Fairly early in the semester last fall, I received word that a local business owner wanted to provide a couple of scholarships. In particular, he was interested in supporting students in our career and technical education program. Being in sort of a helpful mood that day, I went over and announced the scholarship to students in our mechatronics (mechanical controls, etc.) and our non-destructive testing (NDT) programs.
The folks in mechatronics study electricity, electronics, pneumatics, hydraulics, robotics and stuff like that. NDT students learn how to use dye penetrant, X-ray, ultrasound and other related techniques that can examine physical structure without damaging the product. It’s a critical inspection technique in pipelines, railways, civil engineering, and aviation manufacture as well as various other applications. Typically, these fields don’t draw a lot of aspiring authors and journalists.
But when you tell students that they could make about five hundred dollars an hour writing an essay, it gets their attention. In response to my announcement, we had a half-dozen or so submit their requests to be considered for the scholarship.
On Monday of this week, we had the opportunity to award two of the Jet AirWerks Scholarships. The owner, Keith Humphrey, came over and met up with three of us Cowley employees. Lena had already verified with the teacher, Garret, that the students were in class. They had no idea they were about to have a really nice surprise.
Lena filled in the “big check” that we use for such occasions and Keith signed it. Rama came along to snap a couple of pictures and do short interviews for a press release. As we walked over to the tech building, Keith gave me a bit of his background and how he came to build a jet engine repair facility in Arkansas City, Kansas. It was really neat to hear him talk about the area, the comparable construction costs, the area work ethic, and his interest in helping others.
At the Walker Technology Building, Tina, our associate v-p for business and industry joined us, along with the department secretary, Bev, who plays a key role in keeping things going over there. I led our little procession into the classroom and apologized for the interruption. “You may remember that I came into this classroom several months ago and announced a scholarship opportunity. Well, today, I am even happier to announce that we have a couple of scholarship winners!”
I introduced Keith and Lena and they announced the names of the two winners and Lena turned the check around so everyone could see the names on it.
You know, there’s just something really special about watching a couple of young men learn that they have just been awarded a thousand dollars each! Their expressions clearly conveyed astonished surprise and appreciation. One of them exclaimed, “Wow! I never imagined this would be happening today!” Watching Keith interact with them, it was obvious that he was finding as much pleasure in the moment as they were. While the three of them stood together, holding the check, Rama moved in for a closer picture. Lena and I stepped back to help keep the focus on the folks that mattered most in this moment.
It is a joy to watch someone blessing others, isn’t it? To see someone use the fruit of their good labor as an opportunity to plant good seed in someone else’s life?
I’ve also heard that the blessing and the planting are right rewarding, too. Might have to check into that…