CCC Recognizes Outstanding Alumni Award Winners

May 5, 2018

Central Community College honored three Outstanding Alumni Award winners at its commencement ceremonies May 4 in Columbus and May 5 in Grand Island and Hastings. They were:

Denise Kracl
Columbus Campus

Denise Kracl of Schuyler received the 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award during commencement ceremonies May 4 at Central Community College-Columbus.

A graduate of Columbus High School, Kracl attended CCC from 1991 to 1993 before transferring to Wayne State College, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree four years later. Kracl returned to CCC in 1999 as a residence hall supervisor at the Hastings Campus. Two years later, she began working as a state probation officer, a job she performed until 2004.

For the next three years, Kracl attended law school at the University of South Dakota. After receiving her juris doctorate, she entered private law practice in Columbus for one year before serving as the deputy Colfax and Butler county attorney from 2008 to 2010. In 2010, she was appointed as the Colfax County attorney, a position she still holds today.

In addition to her legal work, Kracl is a member of the Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association, Regional Human Trafficking Committee and Nebraska Coalition of Juvenile Justice. In 2015, Georgetown University selected her as a Center for Juvenile Justice fellow.

An advocate for education, Kracl has worked tirelessly for the benefit of Schuyler Community Schools. She secured funds for an afterschool program, started an intervention and truancy program, received a grant to provide a full-time truancy officer and helped create a program that replaces community service with employment training for first-time, nonviolent juvenile offenders. Additionally, Kracl is a member of the local Behavioral Health Coalition, which brings a licensed mental health practitioner to the high school and middle school. She is also an adjunct instructor at CCC-Columbus, teaching U.S. government.

In the community, Kracl is a member of the Schuyler Chamber of Commerce and was selected as its Member of the Year in 2016. She also serves on the Schuyler Economic Development Council and the Columbus Business Technology Advisory Committee. She has been the chair of the food and toy drive in Schuyler for eight years, led three mission trips to Alaska and served as a disaster committee member for the American Red Cross.

Kracl is the mother of a 12-year-old daughter, Kodie. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her daughter and her mother, Twila Wallace, who worked at CCC-Columbus from 1969, the year the campus opened, until her retirement in 2010.

Danita Johnson-Beadle
Grand Island Campus

Danita Johnson-Beadle of Kearney received the 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award during commencement ceremonies May 5 for Central Community College-Grand Island.

A Minden High School alum, Johnson-Beadle is a graduate of Central Community College’s Kearney practical nursing class of 1977. She later earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

An instructor at CCC’s Kearney Center, her dedication has helped grow the certified nursing assistant program. In a pilot offering for the 2017-18 school year, high school students have the opportunity to earn dual credit in a prerequisite class for pursuing a career in health care.

Johnson-Beadle’s nursing experience is broad and includes elder care, assisted living, long-term care, medical/surgical staff nurse and experience in several specialty clinics, including ob-gyn, colorectal, plastic-reconstructive, surgical and with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. She has also worked with Easter Seals of Nebraska, serving disabled and financially disadvantaged individuals.

In the community, she serves on the Master Trauma Foundation Board providing council to clients and their families for PTSD, addiction and traumatic events when court-mandated probation and counseling have ended. She also serves others by offering support, counsel and comfort to persons dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Johnson-Beadle has personal experience living through her own diagnosis and treatment of Stage IV ovarian cancer.

She and her husband, Kern, have been married since 1991. They are the parents of five children and have 10 grandchildren.

Rob Collett
Hastings Campus

Rob Collett received the 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award during commencement ceremonies May 5 at Central Community College-Hastings.

Collett enrolled at CCC-Hastings in 1998 following his graduation from Hastings High School. He majored in media arts and earned his associate’s degree two years later.

Entering the world of television broadcast news, Collett first worked for KHAS-TV in Hastings. He then had stints at KSNW-TV in Wichita, Kan., and KTUL-TV in Tulsa, Okla. before moving on to KARE-TV in Minneapolis, where he is currently employed. This past February, Collett covered Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.

While in Tulsa, he followed the story of five-year-old Ryder Herring, who had brain cancer. For almost two years, he helped viewers experience what Ryder and his family faced and followed the struggle until Ryder died in 2013. Collett’s stories raised money for the family and awareness of the disease.

Throughout his career, Collett has earned 18 regional Emmy Awards, two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, and the 2016 National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Ernie Crisp National Photographer of the Year. In November 2017, he was recognized as the CCC Alumni of the Year by the Nebraska Community College Association.

Collett volunteers with the NPPA by adjudicating competitions and critiquing student work. He meets with the photography and video classes at Central Community College whenever he returns to the area. He also gives back by sharing his work with CCC students, keeping in touch with the media arts program and providing input as the industry evolves.

Collett and his wife, Brianna, have been married since 2013. They are the parents of a son, William.