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November 21, 2019

Giving eclipses $1 million at 2019 Some Enchanted Evening gala

Nearly 650 attendees at JCCC’s black-tie gala, Some Enchanted Evening, erupted with applause when the million-dollar announcement was made by President Joe Sopcich at this epic event. 

The Foundation has reached the $1 million milestone of raising support for student scholarships in a single year. This new record adds to the more than $11 million raised in the 33-year history of the gala. Last year the Foundation awarded $1.2 million in student scholarships, the highest amount ever distributed in the history of the College.

This year the Foundation also has helped secure transformational gifts for innovative and important student resources such as the MealSHARE program as well as countless other student-focused initiatives and campus transformation projects. The College also celebrated the opening of two impressive new campus buildings­: Fine Arts & Design Studios and the Hugh L. Libby Career and Technical Education Center.

“This has been a pivotal year at JCCC and this year’s Foundation contribution to the College is the highest amount in the history of the Foundation,” said Suze Parker, Foundation President. 

Tributes and testimonials

This year’s gala was a capstone to JCCC’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. A tribute to Sopcich looked back at his tenure that started in JCCC’s Foundation almost 27 years ago. He is retiring in June 2020.

Frank H. Devocelle, recently retired and longtime executive of Olathe Health, was honored as 2019 Johnson Countian of the Year.

“As JCCC celebrates its first 50 years of quality education, it’s only fitting that we honor Frank Devocelle — a man who has devoted nearly 50 years to building a community of learning, living and working that makes us proud,” said Dr. Jerry Cook, chairman of the JCCC Board of Trustees.  

Devocelle was instrumental in the partnership between Olathe Health and JCCC that resulted in the Olathe Health Education Center. The building houses classrooms and skills labs for JCCC’s Practical Nursing, Health Occupations, Respiratory Care and Neurodiagnostic Technology programs.

“Frank Devocelle is one of the most impactful visionaries in our community because of his devotion to transformational change related to healthcare and education,” said Sopcich.

Future firefighter’s commitment to community

Scholarship recipient Jake Burkhart, a JCCC student in the Fire Science program, delivered an appreciation speech that outlined how he will use funds from the Mark Mansfield Memorial Explorer Scout Public Safety Scholarship to serve his community. At JCCC, he first became a certified EMT and was accepted into the Fire Academy. After completing two years of coursework and passing state testing, he will be qualified for positions with municipal fire departments across Johnson County.

“There are thousands of students like me who are training — with great passion— for careers crucial to our quality of life,” Jake said. “I look forward to serving this community for a long time to come.”

To date, Foundation funds have transformed futures for thousands of students who, like Jake, aspire to change lives. Students with exceptional needs, single parents and displaced workers are given a helping hand to find ways to attend JCCC. Money brought in by the Some Enchanted Evening appeal is critical to help meet financial needs of JCCC students who may not otherwise be able to pursue higher education.

Be a friend of the Foundation

If you’d like to wrap up your giving year with a contribution to the Foundation, give Judi Reilly, Program Director of Development, a call at 913-469-2718. Foundation staff would welcome you to sit down with a cup of coffee and discuss how you can be an integral part in making educational dreams become realities for students.