities for employment in our region. Manufacturers are INTERESTED IN HIRING OUR STUDENTS.” – MARK ANDERSON

KCC is also working with area companies to provide internships. Rich Cochran, division manager, die cut division at Heartland Harvest, Inc., said that his company is focused on being a community partner. “Heartland Harvest is committed to education,” said Cochran. “We lead tours of our facility for KCC classes, offer tuition reimbursement for our employees who enroll in classes at KCC, and collaborate with KCC leaders on the programs. Our employees have learned skills at KCC that they use immediately on the jobsite.”

endeavors of our community,” Dawson said. “We want to provide internships and jobs to the people who live here, and support the institutions that administer training like KCC.” Students and community members can search for positions in manufacturing at For more information about the Manufacturing Technology program visit or email Mark Anderson at

Dean Dawson, reliability manager at BASF Corporation, said they also are committed to being a partner in education. “From high school to college, we want to support the educational


STUDENTS IN THE AGRICULTURE ARE TRULY DIGGING With a hands-on approach to teaching agriculture and horticulture, students are learning valuable job skills. From traditional growing methods to hydroponic and aquaponic systems, the Agri/Hort Technology program broadens student experiences while tailoring it to their interests.

The other 500-gallon tank is an open system tank hooked up to a bed with a flood and drainage system. The goldfish in it help filter and fertilize the water for the plants (herbs, vegetable and strawberries) growing above.

KCC offers two associate degrees and 13 certificate options. The Agri-Hort Technology Associate in Applied Science degree has four specializations--Horticulture, Manufacturing Technology, Production and Business. Each specialization has certificates available. The Agriculture transfer degree provides the first two years of a bachelor’s degree.

“Getting the aquaponic tanks up and running and producing food was a huge milestone that we are all proud of,” said Ohrt. “Because the class sizes are small, everyone has an opportunity to help set up and maintain the tanks.”

“We have four brand new pathways to earning a degree,” said Katelynn Ohrt, director of the Agri-Hort Technology program at KCC. “For those who decide to pursue a certificate, they are stackable and credit hours can carry over to earn a degree.” KCC partnered with an advisory committee of leaders from local agriculture and business, along with students, to design and revise the curriculum. Throughout the program there is classroom, laboratory, greenhouse and practical experience in the field.

To support a farm-to-table initiative and sustainable practices, Ohrt hopes their efforts can provide food for a salad bar on campus. “Currently, we grow enough food for the students in the program to take home,” said Ohrt. “Soon, we hope to offer our harvest to the college’s cafeteria. It’s an exciting, in-the-works project.”

Lyn Nitz-Mercaeant of Kankakee is a sophomore in the program. Already a master gardener with the University of Illinois Extension, she originally enrolled in a certificate program to brush up on her skills. The flexibility to keep adding on to the program will culminate in a degree from KCC this spring. She plans to transfer to a university this fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Ohrt is also teaching the students about using technology such as drones, which are flying devices that carry cameras and can be navigated remotely by smartphones or controllers. Farmers are using drones for field mapping to increase yields and reduce crop damage.

“Growing up in a farming family, I’ve always enjoyed agriculture and gardening,” said Nitz-Mercaeant. “I raised my family, and it was time to do something for myself. I was pleased by all the options KCC had to offer.” Nitz-Mercaeant cites all the hands-on opportunities and labbased curriculum for making the program her own. “I didn’t know what to expect when I started this program, but I’ve learned so much,” said Nitz-Mercaeant. “I’ve had so many unique, hands-on opportunities.” One opportunity was setting up aquaponic tanks in the greenhouse, including a closed-system tank where students raise tilapia. Over the top of the tank sits foam where herbs and vegetables grow. The plants’ roots are immersed in the tank and help to nourish and filter the water for the tilapia. 10

“Mapping the fields provide farmers with a blueprint of their crops, and drones are helping to revolutionize the industry,” said Ohrt. “We hope to purchase and incorporate a drone into our curriculum as soon as this spring.” Another piece of technology Ohrt has recently purchased with a KCC Foundation Awards for Excellence grant is handheld GPS units for making better decisions to plant, map, sample, scout, and harvest fields. Awards for Excellence is a mini-grant project established by the KCC Foundation to encourage the development of innovative projects that support student success. Many of the ideas for new technologies that Ohrt uses and plans for result from collaboration and suggestions by the advisory committee.


