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Black Hawk College auctions pumpkins for Kewanee Area United Way

Bill LeSage

Auctioneer and alumnus Bill LeSage again left people with a warm heart and empty pockets.

Black Hawk College East Campus employees, students and friends are in the middle of their annual campaign to support the Kewanee Area United Way.

“Lots of student groups are involved, doing their own fundraising efforts. We really see the campaign getting students involved in improving our community,” said Rhonda Ballard of the BHC United Way Team.

The 12th Annual Stampede Auction of Champion Pumpkins on Friday, Oct. 24 on campus was as crazy as ever. Auctioneer and alumnus Bill LeSage again left people with a warm heart and empty pockets. Bids for this year’s auction totaled $4,350. The highest sale was Pumpkin Lot 10 which sold for $600 and included a pumpkin cake baked decorated and donated by Auntie Amy’s Cakes of Toulon.

The pumpkin auction was organized by the Agribusiness Club, and pumpkins were evaluated by members of the sophomore Livestock Judging Team. Pumpkins were donated by Nature’s Creations of Galva, Stahl’s Produce of Lafayette, Janel Smith of the East Campus Bookstore, Marion Kubinsky of Kewanee and BHC professors Paula Luft and John Hartman.

Upcoming United Way events at Black Hawk College include:

  • Thursday, Oct. 30 –Phi Theta Kappa honor society will be taking photos of costumed trick-or-treaters at the Trick-or-Treat Trail. Proceeds will go to the United Way.
  • Friday, Nov. 7 – The Drive 4 UR Community event from the Ford Motor Company will come to the Community Education Center in Kewanee. For each person who test drives a new car, Ford will donate $20 to the United Way. Come and bring your driver’s license! This event is cosponsored by Gustafson Ford.
  • Saturday, Nov. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 6 – BHC equestrian students and the United Way Team will sponsor the concession stand at speed shows in the college arena. The public is invited to learn about the college’s equestrian program and support the Kewanee Area United Way all while enjoying a great fall outing.

“Students have a few other fundraisers in the works for United Way. Of course, school and academic success is most important,” Ballard said. “These are life lessons about being involved with your community while taking care of your own, personal future.”

John Reasor Clayton Boyert Lauren Prill

To see more photos from the auction, visit Black Hawk College on Facebook.


Last updated 10/29/2014

Bishop Hill thanks BHC for planting, maintaining historical garden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“The Bishop Hill Heritage Association wishes to thank the Black Hawk College East Campus Agriculture Department for donating their time and expertise to create an historical garden. This past spring, Professor Andrew Larson, his colleagues and his students planted tomatoes, sweet corn, sorghum, broom corn, flax and other crops on the BHHA lot next to the 1908 Albert Krans Livery Stable museum.

“During the course of the hot spring and summer, they watered and cared for the plot. By late summer, a bumper crop was produced. Professor Larson and his class graciously donated this crop to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association.

“Throughout the summer, we have received many compliments about the appearance of the garden and the quality of the produce. The harvest from this garden has been used for various fundraising projects that has helped fund a variety of activities here in Bishop Hill.

“Broom corn, sorghum and flax were all important agricultural products in early Bishop Hill Colony history. Having a garden with these historic crops greatly added to the overall atmosphere of Bishop Hill. We greatly appreciate all of the hard work that went into producing this beautiful garden.”

Todd DeDecker
BHHA administrator

Oct. 27, 2014

The East Foundation launches donate and event registration option online


You can now make credit and debit card donations online or register for Foundation and/or Foundation sponsored events through the following Make a Donation or Register for Events links. The East Foundation offers this service through the Official Payments secure site which accepts Visa, MasterCard, and Discover for your convenience. Thank you for your support!

Make a Donation.

Register for Events.

BHC offering free computer classes in Kewanee

CBlack Hawk College and its partners have received funding to help area residents become more skilled with technology.

Thanks to the Tech Savvy program, the public can learn basic computer skills at no cost at two sites – the college’s Community Education Center in downtown Kewanee and now at the Wethersfield Elementary Learning Center (library). Abilities Plus is a partner as well and focuses on services to the disabled.

“We need to become more skilled in new technologies in order to compete in the global economy,” said Russell Medley of the Kewanee Economic Development Corporation.

“We now have special computer literacy and technology classes to help area residents learn everything from computer basics to searching for jobs on the Internet to digital photography,” said David Harris, Community Education Center coordinator. “And, because of grant support and community volunteers, there is no fee to enroll.”

