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December 15, 2004

Ark City native Cowley's December Student of Month


Ark City native Cowley's December Student of MonthWhitney Jones purposely keeps a busy schedule. The Cowley College sophomore has a hard time comprehending “down time.” There isn’t much of that in her life right now.

Jones, an Arkansas City native and the daughter of Gary and Wilma Jones, is Cowley’s December Student of the Month. Not only was her campus involvement a big reason why she was chosen for the award, but she dedicates herself to all of her activities, not to mention her schoolwork.

“I was really excited because I really wanted it” (the award), Jones said. “It means a lot to me. It shows me that my hard work has paid off.”

Jones, a communications major, has had a busy semester at Cowley. She played the role of Smitty in the musical “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.” She is vice president of the Act One Drama Club, and she was a finalist for Queen Alalah.

She’s a member of Phi Theta Kappa and holds a 4.0 grade-point average. She is on the National Dean’s List and is a Student Ambassador. She has a work-study job in the theatre department, and she works at Positive Marketing Impact and at Orscheln’s Farm and Home Supply. She also is involved at Central Christian Church.

She is the granddaughter of Vern and Dorothy Fortner of Arkansas City, and the late Jean Hawkins of Quannah, Texas. Jones, 20, has four sisters: Rachel and Rebecca, both 29; Ali 27; and Hannah 16; and one brother, Michael 23.

Jones said a student chosen for the award is “somebody who cares a lot about what they’re doing at Cowley and puts a lot of hard work and effort into everything they do.”

Jones fits that description. Her blend of coursework and extracurricular activities keep her involved on campus.

When asked about her strengths, she didn’t hesitate.

“My dedication,” she said. “It pushes me to do everything to the best of my ability. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, it’s a good thing. If I’m not overwhelmed, I wonder what I’m doing wrong.”

Jones completed 17 credit hours this semester and has enrolled in 17 for the spring, “but I’ll probably add two more classes to take me to 23,” she said.

Earlier this semester, Jones said she planned to transfer to the University of Kansas, earn a bachelor’s degree, and then study law. She’s changed her mind, planning instead to attend Washburn next fall.

“Washburn has a well-known law school, and I figured being in the state capital (Topeka), if I wanted to do internships, I’d have a better chance there,” Jones said. “Also, the class sizes are more like Cowley.”

Jones said she planned to live with her two best friends while attending Washburn, Lory Turney and Krystle Neal.

Jones, who is attending Cowley on a theatre scholarship, said she was like a lot of ACHS graduates who decide to enroll elsewhere.

“I wanted to go away,” she said. “Then I saw what Cowley had to offer. It’s turned out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to me in all honesty. It’s the best step I’ve ever taken.”

Jones said she was excited about the spring semester. She plans to audition for the spring play and participate in the theatre department’s Lunchbag Theatre.

“We have a lot of exciting things coming up in Act One,” she said.

Jones credits Director of Theatre Scott MacLaughlin and Humanities Department Chair and Instructor Dejon Ewing for helping her grow as a person.

“Dejon has opened up many doors for me here,” Jones said. “And Scott is a person I can talk to about anything. He’s straight-forward and tells me what I need to hear.”

Jones, who described herself as energetic, compassionate, and willing to learn, said Cowley had brought some of those traits out in her. She said the Student of the Month Award made her realize she’s on the right track.

“It probably won’t change the way I am now, but it will push me to make sure I don’t slip,” she said. “It has reinforced that what I’m doing is right. Student of the Month is truly an amazing award to get, and it means a lot to me.”