The Parkland College Blog

Parent Lab to Improve Assistance with School Subjects

Info session for Unit 4 parents Jan. 28, 6 p.m., Douglass Branch Library

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Area residents can increase their ability to help their kids and grandkids with school subjects through a new initiative from Parkland Adult Education's Project READ program, the Champaign Public Library's Douglass Branch and Champaign Unit 4 Schools.

An information session on the new Parent Lab will be held for interested Unit 4 parents Monday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. at CPL's Douglass Branch.
In the Parent Lab, participants will work with tutors to familiarize themselves with the important skills and content that their kids and grandkids are doing at school. The primary areas are math and reading for all subjects. On the second Mondays of the month, participating parents will visit the Douglass Branch for special sessions using educational technology, research tools, career development tools, and other library resources particularly helpful to families.

The Parent Lab will run from Feb. 4 to May 20 on Monday evenings at the Booker T. Washington School library. A light meal, provided at 5:30 p.m., and childcare will be provided for families at every session.
Project READ will be offering tutor training sessions for the Parent Lab initiative and its other tutoring opportunities on the following days and times:

  • Monday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 26 at 9  a.m.,
  • Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. 

For more information on the Parent Lab or on becoming a trained tutor, contact Project READ at

Spring Enrollment Blitz to Help Students Enroll

Get one-stop service from Admissions, Financial Aid, Counseling, more

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Parkland College's Student Services offices is offering the community a week of one-stop help with enrolling in spring semester classes.

Spring Enrollment Blitz 2019 runs Jan. 4 and 7–11, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the second-floor "bridge" of the Student Union. Since Parkland College Spring Semester 2019 classes begin Monday, Jan. 14, the event is especially useful for those who have steps yet to complete in their enrollment. 

During Enrollment Blitz, new and returning students can receive one-stop service from the college's Admissions and Records, Financial Aid and Veteran Services, Assessment Center and Counseling Services offices. Students receive assistance with such enrollment steps as completing applications for admission or financial aid; determining course placement for English, reading and math; attending a new student orientation; and registering for courses. 

For more information on this event, contact Admissions and Records at 217/351-2482 or

Athletic Hall of Fame Ceremony, Jan. 26

Seven former student athletes to be honored during halftime at Men's Basketball game

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The Parkland College Foundation and the Parkland College Athletics department have announced the newest members of the Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame. 

The Class of 2018 will be honored at festivities Saturday, Jan. 26 in the Dodds Athletic Center, in conjunction with the Cobras Men's Basketball game versus Danville Area Community College. The game begins at 3 p.m. This is the 12th Hall of Fame class chosen since the inaugural induction ceremony in 2007.

The following inductees, seven student athletes, will be introduced during halftime at the game (some time after 3:30 p.m.) and honored at a private reception in the Student Union immediately following. Each was nominated by former Parkland College coaches and administrators and finalized in a vote by the Hall of Fame selection committee. SuperValu is the presenting sponsor for the induction ceremony.

The 2018 Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame class includes:

  • Marty Kirby '76, Baseball. Kirby was a multisport athlete at Urbana High School, earning a total of seven varsity letters before graduating in 1974. He came to Parkland College to play for the Cobras in 1975 and 1976, where he earned the team MVP and batted .388 before transferring to the University of Illinois and the UI Baseball Team. In the summer of 1975, he started a 10-year stint as an outfielder in the amateur Eastern Illinois Baseball League. He had a career E.I. batting average of .328 and earned all-star status in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1980. Kirby also hit 23 home runs during his E.I. career. He finished among the E.I.'s top 10 batting leaders twice, ending eighth in 1977 (.418 average) and seventh in 1980 (.419 average). From 1980-85 he served as the player-coach for the Thomasboro E.I. entry, compiling a six-year record of 118-46.  He became the first coach in the history of the now-84-year-old E.I. to guide four consecutive teams to regular-season championships, doing so from 1982-85 and a tournament championship in 1985. He then served as President of E.I. from 1991-2000. Kirby also had returned to Parkland College as the head baseball coach for three seasons, from 1983 to 1985. 

    The longtime owner of Kirby & Turner Masonry, Kirby coached youth baseball teams from 2000 to 2007. Among those highlights were guiding the 2000 Brownfield Sports team to the Twin City Championship with an unblemished 23-0 record. He also served as head coach for the Urbana Legion Post 71 team. He coached the Post 71 junior program from 2004 to 2007, with the 34-17 team in 2005 team advancing to the national tournament in Ohio.

