In 1975, Peggy Vogds and her classmates gathered for a photo on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus. Almost 50 years later, she recognized herself in the photo displayed in the same hallway it was taken–a piece of her history frozen in time.
“When they put the historical timeline up last fall, I knew I recognized that picture,” Vogds said. “I was barely in it because of where the photo was cut off on the timeline and how I am positioned, but I knew those were my shoes, and I recognized the people around me. It was a real blast from the past.”
Vogds graduated from Moraine Park’s Fashion Merchandising program in 1977. She’s lived in Fond du Lac almost all her life, and she worked for the Fond du Lac School District for over 30 years before retiring in 2020.
“I used my degree for a little while working at a retail store, but then eventually went on to do other things,” Vogds said. “It was the social part of being here that made it so fun. I met friends that I have still, and it was just a great place to come. I always felt at ease on campus, and I know that I could achieve what I wanted to with the support I had.”
Vogds participates in Moraine Park’s Wolfpack Walker’s program, which allows the public to walk in and around Moraine Park’s campuses.
“When I walk the halls now, obviously a lot has changed and the building has grown, but it still brings back great memories from when I was here as a student,” Vogds said.
Yadira and Guadalupe Ortiz, of Horicon, grew up understanding the importance of family. In 2000, their mother immigrated from Mexico to the United States while pregnant to create a better life for herself and her children.
The sisters are two years apart and the first in their family to be born in the United States. With unwavering support from their mom, Yadira and Guadalupe promised each other they would do everything they could to create better, brighter futures for themselves.
“We are able to decide what we do in our lives because of our mom and the sacrifices she made for us,” Guadalupe said. “She changed her life coming to the United States, and we want to work as hard as we can to provide a better life for ourselves and for her.”
Yadira, 20, is a second-year student in Moraine Park’s Nursing program, and Guadalupe, 18, started her first semester of the Substance Abuse Disorder Counseling program this spring.
The sisters grew up sharing a very close bond and have supported each other through hard times and major accomplishments. When it was time for Yadira to begin thinking about college, an interest in nursing brought her to Moraine Park.
“When I was younger, I had high cholesterol, so I was in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices,” Yadira said. “That was my first exposure to the healthcare industry, and it always stuck with me. I wanted to help people, and I knew I wanted to stay close to home, so Moraine Park was the obvious choice for me.”
Yadira works at Marquardt Home Health as a CNA and plans to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) after graduation and work in women’s health. She is also a part of Moraine Park’s Promise program, an opportunity for debt-free tuition. As part of the program requirements, Yadira volunteers with her sister at various places and events in her community including, the Fond du Lac Taste of Mexico Festival, Humane Society and MPTC events.
“The volunteer hours have really helped with my shyness, and I feel more like myself than I ever have before,” Yadira said. “The Promise program has not only helped me afford tuition, but it has also given me amazing mentors who helped guide me as a first-generation college student.”
When it came time for Guadalupe to decide what she wanted to do after high school, it was not as easy. She considered going into counseling because she wanted to enter a career where she could help people, and her friends always said she gave the best advice.
“I got discouraged because I started having mental health problems of my own,” Guadalupe said. “I thought since I could not handle my own issues, I would not be able to help anyone else.”
After learning about Moraine Park’s Substance Abuse Disorder Counseling program and talking with supportive friends and family, she felt confident that it was the right path for her. “Being a first-generation college student would not have been so easy if it were not for my sister,” Guadalupe said. “She had it way harder than me because she had to navigate through everything first, like financial aid, applications and more. When it came time for me to start my college career, my sister helped me through every step of the way, and I am very grateful for her.”
Donald Shono, of Rubicon, found Moraine Park after serving in the United States Air Force Security Forces for six years. In 2011, he decided to end his active-duty service after experiencing a decline in his mental health.
Shono served in the 2nd Air Force Security Forces Squadron and had one deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served his last year with the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard.
