Moraine Park holds GED/HSED graduation ceremony

by abemis19. June 2013 13:22

Cheers, tears, hugs and applause were all part of Moraine Park Technical College’s Annual GED/HSED Graduation Ceremony, as 56 students earned their General Education Development (GED) and High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) certificates, June 13. Students had to pass five standardized tests in math, reading, writing, social studies and science to earn their GED/HSED. Over 300 students completed the program at Moraine Park this year.

During the ceremony two students, Christina Bogue of North Fond du Lac and Lisa Gurley of Beaver Dam, were presented with the Moraine Park Foundation Basic Education scholarship, a $500 scholarship for students pursuing further education at Moraine Park. The annual Friend of Basic Education Award was also presented to Lieutenant David Weske with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for his support of education in the Washington County Jail. This is the thirteenth year this award has been presented.

Moraine Park Technical College President Sheila Ruhland joined the College’s Basic Education program in recognizing several students and community members during their June 13 GED/HSED Graduation Ceremony. Front row, left: Ruhland; Angel Cortes and Angela Long, graduation speakers. Back row, left:  Lieutenant David Weske; Friend of Basic Education Award recipient; Christina Bogue and Lisa Gurley, scholarship recipients.

Angela Long of Hartford, one of two student speakers, delivered an inspiring speech sharing her struggle to earn her GED after having a child at age 15.

“I have been waiting for this for a long time,” Long said. “This is a huge achievement for me and it shows that it is so important to follow your dreams and never give up.”

Long also shared that her instructors at Moraine Park, especially Instructor Jessica Zappia, had a huge impact on her success. 

 “There were many times I wanted to give up, especially on math, but one amazing teacher, Jessica Zappia, pushed me to keep going,” Long said.

Angel Cortes of Fond du Lac, also a student speaker, provided encouraging advice to all graduates. Cortes completed her GED in 2011 and is a May 2013 graduate of the cosmetology program at Moraine Park.

“My journey began after getting my GED,” Cortes said. “At the end of the tunnel I felt very proud and strong.”

Before presenting their certificates, Dr. Sheila Ruhland, president of Moraine Park, commended students for their hard work in completing the program.

 “Lifelong education will be part of your journey,” Ruhland said. “Your journey this evening hasn’t ended, it is just the beginning.”

GED/HSED tests will be changing starting January 2014. Anyone currently working on their GED or interested in earning a GED must have all five GED tests completed by Dec. 5, 2013. If all five tests are not completed by that time, candidates will be required to restart testing with the new GED tests. Previous scores will not carry over to the new tests in January 2014. The new GED tests will be computer-based and will continue to be administered at Wisconsin Technical Colleges. For more information about Moraine Park’s GED testing, visit


Moraine Park announces retirees, service honorees

by abemis13. June 2013 08:36

Moraine Park Technical College recently held its annual Retirement and Service Recognition event to honor and express gratitude to retirees and those who reached service anniversaries during the 2012-2013 academic year.

This year we had 320 combined years of service from our retirees and 720 combined years from our staff members that received service recognition awards,” Dr. Sheila Ruhland, president of Moraine Park said. “We are very grateful for each of our retirees and staff who have contributed so much to Moraine Park throughout their years of service with our College.”

This year Moraine Park had 13 retirees and 62 staff members receive service recognition awards. Retirees were announced by Kathy Broske, human resources vice president, and service recognition awards were given by Beth Mendoza, human resources associate director.
Retirees included Susan Breszee, math instructor; Sue Krueger, financial aid specialist, who was also recognized for 35 years of service; Ann Mielke, social science instructor; and Ron Speich, culinary arts instructor – all of Fond du Lac. Also included were Joan Bolender, nursing instructor, and Alice Iaquinta, communications instructor – both of West Bend; Tim Crimmings, fire training instructor, and Carol Strysick, nursing instructor – both of Hustisford; Christine Jaglowski of St. Cloud, corrections science instructor; Christine Pirrung of Kohler, account clerk; Rose Ripley of Eden, student support representative-call center and Dana Wangerin of Sturgeon Bay, graphic communications instructor.

Staff members honored for 25 years of service included: Sherry Hackbarth of Watertown; Robin Koerner of Beaver Dam; and Robin Rodee-Schneider of West Bend.  Patricia Hrobsky of West Bend was honored for 30 years of service. Thirty-five-year honorees included: Timothy Flood of Mount Calvary, Karen Jarvis of Fond du Lac, and Linda Harmsen of Waupun.

