Moraine Park’s Student Support Services program awarded $1.1 million grant

by dritger23. July 2015 11:00

Moraine Park Technical College has been awarded a five-year, $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its Student Support Services (SSS) program, which provides assistance for students who are low-income, first in their family to attend college or have a learning disability. 

Moraine Park’s SSS program, referred to as its EDGE program, is in place to help students meet their goals and graduate from college. Each year, 140 students are enrolled in the program, and their progress is closely monitored. The EDGE program offers many services to help students stay on track, including academic advising, financial aid and scholarship resources, cultural events, skills development and tutoring. 

“The EDGE team provides the tools and confidence our students need to overcome challenges and earn their degrees,” said Michael Smith, Moraine Park’s TRIO grant manager. “During the 2013-14 school year, 94 percent of EDGE students were in good academic standing, which is an exceptional accomplishment for the students and the program.” 

This grant is the second for Moraine Park’s EDGE program. The first was awarded in 2010 and was a similar five-year grant from the Department of Education. The goal of the SSS grant is to increase college retention and graduation rates by providing motivation for students, opportunities for academic development and assistance with basic college requirements. The new grant will take effect on September 1, 2015, and the college will receive $220,000 every year, totaling $1.1 million over the next five years.

Moraine Park’s SSS program falls under the umbrella of Federal TRIO programs, which are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs. TRIO programs are administered by the Student Service area of the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

For more information on Moraine Park’s EDGE program, please visit


Moraine Park students place in national business competition - Lawrenz named Administrative Financial Officer for Wisconsin Student Government

by dritger20. July 2015 10:56

Four Moraine Park Technical College students headed west this summer to the National Business Professionals of America (BPA) Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Cal. After placing in the top three in their category at the state BPA competition at Lakeshore Technical College, Traci Lawrenz of Kewaskum and Megan Lynch-Belzer, Hailey Johnson and Joan Rider, all from West Bend, earned the opportunity to gather with students from across the nation and put their business and leadership skills to the test at the organization’s annual national conference.

Johnson, Lawrenz and Lynch-Belzer competed as a team in the small business management category and placed in the top 5 at the national level. The team was judged on their ability to strategize and present solutions to turn a mock business profitable. In addition, Lynch-Belzer competed in the college payroll accounting category and Rider in the prepared speech category.

Lawrenz, who is in the accounting program at Moraine Park, also competed individually, making it to the finals in college accounting and college payroll accounting. Lawrenz was required to complete high-level, timed exams, and it was her exceptional scores that earned her a place in the top 10 for both competitions. 


“It was an amazing accomplishment,” said Lawrenz when asked about her achievements. “Next year I plan to participate in more competitions through the BPA, including one for income tax accounting. The experience provides a great opportunity to build skills I can use in future careers.” 

Lawrenz, who will graduate from Moraine Park in spring of 2017, has been instrumental in getting students involved in the College’s BPA Club and is the current vice president. The club is for any business, accounting and IT student interested in preparing for the workforce by gaining experience in leadership and citizenship and strengthening academic and technological skills. Besides her involvement in BPA, she is also president of the Accounting Club and a member of the West Bend Student Senate and District Student Government. In addition, during the 2015-16 school year, she will assume her elected role as the Administrative Financial Officer for Wisconsin Student Government (WSG).

“My classes and activities at Moraine Park have prepared me to be able to take on my new role with WSG and be comfortable in it,” said Lawrenz.

WSG meets throughout the state approximately five times per year. Other members of the WSG executive team for next year include Joseph Dolzani, president, from Western Technical College; Chris Villarreal, vice president, from Mid-State Technical College; and Richard Weber, parliamentarian, from Fox Valley Technical College.

For more information about Moraine Park’s business programs, visit


Moraine Park students compete in national SkillsUSA Championships

by dritger20. July 2015 08:01

Two Moraine Park Technical College students made their way down to Louisville, Ky., on June 22-26 to put their skills to the test at the National SkillsUSA Championships. The contest brought together top contenders from around the nation to compete in hands-on competitions in 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields.

