KCKCC celebrates fathers with 18th annual Father’s Day luncheon

The Stone Lion Puppet Theatre performed “Stella Luna” during the 18th annual Father’s Day Luncheon at KCKCC. (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge
Celebrating positive male role models was at the center of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 18th annual Father’s Day Luncheon earlier this week.

The event, sponsored by the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center, was June 16 in Lower Jewell.

In addition to a presentation by keynote speaker Jonathan Long, dean of student services at KCKCC, there was a performance by the Stone Lion Puppet Theatre. The Kansas City-based group uses marionettes, masks, shadow and rod puppets to bring classic stories to life. Stone Lion tours throughout the Midwest and the United States and is also a Smithsonian Institute touring performer as well as on the rosters for the Missouri Arts Council and the Kansas City Young Audiences organization.

“The luncheon is a day to celebrate and show appreciation to the fathers and other male role models at the center,” said Doris Holleman, director of the Campus Childcare Center at KCKCC. “We began the tradition of hosting a Father’s Day Luncheon 18 years ago when I began my tenure as director.”

Long spoke about the effect his father had upon his life and the importance of fatherhood. He said it is important to create a partnership between parents so that the family is “healthy and well-adjusted family.”

“Children sometimes see fathers as their hero and sometimes as a zero,” he said.

Kayleigh Dusil, Vandoran Huston and Kristopher Simmonds, students in the school-age program, read books on several topics to those in attendance. The entire school-age class sang “America the Beautiful” as Jah’Lil Drew played the saxophone. Drew, a fellow school-age student, also played “Wade in the Water” on the saxophone.

Another speaker at the event was Rhonda Erpelding, of the American Heart Association and Nemours. She spoke about the partnership between the AHA and the Campus Child Care Center, focusing on the steps the center has taken toward providing healthier meals and more physical activity. These initiatives include removing pre-fried foods from the menu, increasing the availability and appeal of water and reducing screen time for children.

Wrapping up the event were comments and a musical solo from Shawn Derritt, director of the Advising Center at KCKCC and a slide show of the children and their activities. A presentation of gifts to the fathers in attendance was then made.

“It is important to host these types of events each year because it shows the community that our college and childcare center values cultural and personal diversity of our male students and other men residing in our local community,” Holleman said. “Furthermore, Father’s Day specifically, can be an encouragement to our men to be active in the lives of their children. The children have the unique experience of having contact with other men on our campus who are positive role models for their future growth and personal development.”

The KCKCC Campus Childcare Center held the 18th annual Father’s Day Luncheon June 16. The goal of the event was to highlight positive male role models in a child’s life. (KCKCC photo)

Longtime KCKCC history professor retires

John Ryan (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge
John Ryan started teaching at Kansas City Kansas Community College as a graduate student at the University of Kansas. So when he received the opportunity to become an adjunct professor, he jumped at the chance.
“I loved everything about the place,” he said. “I loved the students. I loved the teachers.”
That was in the spring of 1971. When KCKCC moved to the 73rd and State Avenue campus in the fall of 1972, he became a full-time professor.
“I have loved history since I was in the ninth grade,” he said. “I am fascinated by the stories; there are so many exciting, amazing stories. But it struck me early on, how many students hated history.”
Ryan has taught World Civilization, American history and Western Civilization at KCKCC. He received a bachelor’s degree from Merriam College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree and doctorate from KU.
“I think it is much more important for effective citizenship for people to learn from the past, which is where history comes into play,” he said. “I have been lucky. I have loved what I have done. I love the interaction with the students. I love introducing them to a new way of thinking.”
Ryan’s said his love of history came from his father, who was an engineer. He said they would sit around the dinner table every night and talk about current or historical events. Then, like so many educators, there was one teacher.
“In ninth grade I had a teacher. I really looked up to him,” he said. “I wanted to be like him because he loved teaching so much. I thought it was great.”
As he looks at retirement, Ryan said he is ready to have more time to relax and pursue other interests. He said he would also like to spend more time with his two children, one of whom lives in the Kansas City area.
“I figured it was time. It feels right. It’s time to let someone else have their turn,” he said. “I think there will be a lot more time for movies, and I want to learn Spanish. I will miss the day to day – the teachers, students and staff. This is a great place, and I will miss the creativity. I tried to make history meaningful. I have loved it till the end.”

Registration open for Camp Invention

by Kelly Rogge
Creativity is being inspired during Kansas City Kansas Community College’s week-long summer camp, Camp Invention.
Camp Invention is designed for elementary school students as a way to help them explore, tinker with ideas and be creative. There are two sessions this summer. The first is July 14 to 18 at the KCKCC Main Campus, 7250 State Ave. The second is July 21 to 25 at the KCKCC-Leavenworth Campus. Each session is from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and tuition is $199. Discounts are available. Campers need to bring a sack lunch each day.
“Camp Invention is an amazing weeklong summer adventure where students entering grades one through six will brainstorm, tinker, create and invent without limits,” said Kylie Williamson, coordinator of community education for KCKCC. “Camp Invention allows kids to use their imagination while learning scientific principles.”
Camp Invention is a national program that KCKCC has held since 2008. Students who participate will use real tools, circuits and materials from the Inventor Supply Room to build their own original prototypes. They work in teams to rotate among different modules, allowing them to build upon what they learned the previous day. All activities are centered on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts. It is the only nationally-accredited summer enrichment day experience for elementary-aged children and is led by local certified educators. The program was first started in 1990 and since has served more than 1,200 sites in 49 states.
“They will create a personalized motor-powered vehicle and take apart electronics to construct an insect-themed pinball machine,” Williamson said. “I hope children learn new concepts and are inspired by inventors whose inventions have changed the world, all while having a blast building and creating things.”
For more information or to register, call 913-288-7660. Registration can also be completed by going to the KCKCC website, www.kckcc.edu and selecting “Continuing Education.” Select “Continuing Education Schedule” and Personal Growth under Youth Programs.
Information about Camp Invention can be found at campinvention.org.