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Alumni Association award recipients for 2016

The Awards Committee of the Bethel College Alumni Association has announced this year’s award recipients:

Young Alumnus Award

Aziza Hasan ’03, Los Angeles, majored in history and social sciences with a minor in global peace and justice studies. She is executive director and a co-founding team member of NewGround: A Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change. Formerly, Hasan was also southern California director of government relations for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Hasan is among 18 individuals whom President Barack Obama recently appointed to the president’s third Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The council brings together religious and secular leaders as well as scholars and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations.

Last summer, Hasan gave a TEDx Talk titled “Unlocking the Courage of Curiosity,” which explores the courage it takes to wade through emotionally charged conversations and unlock conflict.

Bethel will honor Hasan during a convocation in 2016, where she will also give the presentation.

Distinguished Achievement Award

Duane Schroeder ’62, Orinda, California, double-majored in chemistry and psychology. He did research in biochemistry at Brookhaven National Laboratory and earned a PhD in biochemistry from Tulane University, did post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then worked as a research biochemist with Cutter/Miles/Bayer Laboratories from 1969-2005.

Schroeder’s many accomplishments include inventing the first intravenous gammaglobulin sold in the United States to treat severe immunodeficiency, developing therapies for hemophilia, emphysema and thrombosis, and serving as the assistant to the vice president of research and development, helping to oversee approximately 130 scientists. His laboratory worked to speed the testing of biotechnology products to fight HIV and pulmonary disease. Later, he directed the transition to genetic engineering of new proteins.

Schroeder will be honored at the Alumni Banquet at noon Saturday, June 4, during Alumni Weekend.

Outstanding Alumnus Award

LaVon Ediger ’62, McPherson, majored in industrial arts and, after college, taught high school industrial arts and coached. Then he founded Stewart-Ediger Construction, which often hired individuals who had difficulty finding and keeping jobs with other companies.

During his construction career, Ediger became frustrated with the usual practice of throwing away perfectly good used building materials as businesses remodeled. Shortly after retiring, Ediger initiated and provided leadership as he and First Mennonite Church of McPherson created the ReUse It Center for selling donated usable materials.

He also became an advocate for the Omega Project, a program for men newly free from addiction but adjusting to employment and lifestyle change, involving and mentoring them in the ReUse It Center ministry. Proceeds from the Center go not only to the Omega Project, but to Mennonite Central Committee and other charities.

Ediger will be honored at the Alumni Banquet at noon Saturday, June 4, during Alumni Weekend.

Kansas’ eight best public school teachers visit Bethel

Teacher education students at Bethel were treated to an interterm visit from the 2016 Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) Team.

Kansas Teacher of the Year for 2016 Justin Coffey, a high school math teacher from Dodge City USD 443, leads the group, which also comprises the seven runners-up.

The KTOY Team gets release time to visit schools around the state as well as to meet with groups of future teachers such as the one at Bethel.

In their Jan. 18 visit to Bethel, team members talked about a number of “characteristics of great teachers,” with each focusing on a specific one, including stories and examples from their own classrooms about how they accomplished that.

Some common denominators included “building relationships” and “active learning.”

Nona Mason (pictured above), a kindergarten teacher from Goodland USD 352, had the group try the same activity her students do every morning, which involves greeting and saying hello to everyone else in the class.

“The relationships I build with my students are important,” she said. “The relationships they build among themselves are just as important.”

To change unjust systems, choose a life that matters

Throughout her presentation at Bethel’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day program, Michelle Armster (pictured above) would pause to call out several names.

“Sandra Bland. Renisha McBride. Shantel Davis.”

“Lena Baker. Kimani Gray. Tanisha Anderson.”

Armster, the transitional executive director for Mennonite Central Committee Central States, noted that when Bethel’s Jean Butts ’09 had contacted her about being the keynote speaker for the annual celebration, “I was mourning the death of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman murdered on her way to starting a job at her alma mater.”

Bland was pulled over by Waller County, Texas, police on July 10, 2015, on a minor traffic violation, arrested for “talking back” and three days later found dead in her cell.

Bland’s family protested the coroner’s ruling of suicide. In December, a grand jury declined to indict anyone in her death.