“The Security Forces Squadron was not my first choice, but it gave me the opportunity to join within a month of enlisting, and I didn’t want to wait,” Shono said. “I had an interest in law enforcement at the time, so it was not a difficult choice.”
Security Forces is an Air Force Special Forces unit that provides base security, law enforcement and an infantry force; the Base Honor Guard conducts ceremonial events such as local veteran funeral services and base award ceremonies.
“I joined the service because I felt I needed to do something more with my life that was bigger than myself and something I felt truly mattered, but eventually, my mental health needed to become a priority,” he said.
When he returned home, Shono began researching ways to heal his mind and body. In 2013, he started working as a massage therapist at a spa in Slinger, WI. He worked there for three years before moving to Spotsylvania, VA, where he continued his career for five years.
During the pandemic, Shono moved home to be closer to family. Since he was already working in a health and wellness career, he decided to use his time at home to further his education.
Shono enrolled in Moraine Park’s Health and Wellness program and attended his first semester classes on the West Bend Campus in fall 2021.
“I chose Moraine Park because it was one of the only schools that offered the path to health and wellness I was looking for,” Shono said. “I am really happy with my experience so far and cannot wait to see what the future has in store.”
After receiving his associate degree, he plans to become certified as a health coach and personal trainer to expand his career opportunities.
My time in the military was really stressful and took a big toll on me mentally,” Shono said “I am pursuing health and wellness because I want to heal myself and help others do the same.”
Shono is involved in the West Bend Health and Wellness Club. Outside of school, he enjoys staying active, hiking and spending time with his family.
“Looking back on my time in the service–it is not all good memories,” Shono said. “I am really grateful to Moraine Park for opening me up to a new way of thinking and caring for myself.”
Grant Maniér is many things: a talented artist, passionate advocate, creative illustrator, poised public speaker, dedicated student and great friend.
He also lives with autism.
“I have autism, but I do not let it define me,” Maniér said. “I define my autism through my talents and my skills.”
Maniér is 26 and a first-year student in Moraine Park’s Graphic Communications program.
In 2021, he moved to Fond du Lac from Houston, TX, after accepting a job at the Treffert Center as a behavioral treatment technician and enrolling at Moraine Park. He and his mom, Julie Coy, were eager to take on this new adventure.
“Through Covid, the art world was shut down,” Maniér said. “I used to travel the country raising awareness, acceptance and promoting inclusion for people with disabilities. I would meet hundreds of people at events and take pictures with my art. After that stopped, we got an exciting opportunity to move, and we took it.”
Unlike traditional artists, Maniér constructs ecological, environmentally friendly art as an ‘eco-artist’.
“An eco-artist is not a normal artist,” Maniér said. “Being an eco-artist is taking recycled materials like paper from magazines, discarded puzzles, old calendars and wallpaper, and turning them into something beautiful. If it is recyclable, I can create eco-art out of it.”
Eco-friendly projects can also be made using materials such as old metal or scrap wood. Maniér gets his materials through direct donations, at thrift stores, and garage sales. Some of his pieces include an owl made from old movie posters, a dragon made with contact lens cases, dolphins made from applesauce lids and a giraffe made with jigsaw pieces named Jigsaw Grant.
Jigsaw Grant started out as one of Maniér’s many animal projects, but for this piece he decided to do something different. Instead of regular giraffe spots, he made the spots look like jigsaw pieces. His mom loved it so much that she coined it, Jigsaw Grant, after her son.
When people asked about Jigsaw Grant and Maniér’s other art pieces, Coy made-up stories about who the characters were and where they came from. Eventually, she started writing them down, and that is how Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe children’s book series was born.
There are five books in the collection, with more coming soon. Some of the topics include dyslexia, the autism spectrum, childhood cancer and the pandemic.
“I have come to know a lot of people and make many friends who have different challenges or disabilities,” Maniér said. “We figured if we talked about them in a children’s book format, we could help teach people from an early age about disabilities and how they can support people with differences.”
