Commencement Plans Set at Highland Community College

Highland Community College will have its 161st commencement on May 17, 2019.

2019 Commencement exercises at the Highland Community College campus, the HCC Technical Center in Atchison, and the Western Center in Baileyville have been set. Commencement at Highland will be held outdoors on Friday, May 17, at 7 pm on Kessinger Field on the HCC campus. The Highland Commencement will be broadcast live at Guests are invited to join graduates, faculty and staff for a reception on lawn immediately following the ceremony.

Mr. John Lehman

Highland’s commencement speaker for 2019 will be John Lehman of Sabetha, Kansas. Lehman, a Highland Community College graduate from the class of 1966, went on to Kansas State University to earn a bachelors in in education in 1968. After teaching at Effingham Junior High, Lehman went on to become the Administrator of the Apostolic Christian Home in Sabetha. During his 42-years at the helm the organizations saw tremendous growth; expanding from a 36 to 110 bed facility, adding retirement villages with complete amenities and Lakeside Terrace a facility for the developmentally disabled. After his retirement in 2017, John has remained active serving on many boards in the Sabetha area as well as serving as a minister and Elder at the Apostolic Church of Bern and as President of the Rural Gospel and Medical Missions of India.

Highland Community College Atchison Technical Center

Commencement exercises at the HCC Technical Center in Atchison will be held on Wednesday, May 15 at 7 pm in the Atchison High School gymnasium. That same day, the pinning ceremony for nursing graduates will take place at 5:30 pm, also in the AHS gymnasium.

Mr. Shawn Rizza

113 total grads will gather for the ceremony and listen to Atchison City Mayor Shawn Rizza. Rizza has served Atchison as City Commissioner and on the Parks and Forestry Board. In addition, Rizza has served as Site Council for the school district, volunteers at the YMCA, Live Well Live Atchison, The Recreation Commission, First Christian Church, and serves on the board of Project Atchison.

Highland Community College Western Center – Baileyville

The College’s Western Center in Baileyville will have a ceremony May 17 at 10 a.m. at the Center. 20 students will receive their diplomas from Highland President David Reist and Tom Smith, Chairperson of the HCC Board of Trustees.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.