“In recent years, the incarceration and state-sanctioned murder of African-American and indigenous women has doubled that of men,” Armster said -- the reason for the title of her address, “The New Jane Crow.” . . . .

“Dr. King … said: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.’ So what can you do to make your life matter? I have a couple of suggestions.”

Armster first encouraged reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, which covers, among other things, mass incarceration and how U.S. drug laws and the War on Drugs continue to disenfranchise African-American males.

Second, she urged her audience to “get involved with the Newton Community for Racial Justice. They are doing amazing things. They recognize that unless we do the work, nothing will change. They need people who care, who want to choose a life that matters. . . .

Read the complete article.

Lockdown at facility puts new twist on prison theater class

When Professor of Communication Arts John McCabe-Juhnke ’78 put his former “pilot project” into Bethel’s interterm curriculum, he knew his students would learn things that surprised them.

McCabe-Juhnke has been doing prison theater for more than a decade. In 2014, he and student volunteers spent January working with inmates at Hutchinson Correctional Facility (HCF) to produce Inside Story, a series of dramatic sketches based on true stories and student and inmate journals.

“The one thing you can count on when working in prison,” McCabe-Juhnke says, “is that there’s always going to be something.”

This time the “something” was HCF going on lockdown 2½ weeks in, following a series of inmate fights. None of the 10 men in the theater class was involved. But all visits were cancelled, and the “inside” performances of Inside Story, one for the prison population and one for the public with security clearance, were cancelled with them.

The campus performances of Inside Story will go on as scheduled, Feb. 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus.

Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $4 for senior citizens and non-Bethel students (Bethel students are free on Friday and pay $1 on Saturday). One dollar from every ticket sold will go to the Offender Victim Ministries of Newton’s Prison Ministries, which includes arts projects as well as the long-running prison visitation program M2.

Tickets are available at Thresher Shop on campus, open weekdays 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (phone 316-284-5205), or at the door, subject to availability.

There will be talk-back sessions after each performance, with the students reflecting on their interterm experience.

Read more of this article.

Student adds to camp offerings with new disc golf course

Bethel senior Eric Preheim is happy to help spread the gospel of disc golf, most recently at south-central Kansas’ Mennonite camp.

As a sophomore, Preheim was instrumental in promoting to Bethel administration, raising funds for and designing Thresher National, the disc golf course on campus. It officially opened in October 2014.

And now there are nine new holes (in disc golf, they’re actually metal mesh baskets mounted on poles) at Camp Mennoscah near Murdock, Kansas, inaugurated at the camp association’s annual meeting this past September.

Sometime in late 2014 or early 2015, Mennoscah Director Olivia Bartel ’95 recalls “someone asking if we had a disc golf course. No -- well, would we like one? The board considered the idea, and then we received a generous donation toward a course.

“The board decided it would benefit camp, so the idea went forward, with looking for a few more donors. Board member Patrick Loganbill ’13 agreed to run with the idea.”

Loganbill, who teaches and coaches at Goessel High School, said, “I got interested because I have seen how the market for disc golf has increased. More and more people in the area want to play, and I thought camp would certainly have the capacity to have disc golf.

“I knew to contact Eric from our days at Bethel together,” he continued. “I knew he was instrumental in the Bethel course and had a passion for disc golf. I contacted him knowing he would be able to help us.

“We met several times to discuss vision, and we went out to camp for a tour of the grounds to give him an idea of where some spots for tees and holes could be.”

Read more of this article.

Bethel Night at the Jewel On Main

Bethel College invites alumni, friends of the college, and family members of all ages to Bethel Night at the Jewel on Main, 707 East 4th Street, Tonganoxie, Kansas, Saturday, Feb. 13.

During a 6-6:45 p.m. dessert reception, participants may visit with President Perry White, Dalene White, Director of Alumni Relations Dave Linscheid, other alumni and friends while enjoying desserts and beverages, courtesy of the BC Alumni Association. The goodies will be local -- from Sweet Treat Bakery, Tonganoxie, with sugar-free and gluten-free options available.

From 7-9 p.m., singer/songwriter and Bethel alumna Roz Royster McCommon ’93 will perform a variety of originals (pop, Latin, rhythm and blues, gospel and a little country) with her full band, Soltri (saxophone, guitar, drums, congas, bass, keyboard).