When it comes to sharing the work of writing and illustrating the books, Maniér describes it as an 80-20 percent split. His mom is the author, and he is the illustrator, but they both have their own opinions and give each other feedback as they create.
Maniér and Coy hope to publish more books and eventually bring their characters to life through animation.
When asked about his mantra, “’Autism does not define me, I define autism,’” Maniér said, “It’s basically asking the question: how do I live with it? It is something I cannot change. It is like having black hair. I don’t know what it is like to not have black hair, so I maintain it and keep it healthy, which is a lot like how I view my autism.”
The Moraine Park Technical College District Board passed a resolution Wednesday stating an intent to borrow $55 million to enhance campus learning spaces to meet future student and regional workforce needs.
The resolution is the first formal step toward a potential referendum in the November election. Under state law, technical colleges must hold referendums before completing capital projects with a cost of more than $1.5 million.
If successful, the $55 million referendum will allow Moraine Park to borrow funds to enhance and grow Moraine Park facilities to meet the needs of business and industry in the region through four major projects. Additionally, this proposal will allow Moraine Park to:
Respond to the growing workforce shortages.
Accommodate evolving industry expectations.
Address evolving technology, including in the areas of automation and robotics.
Provide greater access to all district communities.
Align with community expectations and workforce training requirements.
Keep the region competitive by preparing students and workforces of the future.
“Many of our district employers are fueled by Moraine Park graduates. Our goal is to continue to meet the needs of our local business and industry partners by leveraging our updated and growing facilities and equipment to expand technical college opportunities,” Moraine Park’s President, Bonnie Baerwald, said. “It is our responsibility to continue planning for growth that aligns with our local needs—and investing $55 million into enhancements, expansions and new construction projects over the next few years will help us do just that.”
The district board supported a request to explore growth opportunities at a board workshop in November 2020. Since then, Moraine Park leaders and internal teams have gathered research, held partnership meetings, explored district opportunities, prioritized projects, and obtained cost information related to architecture and construction. In April, the College surveyed a random sampling of 10,000 district community members to gauge community support. The survey results indicated voter support for a $55 million referendum. Additionally, the Moraine Park Foundation has raised nearly $2 million in donation pledges to help offset the costs.
“In the coming months, our work at Moraine Park will revolve around informing our communities of the importance of technical education in our district and the impact this referendum will have on the future of our district,” Baerwald added.
Under the proposed $55 million facilities enhancement plan, annual property taxes would increase by $21 per $100,000 of property value ($1.75 per month) for the next 20 years. The next step for Moraine Park is a public hearing in which district community members are welcome; the public hearing will be held at 5:15 p.m. Monday, July 11, on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus, 235 N. National Ave.
The Moraine Park District Board will vote in August on the final referendum question language, which will solidify a path forward to the November election. If approved, this will be the first time Moraine Park has financed projects using a referendum.
The Moraine Park district includes Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Washington counties and small portions of surrounding counties. The College, with campus locations in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac, and West Bend, plays a critical role in training more than 12,000 students each year for industry-critical jobs. Moraine Park students pursue degrees in many high-demand areas, including information technology, cybersecurity, accounting, nursing, respiratory therapy, advanced manufacturing, and website and graphic design.
