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Warren deserves our support
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Dear Editor, 
I write this letter with great concern regarding the recent decision by Barton County Community College’s athletic director to terminate long time employee and coach, Debbie Warren. While this decision appears to be fully supported by the president and board of trustees, I feel I would be doing a disservice to all past, present and future students if I did not voice my opinion regarding Debbie, her role as coach, mentor and co-worker. 
In my first year at Barton, I recall Debbie and her assistant sitting in a small “ticket booth” turned office. It was a tiny space in comparison to the other coaches in the athletic department, but don’t think the size of her office would in anyway limit her ability to pursue a dream and vision of building — and sustaining a reputable cheerleading and dance program that BCCC, as well as the community would be proud to call their own. Her desire for greatness propelled the program from a young upstart in the 80’s to what it is today. As you can imagine, when I heard the news that she had been released from her position after 27 years, I was absolutely stunned. 
The dance line (as we were called back then) was the one and only reason I chose Barton as my school. I was privileged enough to be part of the first competition squad to vie for a bid to the national championship — and televised appearance on ESPN.
At that time, the competition was in its infancy stages and did not differentiate between the Division I schools and junior colleges. Imagine, a small junior college in western Kansas getting the opportunity to compete against Division I schools with renowned cheerleading and dance programs.
Some coaches might have found that intimidating, but not Debbie. She believed in us and she pushed us to be the best that we could be. While we may not have made the “big” stage in 1986, it’s safe to say that we were all proud to be part of the foundation that built the nationally recognized teams that would follow us under Debbie’s direction at BCCC. 
After graduating from Barton in 1987, I was fortunate enough to become the assistant cheer and dance coach — and share that small “ticket booth/office” with Debbie for two years. During my time as Debbie’s assistant, I had the pleasure of getting to know her on another level, a co-worker and valued friend. The dedication and selflessness I witnessed was second only to the impact she made in lives of numerous young men and women who passed through BCCC’s cheerleading and dance programs. 
I’m sure you can understand based on my perspective why I would question the recent decision made by the administration of BCCC. I would encourage you to consider the legacy that is being cut short because of this decision. I think it is abundantly clear by the number of people that have stepped forward in an attempt to preserve Debbie’s position at the college, that you do not have the support of the past or present cheer and dance team members, not to mention the community!
I would encourage you to consider the future of these programs and the reputation Debbie has worked tireless to build for the cheer and dance programs at Barton.
Pam Treat Hochstetler,
Overland Park