Welcome to the Clocktower Chronicle, Rend Lake College's student newspaper!

The newspaper gives students a chance to experience journalism in a variety of ways - from photography and news reporting, to graphic design and feature writing.

Interested in joining? Read: "The Clocktower Chronicle Wants YOU!" by William McPherson



Clocktower Chronicle E-Ditions and Staff


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We have digital versions of the newspaper available online for readers. You can browse through every edition we've published ... since September of 2012!

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The college currently has incentives in place for students who work on the newspaper staff. These include tuition waivers and awards! Act now and get started. Email Nathan Wheeler



Foundation names Zibby-Damron new CEO

The board appointed Kathleen (Kay) Zibby-Damron as Chief Executive Officer of the RLC Foundation effective July 1. She most recently was vice president of operations for the United Methodist Children's Home. She holds a Master of Science in Human Services Degree with a specialization in the Management of Nonprofit Agencies from Capella University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Millenbine to take reins of Physical Plant

INA, Ill. (June 14, 2016) — The Rend Lake College Board of Trustees approved the transfer of Donnie Millenbine from Grounds Supervisor to Director of the Physical Plant effective July 1. He will take over for the retiring Randall Shively. Millenbine has proven himself with his work ethic and years working within the Physical Plant environment, and has served as Assistant Director of the department for the past year and a half. A full-time employee since March 2002, Millenbine received the 2011 RLC Outstanding Staff Award.

RLC Board Chair Eric Black said he appreciates Shively's hard work over the years, adding that he will be missed. RLC President Terry Wilkerson said, "I'd like to personally and publicly acknowledge Randall. I've had a lot of fun working with him. It's been a pleasure."

New Robots and Automation Certificate Approved


(INA, Ill. - June 14, 2016) — A new Robots and Automation occupational certificate was approved by the board Tuesday and will be submitted to the Illinois Community College Board for action. The certificate was developed as part of an Economic Development Administration grant investing in robotics and automated systems. The certificate will fall under the Industrial Electronics and Maintenance Technician umbrella. It will train students in the skills and knowledge needed for employment as technicians responsible for the installation, maintenance and troubleshooting of automated equipment. Cornerstone components include alternate current / direct current and digital circuits, and the skills of wiring, programming and troubleshooting programmable logic controllers also will be included. Robotics skills covered include set-up, flow charting, programming points, programming sequence instructions and conditional commands.

The Robots and Automation certificate encompasses 18 credit hours and will include six courses: Work Ethics, Digital Fundamentals, Basic Electronics for Technicians, Intro to PLCs, Intro to Robotics and Advanced Programmable Controllers.

In other curriculum-related matters, a new online Interpersonal Communications course was approved for development; Soil Science was changed from five to four credit hours; and course and sequence changes were approved for certain programs in the Agricultural Business, Agricultural Production and Management, Plant and Soil Science, and Early Childhood Education curricula. These changes all will be submitted to the ICCB for action.

The Clocktower Chronicle wants YOU!

By William McPherson
Clocktower Chronicle Staffwriter

INA, Ill. – “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself,” said Arthur Miller.

If that is the case, then a good college newspaper is a campus having that same vital conversation. The Clocktower Chronicle is looking for students for the fall semester to take part in shaping that discussion.


"The ability to convey a message through the written word is something that is being lost. That is a skill that transcends disciplines," said RLC Marketing Specialist Nathan Wheeler on why it is important to keep good college journalism alive.

Wheeler has been the editor of this paper since its' inception in 2012. He attended Eastern Illinois University, where he studied journalism and marketing. For years he was a journalist at the Mt. Vernon Sentinel before working as the college's public information specialist for 8 years. He was a recipient of the Outstanding Staff Award in 2015.

According to Wheeler, working at the Clocktower Chronicle provides students a chance to experience journalism in a variety of ways - from photography and news reporting, to graphic design and feature writing. The college currently has incentives in place for students who work on the newspaper staff. These include tuition waivers and scholarships.

Wheeler describes the school newspaper as, "a learning period for people who are interested in journalism," as well as, "a relaxed and good way to get some experience with journalism in more of a loose setting."

You may not have aspirations for a career in professional journalism, but there are still plenty of other reasons to consider joining the Clocktower Chronicle. Wheeler mentioned marketing or, "anything that has to do with copy writing, or web design" as potential careers in which a background in journalism would be beneficial.

To those on the fence about journalism, Wheeler says that it is important to, "try everything."

Wheeler added that - other than the Mass Media in Modern Society course in the fall - his is the only way to dip your toes into journalism at RLC.

