Student Life

Student of the Month


October 2000

Student of the Month - Ben Schears

Ben Schears Having graduated from a class of 27, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Ben Schears wasn't going to any big college or university.

Schears, from the tiny town of Olpe near Emporia, choose Cowley County Community College for a variety of reasons. Primarily, it was because it's a school with fewer than 2,500 full-time students.

Still, Schears was apprehensive and scared his first day a year-and-a-half ago.

"Coming to Cowley, I've gotten to become more of myself," said Schears, the son of Darlene and Frank Windle of Olpe. "One disadvantage of a small (high) school is you can get caught up being what everybody else is. Here, I can express myself more."

Schears has expressed himself a lot at Cowley, and for his efforts, he has been named the October Student of the Month.

The sophomore holds a 3.5 grade-point average as a liberal arts major. He is a member of Concert Choir, Act One, is vice president of Campus Christian Fellowship, and serves as a Student Ambassador. In fact, he was named Ambassador of the Month for September. He tutors computer students for the IMPACT program, he is a member of Volunteers Learning Through Service, and is on the Debate/Forensics team. He is a work-study student for the Computer Graphic Arts program.

Schears is the grandson of Helen and Fred Windle of Olpe and Joann and Don Schears of Desoto. He also has two younger brothers, Nick and John.

Schears has a unique definition for student of the month.

It's someone who displays leadership qualities and the ability to get to know people," he said. "I was pretty glad I got the award. Pretty pumped. It's a big honor around here."

Schears, who enjoys fishing, reading, and hanging out with friends, described himself as "the average Joe" in high school, yet he still remained active.

"I was really involved in sports and all different activities around school," he said. "I played football and ran track, and I was a member of Future Business Leaders of America."

After "horsing around" his freshman and sophomore years at Olpe, Schears decided it was time to get serious about his studies.

"My junior and senior years, I realized the importance of a GPA," Schears said.

He even began to attend Flint Hills Technical College for half-days, earning a one-year degree in industrial maintenance. He specialized in electricity, heating and air conditioning.

"I thought that would be a good thing to fall back on," he said. "When I first started going to Flint Hills, I actually had to study and buckle down. I had to get things under control. I made it through with a 4.0 grade-point average, and that carried over into high school."

For the past six summers, Schears has worked at Camp Quaker Haven southeast of Arkansas City, so he became familiar with the town and knew a little about Cowley.

"My boss (at Quaker Haven) said that if I went to school here, I could live at the camp," Schears said. "I am moving into town now. It's been pretty fun."

"I went to Quaker Haven as a camper seven years ago, and I heard about an internship program and decided to volunteer the next year to do it. I stayed the rest of the summer and they've hired me back ever since."

Schears, who came to Cowley on a theater scholarship but switched to vocal music, lovers the camp ministry, and someday hopes to do it full time.

"I get to see some kids come in who are less privileged than I am, and I see them leave knowing that they came to Christ," he said "In camp ministry, that's pretty much the ultimate goal."

Schears and high school classmate Sarah Steve are the lone Olpe graduates at Cowley. When they both set foot on campus for he first day of classes, they were scared.

"It was pretty scary," Schears said. "I didn't know anybody but Sarah, and she wasn't in any of my classes.

"I walked in scared, but I will be walking out a lot better than I did when I came in. I've become more friendly and open-minded. It's been a very, very good experience for me. I'd recommend to anyone to go to a community college before a four-year school. I have no regrets."

Schears, whose passion is music, to transfer to Sterling College on a vocal music scholarship.