GRCC In the News, 4-25-22

What’s driving up tuition, fees at many colleges? It’s this economic monster

4/22/22 University Business

What is the single biggest worry facing higher education leaders and boards right now? Is it the enrollment cliff? Or retention? Or perhaps filling residential housing or the mental health crisis of their students?

… Grand Rapids Community College’s trustees made the call, knowing the hardships that students are facing.

Jayhawk golfers place fourth at Jackson Invitational while Zach Petroski takes top individual honors

4/23/22 Local Sports Journal (Muskegon)

JACKSON — The Muskegon Community College Jayhawks golf team traveled to Jackson on Friday to compete in the Jackson College Golf Invitational held at Ella Sharp Park Golf Course.

… Other team scores included Mott Community College who took top honors shooting a low score of 295. They were followed by Oakland (296) and Grand Rapids Community Collage who also shot a 296. St. Clair College finished fifth (314) and Glen Oaks shot (316)

Rockford teen fundraising to help exchange student restore hearing

4/24/22 WOOD TV

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Students at Rockford High School are crowdfunding to help restore the hearing of their classmate, an exchange student who is also blind.

… He (Shon) plans to attend Grand Rapids Community College and hopes to transfer to the Michigan State University and become part of the men’s wrestling team.

Four home runs lead GRCC baseball to doubleheader sweep over Glen Oaks Community College

The Grand Rapids Community College baseball team blasted four home runs, three of which were season firsts, helping the team to a Saturday sweep over Glen Oaks Community College to begin the season series.

Ryan Dykstra’s two-run shot in the top of the first inning was one of three home runs hit in the first game. The outfielder now has a team-best five homers.

Xander Reisbig connected to hit his first home run of the season in the fifth, giving the team a 3-0 lead.  Glen Oaks responded by scoring three runs in its half of the inning, but Zacarias Salinas blasted a lead-off shot in the sixth — his first home run of the season.

GRCC scored two more runs in the top of the seventh and held on for a 7-3 victory.

Unlike game one, where both teams had 11 hits, hits were at a minimum in the nightcap, with both pitchers throwing a no-hitter through three innings.

A base- loaded walk by GRCC brought home the first run of the game in the fourth inning.  Glen Oaks responded with a squeeze bunt to tie the game in the bottom half of the frame.

Leadoff hitter Jacob Gumieny crushed his first homer of the season in the fifth and GRCC went on to win 5-1.

Both pitching staffs gave up just four hits, including GRCC’s Drew Murphy, who picked up the win, while striking out seven batters.

The baseball team is now 17-20-1, 10-8 in the conference.

Ryan Dykstra watches the ball he just hit.
Ryan Dykstra

Matthew Denhartigh leads GRCC golf team to second-place finish at Jackson College Invitational

Matthew Denhartigh shot a 70 at the Jackson College Invitational, leading the Grand Rapids Community College golf team to a second-place tie on Friday.

Matthew Denhartigh
Matthew Denhartigh

It was Denhartigh’s second straight tournament shooting under-par, after shooting a career best 68 at the Glen Oaks Invitational.

Mott Community College won the conference meet, while Oakland Community College tied GRCC.

Conner Oman, 74, Brad VandenHout, +74, Arie Jackman, 78, and Sam Foss, 82, rounded out the Raider golfers.

The GRCC team on April 15 finished first at the Glen Oaks event, which was the first MCCAA match of the season. The team defeated the field of six opponents with a score of 302, 14 strokes better than second-place Muskegon Community College.


GRCC Collegiate earns 19 journalism awards from Michigan Community College Press Association

Grand Rapids Community College journalism students earned top honors from the Michigan Community College Press Association for writing, illustration and photography skills.

The organization recognizes Michigan student journalists, with entries judged by media professionals. Awards were presented virtually recently by the MCCPA conference host, Central Michigan University’s Department of Journalism.

The Collegiate earned 19 awards, including Best Website for the fourth year in a row.

“These awards show the hard work of every reporter and editor on the Collegiate for the past year,” Editor Kaia Zimmerman said. “We are excited to get recognition for our hard work. This is our fourth year in a row winning best website and we couldn’t have done it without our advisor, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, and the hard work she gives to this publication.”

The students last month earned the top award in Division III in the College Better Newspaper Contest, and placed second in the Open Class – Online Newspaper category, finishing behind the University of Michigan’s Michigan Daily.

The Collegiate’s MCCPA awards include:

Anthony Clark Jr. earned first place in the First Amendment Reporting category for “Courageous Conversation: GRPD and GRCCPD leaders discuss community policing,” with an honorable mention to Sean Chase, for “GRCC Board freezes tuition, gives President Pink a raise with approval of $115.4 million budget.”

Clark also earned second place in the Best Column, Serious category for “Being a non-traditional student doesn’t prevent a life of success,” with Angelina Jahn earning third place for “A letter to my Mom”

Alena Visnovsky earned second place in the Best Column, Humor category for “Do Your Research,” and Joseph Poulos earned third place in the Critical Review category fo “Dad’s night out at The French Dispatch”

Clark earned first place in the Sports News Story category for “GRCC Volleyball ends after upsetting loss in NJCAA Great Lakes Finals,” with Zimmerman earning second place for “GRCC announces new softball coach after Brian Skudre resigns”

Zimmerman also earned third place in the Sports Column category for “The world is putting too much pressure on athletes,” and Matt Denhartigh earned an honorable mention for “Grand Rapids Griffins offer strong support system for the Detroit Red Wings”

Visnovsky earned first place for her editorial “Inherent classism continues to impinge community colleges and their students who choose to invest in these low-cost educational options.”

