2020 Academic All-Stars

F ocus

D1 SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020

2020 A cademic A ll -S tars

Esmeralda Acevedo-Barrios Lexington High School

Kate Axthelm Brady High School

Bethany Burklund Hershey High School

Jack Carlson North Platte High School

Ashley Dye North Platte St. Patrick

Ashton Erickson Hayes Center High School

Karlie Gerlach Maywood High School

Andrew Jack Eustis-Farnam High School

Courtney Kastens Anselmo-Merna High School

Keegan Nitsch North Platte St. Patrick

Molly Paxton Mullen High School

Sydney Pelster Wallace High School

Trevor Ross Callaway High School

Jacob Rupe Eustis-Farnam High School

Jacob Woodmancy Perkins County High School

Inside: Meet the 2020 All-Stars and read a message from North Platte Mayor Dwight Livingston

D2 ACADEMIC ALL-STARS Mayor’s message to the 2020 Academic All-Stars THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020

smarter than we are or more talented than we are, but these are the people we can learn from. My mom had a saying on her wall for years: “Some of the ques- tions I ask may sound dumb but if I act smart, I won’t learn as much.” We are not expected to have all the answers; HOWEVER, we ARE expected to an- swer all the questions. We need to be able to rely on others to help us answer some of those questions. Surround your- self with people who can and will work as a team; build a team that focuses on each one’s strengths. We ALL have talents; we ALL have strengths that are specific to us, our experiences and our studies. A group of knowledgeable and talented peo- ple will enhance our personal strengths and knowledge and will help us grow. I like Dale Carnegie’s quote on using other people’s ideas: “The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates, I swiped them from Chesterfield, I stole them from Jesus, and I put them in a book. If you don’t like THEIR rules, WHOSE would you use?” I had the honor of speaking at a law enforcement and firefighter awards ban- quet. Part of my message touched on this very subject: the importance of working together and forming bonds with people with similar and different gifts. I want to share the same message with you here to- day because although your experiences will vary, I truly believe this is relevant and important to everything we do. “As we all continue to work togeth- er, this bond allows for the development of lifelong friends that know you better than anyone else; we are blessed with peo- ple who not only say they will have your back, both on and off duty, but those who have proven it. It is then we know it won’t be necessary to call for backup because they already are standing by our side.” NO ONE is here today because they did it on their own! You are ALL here to- day because someone believed in you and gave you strength. Don’t miss ANY chance to pay it forward. As part of your payment forward, treat people with re- spect and compassion. I have always believed in treating peo- ple with respect and compassion; it is important, no matter WHO they are. As a result, I have had a number of peo- ple I ARRESTED during my career in law enforcement approach me later in life to thank me for treating themwell; it was important to THEM to let ME know they had turned their lives around and they were now law abiding citizens of our community. Since I was elect- ed Mayor TWICE following 38 years in

Thank you to the North Platte Telegraph for sponsoring this program honoring Academic All-Stars fromNorth Platte and surrounding communities. This is my MESSAGE to the 2020 North Platte Telegraph Academic All- Stars: Things haven’t gone

LAWENFORCEMENT in our communi- ty, I must have done RELATIVELY well in this area. I want to share a quote fromOprah Winfrey: “Follow your instincts. When you do what you KNOW is the right thing, you will always turn out okay… and the truth is, you ALWAYS KNOW what the right thing is to do. Make the right decision, EVEN when nobody’s looking, ESPECIALLY when nobody’s looking, and you will ALWAYS turn out okay!” As you head out into the world, whatev- er choices YOUmake or whatever choices are made FOR you, love what you do, and do your best. I URGE you to AVOID doing things for the sake of personal ac- complishment or self-indulgence. I have a plaque on my desk with a quote from Ronald Reagan as a reminder to myself: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Whatever you do, do it because you LOVE it and you BELIEVE in its IMPORTANCE. Have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition. I want to share some wise words from Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the WORLD needs. Ask what makes YOU come alive and GO DO IT. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” AND finally, a quote from the BRILLIANT Dwight Livingston. Many of our children can repeat this quote perfectly. This may be one of the most important things you take with you on your life’s journey. Okay, READY? – here it is … “EARLY is on time, ON TIME is late, and LATE is unacceptable.” Remember this, and it will serve you well in all that you do. I will leave you with this final piece of advice. You are all smart, you are all talented, you are all still allowed to say “I don’t know,” and you are still allowed to say “let me get back to you on that.” This knowledge will come in handy when your parents ask you when you plan to move out of their basement; you can answer, “I don’t know. Let me get back to you on that.” I wish you ALL love, prosperity, suc- cess, and much laughter. Congratulations and May God Bless you all. Dwight L. Livingston Mayor City of North Platte

one of them COVID-19!

