Wednesday, September 02, 2015
Text Size

Site Search

Knispel Receives Teaching Award from MPCC

Jan Knispel: exemplifying the art of teaching.

Jan Knispel always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She couldn’t help it really. As a child, growing up in Rapid City, S.D., she was heavily influenced by the teachers around her.

One of them was her mother, Marcella. Two others, Evelyn Dawson Park Lee, a drama teacher at Rapid City High School in the 1950s and ’60s, and Marilyn Reaser, Knispel’s English teacher, also had tremendous impact on her.

“They took a great deal of interest in me as a person,” said Knispel. “I liked that. I also liked learning new things, and I learned something new from them each and every day. Part of why I decided to become a teacher was because I wanted to see that creative spark in students - that ‘Aha’ moment.”

Now, looking back on her 40-year career in education, it’s easier for Knispel to understand what made her influences great. The qualities are something she’s tried to replicate for her students.

“There’s an art, and there’s a science to teaching,” said Knispel. “You can learn the science, but not everybody has the art down. When students leave a classroom they need to have experienced something that’s going to make them enjoy life. That’s what I think education is all about.”

Knispel obtained bachelor’s degrees in theater arts and language arts from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D. She also has a master’s degree in adult education with an emphasis in English from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Knispel’s first teaching job was at Minatare High School in Minatare, Neb. where she taught English and speech. Two of her mentors there were instrumental in helping her learn the art of teaching, Judy Strong Leafdale and Barbara Nesmith.

Knispel stayed at Minatare from ’71-’80. Her next teaching job was part-time and lasted a year. She taught students from Ellsworth Air Force Base at Douglas High School in Box Elder, S.D.

Wanting to make more money, Knispel went back to a full-time position in 1983, teaching at the Valentine High School in Valentine, Neb.

It was during her time at VHS that Knispel began working as an adjunct instructor for Mid-Plains Community College – a role she’s had for more than two decades.

Knispel, Dale Naprstek, VHS principal at the time, and Bill Eakins, MPCC area dean of career services, collaborated on the implementation of a language arts program at the high school.

“Then MPCC wanted us to teach classes in adult education,” said Knispel. “I taught interpersonal communication, speech, two English courses and creative writing. When dual credit classes came in, I started teaching those, and once in a while, I would teach an adult education course for the college outside of the high school.”

She’s a big proponent of dual credit classes, which are worth both high school and college credit.

“I think they’re fabulous,” Knispel said. “At our school, students had to take two semesters of English as seniors, which meant dual credit courses lasted an entire year. The high school got reimbursed for the cost and refunded the tuition back to the students at 80 percent or more.”

Knispel can’t begin to recall how many students graduated from VHS with at least 12 credit hours.

“The advantage to those kids of getting an inexpensive start at college is phenomenal,” said Knispel. “I’ve had so many parents come back to me and say how prepared their kids were when they began their postsecondary education.”

She’s heard similar comments from former students, which has been heartwarming.

“When you see your students are not only learning, but are enjoying what they’re learning, that’s the best part of being a teacher,” said Knispel. “When what they learned continues to have an impact on their lives and when they remember your classroom as the place they wanted to be, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Knispel is excited about the new campus MPCC is going to build in Valentine because it will offer more space than the building the college currently uses in the community. It will also be easy to find and have ample parking.

“I think the new campus is an excellent move for the area,” said Knispel. “I’m really looking forward to taking a class in a room where I can spread out my art supplies and learn what I want to learn. I also think it’s going to draw more people in. The fact that we will have a convenient facility where people can learn at convenient times will be very appealing.”

Last week, Knispel was honored by MPCC for her many years of service. She retired from the high school in 2013, but continues to substitute teach when needed. Knispel also remains an online creative writing adjunct instructor for MPCC and will teach some short courses for the college this fall.


Sand Painters Open Art Show Results

The 26th Annual Sand Painters Open Show held at the Cherry County Fair was a great success with over 100 entries from the sandhills region.

This year’s judge and guest artist was Rita Kirkman of New Branfels, TX.  “This is one of the most difficult shows to judge for me, as the quality of work is exceptional. There are never enough awards”, Kirkman remarked.   Results of the adult division are:

Best of Show  - David Dorsey of Valentine, “Still life with pears” - acrylic

1st Place -  Chris Mosner of Valentine, “It Hurts”, photography, mixed media

2nd Place – Christine “CM” Cernetisch,  Burke, SD  - “Bill’s Road”  pastel

3rd Place- Chana Orton of Mills, NE  “Ansley” pencil

Receiving the Betty Kime Founding Member Memorial is Sharon Oliver – “Not Just Any Lilly Pond” (donated by Dave and Annie Kime family)

Veronica Heelan Founding Member Memorial Award is Barb Wiltfang Fay (Anne Cass) – Winter Blue Jays, pencil

Claudia Bestol Memorial Award: Rick Yusten of Gordon, NE “Sandhills Trail”

The Douglas Ballard Memorial awards for outstanding photography  are;

