May 19, 2013: Community welcomed student with ‘unmatched hospitality,’ by Leah Hill

May 19, 2013 by

From the panoramic prairies blanketed with snow to the golden waves of wheat in summer, Kansas boasts a beloved horizon. Our home is blessed with beauty in every season, yet there’s more to the Sunflower State than just aesthetically pleasing vistas. In fact, just beyond the wind turbines in North Central Kansas lies a charming small town that exhibits exquisite historical features as well as unmatched hospitality.

After high school, I was able to attend Cloud County Community College in Concordia for two years. As I moved away from my home, I wasn’t sure what kind of environment I would be entering. But the residents of Concordia quickly reached out and welcomed me into their community.

One of the first memories I made within the community was volunteering as a children’s group leader at the Wesleyan Church. My faith is important to me, and I knew getting involved in a ministry early on would not only allow me to meet some of the locals, but it would provide accountability and encourage my own walk of faith. It turned out to be a great experience and I grew to know many of the families in the area. Since Concordians are deeply integrated in their community, I was able to see those families at the store, at college sporting events and other places around town, affirming the hometown atmosphere.

Within the college itself, there is a great sense of community. The faculty and staff are always wiling to give freely of their time and lend their advice. By their example I learned that a smile and a kind word go a long way. Whenever I see someone in the hallway, I try to smile at them and hold a positive attitude. This community consisting of the college affiliates and the town’s people are testaments to the power of a positive attitude.

That positive attitude translates to the businesses downtown, which makes various errands and shopping trips more enjoyable. From my favorite coffee shop, Jitters, to the melodic notes trickling from Tom’s Music House, browsing stores downtown is a leisure activity, and you’re sure to run into someone you know along the way.

In addition to the welcoming ambiance demonstrated by businesses downtown, the people in this area also have a charitable history. In World War II there was a prisoner-of-war encampment north of town. The German soldiers who came to Camp Concordia reported that their experiences were filled with educational opportunities, which included earning credit from the University of Kansas, and a chance to pay in the community band — surely a contrast to other prisoner-of-war establishments.

Both past and present Concordians have been eager to extend kindness to newcomers, and I’m grateful to have been a part of this community. As my time in Concordia concludes, I know I will be leaving behind a second home. The people here have made these two years incredible and I will always associate Concordia with its hospitality and generosity.

— Leah Hill is graduating this spring from Cloud County Community College, where she has served as a Resident Assistant. She is originally from Holton, Kan.

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