Richard Thiemer IV, an electricty student of Kewaskum, was up for the challenge and came out sixth in the nation in the Electrical Construction Wiring Competition. Thiemer had to complete a written test, perform a practical conduit bending exercise and install a conduit system, cabling system and wiring devices. The challenge requires students to install an electrical system common in most residential and light commercial projects, mimicking what they may encounter in the industry. 

Moraine Park student, Richard Thiemer IV, places fifth in the nation in the Electrical Construction Wiring Competition at the National SkillsUSA Championships held in Louisville, Ky. on June 22-16.

“In the seven years I have been teaching, this is the highest I have seen a student from Moraine Park place at the national level,” stated Mark Wamsley, Theimer’s advisor and electricity instructor at Moraine Park. “We had some really talented students competing in SkillsUSA this year, and I am proud of all of their accomplishments.”

Also going up against the best in the nation was Sean Breister of Fond du Lac, who participated in the Industrial Motor Controls Competition. In this category, students install motor control equipment and associated enclosures, raceways, pilot devices and circuitry. 

Moraine Park student, Sean Breister, competes in the Industrial Motor Controls Competition at the National SkillsUSA Championships held in Louisville, Ky. on June 22-16.

In order to make it to the National SkillsUSA Championships, a student must have placed first place in their category at a state competition prior. For Wisconsin, that competition took place in Madison in April. A number of Moraine Park students competed at the state level, including Jacob Beck of Cedarburg and Tyler Wollner of Newburg who placed second and third, respectively, in the Industrial Motor Control Competition. Jared Schmitt of West Bend and Ben Loehr of Fond du Lac also placed second and third, respectively, in the Electrical Construction Wiring Competition. In addition, a team of three students from the computer numerical control (CNC)/tool and die technologies program competed and took fifth place in the Automated Manufacturing Technology Competition. The team was evaluated on their ability to construct a part using computer-aided drafting/design, generate a tool path using computer-aided manufacturing, and then set up and machine a part using CNC machining. Team members included Kevin Boudwine of Germantown, Cody Ermer of Hartford and J.J. Pocian of West Bend. 

“The pressure of competition is a good learning experience for the students,” said Wamsley. “There is more pressure than when the students are in class, and there are times over the course of competition when anxiety is so thick it could be cut with a knife.”      

For more information on SkillsUSA, visit For more information on Moraine Park’s programs, including the electricity and CNC/tool and die technologies programs, visit


Moraine Park holds GED/HSED graduation ceremony

by dritger13. July 2015 07:34

Moraine Park Technical College held its 15th Annual GED/HSED Graduation Ceremony and, for the 2014-15 school year, 62 students received their General Education Development (GED) and High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) certificates. In order to earn their GED/HSED, students had to pass five standardized tests in math, reading, writing, social studies and science.

During the ceremony, David Downer of Hartford was presented with the Moraine Park Foundation Basic Education Scholarship. The award was presented by Annette Meihack, Basic Education instructor. This is the fifth year the $500 scholarship has been awarded to a student pursuing further education at Moraine Park.

“I’m 36 years old and in a two-year program,” said Downer, who is enrolled in the Automotive Maintenance Technician program. “I finished the first year and made the Dean’s List.” He went on to add that this scholarship will help him pay for his books and education.

Lisa Gurley, a student speaker from Lowell, spoke to graduates about the meaning of this ceremony. “Graduation is a time to look back at the challenges you were able to overcome.” Gurley also gave advice about accomplishing goals. “Setting small goals and rejoicing when you reach them is the key to reaching your larger goals.” Gurley received the Moraine Park Foundation Basic Education Scholarship in 2013 and is set to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Human Resources next year.

Crispian Trewhella of Richfield also a student speaker at the ceremony, explained what it was like receiving his GED and how graduates should feel about the achievement. “It meant the world to me. If the GED was easy, everyone would do it,” said Trewhella. “Show that GED off with pride! You worked hard for it.”

