KCC turns 50 with a bang!

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It was a celebration worthy of a 50 year anniversary.

“The Power of Community” Gala was held at Kankakee Community College last Saturday night to commemorate the accomplishments of five decades of higher education in the area.

Among the evening’s highlights was naming a Fabulous 50 Alumni and recognizing them for their distinguished personal and career accomplishments and exemplary contributions to society.

The honorees included Daily Journal Editor-At-Large Mike Frey, who has worked 35 years for the newspaper and was a youth baseball coach for 24 years.

A former sports reporter turned editor, Frey, through his writing, likely has reached more people in this community than most anyone else.

The “Power of Community” became evident in the speech given by current KCC President John Avendano.

In his remarks Avendano said the hope was to get 400 people to attend the gala. As the date came closer, that number continued to rise daily until it reached a whopping 520 by the final day, showing the support the community has given the school since its inception.

KCC did an outstanding job of transforming the Activities Center gym into a grand banquet room. There was entertainment throughout the evening to go along with delicious food. Thanks to some cooperative weather, the evening was capped off with a fireworks show.

It was an impressive evening that shed a spotlight on just how important the college is to this community.

Speaking of KCC, I got a phone call this weekend from one of the school’s legends.

“Just called to tell you, I’m hanging ’em up,” the voice on the other end of the phone line remarked. “Yeah, yeah it’s time.”

The voice belonged to longtime friend Dennis Clark, the hall of fame softball coach at Kankakee Community College.

Clark is retiring at the end of May from KCC, where he was the director of the school’s fitness center besides being the softball coach.

During his 35-year tenure as coach, Clark compiled an amazing 1,278-371 record, including making the NJCAA national tournament the last 19 years in a row. The Cavaliers won their only national title in 2015 and ended the current season in seventh place nationally.

Similar to his father, Don, before him, Clark has retired to the golf course where he’s working part-time in the Kankakee Elks Country Club pro shop and likely will be fine-tuning his golf game all year long.

Tim Yonke is the Assistant Managing Editor/Weekend Editor at the Daily Journal. He can be reached by calling 815-937-3372 or by email at tyonke@daily-journal.com.

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May 27, 2017 at 04:20AM

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KCC turns 50 with a bang!

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