Student Life

Student of the Month


December Student of the Month - Kelli Riedmiller


Kelli Riedmiller Cowley's December Student of Month Kelli Riedmiller wasn't sure what she wanted to do after graduating from Mulvane High School. Her declaration of Liberal Arts as a major at Cowley County Community College serves testament to that. But Cowley's extensive community service program sold Riedmiller on enrolling at the college. Now, the daughter of Karen and Gary Riedmiller is even more grateful she chose Cowley as she recently was selected as December Student of the Month.

"I was completely happy," said Riedmiller, who holds a 3.77 grade-point average. "Last year, I remember walking by (the display case) in the hallway and seeing the pictures and said I want to do that, to be student of the month."

Helping others comes naturally for Riedmiller, who has been active in the Derby 4-H Club for many years, and whose mother set an example of leadership.

"I didn't know what I wanted to do" (after high school), Riedmiller said. "I liked so many things in so many different areas. It was hard to decide. I knew I could come here and get a little bit of everything. The community service program was awesome, and that's what really drew me here. Community service is a big part of my life."

Riedmiller is president of Cowley's Volunteers Learning Through Service, and she serves on the Board of Directors of Service Learning Central. She volunteers a minimum of 15 hours per week for various Volts and SLC activities. She is a graduate of Cowley's AmeriCorps program, having logged 900 hours of community service. She also is a resident assistant in the William R. Docking Dormitory, and she tutors at C-4 Elementary School just east of Arkansas City. Also, Riedmiller is involved with St. Michael Catholic Church in Mulvane. And through her involvement with Habitat for Humanity, Riedmiller spent Jan. 6-12 in Rio Bravo, Mexico, building a house with the Methodist Mission group.

"I'm happy because I'm doing as much as I can and doing a good job at it," Riedmiller said. "The community service has given me great skills for the future. Everything's a learning experience."

Riedmiller will graduate in May, then plans to transfer to Kansas State University and major in landscape design. Riedmiller continues to be active in 4-H. She is superintendent of demonstrations for the Sedgwick County Fair, and assists the horticulture program in 4-H. A spiritual person, Riedmiller also was instrumental in starting a Bible study group in her dorm with about nine other women. And a new project through SLC has her excited.

"I'm chair of the Community Garden Committee through SLC," she said. "The community garden is a place where people in Arkansas City can have a little piece of land to grow whatever they want like vegetables, flowers, whatever."

The group has ground along Mill Road between Kansas and Chestnut where some homes were destroyed by the October 1998 flood. Outdoors is where Riedmiller enjoys being.

"My experience with horticulture in 4-H really helped me out in deciding on landscape design," she said. "I just like the opportunities and the freedom. I've always liked outdoor things, but there's indoor landscaping, too."

Riedmiller, who has a younger brother Allen 18 and younger sister Erica 14, said she's a bit more outgoing than she was in high school. She has, however, "always been my own person."

"I've hung out with friends I wanted to, and I've made my own decisions," she said. "I know what's right and wrong." Riedmiller said a student of the month "is a person not only involved with many different things at Cowley, but succeeds at being involved."

Riedmiller said community service was rewarding, but also challenging. "AmeriCorps was definitely challenging," she said. "It was at least 10 hours a week, two hours a day. And projects on the weekend could take up to six hours of your Saturday."

Her mother, Riedmiller said, influenced her to become involved. "She's the one who has pushed me in 4-H to become a leader in that and to be the best at horticulture, sewing, whatever," Riedmiller said. "In all the projects I've been in, she's pushed me to be very good at. She's helped a lot. She's very good at community service and being a leader herself."

When Riedmiller isn't performing community service or studying to keep her grades up, she can be found at Chaplin Nature Center "walking around."

"And I like to ride my horses," she said of Skip, age 2, and Sonny, age 24, both quarter horses. She also has a donkey, and her family breeds golden retrievers.

"My brother has an albino Burmese python that is nine feet long," she said. "It stays in the cage."