Student Life

Student of the Month


Involvement keeps September Student of Month on the go

September 2001

Joel ArnoldJoel Arnold is a busy young man, just the way he likes it.

The Cowley County Community College sophomore, set to graduate in December, is an elementary education major with a 4.0 grade-point average in his Cowley classes (3.7 cumulative). He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Act One, and Campus Christian Fellowship. He works at Renn Memorial Library, and in the past has worked at Dillons and Braums. He has had parts in Cowley musicals, and last spring was first runner-up in the Mr. CinderFella Pageant.

As busy as he stays, Arnold still finds time to help others. Last year, he served as a tutor for the special education classroom at Jefferson Elementary School in Arkansas City, and tutored grades 1-3 at Sacred Heart Catholic School, also in Ark City. He is assistant director for his church's high school youth group in Kingman, and took on the challenging assignment as fifth- and sixth-grade Sunday School teacher. He dedicates time to visit the residents at Medicalodge East in Ark City, and Park West Senior Plaza in Wichita. He participated in the Bowl for Kid's Sake 2001, and helped set up for the annual Senior Senior Prom.

It's little wonder, then, why Arnold was named the college's September Student of the Month.

"I didn't think my interview went that well," said Arnold, a Kingman native who attended high school at Bishop Carroll in Wichita. "I was surprised they (the committee) had decided so quickly. I think I do a good job here at Cowley, but so many people do a lot more than I do."

That's hard to believe. Arnold, the son of Therese and Stephan Arnold, always looks for things to do. In January, he plans to go to New Mexico to do missionary work on an Indian reservation. Next fall, he will enroll at Emporia State University to continue work toward a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Originally, Arnold wanted to become a high school teacher.

"But when I did volunteer hours at the high school, it was very boring," he said. "It came down to the last month (his freshman year), so I got in at Sacred Heart, and volunteered in the special education classroom at the public school. I really, really liked it, and I didn't think I'd like that."

He also spent the whole summer teaching first- and second-graders in Vacation Bible School. He said he's leaning toward teaching third- and fourth-graders.

"That's a good age," he said. "Their innocence is awesome. They're so open and honest with their feelings. You'll know when they're mad. They don't tend to wear masks as much as adults do."

Arnold is the sixth in a family of eight children. He has five brothers: Adam, Chris, Paul, Mark, and Daniel, and two sisters: Julie and Mary. He enjoys drama, reading, and volunteering.

Last fall, he played the role of Sitting Bull in Cowley's musical "Annie Get Your Gun." This fall, he has secured the part of Tom Sawyer in "Big River," a part he says isn't a big stretch for him.

"I want to put as much into Big River as I can," he said. "I'm not a natural singer, but I think there are Arnold genetics for being other people. I can understand Tom Sawyer. Sitting Bull was a different story."
Arnold characterized students of the month as people who are active, but who also possess other traits.
"The exceptional students here have positive attitudes and are considerate, who will stop to say 'hi' in the hall," Arnold said. "Kindness goes a long way."

Out of Bishop Carroll, Arnold hadn't considered Cowley until he received a letter.

"I was pretty set on this other college," he said, "then I got a letter from Cowley and I said OK, I'll think about it. I went for a visit to the college I really wanted to go to and thought it was nice, but the financial package didn't work out. So I visited here (at Cowley), and all the people on the staff were really nice. I talked to (director of technical theatre) Scott (MacLaughlin) and (Humanities Division chair) Dejon (Ewing) for a little while. I thought the theatre program was good for me.

"I made the right decision. I feel I've grown a lot here. It's a good environment. I have no regrets whatsoever. I'd recommend it to anybody."

Arnold credits his oldest sister, Julie, for steering him down the right path.

"She made the difference when it really counted," Arnold said. "I went from small-town Kingman and a tight little eighth-grade class, to Bishop Carroll, where I made friends, but I couldn't hang out with them because I had to go back to Kingman after school. In Kingman, there isn't much to do, so the crowd I fell into wasn't exactly the best crowd."

Arnold never brushed with the law, but some of the things he did weren't well received, especially by Julie.
"I was becoming a selfish, bratty teenager," he said. "I was doing things my parents wouldn't like for that reason. I hid things pretty well. Later on, I was getting pretty depressed. Mom didn't know, and maybe Julie did.

"She (Julie) was persistent in inviting me to this one youth event. Once I was there, we started to get to know each other more. There's about a 15-year difference in our ages. It was like we were getting to know each other for the first time. She told me how she screwed up in high school, and that helped me to realize I didn't want to be that person. Today, she's one of the most patient, kind, and humble persons, lots of qualities I aspire toward."