Lyn Nitz-Mercaent near the tilapia tanks

“Our relationship with KCC has allowed us to suggest ways their program can benefit the industry,” said Matt Perreault, sales/research and development manager at Shoup Manufacturing in Kankakee, a member of the advisory committee. “KCC is an affordable way for those who want to get handson experience and learn best practices to get a jump start on their career.” Shoup markets and distributes thousands of parts and accessories for farm equipment. Shoup approached KCC about internship opportunities available for students, and the relationship between the two entities blossomed. In addition to providing internship opportunities, Shoup also has supported the Gerry Sikma Scholarship for AgriHort Technology students. Two full scholarships, including tuition and books, are offered.

Preparing the gardens

Seven other scholarships offered by the KCC Foundation are for students in agriculture and horticulture-related programs. They are the Central Illinois Green Club Agriculture/Horticulture Scholarship, Dennis and Georgia Hess Scholarship, Dorothy and Walter Franklin Scholarship, Kankakee Kultivators Horticulture Scholarship, Kankakee Valley Garden Club Horticulture Scholarship, The Olde Time Farm Show Scholarship, and the Robert Worth Family Horticulture Scholarship. All KCC students who have an interest in the field are invited to join the Horticulture Club, which sponsors farmers’ markets and organizes a community garden for KCC students and staff. “We also sponsor an annual trip to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show,” Ohrt said. For more information about the Agri-Hort Technology program at KCC, visit

“Katelynn invited us to the scholarship banquet so we could meet the recipients,” said Perrault. “It was rewarding to meet the students and learn how our support helped them achieve their goal of getting education in the field.”


“In my heart I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse. My mother is an RN. Growing up I got to see first-hand all the amazing opportunities that are in the field of nursing.” – MOLLY FERRELL


WAS HER NICKNAME AS A YOUNG CHILD BECAUSE OF HER PASSION FOR TAKING CARE OF PEOPLE. Today, the 25-year-old Kankakee Community College graduate is professionally living up to her nickname. Ferrell, pictured above, recently started working as a registered nurse at Presence St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee. Ferrell’s career in nursing started with her first Certified Nursing Assistant course at KCC when she was a freshman. “I wanted to be sure my heart was telling me the right thing, that nursing was the right career for me,” said Ferrell. “The CNA course confirmed my decision; I wanted to be a nurse.” The following semester, Ferrell enrolled in KCC fulltime to complete nursing prerequisites. “I loved KCC from the start,” she said. “The professors were caring and supportive, and I felt right at home.” Ferrell was on the path to becoming a nurse. She loved the small 12

school atmosphere and personal attention that KCC offered. Then, she hit a bump in the road. Professors caution students in the nursing program to work minimal hours because of the rigorous curriculum. Ferrell realized she was in over her head and dropped out of the program shortly after beginning in 2010 for personal reasons. “It was a difficult decision to leave the program (temporarily),” said Ferrell. “I knew my education was important, but life brought on personal struggles I needed to deal with and that needed my attention first. “Being away from school made me realize more than ever that I needed my education.” My mother saw that I had the drive and determination to make my nursing dream come true. She was right.” Ferrell re-entered the nursing program in Spring 2013. Thanks to scholarships from the KCC Foundation, she was able to reduce work hours and focus almost entirely on school. “I felt like a huge load had been lifted off of my shoulders thanks to scholarships from generous donors,” said Ferrell. “These scholarships not only made an impact on me financially, but they impacted me on an emotional level. “Complete strangers generously donate money so students like me can go to school. It’s not a one-time occurrence. People do it all the time. People’s kindness makes me tear up.” Ferrell received several scholarships, including the Cynthia

Molly on the job at Presence St. Mary’s Hospital

Steury-Lattz Memorial Scholarship, named for a KCC professor of nursing. “I was overwhelmed and inspired by all the memories that were shared with me about Professor Steury-Lattz, while I pursued my education, Ferrell said.” Ferrell is grateful for her support from the Foundation and she intends on paying it forward. “I would love to sponsor a scholarship one day for a student in need,” she said. “I don’t know where I would be without my donors’ kind hearts.” Ferrell graduated from the nursing program in December of 2014. Even though she has been a nurse for a short time, she is living her dream and credits KCC for making it a reality. “KCC is a remarkable place, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities it gave me,” said Ferrell. And, true to her “Mother Molly” fashion, her favorite part about being a nurse is taking care of people. “Nursing is an important job, and I focus on getting to know the patients both medically and personally when they are in my care,” she said. “People have personalities, and I like getting to know who I am caring for.”