Congratulations to all of Moraine Park’s 2022 High School Art Contest winners! The winners were selected by a panel of Art/Design professionals. Artists were invited to submit their work in the following categories:
Best of Show: Emma Schoebel, Princeton High School for the Drawing: Lucca
Reserve Best of Show: Amber Mans, Princeton High School for the Sculpture: Amphora
Fan Favorite Painting: Amber Mans, Autumn Birch, Princeton High School
Fan Favorite Sculpture: Gwyneth Spence, Nana’s Rose, Berlin High School
Fan Favorite Digital Illustration: Jenna Twinstra, Women’s Rights Issues, Berlin High School
Fan Favorite Traditional Illustration: Bella Hooker, Shadows, Kewaskum High School
Fan Favorite T-Shirt Design: Jenna Twinstra, Be Kind to Your Mind, Berlin High School
Fan Favorite Publication Design: Allison Disch, Polaroid Title Page, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
Fan Favorite Drawing: Jenna Twinstra, Allie’s Final Bow; Ariel, Berlin High School
Fan Favorite Digital Photography: Abigail Lang, Lines of Life, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
1st- Amber Mans, Amphora, Princeton High School
2nd- Gwenyth Spence, Nana’s Rose, Berlin High School
3rd- Amber Mans, Colored Vase, Princeton High School
4th- Violet Daubner, Lorikeet, Berlin High School
5th- Emma Schoebel, “Chad” Zebra, Princeton High School
1st- Emma Schoebel, Sunlight Zebra, Princeton High School
2nd- Emma Schoebel, Bay Horse, Princeton High School
3rd- Cambria Branson, A Few of My Favorite Things, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
4th- Taylor Gruhlke, A Very Innocent and Not Evil Image of an Elf in the Forest, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
5th- Jenna Twinstra, Women’s Rights Issues, Berlin High School
1st- Nora Otte, Take your Broken Wings and Learn to Fly, Fond du lac High School
2nd- Ava Schultz, Portrait, Fond du Lac High School
3rd- Amber Mans, Autumn Birch, Princeton High School
4th- Hayden Mason, Aura, Fond du Lac High School
5th- Nora Otte, Western Sky, Fond du lac High School
1st- Bella Hooker, Brick by Brick, Kewaskum High School
2nd- Bella Hooker, Shadows, Kewaskum High School
3rd- Anya Bennett Smith, Mermaid, Fond du Lac High School
4th- Amber Mans, Medusa, Princeton High School
5th- Corrie Phelan, Fond du Lac High School
1st- Emma Schoebel, Lucca, Princeton High School
2nd- Jenna Twinstra, Allie’s Final Bow; Ariel, Berlin High School
3rd- Cambria Branson, Puppy Love, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
4th- Ava Schultz, Fond du Lac High School
5th- Corrie Phelan, Fond du Lac High School
1st- Jenna Twinstra, Be Kind to Your Mind, Berlin High School
2nd- Emma Schoebel, Zebra, Princeton High School
3rd- Emma Schoebel, Leopard, Princeton High School
4th- Kaisha Cheers, BD Circle Shirt, Beaver Dam High School
1st- Dace Branson, Echo Lake, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
2nd- Ashley Patino, Behind my Spirit, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
3rd- Ashley Patino, Inside a City, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
4th- Abigail Lang, Lines of Life, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
5th- Abigail Lang, The Spectacular Sea, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
1st- Kaisha Cheers, Jazz Music Festival, Beaver Dam High School
2nd- Cambria Branson, A Time to Remember, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
3rd- Allison Disch, Polaroid Title Page, Waupun Junior/Senior High School
Jackie Fuller, of Theresa, graduated from Moraine Park’s Cosmetology program in 2002. She worked as a hairstylist at Cedar Community Assisted Living in West Bend for 11 years until a new passion led her back through Moraine Park’s doors.
At Cedar Community, Fuller fell in love with transforming people’s hair and putting smiles on the residents’ faces, especially in hard times. Eventually, watching residents fall ill and experiencing loss in her own family took a toll, and she realized she was destined to do more.
“By the time I was 27, I had lost both of my parents,” Fuller said. “Watching them get sick without knowing how to help was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Being so young and not having my parents was, and still is, a challenge. I felt driven to learn how to help people in their time of need.”
Fuller enrolled in Moraine Park’s Nursing program in 2020 and will graduate in December. Since starting the program, she has become the vice president of the Student Nursing Association and a member of the Beaver Dam Campus Student Senate.