  • Brittany Fallis Perez '09, Volleyball. Perez played for Parkland College during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. During her 2008 season, she played in 120 sets with 16 aces (.12 aces/set) and 494 digs (3.83 digs/set). During the 2009 season, she played 149 sets, had 869 digs (5.83 digs/set) and was First Team All-American, First Team All-Region 24, and First Team All-MWAC. Following Parkland, Perez went on to play Division 1 volleyball for the University of Pittsburgh as defensive specialist from 2009-2011 where she earned her BS in Administrative Justice and Legal Studies. Perez was granted an internship at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office in Pittsburgh in 2011 where she participated in forensic investigations on various crime scenes. She is currently a paralegal at the law firm of Heyl Royster in Peoria, where her focus is in the toxic tort practice groups.

  • Hannah Ohl Cronk, '11, Basketball. Cronk played for Parkland College from 2009 to 2011. In 2009, she helped lead her team to an MWAC Conference Championship, Region 24 Championship, and a third-place finish at the National Tournament. Earning honors of MWAC 1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team All Region, Parkland Female Athlete of the Year, and National All-Tournament Team, Cronk was also named a 1st Team NJCAA All-American. After Parkland she transferred and continued her basketball career at the NCAA Division I institution, The University of South Carolina Upstate, where she earned her BS in Exercise Science. Cronk went on to earn a MS in Kinesiology and Sports Students from Eastern Illinois University. She is currently an assistant women’s basketball coach at Danville Community College. She resides in the Danville area with her husband, Logan. 

  • Heidi McKean Wlezien '09, Basketball. Wlezien played for Parkland College during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In 2009, along with the team finishing fourth at NJCAA Nationals, she was named First Team NJCAA All-American, Region 24 All-Region, and Parkland Co-Female Athlete of the Year. Wlezien received the Parkland Female Academic Achievement Award along with being a two-time M-WAC All-Conference selection. She averaged 11.5 points and 4.1 assists per game during the 2008 season and 8.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game during the 2009 season. After Parkland, Wlezien played for Upper Iowa University, where she received the Senior Student Athletic Trainer of the Year Awar before graduating with a degree in athletic training. She obtained her master’s degree in sports administration from Eastern Illinois University, where she was a graduate assistant athletic trainer working with women’s rugby, basketball, and swimming. After earning her master's degree, Wlezien served as head athletic trainer for the Chicago Sky and also served as the athletic trainer for the WNBA All-Star East team in 2015. She is currently an associate athletic trainer for the Women’s Basketball team at the University of Texas at Austin. She will be inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in May 2019.

  • Lennox Forrester '89, Basketball. Forrester played for the Cobras during the 1988 and 1989 seasons. In 1989, he was selected as an NJCAA All-American, All-Region and All-Conference. His career included being a member of two of the Cobras' top-five finishes, where they were 2nd in 1988 and 4th in 1989.

    Forrester then earned a Division I scholarship to the University of Evansville, where he played two seasons, finishing first in the conference, winning the conference tournament, and reaching the NCAA tournament in his senior year. Forrester earned his BS in Sociology in 1992 and spent the next 25 years as a college basketball coach. Starting his coaching career as an assistant at the University of Evansville for 12 years, Forrester moved to Bradley University as an assistant coach and helped the Bradley team earn wins over Kansas and Pittsburgh to make it into the Sweet 16 in the 2005-2007 seasons. Forrester finished his long career in coaching as the head coach at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for eight seasons, guiding them from Division II to Division I. He currently serves as the executive director at the Downtown Belleville YMCA in Belleville, where he lives with his wife Racquel and daughter Calaya. 

  • Denise McGrath '02, Volleyball. McGrath played for the Cobras in 2001 and 2002 where she was team captain, an NJCAA All-American, on the NJCAA National All-Tournament First Team, and was the 2002 Conference Player of the Year. After Parkland, she graduated with honors earning her BS from the University of Illinois with an emphasis on Marketing and Sport Management. She was on the UI Dean’s List and the National Dean’s List and graduated with honors. Moving to Albuquerque, New Mex., in 2005, McGrath began a successful career in sales and management, selling laboratory, healthcare, and clean-room products; she was recognized as Regional Sales Representative of the Year in 2010. She now lives in Bloomington, Ind., with her husband Brok and their three young children Ava, Eli, and Ian.

  • Rebecca Koets '02, Softball. Rebecca Koets played for Cobras in 2001 and 2002, where she batted .423, fielded .933, and had 58 RBIs. She was All-Conference 1st Team, All-Region 1st Team, NFCA All-Region 1st Team, and NJCAA All-American 1st Team. Koets continued her career at Northland College in Ashland, Wisc., where she earned her BS in 2004. She moved to California and completed her HR certification. Koets left corporate life to travel, help with family, and enjoy a minimalist lifestyle. She lived in a tiny house (like those in the television show), traveled all over the U.S., lived in five different states, completed the San Francisco Nike Marathon in 2009 and the Ragnar Bourbon Chase in 2018, and continues to play co-ed slow pitch softball today.  

