It’s been several weeks since I’ve posted a message and I’ve realized that in just a few more days the spring semester of classes will end. This semester has passed so quickly and I have realized just how much has been accomplished by our students, by our faculty, and by our entire college community.

Our athletic teams had a stellar year – the men’s basketball team finished with the Jayhawk West title, the Region VI tournament championship and a 3rd place finish in the NJCAA national tournament. Darko Cohadarevic and Reggie Chamberlain were named to the NJCAA national tournament team and they, along with other players, received conference and region honors. Coach Zollinger received conference and region coaching recognition as well as being named the Kansas community college coach of the year. Our Lady Saints team also had a great year with individual honors and Tegan Cunningham named an All-American once again. Our Lady Saints tennis team has qualified for the national tournament which will occur this weekend in Arizona. Our baseball team has won the Jayhawk West title and enters Region VI tournament ranked in the top 10 teams in the nation. Our Lady Saints softball team finished in 2nd place in the Jayhawk West and begins Region VI tournament play this weekend in Wichita. Several individual honors have been received by our baseball and softball players including NJCAA player of the week recognition. Please visit our athletic website at www.sccc.edu to get more details about the great athletic achievements of our teams and players.

This is the time of year when we are able to recognize the many accomplishments of students, not just athletes. I often refer to this month as “banquet month” and joke about gaining a few pounds. However, the great aspect of the many banquets and functions is the opportunity to recognize the individuals and groups for their achievements. Our music program held wonderful concerts with group and individual performances. I am continually impressed with the talent that is here at SCCC, and with Darin Workman and Lori Geis’ leadership in conducting and directing the wind ensemble and choirs. I was pleased to be able to attend the agriculture banquet and recognize the students who will pursue careers and further education in such a vital industry. The livestock judging teams had a successful year with team and individual awards, but equally impressive is their involvement with community activities such as “farm education day” and the establishment of the “Collegiate Farm Bureau” chapter here at SCCC. These students have active schedules, heavy academic schedules, and travel extensively to compete at national contests, yet their GPA is consistently high and university scholarships are awarded.

Yesterday I had the chance to attend our multicultural banquet and recognize students from our BCU, HALO, and International Student Organization (a new club here on campus). It’s truly inspiring to hear students discuss their goals and achievements, many are first generation college students, all of them are proud of their heritage and culture, our international students haven’t been home to see their families for several months, and they all understand that lifetime friendships and support have been created here at SCCC. As I mentioned to them at the banquet we are all excited to keep in touch with them to help celebrate their future accomplishments whether that is becoming a physician, an attorney, a professional athlete, a teacher, a private business owner, etc., - these are students with great talent, intellect, perseverance, and compassion for education.

Next week we will hold our commencement ceremonies and the Phi Theta Kappa recognition breakfast. This will be the final “formal” ceremonies for our graduating students and we’ll bid farewell to another group of outstanding students. Community colleges often only have students on campus for 2-3 years or less, so the chance to recognize these students for such great accomplishments in such a short time is truly rewarding.

Finally, I want to recognize the sponsors of our student organizations, the coaches of our athletic teams, and of course the faculty for challenging the academic ability of our students. There are numerous motivational statements about accomplishments, goal attainment, etc. and all of those wise and inspirational statements can be applied to the effort and results of these faculty and staff members who push the students toward greatness. One of my favorite statements credited to Jonathan Swift is “Vision is the art of seeing the invisible” – and the support, instruction, guidance, and tenacity that our faculty and staff provide on a daily basis has resulted in our students achieving goals which just a few months ago were “invisible” to them.

Thanks to all of the students, faculty, and staff for another great academic year here at SCCC.