Student of the Month is outstanding philanthropist

Benjamin Connor earns award from Heartland Power and KJAM Radio

Since 2017, Howard senior Benjamin Connor has helped raise more than $21,000 for people undergoing cancer treatment.

Connor led the Tigers Step Up 2 Cancer Campaign (TSU2C) through the Howard Student Council to raise awareness and dollars to help patients affected by cancer in Miner County.

His dedication and efforts were recently recognized by the South Dakota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), which named him the 2019 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy. For these accomplishments and more, he has been named the October Student of the Month by Heartland Consumers Power District and KJAM Radio.

Dollars raised from the TSU2C Campaign help cancer patients with travel and food expenses and pays for colonoscopy procedures for those in need.

Connor spent nearly 50 hours this past summer working on the TSU2C campaign and joined the foundation team on all sponsor solicitations, making many asks himself and collecting nearly $6,000 from businesses in and around Miner County.

AFP commended Connor for giving time, talent and treasure to improve the lives of other South Dakotans.

In addition to philanthropy, Connor is interested in political science and is a member of student council, 4-H and Boys State. He also participates in one act play, oral interpretation, band-percussion and cross country, and has earned National Honor Society and Howard High School H-Club honors.

“He is respectful, kind and always willing to help others,” said Chad Podhradsky, dean of students for Howard High School. “He’s also a self-motivated learner who is always looking for ways to better himself.”

Connor is the son of Rebecca and Michael Connor. After high school, he plans to attend a four-year university to pursue a degree in either political science or English. Ultimately, he hopes to work in an industry that allows him to travel and communicate and interact with many people.

The “Student of the Month” is awarded through a partnership of Heartland and KJAM Radio in Madison and recognizes exceptional students in one of five area school districts. Heartland provides wholesale power to the cities of Arlington, Colman, Howard, Madison and Volga, all of which are in the KJAM listening area.

Each month of the school year, Heartland presents an outstanding student from one of these schools with a recognition certificate and small token, and advertisements announcing the winning student air on KJAM Radio. Officials from each participating school nominate students for the award. This is the ninth year Heartland and KJAM have teamed up to offer this program.