Ministry and scholarship shine for Carswell

(Editor’s note: This is the last of a three-part series detailing Iola High School students who excelled in the classroom. The senior commencement is Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.)

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Kyle Carswell

In a small way, Kyle Carswell will be prepping for what he anticipates will be his life’s work when he delivers the commencement address for Iola High School Sunday afternoon. He is one of five co-valedictorians, all of whom earned straight As and 4.0 grade point averages during four years of high school.
Carswell, highly decorated for his academic achievements, will enroll at Wheaton College near Chicago in the fall.
He intends to major in Biblical studies, minor in English and, after attending seminary, find a position as a church’s senior minister. He once thought about going into education and teaching English would have been his choice.
Carswell can’t pinpoint when he decided to pursue a career in ministry.
“I had thought about it for several years and this past year, that’s what I decided I wanted to do,” he said. “I want to help others in all that I do.”
Carswell attended Church of the Nazarene, where he was mentored by the Rev. Duane Copsey, and has been involved with youth activities at First Presbyterian Church, giving him an opportunity to interact spiritually with the Rev. Jim Rausch.
His college education will be fortified by generous scholarship awards.
He was a National Merit Scholar, which led to a comprehensive scholarship from Wheaton. He also won a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, funded through the federal Department of Education, and on May 3 attended the Governor’s Scholars banquet in Topeka, an event for those at the very top of the state academically. He also won awards for Exceptional Academic Achievement and the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and was named honorable mention on the all-Kansas Academic Team.
“I’m looking foward to being involved at Wheaton,” Carswell said. “It’s a smaller school, about 2,200 undergradaute students, and on of the top tier of Christian colleges in the nation.”
Among its alumni is the Rev. Billy Graham, and many others who have graduated from its Biblical studies program have taken leadership positions in churches and religious organizations. According to The Princeton Review’s “The Best 351 Colleges,” “If the inegration of faith and learning is what you want out of a college, Wheaton is arguably the best school in the nation with a Christ-based world view.”
Being at Wheaton will put Carswell closer to older brother Dwight, a first-year law student at the University of Chicago. Another brother, Riley, is a history major at Mid-America Nazarene in Olathe.
The Carswells’ father, Roger, is director of the Iola Public Library and the Southeast Kansas Library System, which is headquartered in Iola. His mother, Kris, was an instructor at Lincoln Elementary School before her untimely death.

CARSWELL isn’t a book worm, although he admits to being an avid and voracious reader.
He participated in track and cross country for Iola High School, and “enjoyed cross country more” because of the team’s success.
He has targeted his speech for Sunday afternoon to illuminate personal aspects of being a member of the class of 2009, but wants to keep particulars secret until the event.
“I read the speech and there’s nothing bad in it,” David Grover, IHS principal, said with a chuckle.
Carswell said he thoroughly enjoyed an educational journey that gave him opportunities to hone his intellect.
“I’m going to miss my classmates and all the teachers I’ve had through the years when I go to Wheaton,” Carswell said. “It’s going to be hard to say good-bye to everyone.”