The Tech Savvy classes at the Community Education Center are Monday-Thursday from 5-7:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 1-4 p.m. At the Wethersfield library, classes meet Monday-Thursday from 4-7 p.m.

The basic computer courses at both locations use advanced computer programs to individualize instruction on computer hardware, Windows, the Internet, e-mail  and multiple courses in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

“Wethersfield is pleased to be able to join with Black Hawk College to bring computer literacy classes to this area,” said Janean Friedman, Wethersfield Elementary School principal. “We serve adults, of course, but we have a unique lab environment especially enjoyable to kids.”

Both sites also are planning specialized computer classes on hot topics such as using a smart phone and expanding into web commerce. At the Community Education Center, monthly technology forums for the public will discuss the latest developments for business, consumers and job growth.

For more information about classes at Wethersfield or the Community Education Center or to get involved, contact David Harris at Black Hawk College at 309-854-1875.


Last updated 10/24/2014

Black Hawk College Horse Judges Congress Champions

2014 Congress Champs

Pictured from left are: Coach Aaron Callahan, Makayla Maciejewski, Marissa Chapa, Breanna Grebin, Skylee Hemp, Mary Kandis, Heather Dufek, Amy Martin, Jamie Wall, Bella Frisk, Daniele Neisendorf, Riley Ryburn, Shelby Riley, Rachel Riddle and assistant coach Kindra Callahan.

The Black Hawk College Horse Judging Team members finished their first sophomore year contest with a 1st Overall win at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio. This makes the eighth time in 10 years Black Hawk College has placed 1st Overall at this prestigious contest.

Team A came home Congress Champions by placing 1st Overall, 1st in Halter, 1st in Reasons and 1st in Performance. Team B followed with a 2nd in Performance, 4th in Reasons and a 5th in Halter to earn a 4th Overall placing.

Congress Overall Individual rankings, BHC had six students place in the top 10 rankings:

  • Danielle Neisendorf of Genoa, Ill. – 1st Overall, 1st Reasons, 1st Performance, 2nd Halter
  • Jamie Wall of Pierceton, Ind. – 2nd Overall, 2nd Performance, 5th Reasons
  • Breanna Grebin of Rochester, Minn. – 3rd Overall, 3rd Performance, 3rd Reasons
  • Riley Ryburn of Earlville, Ill. – 5th Overall, 4th Halter, 8th Performance, 10th Reasons
  • Rachel Riddle of Stanford, Ill. – 7th Overall, 1st Halter, 2nd Reasons
  • Shelby Riley of Noblesville, Ind. – 10th Overall, 5th Performance, 7th Reasons
  • Marissa Chapa of Maple Park, Ill. – 4th Performance
  • Makayla Maciejewski of Downs, Ill. – 5th Halter

Rounding out the two teams were Heather Dufek of Platteville, Wis.; Bella Frisk of Atkinson, Ill.; Skylee Hemp of Milford, Ill.; and Mary Kandis of East Moline, Ill.

The sophomore horse judging team members will finish out their BHC judging careers mid-November at the American Quarter Horse World Show in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Illinois Youth Team also gained the Congress Champion spot in their division. Two team members are Black Hawk College East Campus freshmen – Rebecca Janes of Peotone, Ill., who placed 1st Overall and Hana Murphy of Monroe City, Mo., who placed in the top 10 Overall.

Double red cell donation comes to Black Hawk College East Campus

Emalee Brink

Emalee Brink of Cambridge donates double.

Black Hawk College East Campus students, employees and public volunteers rolled up their sleeves for a good cause Oct. 22, donating 25 units of blood during the Student Life-sponsored blood drive. There were 12 first-time donors.

Whole blood donations contain red blood cells, platelets, plasma and white blood cells. Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood component and are needed by almost every type of patient requiring transfusion. Nineteen pints of whole blood were collected during the day.

The Peoria Chapter of the American Red Cross team brought a special machine that allows the donor to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning plasma and platelets back to the donor.

During double red cell donation, blood is drawn from one arm through a sterile, single-use needle set to a machine. The machine separates and collects two units of red cells and then safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to the donor through the same arm. Three double pints were collected using this procedure.

Benefits to this type of donation include:

  • Saves time and makes donations go further – For donors who are extremely busy, committed to donating blood and an eligible type O, A negative or B negative donor, double red cell donation may be ideal. Each procedure lets the donor give more of the product that is needed most by patients. Double red cell donation takes approximately 30 minutes longer than a whole blood donation and can be done approximately every four months.
  • Feel better – With all of the platelets and plasma returned along with some saline, the donor doesn’t lose the liquid portion of their blood and may feel more hydrated after their donation.