Outside of school, Fuller enjoys spending time with her family. She has a fiancé and two teenage sons. The boys both fully support their mom going back to school and love to help her study with flashcards and quizzes.
“My kids are getting older,” she said. “I want to be able to show them they can be anything they want to be and that it’s never too late.”
Fuller was recently hired at Froedtert in West Bend where she works as a critical care technician. After she graduates, she will stay at Froedtert as a nurse and plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). She still tends to her first passion by keeping her cosmetology license up to date.
“From my first appointment at Moraine Park, I was encouraged to make steps forward in my career,” Fuller said. “It took me a while to push through those doors, but I am so glad I did. Moraine Park has been there every step of the way, allowing me to explore both of my passions.”
Thank you, Frontline Workers.
It’s no secret frontline workers fuel the economy. Each year, more than 1,000 Moraine Park alumni enter the workforce and make an impact on local industries and current worker shortages. We are incredibly proud of the many alumni in our communities and the passionate work they do to keep us moving forward.
Pictured above: President Bonnie Baerwald and Student Community Impact Coordinator Anne Lemke present Mina Vang-Xiong with her President’s Award.
Moraine Park Technical College is committed to community engagement and student success. The College supports these commitments through the opportunity for students to participate in student community impact and apply their classroom knowledge to an applicable, real-world environment. We encourage students to participate in our community impact awards program where students can track their service-learning or volunteer hours, submit their reflections, and earn a Bronze Award for 25 hours, Silver Award for 50 hours,Gold Award for 100 hours, and President’s Award for 200 hours!
In the Spring, 2022 semester, 29 students earned awards and logged over 1,600 hours of service! Congratulations to our Spring, 2022 award winners!
Two graduating students earned the President’s Award for over 200 hours of service each in their time at MPTC! The students are Alaska Burroughs – Marketing and Social Media; and Mina Vang-Xiong – IT Technical Support and Network Specialist. MPTC President Bonnie Baerwald celebrated with and congratulated each student, stating: “I’m extremely proud of the accomplishments of Mina and Alaska. Each has their own unique story and came to Moraine Park Technical College to explore and create new career opportunities. In addition to their work and college obligations, their volunteer efforts exemplify the college values of continuous improvement, collaboration, and impactful learning. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!”
Completing 100-199 hours of service-learning or volunteering.
Burroughs, Alaska – Marketing and Social Media
Dziuba, Austin – Marketing and Social Media
Vang-Xiong, Mina – IT Technical Support and Network Specialist
Completing 50-99 hours of service-learning or volunteering.
Burroughs, Alaska – Marketing and Social Media
Dziuba, Austin – Marketing and Social Media
Hackett, Richard – Leadership Development
Rogers, Dorothy – Paralegal
Smith, Brooke – Medical Assistant
Vang-Xiong, Mina – IT Technical Support and Network Specialist
Completing 25-49 hours of service-learning or volunteering.
Julie said, “Everyone has their own story.Each of us has a bigger purpose on this earth to share our story. Thank you for being vulnerable in your sharing! It was a privilege to teach all of you in this important community mental health learning. Best of luck in your final semester!”
Students spent over 200 hours researching and collaborating with community partners in Fond du Lac, Washington, and Dodge Counties to learn more about substance abuse, foster families, gun violence, elderly depression, bullying, human trafficking, poverty, domestic violence, sexual assault, and more. Students formulated detailed plans to address how a nurse can help a community identify and address these issues, providing education, awareness, advocacy and resources. Students gathered data to help determine strengths and weaknesses in their own communities. Project presentations were held in May. Ashley said, “My students did a phenomenal job assessing their surrounding communities for health concerns and building advocacy plans that we, as nurses, have the power to implement within their communities. These students were drawn to nursing because of a desire to care, to serve, and to help…..and they did just that!“
Congratulations on all of this great work on important mental health issues in our MPTC community!