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Shelby Howard is first Will Scholarship recipient

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN.– Halstead High School senior Shelby Howard’s strong commitment to community service has helped earn her the first Will Family Scholarship to be awarded at Bethel College.

The James A. Will estate’s seven-figure gift to Bethel resulted in, among much else, the establishment of the Will Family Scholarship Fund, which starting with the 2013-14 school year will award $5,000 annually for up to four years to a qualifying student.

First priority goes to a graduating senior from Halstead High School – James Will’s alma mater – who enrolls at Bethel College and has demonstrated solid academic achievement and service commitment.

As an active member of the senior high youth group at her church, Hope Mennonite in Wichita, Howard has participated in numerous service projects within the church, ranging from child care to server at an annual bazaar that raises funds for charity. She has also traveled for service trips to the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, a Catholic Worker project in San Antonio, Texas, and an underserved part of Appalachian eastern Kentucky.

Howard has spent as many or more hours doing service in her school and community. Throughout her high school years, she has been a regular worker at the HHS concession stand and for the Halstead/Red Cross blood drive. She has volunteered multiple times at the Kansas Learning Center for Health through a National Honor Society program and with HHS’ KAYS Community Projects, as well as served as a tutor at Bentley Primary School.

There was a double celebration at Bethel recently, when Howard signed to play volleyball and also accepted the Will Family Scholarship after her successful application process.

“Shelby is a strong student, and we’re very excited to have her come to Bethel College,” said Clark Oswald, associate director of admissions.

The name of Bethel’s James A. Will Family Academic Center and the Will Family Scholarship memorialize James Will, who died in November 2011, as well as his parents, Henry Gustav and Helen Elizabeth (Mueller) Will, and brother, Ernest “Ernie” Will (all of whom predeceased him), and also recognizes the Will extended family.

After graduating from Halstead High School, James Will completed two years at Bethel before finishing his degree in business at the University of Kansas. He was an officer for the Bentley State Bank and then a vice president at the Halstead Bank for nearly 30 years, until his retirement.

Church and community service was important to Will, a member of First Mennonite Church in Halstead as well as many civic clubs and organizations, including the board of directors for the Kansas Learning Center for Health, Halstead; Pine Village Endowment Foundation, Moundridge; Halstead Chamber of Commerce; Halstead Housing Authority; and Halstead Lions Club.

For more information about the Will Family Scholarship and other scholarships at Bethel College, contact Bethel's Office of Financial Aid, 316-284-5232, or visit

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the 2012-13 analysis of premier colleges and universities in the United States and ranks in the top five “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2012-13. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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