A large crowd from Cleveland University-Kansas City College (CU-KC) enjoyed the night in style Feb. 7, when more than 360 students, faculty and staff gathered at Harrah’s Casino for the annual Cleveland Winter Formal. “Royal Ball” was this year’s theme, and the evening had a regal feel from the start, as students selected their classiest attire to step out for CU-KCs largest social event of the year.
The formal began with a cocktail hour, which allowed everyone to unwind and prepare for the night ahead. Dinner followed, featured a main course of Napa Valley Grilled Chicken, prime rib or a vegetarian option. The awards ceremony carried on the theme of the night as winners were “crowned” in five categories.
Cleveland’s Country Swingin’ Chiros group provided a swing dance demonstration, and then the deejay lit the fuse for the dance floor. Throughout the night, memories of the evening were captured in a photo booth where all were able to let loose and be silly. Late night snacks were available for those needing extra energy, and there were party favors for all, door prizes for some and even a win in the casino for a few!
It was a night to remember for many reasons, especially for Craig Stramel, Student Council social chair, who coordinated the Royal gala. He was most pleased with the length of time everyone spent on the dance floor compared to years past.
“As far as I understand, the deejay usually packs up and goes home by 10 p.m. or so because everybody disburses,” Stramel said. “I don’t know what got into everybody, but we had a crowd in there until midnight, which is the latest we could stay in the ballroom.”
The activity on the dance floor was a great way for everyone to relax, unwind and substitute their Royal reserve for a night of revelry that would make a jester proud.
Cleveland student, Zoe Shelden, said the formal is a valuable part of bonding for the campus community.
“This event is important because it unites the students and provides them with a night to put school aside and socialize with the ‘family’ they have made at Cleveland,” Shelden said.
And when a member of that family experiences something special, it is special for all involved. Such was the case during the awards ceremony, when Dr. J.R. Dobson was named “Instructor of the Year.” His appreciation and humility was evident to all in the room.
“He is the type of person who really invests himself in what he does and he cares for each and every student,” Shelden said. “You could see that he was incredibly grateful for the award and it sparked an emotional response. It just goes to show you that all it takes to change lives is to have a big heart and show it to others.”
Dobson was completely shocked when his name was announced. He reflected on the honor and complemented the faculty and staff at Cleveland, especially for the guidance from his colleagues, Dr. Paul Barlett, Dr. Jill Davis and Dr. Steve Larsen. Dobson said the students have been wonderful and it was their feedback that has shaped his development as an instructor.
“I am truly honored to have been accepted by the students in my first year,” Dobson said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you. My goal from the start was to try to have a positive impact on students, and I hope that any information I can pass on academically, intellectually and personally can help them. I feel the true test, however, is not only how the knowledge they received will influence them years from now, but how they will influence others with that knowledge.”
Stramel received lots of positive feedback from those who attended, and while he will remember the good time had by all, he is still a college student on a budget.
“The thing I will remember most is seeing all of the happy faces of people dancing in the ballroom…and also winning $120 at a blackjack table,” Stramel said.
In addition to “Instructor of the Year,” four other honors were presented including: “Clinician of the Year,” Dr. Deborah Denno; “Intern of the Year,” Keith Sparks; and “Club of the Year,” Motion Palpation Institute Club. The CCC Bookstore took home “Department of the Year” honors for the fourth consecutive year.