The good news is, we have the power to grow from those challenging expe- riences. The first thing I would like to share with you is this: there is no clear path to success! Ultimately, success is a matter of judgment, choice and your ability to improve any situation life throws at you. MY first lesson that life doesn’t always go as planned, was when I joined the United States Air Force to become an air traffic controller. At the end of boot camp when every- one received orders for the school they would be attending, my orders read: “Security Police.” I thought to myself, this can’t possibly be right. I looked at the top of the page to make sure I didn’t have somebody else’s orders; I saw my name and I saw my military ID num- ber. I then very calmly advised my COMMANDING OFFICER of “their er- ror,” since I was going to become an air traffic controller. CLEARLY, he lis- tened … the next day … I began my career in law enforcement. Although it wasn’t my chosen profes- sion, law enforcement served me well; it was at that point in my life that I learned you CANNOT do life alone. As you navigate through your life, be open to col- laboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are sometimes better than your own. I have personal experience on this one. My first night in Vietnam, my base was getting hit with rockets, mortars and small arms fire. It was pitch black but when trip flares were set off, they lit up the area which made it look like daylight. Helicopters providing ground support were firing down and every few rounds they would fire a tracer round which looked like a steady stream of red from the helicopter to the ground; it almost looked like a 4th of July fire- works display. I was in awe of all the sights and the sounds, but it became VERY real when a rocket exploded VERY close to my location. A fellow soldier tack- led me, took me to the ground and explained in words that I will not share with you today, that if I wanted to survive my first night there, I had BEST GET DOWN! His idea was a whole lot better than mine! As you progress with your EDUCATION and your CAREERS, find a group of people who challenge you, who inspire you, and spend a lot of time with them. It is very easy to become in- timidated by people we see as being

exactly as planned to cel- ebrate all of you for your accomplishments thus far throughout your educa- tional career. COVID-19 temporarily has changed our way of doing things. I sincerely empathize with the pain and tur- moil (both human and economic) that COVID-19

Dwight Livingston

has caused throughout our country and across the globe. However, I am confident we will all emerge with stronger family values, a deeper devoted faith, and great- er appreciation of our freedoms. The PLAN, (you know the old saying … “Man Plans and God Smiles”) was that I would have the honor of being with you in person and sharing some thoughts I believe may be helpful as you begin your new journey into your bright future. SO, I still will do my part in this celebration … the COVID-19 way! Since you will not be able to see my smiling face or hear the emphasis in my voice, I have designed my message to help you visually and audibly participate in my presentation. So, have a seat, envision me standing in front of you — honored to have the op- portunity to deliver my words of wisdom to you … and … here we go … I am very impressed with the outstand- ing youth we have in North Platte and our surrounding communities; here YOU are, the Academic SUPER Stars that rose to the top. I am quite sure I cannot compete with any of you regarding academic ex- cellence. However, I DO have some life les- sons and personal experiences I can share with you that I hope you will keep in the back of your mind as you go through your journey in life. I have learned a lot, seen a lot, and although details will vary in reference to what life can throw at YOU, … “I have been there, done that, and I have the T-shirt.” There are so many challenges facing your generation. While I am confident you will be able to meet those challeng- es, life involves struggles and it surely can bring some headaches … let’s name

Maranatha Bible Camp craft shop, Hershey el- ementary chemistry demonstration, Cody el- ementary fun night, Hershey Public Schools track invitational set- up, Hirschfeld’s Prom Shoppe Crowns and Gowns ambassador, orga- nized fundraiser dance at Hershey Public Schools, North Platte Berean Church community Easter egg hunt. Most influential teacher: Cynthia Elliott, Hershey High School. “I have taken Mrs. Elliott’s classes now for all four years of high school. I remember my first day of freshman year at a new school, she ... told us that these next four years would go faster than we could ever imagine. She warned us not to take them for granted and to en- joy the ride. That was just her first piece of helpful advice that she would give me over the next sever- al years. She was also my NHS and FBLA sponsor. Mrs. Elliott has always been the teacher that I can talk to and trust. ... She pushes each and every one of her students and wants all of them to succeed. ... Mrs. Elliott also traveled to San Antonio with me as a sponsor when I made it to FBLA nationals.” Jack Carlson North Platte High School Jack is the son of Lance and Vikki Carlson of North Platte. He plans to study music educa- tion at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Goals: I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mu- Please see Page D3

