The $64,000 question for Beth Nesser of Florence is, “What did you do to earn a $64,000 scholarship from Tabor College in Hillsboro?”
The Marion High School senior was one of four upcoming high school graduates who recently were awarded $64,000 Presidential Leadership Scholarships by Tabor College.
The other recipients are from Osborne, Olathe, and Grant, Neb.
Nesser said she spent weeks filling out an extensive application form. In addition to an essay and answers to questions, the application required a resume of activities she is involved in that reflect leadership.
She is the vice president of the National Honor Society chapter at MHS. She also is secretary of Key Club and treasurer of Future Educators of America.
Nesser is involved in a work-study program at MHS. She works with eighth graders in Marion Middle School during their math classes.
“I love it,” she said. “It feels good to see the sparkle in their eyes when they understand how to solve a problem.”
She is a student leader in her youth group at Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church and meets regularly with the youth pastor and his assistant to help plan activities for the group.
Nesser is training to become a volunteer for IMAlive, an online network that provides crisis intervention services through live chats with individuals in distress.
She also is involved in a training program called Ministry Quest. She has a mentor who meets with her regularly and is teaching her how to work with people to be a better leader.
Nesser maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and expects to be a candidate for valedictorian.
She attended Tabor Days in November, where she visited with the admissions counselor and spent the weekend with a student host.
She said everyone encouraged her to apply for the Presidential Leadership Scholarship.
She had been considering attending Kansas State University, but after visiting the campus, she said, she didn’t feel like she belonged there.
“At Tabor, I felt so welcome,” she said.
The final selection
Nesser and 25 other finalists spent the weekend of Feb. 19 and 20 on the campus, when they participated in a competitive process that evaluated their skills in the areas of public speaking, writing, group problem solving, and interactions with other students.
Nesser had an eight-minute interview with President Jules Glanzer. She said she was nervous going into the interview, but the president made her feel relaxed.
“It felt like I knew him forever,” she said. “I was so comfortable with him.”
Later, when announcing the final four selections, Glanzer called the winners “students of exceptional caliber.”
“We are excited that these outstanding student leaders will be spending the next four years on our Tabor campus,” he said. “These are young people with integrity, heart, and a passion to serve. It will be a pleasure to welcome them to our community, interact with them, and watch them grow and develop into outstanding leaders.”
Nesser was excited to meet the other winners, another girl and two boys. She and Ashley Kemling of Grant, Neb., have become close friends and have decided to request a room together at Tabor.
“The professors will expect a lot from us,” Nesser said. “It will be a fresh start. I am so excited.”
As a Presidential Leadership Scholar at Tabor, she will be considered a student leader. She will participate in a four-year leadership laboratory designed to develop young people into effective and skilled leaders for the next generation.
Nesser and the other scholars will experience mentoring by Glanzer; travel with him to professional seminars; network with business, industry, and political leaders; and serve the student population; all while pursuing academic achievements in the classroom.
Nesser plans to major in secondary math education, with a minor in psychology.
Along with financial aid grants, the scholarship she received will cover most of her expenses for her four years at Tabor College.
Nesser’s favorite saying is, “Where God leads, He guides; and where He guides, He provides.”
“He provided a way for me to go to Tabor,” she said.
Janet Nesser of Florence is her mother. Her father is deceased. She has four older brothers.