For the first time in more than a decade, when classes started Monday at Mid-Plains Community College campuses, students will no longer be attending Nebraska's smallest community college.
"We've passed that baton back to Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff," said MPCC President Ryan Purdy. "Our official full-time equivalent enrollment for 2013-14 was 1,899.2."
The last report from WNCC was 1,866.
MPCC was the only community college in Nebraska to report an increase in overall FTE enrollment for the past three years. Dual credit and Union Pacific Railroad training were significant factors in MPCC's increases over the past year.
The Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo team -- formed in 2010 as a club sport -- and operated out of North Platte, will more of a McCook flavor this year with the addition of Garrett Nokes as a coach for the 2014-15 season.
In April of this year, the MPCC Area Governing Board took the next progression in the sport by elevating its status as an intercollegiate athletic team, with 10 added scholarships.
The MPCC Rodeo Team is the first athletic team at the college to be deemed an "area" team rather than being campus specific. Most of the focus of the past four years has been in North Platte, but the Nokes hiring will bring more focus to McCook.
Their largest event will be the second annual Rail Town USA College Rodeo 2014 set for Sept. 19-20 at the Wild West Arena in North Platte.
Orientation in North Platte
North Platte Community College had a new student orientation on Monday.
Students had the opportunity to meet classmates and faculty for the upcoming year, locate classrooms and student service sites, learn tips for college success, get plugged in on campus, make new friends, eat in the new cafeteria and win prizes.
“We love seeing the new students each year at orientation and enjoy starting them off on the right track by introducing them to NPCC in the best way possible," said Mindy Hope, Area Recruitment Coordinator.
Hope said that this year’s theme of “We’ve Got Your Back!” is being represented in the form of a fun design where one stick person is holding the other’s “back.”
“It’s a fun twist on an important concept,” she said. “Here at NPCC, we are like a big family – looking out for one another. We do all we can to help students be successful in every aspect and send them onto the next level as well-rounded, confident leaders.”
Hope noted that student activities for the first week of classes included the opportunity to listen to entertainer Cindy Pierce at 7 p.m. Monday in the McDonald-Belton Theater.
“Cindy Pierce brings her witty humor to NPCC and educates students on difficult topics,” she said.
Daytime classes as well as intramurals begin Tuesday. Intramural Football will be the first Intramural sport for fall. All those interested will meet at the Housing Office and then will split into teams, Hope said.
MCC and the arts
The McCook Community College theater department is presenting a special 911-themed performance of the highly acclaimed play "The Guys" to be performed Sept. 11 at the Fox Theater in McCook.
It is a play by Anne Nelson about the aftereffects of the collapse of the World Trade Center. In the play, Joan, an editor, helps Nick, an FDNY captain, prepare the eulogies for an unprecedented number of firefighters who died under his command that day.
MCC Theater Director Clay Grizzle will direct the two-person play with all proceeds to benefit the McCook Volunteer Fire Department.
The McCook Daily Gazette and Denise Sullivan at North Platte Community College wrote this report.