Esmeralda Acevedo-Barrios Lexington High School Esmeralda is the daugh- ter of Vicente Acevedo and Magdalena Barrios of Lexington. She plans to study elementary edu- cation at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Goals: I plan to re- turn to my hometown and find an open teaching po- sition in one of the four elementary schools. After teaching for a few years, I plan to return to college and work toward a mas- ter’s and doctorate. My ultimate goal is to become a superintendent. I plan to assist my parents to pay off the mortgage of our current home to ease their strain of work as they grow older, all while sav- ing for my own home. In her own words: “My mother and father were both born in a ru- ral area of Zacatecas, Mexico. Both their lives were dominated by the poverty that was in their region. Consequently, my parents were forced to dis- continue their education. As their child, I am often told of the endless stories and hardships my moth- er and father had to face to be in the country. Their struggles have been the everyday motivation that has driven me to be the student I am. I constantly remind myself of what my parents did for me to be in a place of freedom and opportunity. Lexington is known to be one of the very few towns of Nebraska where diversity exists. Within these eth- nicities, an individual can see noticeable differences between the lives of these

Most influential teacher: Andy Seamann, Brady Schools. “He has always pushed me, wanting me to reach my full potential. He was my weights teach- er, but his coaching didn’t just stop in the gym. He constantly held me accountable in the class- room, along with sports. Mr. Seamann gave me tips for sports on ways to im- prove myself and ways to become a better teammate and leader to my team. But he also was a listening ear when I needed someone to listen, about anything (even when he probably didn’t want to hear it). Mr. Seamann will forever be a role model to me.” Bethany Burklund Hershey High School Bethany is the daugh- ter of Brent and Holly Burklund of North Platte. She plans to study pre- med and biology at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Goals: I plan to become a physician. I am unsure what specialty yet, but I have some interest in der- matology and infectious disease. I would love to come back and practice in Nebraska long-term. However, I desire to join an organization such as Doctors Without Borders and travel the world to pro- vide medical care to those in need for a few years be- fore settling down. In her own words: “Ever since I was a young child, I’ve always been considered busy and mo- tivated. I always was and am doing something, thinking about something

or working on something. I’m a very goal-oriented person. When I have a goal in mind, I will put my all into reaching that goal. I’m very determined with a drive to succeed. From a young age, I recognized the importance in educa- tion and getting involved. I knew that I wanted to have a successful career and, in order to do so, I would have to put forth my best effort into school. My parents really pushed me when I was young to vol- unteer and get involved in my community. I saw the effect that it had in growing me as a person. Volunteering really gave me a passion for helping people. This is a lot of the reason I’ve chosen the ca- reer path I have.” Achievements and awards include: Honor roll four years, second and third place in business communication at Inter- High Day, fifth place in health care administra- tion and personal finance at state FBLA, national FBLA qualifier, Hershey School student of the month. Activities: National Honor Society, FBLA vice president, Quiz Bowl, one- act play, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, tennis, art club, Health Careers Academy, Nebraskaland University, UNK health sciences camp. Community and volunteer service: Great Plains Health JV Ambassador, North Platte Berean Church screen projection, Rape and Domestic Abuse Program Peer Advocacy Group, Royal Family Kids Camp, Hershey Public Schools backpack food program,

plans to study nursing at Mid-Plains Community College. Goals: Become a hos- pice nurse and simply be happy, healthy and sur- rounded by loved ones. In her own words: “I’ve lived in rural Brady my whole life. My life has been enriched by going to a small school and liv- ing in a small community. Here in Nebraska, I have grown to be the person I am because of the people in my community build- ing me up, supporting me, investing in me and believ- ing in me. Nowhere else, I feel, can students reach their full potential than in a small town. I want to make my school proud by being the best version of myself that I can be. My parents and communi- ty members support me in everything I do, which makes me want to push myself for them.” Achievements and awards include: National Honor Society, hon- or roll with distinction four years, valedictori- an, President’s Award, Academic All-State in multiple sports, math achievement award, American history award, personal finance academic achievement award, FSC excellence and leadership award. Activities: National Honor Society, volleyball, basketball, band, FCCLA, one-act play, speech. Community and volunteer service: Community Halloween, community Santa Night, family fun night, Christmas historical vil- lage, blood drive, youth tournaments referee, vol- unteer at public library.

groups. These differenc- es, along with my parents’ hardships, have been the reason that has further driven me into pursuing an education.” Achievements and awards include: Valedictorian, honor roll four years, distinguished scholar four years, Kearney Bound schol- ar, Spanish honor roll, National Society of High School Scholars. volunteer service: Community food pantry, community trash pick- up, volunteer with the youth tennis program, teacher aide, volunteer at community movie the- ater, Spanish translator at school conferences. Most influential teacher: Jerry and Terri Wylie, Lexington Public Schools. “Two of the teachers I will always remember are Mr. and Mrs. Wylie. These teachers took the time to Activities: Tennis. Community and get to knowme as a stu- dent and child. They have been sources of inspira- tion to pursue a career in education. These ed- ucators not only made me enjoy the time I spent at school, but also made me feel welcomed and es- sential. They evoked happiness and peace whenever I was in the classroom. Both of them let me know that no matter where I came from, I’d be accepted and cared for un- conditionally.” Kate Axthelm Brady High School Kate is the daugh- ter of Jason and Sharon Axthelm of Brady. She



SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020


of the month, FFA state champion food science team, FFA national Silver Emblem team and indi- vidual, FFA president, National Honor Society president, team captain in football and basket- ball, lettered in football, basketball and golf, district honorable men- tion in football, NCPA academic all-state, Cornhusker Boys State representative. Activities: Football, basketball, golf, Quiz Bowl, one-act play, FFA, United Methodist Youth Fellowship, E-Unit, National Honor Society, student council. Community and vol- unteer service: Rise Against Hunger, cem- etery cleanup, youth basketball helper, Sunday School teacher, Bible School helper, church cleanup — God’s Gift Our Hands, youth wrestling helper, Big Give — clean- up, Wurst Tag setup and tear-down, church sound system, National Honor Society blood drive, hanging American flags, youth fellow- ship Santa, Operation Christmas Child, Farnam Community Carnival, Veterans Day program, Wurst Tag popcorn stand, making wreaths for mili- tary graves, volunteering at Senior Center, youth basketball coach. Most influential teacher: Ben Spiegel, Eustis-Farnam High School. “Mr. Spiegel came to Eustis when I was a soph- omore so it may be a surprise that I am pick- ing someone that I have only been around for three years. Mr. Spiegel was the teacher that I feel like I could relate to the most and he would always listen to what I had to say. No matter what the situation was he was willing to help. Being a younger teacher I think it was easier for him to relate to the sit- uations that we face in high school and he is al- ways willing to help me with college questions or even something not relat- ed to school. Spiegel was also one of my football coaches for three years and he always knew how to bring the best out of me on the field and in his classroom.” Courtney Kastens Anselmo-Merna High School Courtney is the daugh- ter of Matt and Marci Kastens of Anselmo. She plans to study criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Goals: I hope to one day work for a federal agency. My personal goal is to work in many differ- ent places and gain many experiences over the course of my life. In her own words: “In Washington, D.C., an unfinished depiction of Martin Luther King, Jr., stands looking over the tidal basin. The me- morial is designed to be finished when the cre- ator feels that equality has been gained for ev- eryone. My motivation for success is to be able to create a better world for my generation and the ones that follow. I believe that the world can be a safe and accepting place for everyone if everyone would wish it to be that way. I’ve always wanted equality for everyone, but I didn’t have a way to put it into words until I expe- rienced the memorial and its legacy for myself. The memorial’s meaning and representation is a realis- tic depiction of my goals and aspirations in life. Benefiting everyone’s fu- ture is my ultimate goal

to do their part in making the world a better place, and I am able to do this by being an active member in my community.” Achievements and awards include: Valedictorian, National Honor Society president, Inter-High Day first place athletic training and sec- ond place family and consumer science, state champion agriculture sales team, state champion range judging team, state runner-up parliamenta- ry procedure team, state speech qualifier, journal- ism academic all-state, district runner-up Quiz Bowl team, district cham- pion basketball team, district runner-up volley- ball and basketball teams, third place district Quiz Bowl team, district cham- pion persuasive speaker, veterinary science and individual and agricul- ture sales individual district runner-up per- suasive speaker, Huskers Traditions scholarship, Cornhusker Girls State delegate. Activities: FFA, National Honor Society, journalism, drama, speech, Quiz Bowl, student council, band, volleyball, basketball, track, High Ability Learners, Science Olympiad. Community and vol- unteer service: 4-H, Salvation Army volun- teer, blood program leader, Nebraska Cattlemen’s Ball server, Hayes Center Senior Center serv- er, Malone Community Center volunteer, Hayes Center Booster Club referee, S.T.E.M. night co- ordinator, Wallace Youth Club volunteer, Wallace Methodist Church Bible School leader, Hayes Center United Church of Christ server. Most influential teacher: Randy Vlasin, Hayes Center High School. “Mr. Vlasin is the agri- culture education teacher and FFA adviser at Hayes Center and I have had the privilege of work- ing with him for the past four years. Mr. Vlasin has helped me develop my leadership skills and grow as a person. Additionally, he has led me to success during my time as an FFA member. ... Mr. Vlasin has taught me that even though I come from one of the smallest schools in Nebraska, I can accom- plish just as much as kids who come from the larg- est schools in Nebraska. I am undeniably grateful for all Mr. Vlasin has taught me and will cherish these memories forever.” Karlie Gerlach Maywood High School Karlie is the daughter of Russ and Lisa Gerlach of Wellfleet. She plans to study environmental science communica- tions at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Goals: One of my per- sonal goals is to become a positive advocate for the agriculture industry. Therefore, my future ca- reer aspirations include becoming an agricul- tural lobbyist. I plan to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I will major in agricultural and environmental scienc- es communications and complete a minor in ag- ricultural economics. Along with my education, I plan on participating in any clubs that would benefit me in my future career. In her own words: “Being the best version of myself helps hold my- self accountable and makes me a better per- son of character, the most rewarding aspect from being the best that I can be is the impact that it has on others. When I am the best version of myself

