Highland Community College Homecoming Celebration Brings Together Current Students and Alumni

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Those present at the Alumni and Awards Luncheon were; Back row left to right; Sharon Stelzer, Linda Crawford, Paul Crawford, ’70, Ken McCauley, ’70. Front row left to right; Jenny Knudson, Claudia Kale, Marj Locker, ’78, Mary McCauley, ’70.
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Highland, KS – On Saturday, September 28 Highland held the annual homecoming celebration honoring current students as well as the Golden Grad 50-year class of 1969. In addition, the annual Alumni Awards and Heritage Society inductees were announced at a luncheon prior to the football game where the Scotties took on Iowa Central Community College and won 20-14.

“Golden Grads are a special group as they celebrate 50 years since their attendance at Highland. Often many of these class members haven’t returned to Highland in years and are thrilled to go on a tour of campus and see what’s changed as well as catch-up with old friends. We as staff learn so much from these stories!” Kelly Twombly, Director of Alumni Relations at HCC, noted after interacting with classmates.

This year’s alumni award recipients include:

Alumni Service Award – Paul ‘70 and Linda Crawford of Topeka

This award acknowledges an alum who contributes time, talents, service, and volunteerism to Highland Community College.

Distinguished Alumni – Marj ‘78 (Finuf) Locker of Ludlow, Missouri and Ken ‘70 and Mary (Pauly) ‘70 McCauley of White Cloud, Kansas.

This award is presented to an alum that has made a significant contribution to society and whose accomplishments and career has brought credit to Highland Community College in one or more of the following areas: distinguishing themselves in their career, service to their community, and support of Highland Community College.

Alumni Association Scholarship recipients were also honored at the luncheon. The 2019 recipients include Elizabeth Allenbrand of Wamego, Kansas and Shayna Wilson of Highland, Kansas.

In addition to alumni awards, members were inducted into the Highland Community College Foundation Heritage Society. This group has made plans to support the future needs of the College via estate planning. This year’s inductees include; James R. Clulo, of Valley Falls, Kansas, Matthew Meyer, ’76, of Fairview, Kansas, and Loyal G. Torkelson, ’54, of Leavenworth, Kansas. Bill ‘47 and Edith Shear of Hiawatha, Kansas were inducted posthumously and represented by their nieces, Claudia Kale, Jenny Knudson, and Sharon Stelzer.

2019/20 Scottie Ambassadors were also honored this year at homecoming. Students gathered on the field at half-time of the football games vs. Iowa Central CC. Scottie Ambassadors are the face of Highland and its student body. They serve as a model for prospective students in the admissions process, showing those students what life as a Scottie is like by giving campus tours and sharing their stories and serving at special events.

Ambassadors include:

  • Belinda Ames – Sophomore: Onaga HS
  • Sara Armstrong – Sophomore: Blue Springs
  • Brock Becker- Sophomore: Maur Hill
  • Grace Brewer- Freshman: Riverside
  • Trinity Gomez- Freshman: Topeka/Seaman
  • Mackinze Gray- Sophomore: Riverside
  • Kallie Hawkins- Freshman: Riverside
  • Amber Hildebrand- Sophomore: Wamego
  • Tanner Holte- Freshman: Royal Valley
  • Makenzie Koranda- Sophomore: Riverside
  • Haley Miller- Freshman – Riverside
  • Holly Mitchell – Freshman: Royal Valley
  • Macey Moyer-Koelliker – Sophomore: Silver Lake
  • Maxson Muenks – Freshman: Fatima High
  • Savannah Phillips- Freshman: Holton HS
  • Abigail Scheideman- Freshman: Santa Fe Trail
  • Zachary Schnacker – Sophomore: Royal Valley
  • Maverick Sedlacek- Freshman: Denver, CO
  • Trey Siemens- Freshman: Blue Rapids
  • Javon Watkins- Sophomore – Illinois
  • Tayiah Whetstine- Sophomore: Doniphan West
  • Xavier Woods – Sophomore: Lafayette
  • Abbygail Yunghans- Freshman: Nemaha Central
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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.