On the road with Dr. T

SCCC president out to meet students, parents, community members

Moscow and Dr. T

LIBERAL, KS  (Feb. 29, 2020) —  He’s explored the food options in Sublette. Weathered a snow squall in Moscow. Seward County Community College President, Dr. Ken Trzaska, is gaining a whole new perspective on the college’s service area as he conducts an impromptu listening tour around the region.

“It’s been positive and inspiring, even with the sudden ice storm,” Trzaska said. “It’s just a lot of fun, and that’s because of the connections with people.”

Trzaska kicked off the “Talk to Dr. T” tour after community members in Sublette posed questions about how the college delivers concurrent courses to the rural community north of Liberal.

“He came to hear questions and concerns, and he really listened,” said Sublette Larks parent Charity Horinek (disclosure: Horinek is a team member at SCCC, where she heads up grant-writing). “People expressed to me afterward that it was both helpful and empowering to have the ability to discuss issues directly with the president. And out of that discussion came possible solutions and ways the college and school district can better work together.”

Trzaska said he, too, felt inspired by the exchange.

“We’re not doing what we do at Seward to create barriers — we are all about new programs and opportunities for this region, and it’s important to get on the same page,” he said.

In a subsequent trip to Moscow, Trzaska said questions focused on college affordability and scholarships for regional residents.

“I had to really think on my feet as parents asked about cost and course requirements,” he said. “The young students I talked with are so excited, and so curious about the college experience. It was great fun.”

The SCCC president plans to make a circuit of the schools partnering with the college as Outreach sites. These include Elkhart, Hugoton, Johnson, Meade, Moscow, Rolla, Satanta, Sublette, Southwestern Heights (Kismet-Plains), and Ulysses, along with Liberal High School. Each community provides a unique set of opportunities and resources, he said.

“In Satanta, teachers have sponsored several fundraiser meals to help offset the cost of concurrent college tuition for their high schoolers,” he said. “And in Moscow, I watched part of their basketball game with another school at the edge of our service area, Fowler. Those school districts may be small in number, but they have so much spirit.”

Outreach Director Mike Bailey said he is working to schedule stops at all the school districts he possibly can.

“This time of year, everyone is trying to carve out a little space on the calendar to fit everything in before the end of the semester, and my counselors have a challenge,” he said. “Pretty soon, we will be getting ready to enroll students at SCCC for next fall, and I am hoping to bring Dr. T along on some of the trips related to that.”

In the meantime, Bailey said, “parents and students with questions or concerns about our Outreach sites can always call me at 620-417-1044, or email mike.bailey@sccc.edu.”

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