Crispian Trewhella addresses fellow students and guests at Moraine Park Technical College’s 15th Annual GED/HSED Graduation Ceremony.

Bonnie Baerwald, president of Moraine Park, wished the graduates success and gave them advice about their future. “You are all courageous individuals,” said Baerwald. “You may be asked to take on a lot of different challenges – take them.”

For more information about Moraine Park’s GED testing, visit


Moraine Park’s Portfolio Night showcases creative talent

by dritger1. July 2015 12:44

Moraine Park Technical College students shared their work with the community, prospective employers, students and staff at the College’s annual Portfolio Night at the Fond du Lac Campus.

This year, 24 students from the College’s Graphic Communications, Interactive Media Design, Digital Marketing and IT-Web Designer/Developer programs participated in Portfolio Night. Among them was Natalee Olson of Fond du Lac. Olson, who hopes to work in advertising after graduation, commented on the relationships the students formed in the Graphic Communications program.

Moraine Park Graphic Communications student, Natalee Olson of Fond du Lac, shares her work at the College’s Portfolio Night with Daniel Gonzalez, a relative of fellow classmate, Eric Keberlein of Poy Sippi.

“There is a good mix of students with different experiences in my classes,” said Olson. “There are students right out of high school and also older adults that have more work experience. We all grew really close and helped each other out.”

Also in attendance was Vincent Wondra, owner and president of the BBS Agency in Fond du Lac and member of the Moraine Park Technical College Web Development Advisory Committee. Wondra said that he has hired many Moraine Park graduates, including a student he met at a previous Portfolio Night.

“I am a big believer in building up the local economy, and I like to hire Moraine Park graduates,” said Wondra. “When a student shows me a high quality portfolio, I know they have the skills to be successful in a work environment,” 

Dominic Garofalo, IT-Web Designer/Developer instructor at Moraine Park, said the students produced outstanding projects. "The event is a great opportunity for students to show their work to members of the community who could end up being a potential employer. I was very proud of all the students," said Garofalo.

Daniel Gonzalez of Appleton, who is a relative of Graphic Communications student Eric Keberlein, spent time looking over the projects on display. “The students each have their own style, and it’s impressive to see their perspective and imagination,” said Gonalez.

To learn more about Moraine Park’s Graphic Communications, Interactive Media Design, Digital Marketing and IT-Web Designer/Developer programs, visit


Deppisch, Goetz and Zimman recognized for service to the Moraine Park District

by dritger1. July 2015 12:37

Three Moraine Park Technical College District Board members were recognized for their years of service and dedication during their final District Board meeting, June 17. Jodine Deppisch, Richard Zimman and Donna Goetz have served 19 years, combined, as Moraine Park District Board members.

Moraine Park District Board Members are recognized for their years of service and dedication to the College and the District. Pictured (from left): Moraine Park President Bonnie Baerwald, Richard Zimman, Jodine Deppisch and Donna Goetz.

Deppisch, of Ripon, joined the District Board in July 2006 and has represented the western portion of the District as an employer member. During her nine years with the Moraine Park District Board, Deppisch took on many different roles, serving terms as chairperson and vice-chairperson and, most recently, as chairperson of the Finance Committee and treasurer for the board. “I have enjoyed serving the Moraine Park District Board,” said Deppisch. “I feel very comfortable leaving, knowing the College is in excellent hands under the leadership of our new president.”

Zimman, of West Bend, joined the board in February 2008 as a school district administrator member. He was a very active board member throughout his seven-year term, attending many national, state and local events. Zimman also served terms as chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Moraine Park District Board. “It’s really been a pleasure serving,” said Zimman. “The people of the College make it what it is, and I am very happy I agreed to serve here.”

Goetz, of West Bend, was sworn in as an employee member representing the eastern portion of the Moraine Park District in July 2012. During her three-year term, she served as the Board’s representative on the Moraine Park Foundation Board. “This is an incredibly well-run organization and it’s been refreshing and exciting to be part of the board,” said Goetz.