1st place:  Chris Davis of Valentine, “Catching A Wink” Photography

2nd place: Ken Santi of Valentine, “International Harvester” Photography

Certificates of Excellence:

1. Joan Swim of  Springview, “Tonka Harvest” -pencil

2. Celeste Sullivan of Springview, “Beneather the Green”  -Oil

3. Layne Mills  of Calloway, NE  “First Bite” – oil

4. Patti Coslor of Sargent, NE “End of Day”, watercolor

5. June Sheppard  of Calloway, NE  - “Abandoned”

6. Pat Schemmer of Valentine, NE – “Orange Shirt on Main St.” pastel

7. Mary Smith of Calloway, NE – “Clouds”  pastel

Honorable Mentions

1. Rick Yusten of Gordon, NE  - “The Crick” – oil

2. Chana Orton –“A fan of Art” pencil

3. David Dorsey – “She Carries the Water” Acrylic

4. Pat Schemmer – “Minnechaduza Winter” – photography

5. Tammy Jett – “Tranquil Moments”  Broken Bow, acrylic

6. Barb Wiltfang Fay – “Holding for the wrangler”  pencil

The Sand Painters Open Art Show Youth Division results are:

Schemmer Youth Art Award  –:  Duncan Mosner – “The Veteran’s Wall” pastel

1st Place –  Raden Orton – “Down the Road”  oil pastel

2nd Place  - Rita Woodraska  “ Bird” - acrylic

3rd Place   - Finley Mosner – “Remember Josiah” pastel

Honorable mentions – Rita Woodraska – “Summer” ;  Finley Mosner – “Self Portrait”, Duncan Mosner – “3-D Hands”

The Sand Painters Art Guild would like to thank the Cherry County Fair Board for their hard work and support for our show and workshop.


Former Valentine Resident Dies in Omaha Shooting

From KETV:

A 24-year-old man was killed in a shooting in Omaha Friday morning, August 7th, 2015.

The Omaha Police Department says a suspect is in custody; they say he is 60-year-old James Cotton. Cotton is charged with 1st degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony, and prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

Bare's family says Cotton has threatened Bare in the past, KETV's Chinh Doan reported.

Police said a weapon was recovered from the scene.

Neighbor George Baker said he heard the gunfire Friday morning.

"Loud explosion like a kind of firecracker or something," is how he described the sound.

Baker soon realized the noise wasn't coming from fireworks.

"I was looking for anybody or anything that might have thrown a fire work or something. Then this girl and guy came running between the houses towards my house and they were screaming that 'he'd been shot, he'd been shot,' " Baker said.

Baker said he tried to render aid to the victim while he told his wife to call 911.

"I went up there and that's when I saw the gentlemen on the ground, and I checked for a pulse and really couldn't feel one, but he was still breathing slightly," Baker said.

Trevor Bare's mother says her son found out just yesterday that the suspect moved into the same rental home as him.

That's when the family became concerned, because the two men have had issues in the past.

Wanda Bare says this is the latest tragedy the family has had to endure.

“We lost his dad five years ago and Trevor held us all together,” she said.

Wanda says Trevor was standing outside at 43rd and Marcy, near a side door of the rental home, when he was shot.

Police say Cotton ran off, but the Metro Task Force tracked him down a few hours later.

Wanda believes the suspect was her roommate half a year ago at another rental home.

She says Cotton has threatened their family in the past, but she never thought it would end in gunfire.

Bare was a father of three young boys, one of them just 2 months old.

Now as police investigate the motive, Trevor's mom says she's thankful for the years he spent with her.


Cherry County Fair & Rodeo Parade and Queen Results

Results of the 2015 Cherry County Fair and Rodeo Parade are as follows:

Individual Division:  1st Place: Deklin Titus, 2nd Place:  Josie and Preston Kelly

Antique Division: 1st Place:  Jean Tetherow, 2nd Place:  Delbert Kudrna

Horse Division:  1st Place:  Tinant Granddaughter, 2nd Place:  Tinant and Outriders,  3rd Place:  Lady Wranglers

Youth Division:  1st Place:  Town & Country 4-H, 2nd Place:  Outriders 4-H,  3rd Place:  Denim and Lace

Club/Organization:  1st Place:  Valentine Area Arts Council, 2nd Place:  NorthStar Services  3rd Place:  Crossroads Assembly

Commercial Division:  1st Place:  Union Bank,  2nd Place:  Sandhills State Bank, 3rd Place:  Security 1st Bank


Following the Parade, Kaitlin Reece, Daughter of Kevin and Jenny Reece was crowned Miss Rodeo Cherry County.  Congratulations to her and 1st runner-up Katie Compton.


U.S. Senator Deb Fischer to hold listening session in Ainsworth August 14th

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer announced her public schedule for the month of August. Fischer will hold listening sessions in more than a dozen communities across Nebraska this month. These forums are convenient opportunities for local Nebraskans to share their views and speak with Senator Fischer in a more informal setting about their questions or concerns. In our area, the listening session is:

Friday, August 14

Ainsworth Community Center

606 East 4th Street

Ainsworth, NE 69210

4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. CT


Page 5 of 216

News Sponsor