News-Star/Patriot Auto Group Car Finalists: Benn, Sturgill

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star

Student of the Month: Meeker High School senior Conner Benn

Student of the Month Connor Benn.

Senior Conner Benn is a leader at Meeker High School and maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA.

He has been selected as one of The Shawnee News-Star and Patriot Auto Group Students of the Month for February and is now in the running to win a car.

“Conner Benn is the epitome of the model student,” Meeker High School Counselor John Bolander said. “His commitment to serving and helping others is exceptional for a student as active as he is in the community and school.”

He said Benn is actively involved in his community through the Meeker Chapter of FFA, as well as his church.

For example, Benn became instrumental in the school's recognition of our veterans on Veterans Day for the past couple years, Bolander said.

“He has worked tirelessly on the beautification project,” he said.

“Conner has spent nearly 200 hours in the past three years with two food projects to provide food for needy families in the Lincoln County area,” Bolander said. “He spent another 100 hours working for various school programs with the elementary students reading, community blood drives and raising money for the FFA programs.”

Meeker High School FFA Adviser Logan Johns said Benn sets a good example for others to follow in the school, community, state and nation.

“He is grounded and motivated and constantly works to follow the right path,” Johns said. “His passion for agricultural education, other students, and this organization never ceases to amaze me.”

Johns said Benn knows how to motivate and encourage students while getting them involved.

“His likable and approachable personality easily sets him apart,” he said.

Johns said four distinguishing characteristics — passion, work ethic, morality and compassion — are easily seen through Benn's actions for others.

Benn's parents are Martin and Trina Benn.

Student of the Month: Bethel High School senior Paisley Sturgill

Student of the Month Paisley Sturgill.

Senior Paisley Sturgill is a leader at Bethel High School and maintains a 3.979 GPA.

She has been selected as one of The Shawnee News-Star and Patriot Auto Group Students of the Month for February and is now in the running to win a car.

“Paisley is a highly motivated student,” Bethel High School Math teacher Judy Sullinger said. “She has been part of numerous activities and leadership roles while attending Bethel.”

Sullinger said Sturgill demonstrates her leadership potential in organizations like Gifted and Talented and National Honor Society.

“Paisley is a wonderful role model for the student body, always quick to smile and give her time to help wherever it is needed,” she said. “Community involvement is of utmost importance to Paisley.”

Sturgill has been an organizer, collector, and worker for several community service activities, she said.

“A few of her activities include local and regional food banks, working with We Care veterans bags, the community Christmas Tree lighting, the Bethel Acres Food and Toy Drive and with the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office delivering gifts for children in need,” Sullinger said.

She said Sturgill is a joy to work with, motivating and encouraging everyone around.

“Paisley's many activities at school, in the community and working after school, at Wystle, keep her busy,” she said, “but this does not interfere with the quality of work produced in the classroom.”

Sullinger said Sturgill strives to be the best at whatever job or task she is assigned.

“The Bethel FFA Chapter has been an especially important part of Paisley's academic schedule,” Sullinger said. “She has held an office each year she was able: reporter (10th grade), vice president (11th grade), and president this year.”

Sullinger said it is Sturgill's goal to attend Oklahoma State University and major in Agricultural Communications, with a minor in Political Science.

Sturgill's parents are Willy and Nicole Sturgill.

Best of Preps 2020-21

For the fourth year, Patriot Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Chandler is going to provide a brand new Jeep Renegade for the Patriot Student of the Year to a student from participating high schools in the area.

The Patriot Auto Group is teaming up with The Shawnee News-Star to recognize the area’s best student.

During the school year, two students of the month will be selected by an impartial panel of judges based off nominations from administrators at the school. Those 16 students will be finalists to win the Patriot Student of the Year award and one will drive home in a new car after the News-Star's fifth annual Best of Tri-County Preps banquet at FireLake Arena in the spring. The remaining 15 students can win scholarships.

Each month administrators at participating area high schools will submit a nomination for a senior who has an excellent grade point average, displays community leadership qualities, is an active volunteer and displays high moral integrity.

Additional sponsors of the program include Communications Federal Credit Union, Pioneer Library System, First National Bank and Trust Co., and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

There will be 16 finalists total, two each during the months of September through April; so far, finalists include:

• September — Callie Roberts, of Prague, and Kulson Yates, of Tecumseh

• October — Daniel King, of Shawnee, and Kylee Greenwalt, of Dale

• November — Kaycee Babek, of Meeker, and Chandler Wilson, of Bethel

• December — Isaac Mohr, of Bethel, and Haley Kidney, of Bethel

• January — MacKenzie Steele, of Shawnee, and Cale Richardson, of Dale

• February — Conner Benn, of Meeker, and Paisley Sturgill, of Bethel

Watch for March finalists, coming soon.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at