Meet CHS Alumna Kena Wolf

Meet CHS Alumna, Kena Wolf
Posted on 01/21/2022

Kena WolfWe caught up with Central High School alumna, Kena Wolf (née Tague), who was promoted to the role of chief enrollment management officer (*CEMO) at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. Kena graduated from Central High in 1990, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature (with teaching certification) from Kansas State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Keller Graduate School of Management. She has more than 20 years of progressive experience in higher education and also served as a debate and speech teacher/coach at two high schools in Kansas.

Kena took the time to talk with us to share some experiences and insights.

What is your best memory from your time at Salina Central High School?

I have so many great memories from my time at Central. The teachers, staff, and administration were caring and supportive and my high school experience was incredibly positive. Additionally, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in several activities outside of the normal school day. The most important of those activities for me was debate and forensics, where I developed lifelong friendships and bonds with other students in the program. We spent many hours after school and on weekends preparing for competition, fundraising, and hosting massive tournaments that spanned multiple buildings across the district. Mr. Gary Harmon, our debate and forensics coach, created an environment where each of us could develop our talents while relying on each other to reach our common goals. He taught us so much more than how to be great at speech and debate. He taught us how to be thoughtful leaders, and how to build a team that felt more like a family than a debate squad. I cannot express how influential he was for all of us.

What might surprise people about you?

It might surprise people to know that college was challenging for me, in ways that I did not expect coming out of high school. I was a first generation college student, somewhat directionless, and in many ways, I was unprepared. It was difficult to navigate and it took me a long time to settle into the rhythm of semi-adulthood. I think it’s important that we help young people as they transition from high school to whatever is next and encourage them to give themselves some grace. They will make mistakes, stumble, and feel like they aren’t achieving what they should and that’s all part of the journey.

Based upon your experience, how important is it that a young person connect with at least one adult at school?

The significance of connecting with a young person is immeasurable. When students have a connection with an adult at school, they gain a level of confidence that will serve them for a lifetime. They are more likely to explore their interests and talents, take risks, and grow. Absolutely everyone I know can name at least one influential teacher, coach, or mentor from their youth. The connection is so meaningful that it lasts a lifetime.

What advice would you want to share with high school students now?  

I would advise high school students to try something they’ve never done before or something they might not be the best at doing. You never know when you might stumble on to something you really love.

*As the CEMO, Wolf will provide strategic and operational leadership to a number of University departments, including admissions, student marketing, student success, student financial services, strategic alliances, military and veteran student affairs, and campus center operations.