EIU Waives Application Fee


An Illinois university is taking aggressive measures to recruit new high school students to its campus



Eastern Illinois University announced Thursday that it will open its application process next week for the fall 2018 semester and waive its $30 application fee for incoming freshman and transfer students until Oct. 2.


Josh Norman is the university’s associate vice president for enrollment management. He says research indicates the most successful schools are those that act early in the application process. He says public universities in Indiana that implemented the early application process last year saw success.


Eastern Illinois University has seen a slide in enrollment over the last nine years, during which its total number of students has dropped from more than 12,000 in 2007 to more than 7,000 in 2016.

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May 29, 2017 at 01:43AM

EIU Waives Application Fee

Caterpillar turns to students for fresh ideas


Wearable tech for worker safety. A smart lock to secure equipment. With UIC partnership, the company seeks to tap the creativity of a generation not steeped in Caterpillar’s culture.

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May 27, 2017 at 05:20AM

Caterpillar turns to students for fresh ideas

KCC turns 50 with a bang!


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

KCC turns 50 with a bang!

Outstanding Lincoln Land grads making a difference


Catherine Wittler, 20, and Brandon Lewis, 21, have both left their mark on Lincoln Land Community College.

Over the past two years, they’ve excelled academically, become trusted student leaders and volunteered for community events on and off campus. They’ve done so much that when it came time to choose this year’s Outstanding Graduate, committee members found it impossible pick one over the other.

That’s why LLCC will have two outstanding graduates this year at its commencement ceremony at the Prairie Capital Convention Center Friday. Wittler, of Williamsville, and Lewis, a Springfield resident formerly of Joliet, are two of the 307 students taking part in the ceremony. About 1,950 are eligible to participate.

Lynn Whalen, executive director of public relations and marketing at LLCC, said Wittler and Lewis are great student representatives of the college.

“They are the ones you see around campus a lot. They are involved, they work with other students mentoring them. Both are very deserving,” Whalen said. “They look at Lincoln Land as not just a place to come to take a class and then go home. They realized that there are so many opportunities here for a first- and second-year college student to have leadership experiences. At a four-year institution, a student might have to wait for their junior or senior year.”

Wittler’s leadership experiences include being president of the LLCC Honor’s Program student organization, president of the local Phi Theta Kappa honor society and vice president of the Student Government Association. She also volunteers with the Student United Way and other groups.

Earlier this year, as part of the honors program, she helped organize a senior citizen prom at the Villas of Hollybrook, an assisted living center in Chatham. The students put up decorations, served refreshments and even crowned a king and queen.

“It was really fun. It wasn’t just me, there were a lot of people involved,” Wittler said, noting that the seniors were good dancers and even taught the students a few steps.

“A lot of people in my generation don’t know how to dance. They just kind of stand there,” Wittler said. “Dancing with the elderly gentlemen was a lot of fun. They were like, ‘This is how you dance.”

Wittler said the senior prom also taught her a lesson about the importance of appreciating people when they help her.

“It was a simple thing for us to put together. They were so appreciative of what we did for them,” she said.

There were other lessons to be learned during her two years at LLCC. Wittler said when she first came to the campus, she admired some of the student leaders and wished she could be like them.

“I thought it was so cool they were doing that. Then I realized anybody can do that if they try,” she said.

Lewis has also volunteered during his tenure at LLCC. In March 2016, he went to northern Illinois for an alternative spring break through the LLCC Student United Way club. They helped Habitat for Humanity in Huntley, south of Woodstock, by working in a resale facility and at a home-building project.

While Lewis didn’t get to meet the residents of the home, he did see a flier and learned it would be a family of four: a mother, father and their two young children.

“I felt like I helped them get a home,” Lewis said. “It was very emotional because my life wasn’t easy at all. I can definitely relate to someone who has been given something who didn’t have anything at all. That’s why I love doing things like that, because it gives me a chance to give back because I was once in that position.”

Lewis, who remembers visiting food pantries as a child, said his father died when he was young and his mother raised him and his two younger sisters. 

“That’s why I’m so passionate. I’ve been there. To be out of that situation, it makes you want to help. It makes you want to help because somebody helped me,” Lewis said.

At LLCC, Lewis’ activities included serving as student trustee and as business and technologies representative on the Student Government Association, president of the Black Student Union, vice president of the Student United Way and serving on the college’s environmental health and safety team.

Lewis is also part of the Open Door Mentorship, Trio program and was one of the creators of the Computer Science Academy. He served on the Higher Education Student Advisory Committee with state Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez.

Lewis, who is getting an associate’s liberal arts degree from LLCC, said he hasn’t decided what school he will attend next. He plans on majoring in communication.

Wittler is getting an associate’s degree in business. She plans to attend the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and major in marketing.

–Contact John Reynolds: john.reynolds@sj-r.com, 788-1524, http://twitter.com/JohnReynoldsSJR.