Since 1912, Moraine Park has served communities surrounding its three campus locations in Fond du Lac, Beaver Dam and West Bend. Moraine Park offers more than 100 associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates, delivered in a variety of options including classroom, online and blended courses. For more information about Moraine Park, visit


Moraine Park announces retirees, service honorees

by dritger24. June 2015 10:19

Moraine Park Technical College’s 2015 Retirement and Service Recognition event both honored and expressed gratitude to retirees and those who reached service anniversaries during the 2014-2015 academic year. 

 “This year we had 320 combined years of service from our retirees and 795 combined years from our staff members that received service recognition awards,” said Bonnie Baerwald, president of Moraine Park. “We are very grateful to all of them for contributing so much to Moraine Park throughout their years of service with our College.” 

Moraine Park Technical College’s 2015 Retirement and Service Recognition event honorees. First Row (from left): Moraine Park President Bonnie Baerwald, Brenda Schegetz, Eileen Serwe. Second Row: Sue Wiese, Debbie Sabel, Karen Jarvis, Kathy Hass. Third Row: Val Krueger, Gretchen Gall, Sharon Lewis. Fourth Row: Dorothy Esselman, Nancy Bertram, Barry Graff. Fifth Row: Lynn Hill, Jane Spalding, John Naffin. Sixth Row: Tim Flood and Mike Gradinjan.

In all, 15 retirees and 59 staff members were recognized. Retirees included: Roger Haase, buildings and grounds maintenance worker, and Lynn Hill, instructional technology testing specialist – both of Beaver Dam; Dorothy Esselman of Brookfield, account technician; Karen Jarvis of Eldorado, admissions technical specialist; Bev Buerger, housekeeper, Gretchen Gall, instructional assistant instructor, Sharon Lewis, administrative aide – corrections, John Naffin, housekeeper, and Debbie Sabel, housekeeper – all of Fond du Lac; Jane Spalding of Fredonia, learning resource center clerk; Mike Gradinjan of Greenbush, electricity apprentice instructor; Tim Flood of Mt. Calvary, director of facilities; Val Krueger of Green Lake, executive assistant to the president and district board; Nancy Bertram of St. Cloud, surgical technologist instructor; and Barry Graff of West Bend, CNC/tool and die technology instructor.

Staff members recognized for 25 years or more of service included: Ed Schneidewind of West Bend for 40 years; Kathy Hass of Fond du Lac and Eileen Serwe of Eden for 35 years; Otmar Selgrad of Rosendale and Sue Wiese of Fond du Lac for 30 years; and Val Krueger of Green Lake and Brenda Schegetz of Beaver Dam for 25 years of service.

Moraine Park also recognized 52 employees for service to the College at the 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year levels. 

To learn more about Moraine Park, visit  


Moraine Park graduates students from Manufacturing Skills Academy

by dritger23. June 2015 13:01

Moraine Park Technical College is helping to combat the skilled worker shortage by offering a variety of boot camp sessions within its Manufacturing Skills Academy. Each boot camp teaches skills that are unique to a particular career pathway. The college is proud to graduate three more classes from the Manufacturing Skills Academy, including eight students from the welding boot camp, seven from Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinist and three from production assembly.

Since induction, Moraine Park has had 146 students graduate from the 15-week welding and CNC boot camp sessions. Out of those who graduated from these two programs, 86 percent were offered a job within three months of completion. The boot camps combine a 72-hour paid internship with coursework, including Occupational Math, Print Reading, Team Building and Problem Solving and program-specific courses. Moraine Park partners with many local manufacturing employers, including Amerequip; B&H Pattern, Inc.; Brenner Tank, LLC; Burgess-Norton Manufacturing Company; Gauthier Biomedical, Inc.; Helgesen; ISI Interior Systems, Inc.; John Crane; Magnum Power Products, LLC; Mayville Engineering Co.; Inc., Mid-States Aluminum Corp.; and Signicast.

