The Parkland College Blog

Surgical Technology Program Earns National Merit Award

Program's 100-percent graduate participation, pass rate far exceeds national rate

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Parkland College Surgical Technology students have achieved perfect scores on the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting exam, far surpassing national averages and achieving the college's seventh consecutive NBSTSA Merit Award.

Parkland's Surgical Technology program earned the award for achieving a 100-percent graduate participation and pass rate on the national certification exam for surgical technologists during the 2017-2018 academic year. The national pass rate for the exam is around 78 percent, according to the NBSTSA.

Janice Grewatz, program director, said graduates receive the real-world experiences and expert training that lead to high-demand, marketable skills and career success.

"Parkland's program has achieved an overall pass rate of 95 percent since testing has been required," she said. "All of our graduates who sought employment so far this year are employed in full-time surgical technology positions in area hospitals and beyond."

Graduates passing the exam to become a certified surgical technologist (CST) demonstrate an understanding of the basic competencies for safe patient care in the operating room. 

The CST exam is the only fully accredited examination by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies for surgical technologists in the nation. Certification as a surgical technologist exhibits professional pride, the desire to be recognized for mastery of surgical competencies, and most importantly, an ongoing commitment to quality patient care.



Business Training and Community Education Debuts New Name, Look

"Community Education" resonates with noncredit students, reflects focus

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Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is debuting a new name and a fresh, new look in its brochure of spring 2019 classes.
The department's new name, "Community Education," encapsulates its overarching goal to provide high-value personal and professional development opportunities to all residents, from career-enhancing workshops and certification programs to educational travel, personal enrichment, classes for kids, and more. Programs are designed to work around busy schedules, with many online options. 
Director Triss Henderson said feedback from noncredit students and the community confirmed "Community Education" best resonates with Parkland College's district, reflects the department's focus, and includes both businesses and individuals.

"Community Education will continue its mission to engage the community in learning by providing personal and professional development opportunities to transform lives," Henderson said. "We are able to offer a variety of classes that make us unique to this community, something our customers value. If you are ever wondering if we have a particular class or are wanting to learn something new, more than likely we've got a class for that! We're here to offer rich possibilities for all ages and all stages of life."
In keeping with an upcoming new year, the Parkland College Community Education Spring 2019 Brochure is sporting a refreshed look, branded with help from local creative group Surface 51. As always, the brochure is chock full of brand new personal and professional development classes, including:

Flipping Houses and Property Management. Investing in real estate is a rewarding experience. Discover how to create a full-time career or a side gig before making the leap into your first house flip or purchasing your first investment property.

National Green Infrastructure Certification Program. Parkland College is the only licensed provider in the state of Illinois to offer the Water Environment Federation (WEF) National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP)! Learn to manage your natural water assets in a sustainable way and help shape the future landscape of Illinois and beyond!

Planting a Pollinator Garden. Learn why these hardworking insects are important to our ecosystem and which plants are best to draw them to your garden. 

Other favorites include:

  • Gentle Yoga

  • Couples Massage

  • Knife Skills for the Home Chef

  • Spanish in the Workplace

  • Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification

  • Chicago Ethnic Grocery Tour

  • High-Impact Facebook Ads

To register for a class or browse class selections, visit Residents may also register for classes by phone at 217/353-2055 or in person at Parkland College Community Education, 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign.

Foundation Receives Nursing Endowment Honoring Late Podiatrist

Dr. Helen Mackey Widick Nursing Scholarship will cover tuition, fees, books

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The Parkland College Foundation is honored to be chosen to receive a $100,000 donation from local residents to support the school’s nursing program.

The gift, donated anonymously in mid-November by friends of the late Dr. Helen Mackey Widick, will establish the nursing endowment in her name. Income from the gift will be used to provide a $5,000 scholarship annually to a student who has been accepted into the nursing program, to cover tuition, fees, and books.

Widick, a native of rural Monticello, Ill., practiced podiatric medicine for 45 years at the Widick Foot Clinic in Urbana. Before earning her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Scholl’s College of Podiatry in Chicago in 1957 however, she practiced and taught nursing in Monticello and Alton, Ill., for a decade. 

Nursing was always Widick’s “first love,” which is why her friends want to create the nursing scholarship in her memory, according to Foundation Director Tracy Wahlfeldt.

Widick, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 93, was known for her philanthropy to numerous organizations in the area, some of which are recipients of her trust. The longtime Urbana resident was a member of the Altrusa Club of Champaign Urbana, serving as president from 1967 to 1969 and as governor of Altrusa International District Six from 1981 to 1983. She is a former member of the Auxiliary Coast Guard. Dr. Widick was past worthy matron of the Myrtle Chapter 131 of Eastern Star, past royal matron of #17 Amaranth, past worthy high priestess of White Shrine of Jerusalem-Mizpah #11 and past worthy grand commander of True Kindred #15.     
Her numerous civic memberships include the Piatt County Museum, Champaign County Humane Society, American Podiatry Association and American Podiatry Women’s Association. A former Kentucky Colonel, Widick also taught Sunday school for 25 years at Grace United Methodist Church in Urbana.

She practiced podiatry at two clinics she built in downtown Urbana before retiring in 2002 at the age of 80. The first was a smaller clinic at 1208 E. Main St., (now the Little Red Dog House pet grooming business); the larger clinic, next door at 1210 E. Main St., was completed in 1987. Realizing she had more land than needed to build the second clinic, she donated part of the land to Habitat for Humanity to build homes.

“We at the Parkland College Foundation are grateful that Helen's passion for helping people will continue through the Dr. Helen M. Widick Nursing scholarship," Wahlfeldt said.

Concert Band, Orchestra to Perform Joint Winter Concert

"Home Again for the Holidays" to feature classic winter favorites, Dec. 9, theatre

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Parkland College's concert band and orchestra will perform a joint winter concert titled "Home Again for the Holidays." 
Their concert will be held Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. in Parkland’s Harold and Jean Miner Theatre; this event is free and open to the public. 
The Parkland Concert Band, directed by Larry Stoner, will perform "Alleluia! Laudamus Te" by Alfred Reed, "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by JS Bach/transcribed by Mark Hindsley, "And Heaven and Nature Ring!" arranged by Patrick Roszell, and "Christmas Legends" by Gary Gilroy.
Rodney Mueller directs the orchestra, which will perform the 4th movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, Op 17, "Little Russian;" Wassail Dances based on the traditional wassail songs of, respectively, Somerset, Yorkshire, and Gloucestershire by Philip Lane; and "Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night)" by Adolphe Adam.

For more information on Parkland College music performances, visit

Parkland College Food Drive This Week

Donate by Nov. 27 at campus drop-off box locations to feed the hungry

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Parkland College's Food Drive for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank kicks off this week!

Student Life is coordinating this effort in conjunction with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank's Annual Day of Giving on Nov. 27. Please donate food at the following donation box locations: 

-Near the Welcome Desk, Student Union (community dropoff site)
-Outside the Bookstore, Student Union
-Outside the Humanities/FAA Office, C wing
-Athletics department office
-At the Parkhill Applied Technology Center (T building)
-At the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center (W building)
-By the Parkland Library main desk
-In the College Center, X wing

The most needed food items are: 

-Canned meats
-Canned complete meals
-Canned beans and vegetables
-Canned fruit
-Boxed meals
-Peanut Butter

Financial donations can be given at the Parkland College Bookstore as well as at the Parkland Men's Basketball games on Nov. 20 and 26.

The last day for donations will be Nov. 27. For more information, contact the Office of Student Life at 217/351-2492.