Deb Dennis with Molly in front of Presence St. Mary’s Hospital

SHARE YOUR ALUMNI STORY! SHARE YOUR ALUMNI STORY FOR KCC’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2016. We want to get to know you better. Please submit your story including your name, class year, contact information, favorite KCC memories and your accomplishments. Email this information to Share how you have made a difference in your communities, the nation and the world!

We are proud of our Cavaliers! 13


CAVALIERS CLASSIC GOLF OUTING Date: Monday, Aug. 3, 2015 Time: 11 a.m. – Registration Noon – Tee-Off 6 p.m. – Social Hour 6:30 p.m. – Dinner & Program Location: Kankakee Country Club Golf: $225 per golfer $850 for foursome

scholarship recognition dinner For all KCC Scholarship Donors and Recipients Date: Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 Time: 6 p.m. Location: Hilton Garden Inn 455 Riverstone Parkway, Kankakee For more information contact Imani Cobb at 815-802-8252. Scholarship recipients at the 2014 recognition event.

KCC WILL CELEBRATE ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY IN OCTOBER 2016! Stay tuned for more information about our 50th anniversary celebration. We will host community events, offer alumni stories and share our vision for the next 50 years. We want to strengthen our relationship with our alumni and friends of the college.

Happy 50th Anniversary, KCC! 14

Planned Giving Planned giving provides a vehicle for you to ensure the financial well-being of KCC. Your planned gift will provide the largest benefit to the college while reducing income tax, estate and gift tax burden for your estate and heirs. With the guidance of your tax and legal counsel, the KCC Foundation can assist you in your philanthropic goals. Below are some of the most common types of planned gifts. Contact Kelly Myers, executive director, at 815-802-8260 or, for more information.

Irrevocable “Life Income” planned gifts If you are comfortable making a current donation of assets now, but would like to receive a regular payment stream for the rest of your life, a “life income” gift plan might be perfect for you. Charitable Gift Annuity. A CGA is a simple contract with the KCC Foundation to pay you and/or your designated beneficiary a fixed annuity for life. Charitable Remainder Trust. Similar to a CGA, a CRT offers more flexibility by allowing you to identify multiple beneficiaries and choose how the annual payment is calculated.

Revocable planned gifts

If you want to provide a gift to the KCC Foundation but are not comfortable giving away assets you may need in the future, consider including a bequest to the KCC Foundation in your will or living trust or naming the KCC Foundation as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or life insurance policy.

Charitable Lead Trust – payments to the KCC Foundation now; remainder to your family

A CLT provides a current payment stream to the KCC Foundation with a remainder interest to you or a designated beneficiary, with these benefits: you may be eligible for a current income tax deduction; you may transfer assets to your family free of transfer tax; contributed assets are removed from your taxable estate; you will witness the tangible impact of your contribution.

Real Estate

You can use real estate to fund a life income gift, or you can donate real estate to the KCC Foundation through your will or living trust. And if you want to receive a current income tax deduction for the gift of your home, but would like to continue living there for the rest of your life, you can donate a “remainder interest” in your home and retain a “life estate” for yourself.





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The KCC Foundation Magazine

Executive Editor Kari Nugent, Kankakee Community College

Writers Kelly Myers, Kankakee Community College Ellen Skelly, Kankakee Community College Jill Yott, Freelance Writer

Graphics and Photography Bill Jurevich, Image Group Photography Diane Soltis, Kankakee Community College

KCC Foundation Board of Directors

KCC Board of Trustees

Dr. John Avendano, KCC President Jeff Bennett Claire Chaplinski, Legal Counsel Joda Crabtree Barb Decker Scott Franco Maggie Frogge, Secretary John Fulton Tim Gernon Jeff Hammes Dennis Hess, Vice Chairman

Jerald W. Hoekstra, Chairman Bradley Hove, Vice Chairman Patrick D. Martin, Secretary Alphania Ambrose, Student Trustee Cathy Boicken Claire Chaplinski, Legal Counsel Richard J. Frey William Orr Todd A. Widholm

Brad Hove, Liaison to the KCC Board of Trustees Peggy Hutnick David Jaffe Michael Kick Michael Lynch Dr. Ivan Meyer Mark Smith, Treasurer Steve Smith, Chairman Donald A. Wagner

KCC Foundation Legacy Magazine 2015 Summer  

My career has been an amazing ride so far." Jordan Arseneau. The KCC Foundation continues to reach out for support from area organizations,...