Board Welcomes Nighthawk Athletes

Nighthawk team members with board

Hot Springs, Arkansas – National Park College (NPC) Board of Trustees held their regular monthly meeting Wednesday, October 25. Items for report included updates on student life and marketing initiatives.

The Board welcomed special guests Garland County Judge Rick Davis, NPC alumnus Benny Baker, Phi Theta Kappa student Karl Lowry, and University of Arkansas Little Rock higher education doctoral student Bonnie Bournes-McNutt.

Judge Davis said, “This College is very important to this community.” He talked about the history of the College and the progress that has been made over the years. “It’s really a remarkable achievement,” he added. He expressed appreciation for the impact NPC made on his two sons, stating, “This College gave them the footing and foundation they needed to go on.” Davis said, “I am proud of what the College is doing in the detention center. They are helping give people their high school education, giving them hope in life. That is a great thing. It is changing people’s lives.”

Dean of enrollment, Jason Hudnell introduced the Nighthawk basketball teams and cheer team. He explained that the majority these students were attending NPC because of the athletic programs.

The Nighthawks men’s basketball roster includes Pierre Adair of Guilford High School, Westin Church of Pea Ridge High School, KJ Corder of Hot Springs High School, Seth Duke of Gravette High School, Jordan Harper of Lake Hamilton High School, Dusty Kesterson of Umpire High School, Desmond Pinson of Umpire High School, Michael Sims of Cutter Morning Star High School, Braylon Steen of Bryant High School, Lowell Washington of Bryant High School, Logan Willett of Faith Prep Academy, Dominique Pondexter of Hot Springs High School, Clyde Ricks of Hope High School, and Jarvis Ricks of North Little Rock High School.

The Nighthawks women’s basketball roster includes Kacie Anderson of Kirby High School, Kayla Sims of Fountain Lake High School, Anna Ledbetter of Lake Hamilton High School, Brooke Meeks of Mountain Pine High School, Bailey Womack of Fountain Lake High School, Jaylin Ramsey of Kirby High School, Faith Bratton of Jessieville High School, and Demi Bratton of Cutter Morning Star High School.

The Nighthawk Cheer Team includes captain and co-captain Brooke Neel from Arkadelphia and Ethan Cooper from Lake Hamilton High School, Jordan Simpson of Glen Rose, Cecilia Lopez of Hot Springs, Lindsay Johnson of Mountain Pine, Jeffery Stone of Lake Hamilton, Emma McKnight of Cutter Morning Star, Allie Fox of Lake Hamilton, and Jacquline Dixson of Cutter Morning Star.

Hudnell updated the board on student life initiatives for the year. He shared information about the Nighthawks Club, a booster organization to help support NPC athletic programs.

He said student affairs staff have a goal to engage, equip, educate and encourage students in and out of the classroom. “It’s more than just silly games. There is a method to the madness,” said Hudnell. We equip them with leadership skills, we equip them with how to be good members of society and our community,” he added. Staff strive to “equip [students] with things that they are going to need when they leave us.” Student affairs staff organize events and activities, leadership programs, student organizations, intramurals and other opportunities to directly engage with students. He mentioned more than 50 students are participating in intramural volleyball this semester. Throughout the year, students have been provided opportunities to learn more about mental health and suicide awareness, stress management, and cultural diversity issues.

Jeff Weaver, Vice President for External Relations provided an update on marketing and public relations. Communications Director, Melony Ritter demonstrated improvements to the website,, including a new advanced search feature and an interactive campus map. The team is working to improve site navigation, speed, and accessibility for users with special needs.

Ritter noted the team is working with recruitment staff to deliver targeted email marketing campaigns to students all over the state. Recent campaigns show that students are most interested in scholarships, transfer, and degree programs. The College is also seeing above average results through search engine marketing campaigns related to cost and scholarships. NPC contracts with Sentinel Record affiliate, Flypaper Digital Marketing.

Darla Thurber, Special Assistant to the President reported that Holly Dean, Clinical Education Director, was awarded the Respiratory Care Practitioner of the Year Award for the South District of the Arkansas Society for Respiratory Care (ASRC). Dr. Chuck Burke, Health Sciences Division Chair was awarded the Respiratory Educator of the Year award for the state of Arkansas.

Dr. John Hogan concluded the meeting with the president’s report. He applauded NPC faculty and staff who participated in the annual Arkansas Community Colleges conference and noted that NPC teams presented 10 different conference presentations. Hogan mentioned that the NPC Foundation hosted an event with the Eisele family last week in honor of Dr. Martin Eisele. The event raised over $11,000 for the Eisele Scholarship Endowment.

He recognized Phi Theta Kappa student, Karl Lowry for receiving the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise scholarship, an honor only 207 members nationwide received. “It is a very rare and special achievement, so we are very proud of Karl,” said Hogan.

Dr. Wade Derden, Vice President for Academics was recently named a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

Nighthawk basketball teams will host a co-ed Blue and White scrimmage October 30 at 3 p.m. in the NPC Wellness Center gymnasium.