For reception planning purposes, please RSVP by Friday, Feb. 5, by phone (316-284-5251) or e-mail the alumni office.

Tickets to the performance are $10 per person. Call 316-284-5251 with credit card information by Feb. 5, and the tickets will be waiting for you when you arrive.

If your plans are uncertain, attend the reception last-minute and buy tickets at the door.

Bethel to host conference cheer invitational

Bethel will host the 2016 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) Cheerleading Invitational Feb. 12 in Thresher Gym.

Doors open at 4 p.m. and competition begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and non-Bethel students, available at the door. Bethel students and children age 5 and under are free.

All KCAC schools are eligible to compete in the invitational. In addition to Bethel, those scheduled to participate are Sterling College, Kansas Wesleyan University, Tabor College and University of St. Mary.

The Bethel students involved will be seniors Sondra Buller, Will Chao, Erin Doerksen, Mikayla Hiebert, Jennifer Schrag, Renae Stucky and Amy Wedel, junior Justin Haflich, sophomores Kendra Gonzales, Garrett Lindley and Veronica Ziegler, and freshmen Whitney Danbury, Lily Funk, SkyLa O’Neal, Nathaniel Ortega-Torres and Bailey Strausz.

Both cheerleading and dance will be judged.

“The judges are selected by a panel of coaches called the Games Committee,” said Bethel cheer coach Joseph Gogus. “There will be three dance judges and three cheer judges, plus a deduction judge for both cheer and dance.

“In cheer, the score is based on a 100-point scale, with a six-part rubric that scores skills in stunting, pyramids, basket tosses, jumps, standing tumbling and running tumbling.

“In dance, the score is also based on a 100-point scale and [the] skill rubric includes leaps, turns, technical skill and technique of various dance styles.”

The Bethel cheerleaders have been training since August. They practice Monday through Friday, about 2 1/2 hours a day.

So far, the competition team has put more than 100 hours into the choreography for a performance that lasts two minutes and 15 seconds.

They will have put in more than 400 hours of practice time on the routine by the time they go to regional competition, Feb. 19 at Oklahoma City University.

“These students put a lot of time and effort into these performances and are very supportive of each other,” Gogus said. “They cheer for each other even though they are competing against each other. This usually stems from a mutual respect of the sport.”

Gogus anticipates that the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) will complete the process of recognizing cheer as an intercollegiate sport in the upcoming season.

Some of Bethel’s cheer student-athletes will try out for KCAC All-Star status -- the equivalent of conference All-America recognition in other sports.

“We are a favorite to win [the KCAC Invitational] this year,” Gogus said. “If so, it will be the first time in school history that Bethel College cheerleading has won the conference event.”

Phonathon calling!

February is here, and that means students, staff members and volunteers will be calling alumni to request support for this year’s Bethel Fund.

“I invite all alumni and friends of Bethel to give toward the $1.4 million in undesignated donations needed by June 30,” said Pam Tieszen, vice president for advancement.

The 2016 phonathon flier was mailed in early January. In it, current students thank those who gave in the past, and invite donations for this year.

If you haven’t already, please respond by:

  • sending a check (made payable to “Bethel College Phonathon 2016”) in the envelope provided
  • giving online, noting that your donation is for the phonathon
  • setting up a monthly credit card gift or bank auto-draft. Call 316-284-5250 or e-mail the Development Office for details
  • or e-mailing your intention

Thank you in advance for helping to meet this year’s $1.4 million Bethel Fund goal. Every gift counts!

Thresher Shop adds mugs cups, and bottles online

The Thresher Shop has expanded its online storefront to include not only Bethel College apparel, but cups, mugs and water bottles, as well. They can be found in the “Accessories” section of the online store.

To encourage everyone to buy a BC beverage holder, the shop is offering $2 off your next order when you include a cup, mug or water bottle in your cart. To receive the discount:

  • visit Thresher Shop online to view the items available
  • make your selections, including at least one cup, mug or water bottle
  • during checkout, enter W5715JU19BVKW in the Coupon Code box before proceeding to the payment options

Pay by credit card or via PayPal. And, Thresher Shop can ship almost anywhere in the world.

If questions, e-mail the shop or call 316-283-2500 8 a.m.–5 p.m. CST Monday–Friday.