Graduation schedule 2017

Today – LLCC, 7:30 p.m., PCCC

Saturday – UIS, 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. PCCC

May 20 – SIU Medical School, noon, Sangamon Auditorium

May 21 – Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, 9:30 a.m., Sangamon Auditorium

May 21 – Pleasant Plains High School, 2 p.m., Sangamon Auditorium

May 21 – Riverton High School, 2 p.m., school gymnasium

May 26 – PORTA High School, 7:30 p.m., gymnasium

May 26 – Auburn High School, 7 p.m., Sangamon Auditorium

May 26 – South Fork (Kincaid) High School, 7 p.m., school gymnasium

May 27 – Athens High School, 10 a.m., school gymnasium

May 27 – North Mac High School, 2 p.m., Sangamon Auditorium

May 28 – Tri-City High School, 2 p.m., TC Sports Center

May 28 – Lutheran High School, 2 p.m. Wyndham (Hilton) Hotel

May 28 – Rochester High School, 2 p.m., Sangamon Auditorium

May 28 – Williamsville High School, 5:30 p.m., Sangamon Auditorium

June 2 – Calvary Academy, 7 p.m. Jefferson Street sanctuary

June 2 – New Berlin High School, 7 p.m., J. V. Kirby Pretzel Dome

June 3 – Lanphier High School, 11 a.m.; Southeast High School, 2 p.m.; Springfield High School, 5 p.m., Glenwood High School, 8 p.m., PCCC

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May 11, 2017 at 08:47AM

Outstanding Lincoln Land grads making a difference

Declining Enrollment, Budget Impasse Put Pressure On NIU Recruiters


Enrollment at many Illinois public universities has declined in the past decade. This coincides with the state approaching two years without a full spending plan. As a result, college-bound students have tough decisions to make. “Finding a college that was more affordable was the better goal than trying to find a college that was my dream,” said Emani Brinkman, a Sycamore High School senior who is choosing to go out of state for college to study communications. “For most schools, it’s 40, 30, 50,000 [dollars] a year, and you don’t have that in your pocket," Brinkman said. "You have to look out; you have to get scholarships; you have to see how much you get from financial aid.” Classmate Sarah Geoghegan also chose a private, out-of-state college to study pre-law. Their high school is just a few miles from Northern Illinois University. “If I would have stayed in Illinois, if I decided to go to a public university in Illinois, it’s just another added uncertainty – one that I don’t have to

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May 7, 2017 at 10:15PM

Declining Enrollment, Budget Impasse Put Pressure On NIU Recruiters

Highland’s student online newspaper growing with new major


ROCKFORD — While high school journalism classes venture into the digital world, area community colleges in the area are already there: Both Rock Valley College and Highland Community College have done away with print newspapers, and started expanding the digital tools available to their students.

At Highland Community College, Mass Communications professor and Highland Chronicle Adviser Kate Perkins said she’s enjoyed seeing the program grow over the past three years.

Two years ago the Highland Chronicle printed monthly and had staff of four. Today, following the college’s formation of a mass communications major at the college, the staff of 15 manage an online news site and print a magazine once each semester.

“There’s this excitement with online news,” she said. “The students are excited to share their stories on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. It really gets the word out a lot better.”

Funding for the Chronicle is built into the curriculum, and the class is taught as a practicum. It is an elective for any major on campus to join, but a requirement for the mass communication students. The class is taught as a hybrid, only meeting on Tuesdays, while the instructional portion of the class done using Highland’s online education system, which is where Perkins assigns weekly stories.

“I try really hard to be hands off,” Perkins said. “I don’t assign stories or story topics; I don’t even edit. There are times that I want to, but we have a student editor. Of course if there is something really structurally wrong, I will kick it back to the editor.”

Students post directly to the website, which has a check-in function Perkins uses to ensure assignments are posted on time. Of the 15 students in her class this semester, only a third are considering a career in journalism.

“There are a few mass comm majors who are really looking to make this into a career,” she said. “But some are all over the place. I have science majors and nursing majors. They’re just people who like to write.”

The adjustment from print to digital came with a learning curve, especially for simple changes such as hyperlinks and photograph file sizes, but Perkins said students were happy to tackle them. She attributes the program’s growth to the new mass communications major and to Highland’s digital progression as a whole.

“We are coming into the future with a lot of hard work of a lot of faculty,” she said. “Online news fits into the new atmosphere at Highland.”

Meanwhile, at Rock Valley College in Rockford, The Valley Forge staff coordinates all of their planning efforts digitally. Jerry LaBuy, mass communications professor and The Valley Forge adviser, said the decision to forgo print, as well as open the Valley Forge staff up to non-journalism majors was made in 2016 in order to boost involvement.

The staff of 16, half editors and half content contributors, does nearly all of their brainstorming and editing via email.

“With all the budget things, we don’t really have a designated meeting space right now,” LaBuy said. “And with the new nature of how we’re doing it everything is done online and a lot of the work is done at home.”

The Valley Forge operates as an extracurricular club, so it is not part of a class. Its staff is not paid. However, LaBuy said by opening the paper up to non-journalism students, the staff has been able to expand the kinds of content they can produce.

“Anyone who wants to contribute can,” he said. “We’ve had audio podcasts, video shows, right now we’re trying to put together a photo essay of life on the RVC campus. The students provide all the content; I just give them advice and manage the website.”

 Kayli Plotner: 815-987-1391; kplotner@rrstar.com; @kayplot

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May 6, 2017 at 02:45AM

Highland’s student online newspaper growing with new major