and motivation for suc- cess.” Achievements and awards include: National Honor Society, MNAC second team all-conference academics, Cornhusker Girls State representative, Junior Law Cadet, UNK Regents Scholarship, UNK hon- ors program endowed scholarship, UNK honors program room schol- arship, Nic Ostergard Memorial Scholarship. Activities: National Honor Society, band, choir, speech, one-act play, Quiz Bowl. Community and volunteer service: 4-H, Girl Scouts, St. Alselm Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Most influential teacher: Erica Crouch, Anselmo-Merna High School. “The class I was most worried about when I en- tered high school was Mrs. Crouch’s English class. They were noto- riously difficult to earn high grades in, and the goal that I had set for my high school career was achieving an A in every class. During my fresh- man and sophomore year, it was a struggle for me to earn the grades I felt I deserved, but eventual- ly I began to understand why she graded so strict- ly and how to work to the best of my ability. When I first participated in com- petitive speech in my junior year, she helped build my confidence up in a way that I don’t be- lieve anyone else could have. While I had her as a teacher, I learned to face challenges with disci- pline and dedication” Keegan Nitsch North Platte St. Patrick High School Keegan is the son of Bob and Barb Nitsch of North Platte. He plans to study chemical engineer- ing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Goals: I plan to pur- sue a master’s degree in chemical engineering or a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and I plan to research ge- netic engineering. In his own words: “I have always been a cu- rious person, and that curiosity inside of me makes learning fun and enjoyable. I have espe- cially taken a liking to science classes. There is nothing more interest- ing to me than learning about how and why the universe, and everything in it, works the way it does. To help the world, I want to discover the se- crets of the universe’s inner workings, and use that knowledge to create something worthwhile. I always strive to learn more about the world, and I hope that I can learn enough about the world to help change it for the better.” Achievements and awards include: National Honor Society, 36 on ACT, Inter-High Day first place biology, National Merit commend- ed scholar, Presidential Scholar candidate, University of Nebraska- Lincoln honors program, University of Nebraska- Lincoln Regents Scholarship. Activities: Cross coun- try, lettered in basketball and track, state qualifier in high jump, Quiz Bowl, student council. Community and Nebraskaland Days con- cessions, National Honor Society trash walks and blood drives, student teacher aide, Irish Fest. Most influen- tial teacher: William Please see Page D4 volunteer service: Eagle Scout project,

...After recognizing the need for a wildlife rehabil- itation center in western Nebraska, I knew it would be my ultimate goal to open my own veterinarian clinic and wildlife rehabil- itation center.” Achievements and awards include: Honor roll four years, lettered in speech, cross country, track and chorus, aca- demic All-State in cross country and music, third place state Poetry Out Loud, NPCC Foundation scholarship, MPCC President’s Freshman Academic Tuition schol- arship, Bausch & Lomb honorary science award, nominated for Omaha Activities: Student council secretary, cross country, track, speech, play production, swing choir, National Honor Society president, S.A.I.N.T.S. letter club vice president, McDaid elemen- tary aide. Community and vol- unteer service: Student council campus clean- World-Herald All- Academic Team. up, serving dinner at the Retired Friends Dinner, ringing bells for Salvation Army, concessions stand at St. Pat’s, Irish Fest, St. Pat’s BBQ, crossing guard, snack shack, student aide, serving dinner at Salvation Army, National Honor Society trash walk, selling concessions at Nebraskaland Days, bring- ing food for RCIA, helping with the Elementary Track and Field Day, babysitting in the church nursery. Most influential teacher: Jim Bauer, St. Patrick High School. “Mr. Bauer is import- ant to me because he has always been kind and com- passionate. He takes the effort to get to know his students better and he is easy to approach. Mr. Bauer makes sure that we, his students, under- stand the subject we are studying and has no prob- lemwith helping us. I have begun to enjoy learn- ing about science due to his class. I have also had the opportunity to be Mr. Bauer’s student aide for my junior and senior year of high school. He has always been understand- ing and flexible with my schedule. Science is go- ing to be a huge part of my college education, so I am extremely thankful and appreciative of Mr. Bauer and all that he has taught me.” Ashton Erickson Hayes Center High School Ashton is the daughter of Jeff and Kelly Erickson of Wallace. She plans to study communication science disorders at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Goals: To earn a mas- ter’s degree and become a speech-language patholo- gist. I enjoy helping others and working as a speech pathologist will give me opportunities to help indi- viduals of all ages. In her own words: “I am a diligent worker both in school and out of school. I ammotivated to succeed academically because I en- joy learning and want to build a strong education- al foundation for myself. A strong educational foun- dation will allowme to find a career where I can be prosperous. A pros- perous career will open doors for me to lead oth- ers and make an impact. I ammotivated to give back to community because my community has given so much to me. I am always willing to volunteer in my community because I know that I am only mak- ing my surroundings better. I also know that it is important for everyone

