The Parkland College Blog

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.

Parkland Volleyball Takes National Runner-Up

Warfel, Verdun named to All-Tournament Team

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Parkland College Volleyball has placed NJCAA Division II National Runner-Up for the 2018 season with a 56-3 overall record and its fifth National Championship Match appearance in the last six seasons.

The Cobras dropped Saturday's Championship match in three sets (25-18, 25-18, 25-16) to No. 1 seed Coffeyville (Kansas).
"At the outset of the season, I knew we had the talent to get here, but we took a lot of twists and turns to peak at the right time for nationals," said Head Coach Cliff Hastings. "We had some rough matches where our quad of mostly freshmen showed their lack of collegiate experience, but all the effort and work showed in spades in the first two days of nationals. We didn't play well in the last match, but that doesn't diminish an outstanding overall season. I am so proud of the work that each one of these young ladies put into the team and themselves to get us to a national championship match."
Following the match, freshman outside hitter Ryleigh Warfel (2) and freshman setter Rachel Verdun (19) were named to the 2018 NJCAA Division II National Tournament Team. Warfel, from Downs, Ill., recorded 51 kills over the three-day tournament with a hitting percentage of .323 overall hitting percentage. Verdun, a native of Edwardsville, Ill., averaged 11.9 assists per set to go along with 12 kills. Hastings agreed with the choice of Warfel and Verdun to the All-Tournament team.
"They were consistent both physically and emotionally during the week," he said. "They led with their play, and they led by example, and I'm really proud of both their individual efforts."
After recording double-digit kills in both the Quarterfinal and Semifinal victories, Warfel again led the Cobras offense on Saturday night with 12 kills, while also adding in 12 digs on defense. Amanda Greening was second on the team with seven kills. Defensively, Maggie Sorenson led the back row with 14 digs. As a team, Parkland was held to an .034 attack percentage while Coffeyville hit .139 as team.
Champions of District J and the Mid-West Athletic Conference (M-WAC), the Cobras won a program-best 56 matches this season, including 48 in straight set sweeps. With three extended winning streaks, the Cobras reached the National Title match on a 20-match winning streak. Following the District Championship, five Cobras were named to the Region 24 All-Region team, led by Player of the Year, Verdun. Joining Verdun was Warfel, Shelby NunamakerBrooke Norder and Katelyn Riffle. Coach Hastings was named the Region 24 Coach of the Year.
Over a two-year span, sophomores Ashley King, Nunamaker, Maddie Allen, Sorenson, Sidney Heck, Riffle and Anita Jenkins finish their Cobra careers with 106 wins in two seasons, while dropping just six matches, with two top-four NJCAA finishes and back-to-back District J Champions.
The Cobras will return 11 players from this year's team in 2019, including four starters. The 11 returnees will look to build off their first seasons that saw the Cobras rank among the best in nearly every offensive and defensive category. Individually, Verdun sat amongst the best setters statistically in her first collegiate season, while libero Norder ranked in the top five in digs and digs per set and middle blocker Dakota Hamon ranked in the top 10 in blocks.

[Article by Chad Beyler]

Open Auditions for Two Spring Theatre Productions Dec. 1

Prepare to audition for classic plays "Come Blow Your Horn", "Young Frankenstein"

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Parkland Theatre will hold auditions for spring productions Saturday, Dec. 1 at the theatre.
"Come Blow Your Horn" by Neil Simon

Auditions for the play "Come Blow Your Horn" by Neil Simon will take place 9 a.m. to noon. Auditionees should register for an audition slot at Callbacks will be Sunday, Dec. 2; time to be determined.
Director Melissa Goldman is casting 7 actors ages 16 and over.

Performances will run in Parkland Theatre’s Second Stage February 7–17.
"Young Frankenstein" by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan

Director Chelsea Collier Zych  is casting a diverse group of 25+ actors, ages 12 and older for Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein." Auditionees should register for an audition slot at
Actors will perform a 32-bar cut from a song in the style of Young Frankenstein (but please, no songs from the show.) Actors will also read from sides which can be found at; this includes ensemble roles in the musical.
Performances for "Young Frankenstein" will be held in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre April 4–21.

All members of the community as well as Parkland and U of I students are invited to audition; Parkland Theatre encourages diversity. Those with additional questions should email