Moraine Park also presented 54 employees with service recognition awards in the 5, 10, 15 and 20 year categories. For more information about Moraine Park Technical College, visit


Moraine Park hosts Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day

by abemis11. June 2013 13:20

To honor cancer survivors, Moraine Park Technical College is hosting its own Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day for cancer survivors on Wednesday, June 19, from 12:30-4:30 p.m. at Techniques Salon and Spa on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus. The event is part of a national effort to provide support and free pampering for cancer survivors.
Cosmetology students at Moraine Park will offer survivors services such as manicures, pedicures, facials, haircuts and scalp treatments. All cancer survivors are invited to attend but appointments are required to guarantee service.
 “Techniques Salon and Spa is happy to be participating in this event another year,” Eileen Bouchard, cosmetology instructor at Moraine Park, said. “This event is a great way for students to practice the skills they have learned in their program and give back to the community.”
Each year thousands of salons, spas and cosmetology schools volunteer their time and services to cancer survivors across the nation. This is the second year Moraine Park cosmetology students have hosted the event. To make an appointment for Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day, call 920-929-2106. For more information about Moraine Park, visit


Moraine Park fall registration begins June 18

by abemis4. June 2013 16:33

Moraine Park Technical College will begin fall course registration for the general public on Tuesday, June 18.
Classes are available in many program areas including accounting, automotive, business, child development, information technology, culinary arts, healthcare, marketing, metal fabrication, office systems, printing and publishing, skilled trades, supervision and leadership development, Web development, welding, interactive media design, fabrication technologies and more.
For registration information, visit and click on admission & registration. Course schedules can also be accessed through the programs & courses tab on the homepage. Please call 1-800-472-4554 for additional information.



Mike Staral ’78 named Moraine Park 2013 Distinguished Alumnus

by abemis3. June 2013 13:55


Moraine Park Technical College provides an education aimed at developing the full person, according to Mike Staral ’78, of West Bend. As Moraine Park’s 2013 Distinguished Alumnus, he should know. A 1978 graduate of Moraine Park’s Tool and Die Technologies Apprenticeship program, Staral serves as vice president at Willer Tool Corp., in Jackson, Wis. He is also a member of the Moraine Park CNC/Tool and Die Technologies Advisory Committee and in July, will become one of two new members on Moraine Park’s District Board.

He’s dedicated a large part of his life to spreading the good word about technical education. It’s no wonder, then, that 65 percent of Willer Tool Corp.’s 60 employees are Moraine Park graduates. “They receive hands-on experience, learn to deal with others outside the classroom and are well prepared for the job field,” said Staral. “Not only does Moraine Park provide employer contacts for graduates – connections that help them land jobs – the College teaches soft skills, including communication, teamwork and problem solving.”

Graduates of Moraine Park, according to Staral, are ready for employment in the real world. He knows this from experience. He remembers well the lessons gained as a student. “We learned the big things, like math and machining,” said Staral. “One of the main objectives of our teacher, Ken Nelson, was to get graduates jobs.”

Thirty-five years later, Staral has helped grow Willer Tool Corp. from the six-person operation he originally joined to one of 60. During his journey to vice president, he’s remained committed to his Alma Mater and its graduates. “We have three to six Moraine Park graduates going through the apprenticeship program,” said Staral. “They take two years of school, then work with us for 10,400 hours during an apprenticeship.” Each apprentice then becomes a journeyman tool and die maker. “The industry is really strong,” added Staral. “Right now, I could place 20 graduates in the tool and die field within Washington County.”

That’s why maintaining an influx of highly trained graduates is critical to the growth of the tool and die industry. As a CNC/Tool and Die Technologies Advisory Committee member, Staral and other industry experts, work with Moraine Park instructors to ensure students learn the industry’s most critical skills and use the latest technologies. Similarly, as a Moraine Park District Board Member, Staral works to make decisions regarding the budget, new program implementation, and more. “Manufacturing is big in Wisconsin, so we have to continue investment in programs, machines and tools,” he said.

“I’m Moraine Park’s biggest fan,” admits Staral. Aside from himself, three other members of his family are graduates of Wisconsin technical colleges, including his wife, Kate, with a degree in interior design; his son, Jason, with a tool and die degree; and a daughter-in-law, Krista, with a dental hygiene degree. Staral’s other son, Chad, received an accounting degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A committed family man and contributor to his community, Staral also enjoys two grandchildren, Addison and Blake.