Seventy-five people will benefit from their donations.

Early voting available Oct. 31 at QC Campus

Do you live in Rock Island County? Do you plan to vote in the Nov. 4 general election? Rock Island County is offering you the opportunity to vote early on campus.

Bring kids to East Campus on Oct. 30 for Trick-or-Treat Trail

From 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, the East Campus will be transformed into a haunted, trick-or-treat extravaganza for more than 1,500 local ghouls and goblins at the annual Trick-or-Treat Trail.

To make it a special treat for visitors and our equine students, there will be a costume contest for the horses in the barn with fantastic prizes awarded to the owner(s) of the first, second and third place costumed winners!

All-USA Community College Academic Team application open

Applications are now being accepted for nomination to the All-USA Community College Academic Team Awards. Twenty team members are named annually with each receiving a $2,500 scholarship, a total of $50,000 in scholarship awards. In addition to scholarships, team members are featured in the USA TODAY newspaper and presented at the annual President’s Breakfast  during the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention.

The Quad-Cities Campus may nominate two students for this prestigious honor. Nominated students become eligible for a number of competitive scholarships. Full details are available at Whether or not they are ultimately chosen for the national team, BHC nominees will be celebrated at a banquet in April in Springfield with a plaque and a medal.

The All-USA Community College Academic Team Awards process is rigorous; it requires writing essays and obtaining targeted letters of recommendation. But judging at the college and national level is based not just on consideration of academic performance. Involvement in campus and community activities, as well as hardships or obstacles that have made it difficult to reach academic goals, are also taken into consideration.

Below are the initial requirements. Please review them carefully. You may start the application process on your own by visiting and creating an account (Phi Theta Kappa members should use their login and password). However, to be considered for nomination, you must contact Melissa Hebert-Johnson ( for an interview and guidance during the process.

Eligibility requirements:

• Minimum of a 3.50 or higher GPA out of 4.0 in all college-level coursework completed in the past five years (Fall 2009-present).
• Currently enrolled at the Quad-Cities Campus through December 2014.
• Minimum of 36 semester college-level credit hours completed at or transferred to BHC by Dec. 31, 2014 (minimum of 30 at a community college in last five years).
• Be on track to complete a minimum of 48 semester college-level credit hours by Aug. 31, 2015.
• Record free from academic suspension, probation or other serious disciplinary action.
• Hold temporary or permanent U.S. residency or possess a visa.


Last updated 10-15-2014

Black Hawk College East Campus kicks off 2014 United Way Campaign

Black Hawk College East Campus kicks off 2014 United Way campaign

Black Hawk College East Campus United Way team members Rhonda Ballard and Barb Bolser take donations for “An Apple a Day for United Way” apples and paper pumpkins for the “All-In” pumpkin auction syndicate from student, Sarah Hughes of Kewanee, far left. Looking on is Chief Executive Director of Kewanee Area United Way, Deann Schweitzer, far right.

Black Hawk College East Campus recently kicked off its 2014 United Way Campaign with the theme “An Apple a Day for United Way.”

An apple tree with field underneath – hand-painted by art professor John Hartman on the large cafeteria windows – overlooks the drive onto campus. The tree and field are being steadily decorated with paper apples and pumpkins signed by students and college employees who donate to the campaign.

Of course, the pumpkins are just a precursor to the Stampede Auction of Champion Pumpkins coming up later this month.

“Faculty, students, staff and friends of United Way have activities planned for October and November to raise funds and get the message out about the importance of helping our community,” said Gary Werkheiser, associate professor of applied sciences.

At the kickoff, flyers were distributed to students about United Way agencies, and everyone was given the opportunity to get involved.

“The kickoff was great,” said United Way team member Rhonda Ballard. “Students are very interested to learn about the agencies supported by United Way and how they better our community.”

Thirteen campus groups and organizations have supported the United Way campaign over the last few years, including AFT/IFT union, Ag Business Club, Auto/Ag Mech Club, East Campus athletes, BHC East Foundation board members, Christians on Campus, equine students, staff and friends, Horticulture Club, Liberal Arts and Sciences Department, Phi Theta Kappa, Science Club, Student Government Association and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

There are 16 members on this year’s East Campus United Way team. Black Hawk College East Campus has now increased their giving to United Way for 19 consecutive years.

“Students get real life lessons about being involved in their community and the whole campus feels the responsibility of making a positive contribution,” Ballard said.