Pioneering Student Makes MNU "His College"

Nov. 19, 2012 - by cnwienck

Mitch Groszek’s Pioneering Spirit

by Kelsey Luffman

MitchThis semester, MNU welcomes an exceptional pioneer to campus. Mitch Groszek is a freshman from Olathe, Kan., who loves wrestling and karate. Mitch also has Down’s syndrome, and his special needs make him unique among the broader student body.

Though it’s his first semester taking classes, Mitch is no stranger to the MNU campus. Mitch is a former member of ACCESS – an Olathe School District program that enables developmentally disabled students to extend their high school careers while developing their social, academic, and career skills. MNU connects with ACCESS by offering the campus as a meeting place for the program.

His parents, Olathe residents Mark and Pam Groszek, said Mitch became fully involved with the campus community during his time in ACCESS.

“He’s always considered MNU his college,” said Mark Groszek. “And it makes us comfortable knowing that the people here are trustworthy….we don’t worry about him.”

Now, MNU is Mitch’s college in more than name: with the help of an ACCESS transition specialist and MNU faculty, Mitch is enrolled in 14 audit hours.

Dr. Neil Friesland, professor of education, holds an Ed.D. in special education and serves as a liaison between ACCESS and the university.  Now, Friesland also acts as Mitch’s academic advisor. Friesland said that after seeing how the campus has welcomed other ACCESS students, he believes Mitch will have plenty of encouragement during his transition to full-time enrollment.

“Often MNU students will sit at lunch with ACCESS students or take them to games,” said Friesland. “So now I am relying on the MNU community to help Mitch around if he needs anything.” 

So far, said Mark and Pam Groszek, Mitch has been adjusting exceptionally well, as is characteristic of his adventurous spirit. One example of that spirit is his participation in a number of Special Olympic events, including basketball, golf, power lifting, soccer, and track. These experiences, his parents said, have helped him gain increasing independence, and in turn, enabled him to succeed in his various ambitions, including college.

mitch2

Pam and Mark Groszek encourage their son Mitch to try new things. He’s proven he can do what he sets his mind to.

“There’s a learning curve on both ends,” said Mark Groszek. “But he loves MNU – it’s what he wanted to do.”

Since MNU does not have a special education program, Mitch attends classes with the broader student body. Dr. Friesland is currently working to develop a customized two-year certificate program that will allow Mitch to participate in graduation. 

To those on MNU’s campus and in the Olathe community who have not met Mitch yet, Mark Groszek wanted to say one thing.

“He’s just a regular kid. He’s just like anybody else,” said Mark. “Throughout his life we’ve had people tell us different things – ‘he can’t do this, he won’t do that.’ But you have to get to know him.”

Friesland agreed that Mitch is an inspiring example of the innovative spirit and can-do attitude that characterizes the MNU family.

“He is truly a pioneer here on campus,” said Friesland.

WBB Mitch

Since his arrival on campus, Mitch Groszek has become involved with all things MNU. Pictured here with the women's basketball team, Mitch has become a essential part of the team by serving as team manager. Mitch also stays involved in campus life by training for Special Olympics weightlifting with Whitney Rodden, head strength and conditioning coach, and singing in the Special Pops choir for developmentally disabled students with Mary Mays of the fine arts department.

To learn more about academic programs and special accommodations at MNU, visit www.mnu.edu/academics.

 

MNU News

Thursday, September 21
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
Campus Mall Beauty
Honor Society Receives STAR Award

Honor Society Receives STAR Award

Delta Mu Delta, the international honor society in business has awarded MNU’s Epsilon Theta Chapter, its STAR award for exceeding the standards the Society has for managing the chapter and its…

Read More
FootballComesHomeGraphic
Football Comes Home October 21

Football Comes Home October 21

Pioneer Athletics announced today that the Homecoming football game Oct. 21, 2017 at 2 p.m., will be played on campus at the site of the former Pioneer Stadium. Arrangements are being made for…

Read More
Opening Week 2017
Largest Freshman Class Since 2010

Largest Freshman Class Since 2010

MNU’s new freshman class, numbering 223, is the largest since 2010 (229).  This represents a 26.7 % increase over 2016 and is the second largest class since 2006. Transfer students are also up…

Read More
jt-0001
MNU Releases Statement On DACA

MNU Releases Statement On DACA

MidAmerica Nazarene University is a distinctively Christ-centered community that seeks to transform lives through a shared commitment to intellectual, spiritual and personal development that prepares…

Read More
Adults in class
Open House for Graduate and Professional Programs

Open House for Graduate and Professional Programs

The School of Professional and Graduate Studies is hosting an open house in Olathe. Thursday, October 19, 6 - 8 PM        …

Read More
Prayer Walk 2017
Prayer Walk 2017

Prayer Walk 2017

Every year, hundreds of students, faculty and community members gather on Thursday evening of Welcome Week to pray for the new school year.  In groups large and small, they moved to locations…

Read More
Connections Fair Group of Students
Welcome Week 2017

Welcome Week 2017

New Student Orientation (NSO) and Welcome Week at MNU was a great success with perfect weather for move in day, Paint Wars, Rootbeer Fest and the Connections Fair. Don't tell the students who aren't…

Read More
JK Warrick photo credit JimSmith
Dr. JK Warrick to Serve at MNU as Special Counsel

Dr. JK Warrick to Serve at MNU as Special Counsel

Dr. J.K. Warrick has been appointed special counsel to the president for the 2017-18 academic year. President David Spittal, made the announcement…

Read More
CareerLife Calling
Expansion of Mentoring Program to Serve All Majors

Expansion of Mentoring Program to Serve All Majors

More career-focused opportunities for juniors at MNU will launch this fall with a newly expanded mentoring program. Built on the positive impact of…

Read More
Sports
Felipe Shines in 3-1 Victory over Avila

Felipe Shines in 3-1 Victory over Avila

#6 MSOC vs. Avila | W 3-1

 
Pioneers Dominate Eagles

Pioneers Dominate Eagles

WSOC vs. Avila | W 5-0

 
Pioneers Sweep Eagles

Pioneers Sweep Eagles

#19 VB at Avila | W 3-0

 
Latest Photos
Welcome Week 2017 Move In Night - welcome new Pioneers!
Welcome Week 2017 Move In Night - welcome new Pioneers!
Welcome Week 2017 Move In Night - welcome new Pioneers!
Welcome Week 2017ove In (27) Move In Night - welcome new Pioneers!
Welcome Week 2017 Move In Night - welcome new Pioneers!
Welcome Week 2017 Move In Night - welcome new Pioneers!