His classes were divided between online courses he completed from home as well as via ITV, or interactive television. Clapper would attend ITV classes at Ainsworth High School and the Ainsworth Regional Office of Northeast Community College, which is located in the Educational Service Unit (ESU) #17 building. Through ITV technology, Clapper was able to interact with instructors and students at Northeast’s other locations.
Clapper said that, as a senior in high school, he was thinking about continuing his education at a larger college away from home but didn’t feel ready for the pressures that come along with it.
“I wasn’t even sure what college I wanted to attend, but I looked at Northeast, and when I did, I just figured it was more local and I had already earned credit there. I knew it would be a good place to start.”
Sonny Corkle, regional coordinator at the Northeast Community College Ainsworth regional office, said she started her position three years ago when the College was re-establishing its regional office in Keya Paha, Brown and Rock counties, an area also known as “KBR.”
“The KBR area had not had access to any of Northeast’s credit classes, and once I began the position, we began working on offering classes here locally. Lane was the first student in the Fall of 2016 who enrolled in credit classes; it has been amazing to see that being two and a half hours from (the Norfolk) campus, we are able to meet Lane’s needs, and he was able to complete his Associate of Arts degree right here in our community. It just shows that we are moving in the right direction--and the possibilities are endless.”
Corkle said she worked with Clapper throughout his Northeast experience on everything from securing the classes he needed for his degree, to proctoring his exams, to helping him navigate the various demands of college. He was also assigned an advisor, who was based at Northeast’s Norfolk campus and also collaborated with Corkle.
Clapper said Corkle was essential to his success at Northeast.
“Honestly, I couldn’t have done this without her. She was the one I first went to when I came to apply for classes.”
Clapper has some straightforward advice for those in the Ainsworth area who may be considering leaving to attend college directly after high school.
“Just because you’re thinking of leaving for college, it doesn’t mean you have to do it right away. You don’t need to start right away, and whenever you do, you don’t have to start with a massive (course) load.”
Clapper said he enrolled in 12 credits for his first semester at Northeast’s Ainsworth regional office, and by last fall, had worked his way up to taking 17 hours per semester.
“That was probably one of my harder semesters, but the reason I did it was because I wanted to graduate in two years.”
In addition to his studies, Clapper also works at a grocery store two days a week. He has an interest in art and took a pottery class in high school. He also enjoys drawing and working with graphics on a computer. He hopes to go on to study graphic design and said his interest in the field grew when he took webpage development and art history classes through Northeast.
But until then, Clapper had Northeast’s 45th commencement ceremony to attend last weekend. Some family members made the trip from Colorado to attend the event.
“Honestly, it’s kind of exciting. They all seem pretty proud of me.”
Corkle said she immensely enjoyed working with Clapper over the last two years.
“I feel we have both learned and grown so much since he has started his endeavor, and I am (excited) to see what the future holds for him. It has been a great honor to help Lane meet his goals, and I could not be more proud of him.”
For more information about the Northeast Community College Ainsworth regional office, contact Corkle at (402) 844-7661.
Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast Community College, congratulates Lane Clapper prior to the College’s 45th Commencement ceremony recently. Clapper, Ainsworth, is the first graduate since Northeast re-established its regional office in his hometown in 2015.