and going after the goals that I have, I am also able to act as an example to others. With the con- fidence, work ethic and determination that I use to accomplish my goals, it is my hope that others go after their own goals in the same manner. When I see others accom- plish their own goals, it is rewarding to see them succeed.” Achievements and awards include: National Honor Society, honor roll with distinc- tion, Inter-High Day first place physics and second place personal finance, Believers and Achievers award, academic all-state volleyball, Cornhusker Girls State delegate, PRAC all-conference best of show art award. Activities: National TeamMates, journalism, one-act play, art club, vol- leyball, basketball, track, golf. Community and vol- unteer service: FFA trash pickup, Feed the Farmer and Wellfleet Lake cleanup, National Honor Society trash pick- up and food drive, youth athletic camps, Best in the Midwest Jackpot Show, Ag Valley annual meeting server, Frontier County Fair Board meal, 4-H food stand, Fort McPherson Memorial Day flowers, St. Paul Lutheran Church. Most influential teacher: Kim Stengel, Maywood Public Schools. “I have become more confident in myself and my abilities from the Honor Society, stu- dent council, FFA, guidance that she has giv- en me. She has taught me that a positive attitude is a key factor in suc- ceeding. ...She is one of my biggest cheerleaders when I am going after my goals. Mrs. Stengel has al- ways believed that I will achieve anything I set my mind to. Her confidence in me makes me believe that I will truly succeed in all I do. ... Honestly, it is very difficult to put into words the impact that she has had on me. Although my senior year has been cut short be- cause of today’s events, I will always cherish the times that I had with her in high school. ” Andrew Jack Eustis-Farnam High School Andrew is the son of Neil and Kristen Jack of Eustis. He plans to study agriculture econom- ics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Goals: I plan to come back to my hometown and own my own busi- ness and run my own cattle on our family farm. In his own words: “In a small town like Eustis, almost everyone is trying to contribute to the town and to making us thrive in every possible way. If we did not have people dedicated to keeping our town going, we could eas- ily end up being a ghost town down the road, but I know that the people of this little town take pride in our community and will not let that hap- pen. They have motivated me to be very involved in every way possible. We want Eustis to be a place for new people to want to raise their kids knowing that it is a safe environ- ment and that their kids will get the education they need to succeed.” Achievements and awards include: National Honor Society, honor roll, Presidents Education Award for hon- or roll, Believers and Achievers school win- ner, Elks teen of the month, Eustis Chamber of Commerce student

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sic education. I will likely continue with a master’s degree in music education or music performance. My dream is to teach at a col- lege/university, or to be performing and private- ly teaching. Personally, I want to make music with and for others to point to- ward the glory of God. In his own words: “Being a musician has helped me be a person with a good work ethic and dedication to my stud- ies, but my heart simply wants to make music with and for people. Ultimately pursuing a graduate’s degree to work as a profes- sor or try my hand in the world of performance is the way I hope to live out this desire in my heart. Ultimately I hope to use what I have learned to help guide others toward the more beautiful truths in life.” Achievements and awards include: National Honor Society, hon- or roll four years, David Distinguished Scholar, Nebraska Legends Scholar, Nebraska Young Artist schol- arship, Ugai-Smolan scholarship, All-State Orchestra, Wesleyan Honor Orchestra outstand- ing orchestral musician award, lettered in band, orchestra and choir, Homecoming king, Mid- Plains Community College Presidents List. Activities: National Honor Society, concert, jazz, pep and marching band, concert and jazz choir, concert orchestra, musical, student council, tennis, soccer, superin- tendent senior student advisory council. Community and vol- unteer service: Church worship team, Backyard Bible Club, Miami mission trip, national anthem per- formance. Most influential teacher: Marta Holscher- Nelson, North Platte. “Ms. Marta Holscher- Nelson was the first person to open up the world of music to me. From learning classic American melodies, to miniature musicals, to learning how to play the recorder, Ms. Holscher- Nelson taught and exemplified the beau- ty in music to me. ... Ms. Holscher-Nelson showed me all music had to offer, and paved the way for ev- ery relationship I now hold with my amazing music teachers.” Ashley Dye North Platte St. Patrick High School Ashley is the daugh- ter of Mike and Lori Dye of North Platte. She plans to study pre-veterinary medicine at Mid-Plains Community College and earn an associate’s degree. Goals: I plan to attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney. After earn- ing my bachelor’s degree, I plan to attend the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and their joint programwith Iowa for veterinary medicine. My ultimate goal is to earn a degree in veterinary medicine and establish a wildlife rehabilitation cen- ter in western Nebraska. In her own words: “I have always held com- passion for animals and I have helped rescue injured birds. I rescued a baby ground squirrel and began the process of making sure he was properly cared for. He became ill due to an ear infection, so I educat- ed myself on the necessary care and reached out to a wildlife rehabilitation center within the state. I transported him the four- hour drive to Louisville, Nebraska, and he was given professional care.




SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020

my play production coach since my freshman year. He has helped me evolve into an amazing math stu- dent. He has given more instruction, than just out of the textbook. Being a teacher means more than just giving you homework. It means getting to know your students and giv- ing them the knowledge to succeed later in life after school. He helps students realize their strengths and turn their weaknesses into strengths. He has helped me learn how to be a man and make things better for myself. He helps me re- member just how lucky I am to be where I’m from, and not to forget where I come from.” Jacob Rupe Eustis-Farnam High School Jacob is the son of Shannon and Julie Rupe of Eustis. He plans to study agriculture business at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Goals: To graduate with a bachelor’s degree and to take advantage of the opportunities that UNL has to offer to gain a wide knowledge of agricul- ture outside of southwest Nebraska. I hope to return to the Eustis area and be involved in many different activities and organiza- tions, including leadership positions. In his own words: “I take pride and honor in a job well done. I also know that each year education builds on top of the last, so therefore, that it is im- portant to understand and grasp the concept before you go forward. My math teacher helped to instill in me a concept that took some time for me to un- derstand, but that is that we learn from the mis- takes that we make. This is true in education and life as well. Because of this, I don’t worry so much about making mistakes, but instead I concentrate on learning. ... As far as community achievement, growing up in Eustis and being active in many dif- ferent organizations has given me a sense of great pride in my small town. I know that in order for communities to survive and thrive it takes peo- ple to volunteer their time and talents. It was exciting to be a part of the Eustis Wellness Center and to get to see the dream become a reality. I look forward to seeing the impact that it will have on the health and wellness of our com- munity.” Achievements and awards include: National Honor Society vice pres- ident, ESU Summer Honors Program, high honor roll, President’s

Therefore, it’s my objec- tive to give back as much as I can. In order for our community to change for the better, rather than ex- pecting others to do things for me, I’m dedicated to changing it myself. One act of kindness through volunteering can change someone’s whole life. ... I love to learn, and I love to be taught new things through various en- richment activities. My curiosity about the un- known world is a huge factor in my yearning for knowledge.” Achievements and awards include: All A honor roll all four years, McCook Inter-High Day first-place mathemat- ics and chemistry, Quiz Bowl captain, Eagle Scout, Marjorie Jackman Community Service Award, FFA state de- gree, NSAA district actor awards, NSAA district speech champion in hu- morous prose and oral interpretation of drama, NSAA 11th place Class C state golf, Academic All-State in one-act play, Communications scholar- ship, Concordia University President’s Scholarship, Concordia University men’s golf scholarship. Activities: National Honor Society, golf, speech, mock trial, one- acts, marching band, concert band, jazz band, musical, cross country, Quiz Bowl, FFA. Community and volunteer service: Methodist church Sunday school and Bible school teacher, junior golf coun- selor, Boy Scouts, play taps at Veterans Day and Memorial Day services, honor society blood drive, volunteer at Perkins County Fair, planting trees, trash pickup. Most influential teacher: Troy Kemling, Perkins County Schools. “Mr. Kemling was my seventh grade math teach- er. ...He saw that I was not being challenged in math and decided to take it upon himself to chal- Academic All-State in golf, Great Plains lenge me. He gave me the eighth grade math book and told me to work through it. Throughout my seventh grade year I worked through the eighth grade math book so that I could learn Algebra 1 in my eighth grade year. Mr. Kemling knew it was con- troversial to allowme to work at my own speed be- cause our principal was not very supportive. Even though the principal dis- liked what he did, he still allowed me to move on to Algebra 1. ...He supported me so much and I will al- ways be thankful for his influence on my life.”

