Brent Lewis has a lot to say.
You might know that name. He's a freshman attending Fort Scott Community College from Kansas City, Kansas. He plays fullback for the football team. And he says being here has opened his eyes.
I've wondered when people point out the positives about Fort Scott, such as how "It's a wonderful place to bring up your kids," or "There's good people here," if that's just said because we live/have moved into/have returned to Fort Scott. How much of this is simply lip service because we're here, it's where we are, and then we go on about our lives.
When Brent Lewis says his experience in small-town Fort Scott, Kansas, has opened his eyes to the world, he means it. He is genuinely happy to be here and feels God has steered him here for a reason.
He talked to myself and Blonn Miller for about an hour after Saturday's men's basketball game about many things: Life in the inner city, what to do about illegal drugs, the war in Iraq, among others.
But he says he knows what he wants to do with his life now. His exposure to Fort Scott and all that has come with it has made him realize there are other ways of life and that opportunities are there for those who are willing to take them.
He wants to become a teacher, return home to Kansas City and make his students aware about the world at large. He wants to give them opportunities, give them chances to take advantage of them and see them learn about the world outside Wyandotte County.
He's maybe just turned 20 years old. But he's already begun a tranformation from freshman football player to a mature, productive member of society. Look into his eyes if you ever get a chance to speak with him and you'll see a passion to learn about as much as possible so that he can one day teach others.
If you've ever wondered just why you should care about Fort Scott Community College, this is one very good reason. The mission of the college is to shape young men and women so they can help make this world a better place.
And with Brent Lewis, the college, and this town, has already far exceeded its goals.