Jonathan Barry, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, attended the recent graduation ceremony and addressed the class. Barry spoke about the positive outlook job seekers have in Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry. “As of June 2014, approximately 9,300 Wisconsin manufacturing employers employed more than 466,000 workers, making Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector one of the strongest in the country,” said Barry.

Those who completed the most recent CNC boot camp include: Brian Beyer of Appleton, Taylor Reed of Kimberly, James Jungwirth of Oshkosh, Michael Olson of South Milwaukee, James Hutchinson of Waupun, and Ryan Schmallenberg and Jason Ungart of West Bend.

Moraine Park Technical College’s Manufacturing Skills Academy CNC boot camp graduates. Front row, from left: Instructor Troy Niemuth, Taylor Reed, Jason Ungart, Brain Beyer and President Bonnie Baerwald. Back row, from left: Michael Olson, James Hutchinson, James Jungwirth, Ryan Schmallenberg.

Completing the most recent welding boot camp were: Sean Matthews and James Walsh of Beaver Dam; Christopher Bartell, Chris Freund, Otis Jones Jr., Andrew Quackenboss and Christopher Whitty of Fond du Lac; and Alexander Price of North Fond du Lac.

Moraine Park Technical College’s Manufacturing Skills Academy welding boot camp graduates. Front row, from left: Instructor Andrew Luby, Chris Freund, Otis Jones Jr., Alexander Price and President Bonnie Baerwald. Back row, from left: Sean Matthews, Christopher Whitty, Andrew Quackenboss and Christopher Bartell. Not pictured: James Walsh.

In addition, Moraine Park’s Skills Academy recently graduated its first class from the production assembly boot camp. Graduates earned a Production Assembler certificate. Those who completed the boot camp include: Laurie Garcia and Betty Schneider of Fond du Lac and Wylie Fell of Hartford. 

Moraine Park Technical College’s Manufacturing Skills Academy production assembly graduates. From left: Instructor Cheryl Graff, Betty Schneider, Laurie Garcia and Wylie Fell.

Moraine Park’s Skills Academy boot camps are funded by grant dollars. The welding training is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT grant, and the CNC training is funded by the Wisconsin Workforce Partnership grant, which is administered by Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. The production assembly boot camp is funded by Wisconsin Fast Forward Blueprint for Prosperity.

An information session on upcoming production assembly boot camps will be held on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus on Tuesday, July 7 at 4:00 p.m. Registration is recommended. For more information about Moraine Park’s Manufacturing Skills Academy, or to register for a free information session, visit


Moraine Park holds annual Distance Challenge

by dritger15. June 2015 14:19

Area high school students built and tested launching devices at Moraine Park Technical College’s annual Distance Challenge. The event requires students to design and construct a unique device that is capable of launching rubber balls, with honors presented to the team that achieves the greatest distance. The competition is hosted by Moraine Park’s Process Engineering Technology program and is held on the Fond du Lac campus. This year, teams from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School, GPS Education Partners from Jackson and Mayville High School participated.

"Each year that we have held this competition, I've been impressed with the creativity shown by the students,” said Tom Roehl, engineering technologist instructor at Moraine Park. “This is an excellent project for high school students because it requires design, manufacturing and troubleshooting, all of which are skills that employers look for in skilled labor fields."

Jared Shaw, a sophomore from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School, came in first place. Shaw used his machine, named Genesis, to launch the rubber ball 178 feet. The machine was made as a side project in his technology education class. John Ostermann, a technology education instructor from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah, said that they are able to adjust class projects based on what the kids want to get involved in and, for Shaw, it was the Distance Challenge.

Jared Shaw, from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School, came in first place at Moraine Park Technical College’s annual Distance Challenge with his machine named Genesis. Shaw (right) is pictured with his technology education instructor, John Ostermann.

Coming in second place, at 163 feet and 8 inches, was a team from Mayville High School and their machine named Roadrunner. Team members included Ben Wellner, a junior, and freshmen Justin Schlender, Tori Champ and Nikolas Giese. Dave Seiler, technology education instructor from Mayville, said the students had fun with the project, which was completed outside of their engineering class.