A lifelong West Bend resident, Staral is president of Friends of West Bend Parks and serves on the West Bend Baseball Association Board of Directors and the West Bend Park and Recreation Commission.

“Be a team player and have a positive attitude,” Staral advises new Moraine Park graduates. “If you do that, people will notice you and you will go places. What made me successful is that I never said ‘no’ to hard work.”

To learn more about Moraine Park Technical College and it’s Alumni Association, visit



Moraine Park Building Trades and Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Team Up

by abemis31. May 2013 11:41

Walleye Weekend is always a key fundraiser for the Fond du Lac Morning Rotary and, this year, thanks to students in Moraine Park Technical College’s Building Trades Construction Worker program, the food and beverages Morning Rotary serves to the thousands of Walleye Weekend attendees will be served on 20 newly constructed tables built specifically for them by the Building Trades students.

Moraine Park Technical College’s Building Trades Construction Worker program partnered with the Fond du Lac Morning Rotary to build 20 foldable tables for the Club’s use. Shown from left, are: Austin Lee, student, Waupun; Paul “Torch” Keifenheim, Rotary member; Dave Derus, student, Sheboygan Falls; Don Enders, Building Trades instructor; Matt Rashid, student, Fond du Lac; Rhonda Bird Roerhig, Moraine Park careers instructor and Rotary president-elect; and Duane Johnson, Rotary president.

“We had been borrowing tables from two different groups,” said Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Club President Duane Johnson, “and we really felt it was time to get our own tables. Working with Moraine Park’s Building Trades Construction Worker Program really worked out great for us and for them.”

The project came to fruition after Morning Rotary Member Paul “Torch” Keifenheim and Don Enders, instructor for Moraine Park’s Building Trades program, connected. “I knew this was something our club needed done, and so I asked Don if this would be a project his class would be interested in. He felt it would be a great learning opportunity for his students and now, here we are with 20 brand new tables.”

“This was actually a great project for us,” said Enders, “as it gave my students an opportunity to see a different side of the building trades.” Enders said because they were producing a larger quantity of just one product, he was able to show the students how to build a jig for mass production of the various table pieces. “In addition to teaching home construction techniques, our program also provides a lot of different learning opportunities for our students. Partnering with Morning Rotary on this project allowed our students to set up a manufacturing process and see how the production side of things works.” 

Each table is 12 feet long and 16 inches deep with collapsible legs that fold up and under, allowing for easy storage and hauling. Fond du Lac Morning Rotary provided all of the building materials.

Monies generated at the Fond du Lac Morning Rotary’s Walleye Weekend booth help support numerous Fond du Lac-based community and philanthropic projects exemplifying the Rotary motto: “Service Above Self.” To learn more, visit

Moraine Park’s Building Trades Construction Worker program is a one-year technical diploma. To learn more about the program or to view a video, visit











Moraine Park Alumni Association hosts “5th Wednesday” May 29

by jbrezinsky20. May 2013 16:32

     The Alumni Association of Moraine Park Technical College is hosting its first-ever 5th Wednesday, an alumni networking event, on Wednesday, May 29, from 5-6:30 p.m. at Duffy’s Pub in the Holiday Inn, at 625 W. Rolling Meadows Dr., Fond du Lac. Appetizers will be provided and a cash bar available.
     According to Kelly Norton, who coordinates Moraine Park’s Alumni Association activities, 5th Wednesday will be held during months having five Wednesdays and will be rotated throughout the Moraine Park District.
     “We look at our 5th Wednesday event as a wonderful way to engage and network with our alumni and for our alumni to reconnect with each other and be a part of Moraine Park’s growing alumni association,” said Norton.
     Alumni planning to attend the May 29 5th Wednesday should RSVP by Friday, May 24 to RSVP is not required, but is recommended.


