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On December 14th, 2022, Leadership Kearney #31 began the day at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (YRTC) receiving breakfast and a facility tour explaining the daily operations by the Interim Facility Administrator, Cindy Krolikowski. Cindy’s 28 years of facility knowledge/experience detailed how YRTC houses and secures at-risk adolescents sentenced by the courts. The youth are from across Nebraska and receive a high school education as well as mental health services and physical activities at the facility.

Class #31 then proceeded to the UNMC Health Science Education Building on the UNK campus and were greeted by Assistant Dean of the UNMC College of Nursing Cathrin Carithers, along with Student Services Coordinator Sarah Jones, and Education Program Coordinator Liz Stout. A tour provided the building’s history along with information on UNMC professional programs offered. Class #31 was shown the rooms where future medical professionals obtain firsthand patient care skills including their nurse simulation training classrooms.

We then met with Senior Vice Chancellor Dr. Kristen Majocha, Emeritus Senior Vice Chancellor Dr. Charlie Bicak, and Director of Business Services and Executive Director of University Village Michael Christen who discussed UNK’s future expansion plans. Kearney residents are blessed to live in a progressive community looking to benefit current/future residents. Future UNMC expansions include a pharmacy, occupational therapy program, and a cancer center. UNK and the city’s partnership includes the development of the Ernest Grundy Tennis Center along with more modern affordable housing , such as Village Flats and Element 30. This stop made clear that partnerships between the city of Kearney, UNK, and UNMC all benefit our community and the surrounding area.

Class #31 then met at Cope Stadium where we were provided a formal dining experience by Brandon Benitz from Century 21 Midlands in instructing us on proper meal etiquette, which the meal was sponsored by the Leadership Kearney Board of Graduates.

At Central Community College (CCC), we were provided tours by fellow class member Kara Greenwalt, CCC’s Student Services Specialist and Katie Holmes CCC’s Administrative Assistant and member of Leadership Kearney #30 who discussed the building’s modern energy efficiency design. We were taken to the Mechatronics Lab where demonstrations and job market opportunities were discussed by an instructor. In a science lab, an instructor demonstrated on the anatomage table a digital cadaver image students use to learn human anatomy.

We then met the Dean of Training Dr. Kelly Christensen, the Dean of Enrollment Management Dr. Janel Walton, and Vice President of Innovation and Instruction Dr. Candace Walton in which the panel discussed the college’s economic impact on the business community. The partnerships between CCC with UNK along with Kearney High School showcased how students benefit from CCC programs and classes.

Class #31 then proceeded to the Hanny Arram Center for Success and met with the K – 12 Education Panel, which included the Hanny Arram Principal Jason Owens, the Kearney High School Principal Jeff Ganz, the Kearney Catholic Principal Matthew Rogers, the Horizon Middle School Principal Amber Lewis, the Administrator of Education Service Dr. Melissa Wheelock, and the Kearney Public School Director of Pre K – 5 Education Sara Paider. Funding of both public and private education was spoken about along with the initiative of providing programs and services to early childhood education. The differences between the various age groups were discussed along with the overall student goals for the traditional high schools and the Hanny Arram Center. Principal Owens then took us on a facility tour and discussed the challenges his students face and the different strategies used to help students achieve an education.

Leadership Kearney Class #31 would like to sincerely thank all the presenters and organizers as well as to anyone involved in the education Kearney students and guidance of our youth community. Your work is greatly appreciated!

By Gabe Kowalek

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