KCKCC Celebrates 96th Annual Candle Lighting Ceremony

KCKCC Celebrates 96th Annual Candle Lighting Ceremony

While Kansas City Kansas Community College’s oldest tradition might look a little different this year, the 96th-annual Candle Lighting Ceremony will continue to herald in the holiday season, but in a virtual format.

The candle lighting ceremony is from 11 to 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. It can be seen on KCKCC’s Facebook page or on Vimeo.

“COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, created so many uncertainties and has taken away traditions families have shared. Our team was determined to not let that happen with our candle lighting ceremony,” said Andrica Wilcoxen, director of Student Activities at KCKCC. “This will be our 96th year hosting this event, and it is the longest tradition in Wyandotte County. In order to keep everyone safe, we decided to host a virtual ceremony to continue to showcase the amazing talent, quality academic programs and diversity at KCKCC. We are the ‘Jewell’ of the Dotte, and we want our community to see the KCKCC vision in action, which is to be a national leader in academic excellence and partner of choice in the communities we serve.”

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Heritage,” and even though the ceremony will be virtual, the aspects the community love will remain. This includes performances from students and faculty in both the KCKCC Music and Theatre departments as well as a presentation from the KCKCC Intercultural Center. Among the performances will be those from the KCKCC Jazz Band, Funk Band, Fusion Jazz Vocal Ensemble, The Standard Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the KCKCC Theatre/Drama Club. In addition, programs from KCKCC’s Dr. Thomas R. Burke Technical Education Center and the KCKCC Pioneer Career Center in Leavenworth will be highlighted.

This year’s featured speaker will be KCKCC alum Aliyah Shaw. The KCKCC Foundation will also be featured with stories on how KCKCC has positively affected the lives of students who have received foundation scholarships. Finally, the KCKCC Sophomore class will challenge KCKCC Freshman to continue this long tradition for future students.

“The KCKCC Candle Lighting ceremony is an important tradition that provides scholarships to our students. Throughout the years, many alumni ‘give back’ so current and future students can build a strong educational and workplace foundation,” Wilcoxen said. “We are community, and together we can help ‘be change that we want to see in the world.’ Continuing this tradition, provides the opportunity for our alumni, community, faculty and staff to be part and live out this mission. Once a Blue Devil, always a Blue Devil.”

KCKCC faculty members started the Candle Lighting Ceremony in December 1924, the year after KCKCC was founded. It remains the oldest tradition at KCKCC and serves as an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. During that first year, a collection was taken to fund student scholarships. This tradition has continued and over the years, more than $10,000 has been collected for student scholarships at KCKCC.

“This event is important to watch because it will show that no matter what happens in our society, the KCKCC staff, faculty and students are dedicated to press on and continue to provide the best services and education we can for our community,” Wilcoxen said. “This year, it is virtual where everyone can watch from their own TVs and computers. We want all of our community members to join us virtually because we are the KCK family.”

For more information about the 96th Candle Lighting Ceremony, please contact Andrica Wilcoxen at (913) 288-7652 or awilcoxen@kckcc.edu.

Thanks to KCKCC Public Relations Manager, Kelly Rogge, for preparing this press release!

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