Automotive Technology Student wants to better her own life and help others

sam henke

February 15, 2020
Story and photo by Brandon Steinert

Sam Henke of Great Bend, is a 30-year-old single mother to five boys ages three to 14, is determined to rise out of poverty and create a brand-new life for herself and her children.  She is pursuing an education in Automotive Technology at Barton with her sights set on running her own auto repair business. A program called Journey to Resolve Poverty, formerly known as Circles, inspired her to take action and enroll.

“I’m doing this for the kids,” she said. “As a single parent, this is about showing my kids they can do anything they put their mind to. That’s what keeps me going through all this.”

While she was motivated to take action to better the lives of her children, she also has a strong sense of empathy for others in similar life situations.

“In the midst of all this, I have realized the need to help those who can’t quite afford repairs on their vehicles,” she said. “When I open up shop, one of my main goals will be to help those who can’t fully afford it.”

Henke has taken the wheel and set a new course for her life, and she hopes to inspire others to do the same.

“There are a lot of programs here (at Barton) that anybody can take,” she said. “If you have the dream and the will for it, do it. Don’t let anything get in your way.”

Go to for more information on the Barton Automotive Technology program or contact Automotive Technology Instructor Ron Kirmer at or (620) 792-9255.

This feature is part of Barton's celebration of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month throughout February.

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