Nick Openshaw, originally of Plato, chose Missouri State University-West Plains with the goal of being debt-free when he left college.
“Using the A+ Program for my first two years really took the burden off me financially and allowed me to focus on my grades while I was in school,” he said. “The campus at West Plains was big enough to allow me to grow, but small enough to provide me the support I needed. Coming from a small school, the atmosphere at West Plains was a perfect fit.”
While a student at Missouri State-West Plains, Openshaw was involved in many different clubs and organizations that allowed him to bond with people who were very different from him.
“These opportunities helped me grow and understand people from different backgrounds,” he said. “I believe these skills help me reach the various students I see in class each day. No one is ‘cookie-cutter,’ so going to college allowed me to break my own mold.
“As a person I became more open to listening to others’ ideas,” he added. “While I was still strong in my faith and political views, I became open to listening to the other ideas out there. Everyone has unique experiences that shape them, and as long as we are working to be better people, who are we to judge others’ paths?”
PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL GROWTH
Openshaw is enjoying his position as a math teacher and coach at Mountain Grove High School. He said his degree has opened many unexpected doors for him.
“While I do love teaching, coaching is my passion,” Openshaw said. “In the last year we have gone to the Final Four in basketball twice, and last year we won the Class 3 state baseball championship.”
His wife, Sara, is also a Missouri State-West Plains graduate who is now a family nurse practitioner in Mountain Grove. They have two sons, Camden and Corbin.
Openshaw offered some advice for prospective students: “As a teacher I always encourage students with the A+ scholarship to attend Missouri State-West Plains. I think it allows students the freedom they need to grow into the people they can become, while still supporting the growing pains all students have during college. I would advise prospective students to not be afraid to challenge themselves in college. Too often, we color ourselves into a corner in life. Challenge your thoughts and ideas and allow yourself to be pushed.”