Abby Haywood earned first place for her editorial cartoon “Community College Surprise” and first place in the Original Comic: Entertainment category for “Fact-checking with Aaron Rodgers,” and second place for Best Informational Graphic for “You could win $2 million for getting vaccinated in Michigan.”

Kristen Schetag earned second place for her photo“Vikings even season series as Raiders’ defense struggle” in the Sports News Photo category, with Kennedy Rappleye earned third place for “GRCC Volleyball continues perfect conference record with win over Kellogg CC”

Chase earned third place for Best Multimedia Reporting for “FLOTUS visits GRCC pop up vaccine clinic,” and Aspen Strauss earned first place in the Best Video Production or Online Audio Slide Show Production category for “GRCC students get real about their second pandemic semester.”

“These are some challenging times to be a journalist – especially a student journalist. Many Collegiate reporters are juggling multiple jobs and challenging course loads in addition to their time spent reporting for The Collegiate,” said Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, The Collegiate adviser. “They work hard and make personal sacrifices to publish regular news content for the GRCC community. Many come to GRCC with limited or no prior journalism experience, and it’s a real privilege to help students develop their skills with the support of everyone on campus who agrees to an interview.”

A stack of awards certificates from the Michigan Community College Association.

My Story Started at GRCC: Student veteran Brad Pennock tapped electrical program to gain skills for new career

Brad Pennock was working in facility maintenance at a hospital when he decided an education in a skilled trade would help his career.

“I had heard a few success stories from people who had taken classes at, or graduated from, the GRCC Applied Technology Center,” he said. “After some research, I had chosen the program of Electrical Controls Engineering Technology.”

Brad Pennock
Brad Pennock

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

Pennock, who was an electrician in the Navy for four years, earned his associate degree in 2018.

But he decided he wasn’t done with his education.

“While navigating the curriculum, I was drawn to how electrical controls integrate with mechanical heating and cooling systems,” he said.

“The education I received from GRCC allowed me to continue to pursue an education and achieve my professional goals with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a certificate in project management from Ferris State University.”

Pennock, an HVAC technician for University of Michigan Health-West, found GRCC’s Veteran Services office an important support in his college journey.

“It was very clear to me from the beginning that they cared a lot about helping their community and those who had served our country,” he said. “With their help, I was able to maximize my education benefits and have some remaining to use toward a bachelor’s degree.”

Pennock found just what he needed at GRCC.

“Whether it be a stepping stone to an affiliated university, someone returning to further their education, or someone looking to find direction, they will all find what they are looking for at Grand Rapids Community College.”

Wellness Champions: Green roofs help the environment

We’re reflecting on environmental wellness as we celebrate Earth Day! GRCC is exploring ways to help our environment, including in spaces most people might not see.

Be a champion! GRCC is helping students and employees focus on all areas of health and wellness as we emerge together from the pandemic.

Wellness is a full integration of physical, mental and spiritual health. That includes physical health, but so much more. During the next year we’re also looking at emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental and occupational health, and how we all can work to help ourselves and each other.

There are many resources at GRCC to help all of these types of wellness. Each week, we’ll introduce you to people and places here on campus ready to support you on your wellness journey.

GRCC is adding green roofs wherever possible. The 18,416-square-foot expansion of the Wisner Bottrall Applied Technology Center included an expansion of the building’s green roof, and you’ll see new ones above the entry between Cook Hall and Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.

Green roofs help with sustainability in many ways, including stormwater management, extending roof life cycle, improving acoustics and thermal insulation, creating habitat, and decreasing urban heat island effect.

Sedum is often planted on the roofs. It is a hearty species that does well in all West Michigan’s weather conditions, and can thrive in relatively shallow soil, such as on green roofs.

One of the new roofs is near the ATC’s existing 35,000-square green roof, which was added in 2008 with support from the Steelcase Foundation. That roof is accessible from the ATC’s second floor study area, with an outdoor deck for students to get a closer view.

Buildings typically have black or light-colored roofs. Black roofs absorb heat while white roofs reflect the sun. Green roofs are designed to soak up ultraviolet light without the heat, allowing for more temperature control.

Plants on the ATC roof: "GRCC Wellness Champions."

Retirement bio of Joseph Knol

Joe has worked as an Automotive Lab Technician at the GRCC MTEC center for 18 years.

Joe has several favorite stories about his automotive students and the various antics they engaged in over the years.

Before coming to work for GRCC, I was working at a father-son automotive repair shop with long hours, very little insurance and very little other benefits. My doctor told me that my body was wearing out from fixing cars and I needed to find a different job.

I was very glad to come to GRCC and very surprised by the great insurance options. I needed GRCC (M-TEC automotive) because I did not have to turn wrenches (working flat-rate) to make a living. I could work with the students in the automotive lab showing the better automotive techniques which I very much enjoyed. I was able to help the instructors to keep their automotive lab in a teachable manner by:

• keeping at least a 1/4 tank of gas in each of the 30 cars the student learn on.

• put trickle battery chargers on 38 cars so they could charge overnight when inside.

• putting hooks on the windshield of the key when the cars inside were not in uses.

• checking for inside car keys and plugging in the trickle battery chargers.

• being ready at a moment’s notice to assist any M-TEC faculty with small projects.

Retirement plans for Joe include continued recovery, collaboration with Calvinist Cadets ministry, working with his wife for Crossroads Prison Ministry, and spending more time at their cottage on Pickerel Lake near Newaygo and of course spending more quality time with children and grandchildren.

Joe wants to thank the M-TEC team for all of the cooperation that he has felt from all the faculty instructors and support staff! All of this has been translated to the students we serve.

“Working at the GRCC M-TEC automotive department has been very rewarding and at times challenging experience for me over the past years 18 years. A special great big THANK YOU to all the automotive faculty and support staff!”