Schnell-Harrison named Moraine Park’s 2013-14 District Student Ambassador

by jbrezinsky20. May 2013 16:25

      “I gained my personality from my parents,” said Mihai Schnell-Harrison, the new District Student Ambassador at Moraine Park Technical College. “They taught me to be outgoing and give back to community. It makes me happier helping other people; it helps me emotionally and spiritually.”
     Adopted from Romania as a four-year-old, Schnell-Harrison, of Ripon, strives to lead by example. Even as an elementary student, he served as student body president – always exuding his unique and outgoing gusto for involvement. Schnell-Harrison, a graduate of Wayland Academy, a private preparatory school in Beaver Dam, is a first-year student pursuing a Moraine Park associate of applied science degree in Business Management and Supervision.
     He was nominated for District Student Ambassador this spring, after which he underwent an intensive selection and interview process. While all the nominees were highly deserving of the post, Schnell-Harrison’s history and personality stood out – making him special, according to Scott Lieburn, dean of students. 
     “Mihai, who is professional, polite and engaging, also holds a college preparatory background,” said Lieburn. “It’s rare for a graduate of Wayland Academy to seek a technical education over a four-year education. Yet, Mihai felt a technical education would benefit him personally, and simultaneously, provide him an affordable path for lifelong learning.” 
     As a high school graduate from Wayland Academy, Schnell-Harrison is among a minority of students from his alma mater not to immediately pursue a four-year degree. “I wanted to do what was best for me,” he said. “It’s a hard thing for people to step back and look at all their options.”
     As District Student Ambassador, Schnell-Harrison is charged with promoting technical education throughout Moraine Park’s district – spreading the word about its many benefits. Additionally, he will collaborate with student government and assist with college activities and events.
     “A technical education isn’t just for the older generation,” said Schnell-Harrison. Enrollment is shifting to a younger demographic; technical colleges offer great hands-on learning opportunities and the chance to study core subjects sooner; and they provide clear and simple pathways for graduates to transfer to four-year colleges and universities, according to Schnell-Harrison. “It’s less expensive and there are always ways to continue education further once you graduate,” he said.
     And that’s important to Schnell-Harrison, who plans to move into the workforce following graduation, and thereafter pursue both bachelor and master’s degrees. “I’m looking at going into an insurance or management position after receiving my associate’s degree,” he said. 
     For Schnell-Harrison, a technical education was the right choice. “A lot of people just don’t have the correct perception of what a technical education offers,” he said. “My goal is to show the community its many benefits. I fully believe there are more opportunities and connections for jobs and internships as a graduate of Moraine Park, when compared with most four-year colleges,” he added.
     Personally, Schnell-Harrison said he chose Moraine Park because it got him right into the meat of the business management core courses without having to take classes over from high school. “I wanted to get experience in what I wanted to do and go out to the workforce. When I transfer to a four-year college, I will start at the two-year level. I’ll end up with two degrees – a bachelor’s and associate’s – both of which will emphasize my career choice.”
     By fulfilling the role of District Student Ambassador, Schnell-Harrison hopes to spread the good word about a Wisconsin technical college education, and in so doing, help educate others.
     “A big thing in my life is giving back to other people,” he said. "I think a lot of people lose sight of that once in a while.”
     Learn more about Moraine Park at



Moraine Park Class of 2013 heads out

by jbrezinsky20. May 2013 16:15

More than 300 participate in May 18 commencement ceremony 
    In graduation caps and gowns, the Moraine Park Technical College Class of 2013 was buzzing with excitement as the more than 300 commencement participants, along with their family and friends, faculty and administration, filled the Fond du Lac High School Field House for the May 18 commencement ceremony.
     Anticipation filled the air as the graduates prepared to receive their diplomas and become the newest Moraine Park alumni. A quote by Ben Sweetland -- “Success is a journey, not a destination.” -- was the class motto adopted by the graduates from the College’s Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses. Nearly 900 Moraine Park students completed their studies, with 471 receiving associate of applied science degrees, 284 receiving technical diplomas and 119 receiving program certificates.
    Moraine Park President Sheila Ruhland presented the degrees, diplomas and certificates with the assistance of Moraine Park District Board members Dr. Richard Zimman of Ripon, Shirley Kitchen of Beaver Dam, Vernon Jung of Kewaskum, Donna Goetz of West Bend and Moraine Park administrators Dr. James Eden, vice president of academic affairs and Dr. Stanley Cram, vice president of student affairs.  
    Keynote Speaker Jim Wessing, president and co-founder of Kondex Corp., Lomira, gave an optimistic outlook to the graduates. He noted the demand for technical skills is very strong with many baby boomers retiring in the next few years; and more than 50 percent of those currently employed in manufacturing and other technical trades retiring over the next 10 years. 
    “This is a wonderful time to be graduating,” said Wessing, who also encouraged the Class of 2013 to think differently. “Make a conscious decision to think “it’s not all about me,”” he said. “Through education and learning, we get to decide what has meaning and what has purpose here on Earth. How will we act toward others? Think about the mystical oneness of all of us.” 
    Zimman, who welcomed the Class of 2013, noted the many important lessons the graduates had learned during their time at Moraine Park, particularly the ability to balance what so many technical college graduates experience today with managing classes, jobs, extracurricular activities and families. “You have been able to find the right balance to ensure everything in your lives fit together. A feat that I’m sure, was often challenging,” said Zimman. “But today, because of that ability, you are here reaping the benefits of all of your hard work.”  
    “Commencement is a very significant event in our students’ lives,” said Ruhland. “Today, you join the many Moraine Park graduates who have been successful in their own unique ways. Our communities and our state could not move forth without all of you. On behalf of all of us at Moraine Park Technical College, I extend our congratulations and best wishes.”
    Moraine Park’s graduation processional was led by bagpiper Gina Crossley, with the ceremonial music performed by Brassination, a brass quintet from the Fond du Lac area. Shady Grove, also from the Fond du Lac area, provided the pre-ceremonial music.  
    Moraine Park Technical College was established in 1912, and is one of 16 technical college districts that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System. With campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend, Wis., Moraine Park offers more than 100 associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates delivered in a variety of formats — classroom, online and blended. Training and technical assistance for businesses is also offered.
    To view photos from Moraine Park’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony, go to