A second team from Mayville High School also participated in the competition, and their machine, “Wile E Coyote,” took third place at 135 feet. Team members included Andrew Nothem, junior; Weston Wiese, sophomore; and Tom Staehle and Michael Pasbrig, both freshman. This was the first year students from Mayville High School participated in the Distance Challenge.

Jon Squires, Austin Tackes, Aaron Steffen, Michael Crye and Ken Rochwite, all seniors from GPS Education Partners, took fourth place in the competition. Their machine, “Triton Tosser,” launched the rubber ball 90 feet. “Several of the students who are participating today are already planning on attending Moraine Park, so this is a nice opportunity for them to come and see the Fond du Lac campus,” said Bernie McCarthy, an instructor at GPS Education Partners.

This is the fourth year Moraine Park Technical College has hosted the annual Distance Challenge in Fond du Lac. In addition to the competition, the students also had opportunities to tour the College and talk with local employers, including Fives Giddings & Lewis and Kondex Corporation. 

For more information on Moraine Park’s Process Engineering Technology program, visit


Fond du Lac team wins 12th Annual Junkyard Challenge

by dritger15. June 2015 14:09

Sixteen students from Fond du Lac, Lomira, Mayville and Slinger high schools turned scrap metal into elaborate welded creations during Moraine Park Technical College’s 12th Annual Junkyard Challenge on the Fond du Lac campus. The students, who competed in teams, were challenged to create sculptures within the theme of construction. The teams were supervised by Moraine Park Welding Instructor Jeff Beach, and they did a remarkable job turning scrap metal into cranes, excavators and diggers.

Students from Fond du Lac High School came in first place with their bulldozer at Moraine Park Technical College’s 12th Annual Junkyard Challenge. Team members included (from left): Instructor Eric Ciha, Jackson Schuelke, Nate Lobajeski, Nick Immel and Noah Poss.

The projects were judged on originality, quality, complexity, team participation and safety. “The judging criteria is based on skills critical to success in the workplace, which is why they are emphasized in this competition,” said Beach. Judges included Marcia Arndt, associate dean of manufacturing at Moraine Park; Kevin Braeger, product manager at Marchant Schmidt, Inc.; and Scott Heim, corporate director of Inventory Control/Logistics at Metalcraft of Mayville, Inc. 

Fond du Lac High School came in first place with their bulldozer. Team members included: Noah Poss and Nick Immel, both seniors; Nate Lobajeski, junior; and Jackson Schuelke, sophmore. Immel, who competed in the challenge once before, said they had an idea in mind and did some planning before the competition. “We wanted to make everything moveable,” he said. “Mobility and uniqueness are ways to earn more points.”

In second place, with a sandbox digger, were sophomores Brandon Hull, Austen Steger, and Brandon Magdic and senior, Nate Schuett, from Mayville High School. “They were pretty fired up about the competition, and they did a nice job, especially with it being their first time in the competition,” said Dave Seiler, Mayville’s technical education instructor.

Students from Lomira High School took third place with their crane. Team members included Dustin Wondra, Tony Valle, Mitch Gariety and Mitchell Priest, all seniors. “We came here thinking we would build an excavator but, once we saw the round stock we could use, we decided it would make a good arm for a crane,” said Priest.

Slinger High School students came in fourth place after welding an excavator for the competition. Team members included: Dustin Swim, Senior; Dale Kiley-Schaefer and Allen Wesp, both juniors; and R.J. Schmidt, freshman. Kiley-Schaefer said, “The fact that everything was laid out in random spots and then you had to find the pieces to put together, made the competition fun and challenging.” The students plan on displaying the project in their classroom.

“When you get into the workplace, welders who can brainstorm, give good ideas and suggestions are needed,” said Heim to the students after the competition. “Our welders are a huge part of our team, and we look to them to work with our engineers.”

For more information about Moraine Park’s Welding and Metal Fabrication programs, visit