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Lockwood, Yellowwolf named BCC Outstanding Grads
Joanna Lockwood
Joanna Lockwood

Due to the circumstances of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, Barton Community College’s commencement this year was presented online.

However, Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said in his May 8 address, “Each graduating student is to be recognized for their respective path to learning success and self-betterment.”

Among students recognized this year, Joanna Lockwood and Tana Yellowwolf of Hoisington were named Barton Community College’s 2020 Outstanding Graduates of 2020. Lockwood was also one of two students to receive the 2019-20 Brant J. Ballhorst Student Ambassador of the Year award. 

Lockwood is the daughter of Cynthia and Kenton Lockwood. While attending Barton, Joanna has been named to the President’s Honor Roll every semester. She has served as a Student Ambassador and was named Ambassador of the Year in 2019. She is the president of the Community Service Organization and the Barton Spark group and serves as a board member for each as well. She has served as President of Barton’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) National Honor Society.  She was selected as a member of the state’s PTK All-Academic Team and was selected as a Coca-Cola National Bronze Scholar through PTK.  She plans to continue her education at Fort Hays State University to pursue a career in History Education.  

Yellowwolf is the daughter of Rita and Thomas Hickel. She is married to Micah Yellowwolf and is the mother of Charlee Yellowwolf. While attending Barton, Tana has participated in the Nursing Club and has been named to the Dean’s List.  While attending Barton, in addition to her roles as wife, mother, and caregiver for an ill family member, Tana worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She earned a 4.0 grade point average in the fall semester of her Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) year and carries an overall GPA of 3.5. She shared that it has been a dream of hers since she was a little girl to become a healthcare professional. She recently accepted a position with The University of Kansas Health Systems in Great Bend as a primary nurse for former Barton graduate Dr. Jonathan Pike. 

Ambassador awards

Named in memory of Brant J. Ballhorst, the Student Ambassador of the Year award recognizes two outstanding Student Ambassadors each year. The winners this year were Karsyn Smith of West Plains, Mo. and Joanna Lockwood of Hoisington.  

This year marked the 16th anniversary of the award. The Admissions office also named BrayLynn Anshutz of Macksville as the recipient of this year’s “The Rock” award. This award is presented to students who go above and beyond the call of duty in assisting the Admissions office. The award recipients were chosen by their peers and Barton’s Admissions staff.

Read more about the Student Ambassador awards in the May 10, 2020 Great Bend Tribune or online at

Virtual commencement

Dean of Student Services Angie Maddy gave the opening remarks at Barton’s virtual commencement. “Graduation is the very best day on a college campus, as we celebrate both past accomplishments and future promise,” she said.

“For Barton, much of this academic year has been filled with extra special good days, as we have spent the year celebrating our 50th anniversary of service and educational opportunity,” Maddy continued. “Undoubtedly, this day represents the very best of Barton. For today, we come together to celebrate students who, despite what their journey may have looked like, have persevered, and have accomplished their educational goals. ... But this year, perhaps more than any of us could have imagined, we very appropriately pause and seize the opportunity to celebrate. We could not be more proud to share these accomplishments with you and we could not be more humbled that you would choose to join us in that recognition.”

Students also heard from two graduates from the first class, Nancy Lindholm and Kevin Sundahl, who met at Barton and have been married for 47 years.

Dr. Heilman concluded his remarks to the graduates by saying, “As you look forward, please know that Barton is proud of your respective accomplishments, and you are prepared for your next steps in life, whatever they may be. You are Barton driven, always Go Cougars!”

Watch the full 50th annual BCC commencement ceremony online at

Portions of this story appeared in the May 10, 2020 Great Bend Tribune.

Tana Yellowwolf
Tana Yellowwolf