Griesmer named Moraine Park Student of the Year

by jbrezinsky17. May 2013 11:26

     Tom Griesmer, of Rubicon, Wis., was recently named Moraine Park Technical College’s Student of the Year. Griesmer, who will receive his Electrical Power Distribution technical diploma this May, was named Student of the Year following an intensive interview and presentation process.
     Each year, one student is chosen to receive the Student of the Year award, according to Lisa Manuell, Moraine Park’s student involvement specialist. “That student has excelled in and outside the classroom, made the most of his or her college experience, and modeled Moraine Park’s core abilities, or life skills,” she said. These skills include the ability to communicate clearly, act responsibly, work cooperatively and productively, adapt to change, demonstrate integrity, and think critically and creatively.
     “I was caught off guard receiving the award,” admitted Griesmer, who enrolled at Moraine Park at the urging of his employer. “I believe that Moraine Park’s core abilities represent how people should carry themselves in everyday life. I didn’t think I was doing things that were out of the ordinary.”
     Griesmer, who was among five other finalists – May Montezon of North Fond du Lac, Tanya Schloemer of Hartford, Austin Barten of Mayville, Becca Jahns of Beaver Dam, and Bonnie Weiss of Kewaskum – best fit award qualifications, according to a selection committee comprised of Moraine Park faculty, staff and a student representative.
     It was his story that set him apart, according to Scott Lieburn, dean of students. As an older student with a family and full-time job, Griesmer enrolled in Moraine Park’s Electrical Power Distribution technical diploma program to further his knowledge and skills. “I was sent to Moraine Park for cross training by the utility division of the City of Hartford,” he said. “I was really excited for the opportunity, but nervous because the program is mostly filled with younger students.”
     It turns out that being senior in age was a blessing for the program as a whole. Griesmer, who brought hands-on skills and knowledge to class, served as a mentor to his younger fellow classmates. Moreover, he involved himself in the Electrical Power Distribution club on campus – working to gain as much skill and knowledge as possible. “I had 23 years of working experience with a utility company, while most of my classmates came in from high school,” said Griesmer. “I was able to share my experiences with my classmates. They are a good group of guys who strive to do their best and are encouraging to each other. That helped me a lot, as well.”
     Griesmer maintains his greatest challenge involved gearing up for the requirements of a college program. “I had to get back into the classroom itself and switch my lifestyle from work back to homework,” said Griesmer. “I had to adjust to studying out of books again. The whole experience was wonderful. I got through it, did well with grades and made great friendships along the way.”
     Humbled by the experience, Griesmer is thankful to his employer for the opportunity. “More employers should send their employees back to school for training,” he said. “It’s been a mutual investment and commitment that I hope makes me a more valuable employee.”
     What’s his advice to others in similar scenarios? “Always try to advance your knowledge.”
     Moraine Park Technical College was established in 1912, and is one of 16 technical college districts that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System. With campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend, Wis., Moraine Park offers more than 100 associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates delivered in a variety of formats — classroom, online and blended. Training and technical assistance for businesses is also offered. To find out more about Moraine Park, visit