"There are a lot of different ways to get involved," said Wheeler. "You don't have to write. We're looking for photographers, graphic designers, and people who are interested into beat writing - like entertainment, culinary or sports, for example," added Wheeler.

Taylor Blankenship is a local artist, photographer, and student at Southern Illinois University who spent a semester at the Chronicle. She plans to enter into marketing and graphic design as a career, and credits her time at the school newspaper with helping her fine-tune some very useful skills.

"The paper actually did teach me a lot," Blankenship said. "Nathan taught me what to look for while taking certain photos, as well as how they would look printed, which has been super helpful here at SIU in some of my classes."

She added, "I also gained quite a bit of knowledge about camera settings which led me to learning the ins and outs of manual. Overall I would recommend being on the paper to anyone. It's a fun way to get involved that isn't too time consuming. There's lots to be learned, and you get a credit for it, so it's a win win."

For this writer, personally, writing for the school newspaper has been an invaluable way to get to know many people on campus. Over the last few semesters, I have interviewed and gotten to know many of the professors, students, and faculty here in a way that has really put the college experience in a new and interesting light.

I've been able to interview the Governor of Illinois, and had opportunities presented to me that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Thanks to the exposure I received through the school newspaper, I was offered opportunities to write for the Benton Evening News and the West Frankfort Gazette, which is how I currently earn my living. None of that would have been possible without the invaluable help and saintly patience of a good teacher, editor, and mentor.

To sign up for the Clocktower Chronicle, contact Wheeler at 437-5321 Ext. 1234 or email .

How to Crush Final Exams

By Justin Womack
Clocktower Chronicle Staffwriter

INA, Ill. (April 24, 2016) - The Finals are coming! The Finals are coming! For many students, it isn’t an exaggeration to compare Paul Revere's ride or the Revolutionary War to finals week at RLC. It’s a war zone out there for students trying to cram knowledge into their brains at the last minute.

Finals begin next Monday. However, there are ways to prepare for that end of the semester test.

One of the most important things students can do to prepare is to get organized. Know when the tests are and determine how much study time needs to be devoted to each one. The full final exam schedule can be found on the college’s website at It would be for the best to take a look at it as soon as possible, not the day before.

In addition to knowing when and where your test is, a helpful bit of information would be what material will be covered on your particular exam. The easiest way to find out is to simply ask your instructor. A lot of classes will do some sort of review for the final exam beforehand. Taking good notes and keeping a hold of any packets or other study guides is a sure way to be ready when test day approaches.

The next thing that can help prepare you for finals week is take advantage of the Learning Enhancement Center. For those who don’t know, the LEC is a place dedicated to helping students with things like homework and papers, and provides a quiet environment for a good study session. The LEC also encompasses a Writing Center and Math Lab. These facilities are free to all RLC students. They hold workshops and can provide tutors in core subject areas.

The Writing Center can be very helpful with any papers throughout the year or if you need to prepare for anything that will be written on the final. The Math Lab is similar but for any type of mathematics centered course. If you are looking to get help in the writing center or the math lab calling to make an appointment in advance is helpful. Although making an appointment isn’t required, it will ensure there is an instructor present. Call 618-437-5321 and dial ext. 1312 for the Writing Center or ext. 1346 for the Math Lab.

Need help with other subjects? Contact Sue Cunningham, the learning specialist and tutoring coordinator. Her phone extension is 1204 and her office is also located in the LEC. Taking advantage of this kind of academic support is very important in preparing for the final exams.

On the day of the test, there can be quite a bit of stress. US News put together a list of things that can help students during the big tests.

  1. Always bring your notes with you. Some instructors may allow you to use notes that you took in class. If you are granted that kind of advantage it is better to be prepared.
  2. Read through the instructions carefully and understand how each portion is graded. If you know that an extended answer question on the back is worth a third of the entire exam, you might want to spend some extra time on that portion. On essay questions, be sure to take some time to develop and explain the answer instead of just focusing on being correct.
  3. Pace yourself, and don’t panic. If you are having trouble with a question, either continue to move on and come back, or take a minute to collect your thoughts and try again. If there are questions with multiple parts, take each section individually then put them together. Most tests will have ups and downs, hard questions and easy questions. Don’t get discouraged.
  4. Use the time you are given. If you finish early, take time to review your answers, make sure everything is answered correctly and there are no mistakes. Many students make the mistake of not checking their work after they finish. If you have the extra time, use it.

Finals week doesn’t have to be life or death. With the right preparation and help, it can be a breeze. So remember to be organized, seek help, stay calm, and you will survive.

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