See 2019'S Only Full Lunar Eclipse through Telescopes

Planetarium, CUAS to provide free, closer views of Jan. 20 event

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Residents can enjoy free telescopic viewing of next month's total lunar eclipse, the only such eclipse visible for the area in 2019.  

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will join the CU Astronomical Society in making telescopes available to the public for the Sunday, Jan. 20 eclipse starting at 9 p.m., weather-permitting.  

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Full Moon passes through Earth's shadow. Given the Moon's orbit is five degrees off Earth's orbital plan, most Full Moons miss Earth's shadow. The darkest part of Earth's shadow will encroach upon the Moon at 9:34 p.m. CST. The Moon will be completely in shadow by 10:41 p.m. and will remain there for about an hour. The Moon will begin to emerge from the shadow at 11:44 p.m., leaving a Full Moon in the sky again by 12:51 a.m. Monday.   

At mid-eclipse (11:12 p.m.), the Moon may take on a reddish hue, often referred to as a "blood Moon". The sight has nothing to do with blood, however. It occurs because sunlight, bending through Earth's atmosphere, often hits the Moon; the atmosphere then scatters some of the blue part of the spectrum (what brings our blue skies), leaving this reddish light.  

Of course, dark skies are not needed to see a lunar eclipse, and unlike their solar counterparts, they are very safe to watch. 

Please note that this lunar viewing is not a planetarium show; it will be held outside. CUAS members will be outside the planetarium beginning at 9 p.m. observing the eclipse. The planetarium offers ample parking and a lobby where residents can warm up. Participants should park in the M1 parking lot and dress warmly!

Call the planetarium at 217/351-2567 for updates to the viewing if the weather seems uncertain.  


Parkland Baseball Removes Jon Goebel’s Interim Tag

Four-year pitching coach takes reigns of National Runners-Up

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Parkland Athletic Director Brendan McHale announced on Wednesday evening the removal of head coach Jon Goebel's interim tag. Parkland's pitching coach over the previous four seasons, the former Cobra led a pitching staff that routinely ranked among the best in Division II and helped the team reach three straight NJCAA DII World Series. Goebel was originally named Parkland's the interim head coach after former head coach Dave Garcia accepted an assistant coaching job at Western Carolina University.

"Jon has done an incredible job working as the interim head coach of the Cobra Baseball team for the last several months," McHale explained. "He continues to lead our baseball team in a very positive and successful way by consistently setting the expectation of our student athletes to excel in the classroom as well as on the baseball field. Jon has the respect of our student athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and administration. We are fortunate to have Jon's talents leading our baseball program, and we are pleased to add him to our already incredible coaching staff here at Parkland College. The Cobra family is looking forward to seeing the excellence Jon will bring to the program as the head coach."

By suppressing opponents' offense, Goebel and the Cobras pitchers have led Parkland to three consecutive NJCAA DII World Series appearances, including back-to-back top-three finishes highlighted by a National Runner-Up finish last season. Winners of 50-plus games in 2017 and 2018, the Cobras have dominated Region 24 and the Mid-West Athletic Conference with three straight titles.

"Coaching at Parkland is unique," said Goebel of the opportunity. "There are so many factors to being a success here. You have to win, but you also have to develop and advance players. I love that about junior college. I want pressure to win and so do the athletes. I can't thank Parkland and Mr. McHale enough for this opportunity. I made a commitment to this program in July, and now it's time to see it through."

Taking over development of Parkland pitchers prior to the 2015 season, Goebel's staff has combined to lead the nation in strikeouts each of the last three years and earned run average (ERA) and batting average against (BAA) in two of the last three seasons.  In that span, the Cobras have struck out more than 11 batters per nine in each of the last three campaigns, including 12.89 in 2018, and twice held a staff ERA under 3.00.

Individually, Goebel has sent 21 hurlers on to either the Major League Baseball (MLB) draft or an NCAA Division I program. Highlighting Goebel's mentorship is two-time NJCAA All-American Brady Schanuel. Twice selected in the MLB draft while at Parkland—2015 by the Oakland Athletics and 2016 by the Philadelphia Phillies—Schanuel moved on to pitch at Ole Miss and the University of Iowa before signing with the Milwaukee Brewers after his junior season. By committing to Ole Miss, Schanuel became the first Parkland baseball player ever to commit to a school in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Prior to his previous four years, Goebel also was a member of the 2009-2010 coaching staff that guided the Cobras to the NJCAA World Series and took fifth place. Additionally, the team featured current Major Leaguers Kevin Kiermaier (Tampa Rays), Nick Wittgren (Miami Marlins) and Daniel Winkler (Atlanta Braves).

During his playing days, Goebel played four years of collegiate baseball, first at Forest Park Community College in St. Louis and then went on to play two years at Bradley.

Goebel and the 2019 Parkland Baseball team will make its season debut Feb. 22 in Gallatin, Tenn., against Volunteer State.

[Article by Chad Beyler]