Education Awards for hon- or roll, A average and top two in class, EF Believers and Achievers school winner, North Platte Inter- High Day second and third place in account- ing, McCook Inter-High Day first place in account- ing, Brandon Burlsworth character award, Elks teen of the month, Eustis Chamber of Commerce student of the month, FFA state team second- and third-place food science, FFA district food science team champions. Activities: Class pres- ident four years, student council vice president, FFA, one-act play, Quiz Bowl, Science Fair, team captain in football and basketball, track, Cornhusker Boys State delegate, 4-H and FFA. Community and vol- unteer service: E-Unit (youth portion of Eustis Area Community Foundation Fund), Wurst Tag, Farnam Community Carnival, youth league T-ball and baseball, Sunday League youth bas- ketball, Eustis pee-wee wrestling, National Honor Society events, St. John Lutheran Church day camp and vacation Bible school volunteer, church cemetery cleanup. Most influential teacher: Ben Spiegel, Eustis-FarnamHigh School. “He has been my his- tory, government and economics teacher. He was also one of my football coaches for two years. He is always willing to talk to students about things oth- er than just school. He is my favorite teacher I have ever had and was also my favorite football coach. He is a guy who is easy to talk to and is always will- ing to help others even if it is not something in one of his classes. He really sets a good example on what a good man is and is one of my persons I am proud to call a role model.” Jacob Woodmancy Perkins County High School Jacob is the son of John and Kathy Woodmancy of Grant. He plans to study mathematics at Concordia University. Goals: To go to college for four years to study to become an actuary. I want to have my tests taken by the time I graduate. In his own words: “My desire to reach my full potential is what mo- tivates my academic and community achievement. Throughout my life, I have been given various opportunities frommy tight-knit community that I’m extremely grateful for.

unteer service: Red Cross blood drive, blood donor, Elsie United Methodist Church youth group, Wallace Youth Club, 4-H Council, Feed the Farmer, trash pickup, Wallace va- cation Bible school, Elsie vacation Bible school, Elsie United Methodist Church advisory commit- tee, Partner Up Rodeo, summer reading program. Most influential teacher: Christy Sheets, Wallace High School. “She has always encour- aged me to push myself to my fullest potential. I have had her as a math and Spanish teacher since eighth grade and she has constantly made sure that she is giving me an amaz- ing education that will allowme to be successful. Mrs. Sheets has not only given me opportunities to learn in the classroom but has also taught me many life lessons along the way. She is the first person to give an encouraging word of advice. Mrs. Sheets is supportive of all of my life endeavors and I would not have had an as success- ful time in high school if it were not for her.” Trevor Ross Callaway High School Trevor is the son of Rodney and Mary Ross of Callaway. He plans to study animal sci- ence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Goals: I plan to come back to Callaway and take over my father’s ranch. In his own words: “I am very involved in the community of Callaway. My dad is a member of the Seven Valleys Rodeo Association, so I help them out a lot. I take money at the gate, make ham- burgers and clean up after the rodeos. I attend Callaway Senior High Youth Group. I am a mem- ber of the Morning Star United Methodist Church. ... I play football, basket- ball and am involved in play production. I am also a member of student coun- cil and National Honor Society. I love helping oth- er people out. In a small school you have to be in- volved in everything to make it work. I do it for my friends that care more about different activities than I do. I do it to make my family proud.” Achievements and awards include: Honor roll, National Honor Society, Callaway Scholastic Honor Society, Custer County Corn Growers scholarship, let- tered in play production, band, football and basket- ball, district champion and fourth and fifth place in state play production, academic All-State in foot- ball, state FFA qualifier. Activities: National Honor Society, FFA vice president, Citizenship Washington Focus dele- gate, Cornhusker Boys State representative, National Agricultural Youth Institute, Legion baseball. Community and vol- unteer service: As Citizenship Washington Focus delegate I vol- unteered at the Custer County Fairgrounds, community projects as a member of Tail Twisters 4-H Club, usher for Morning Star United Methodist Church, proj- ects for the Callaway senior high youth group, volunteer for the Callaway Good Life Center, volun- teer for Seven Valleys Rodeo and Callaway 4-H horse show, volunteer for the Sandhills Open Road Challenge. Most influential teacher: Darin Ellis, Callaway Public Schools. “Mr. Darin Ellis has been my math instructor since my seventh grade year. He has also been

less and Scholastic Book Fair, FCCLA Read-A-Thon, 4-H projects including painting the fairgrounds, community cleanup, teaching horse 4-H and turtle races at the fair, TeamMates Christmas cards for veterans. Most influential teacher: Sara Hardin, Mullen High School. “I have never had a teacher that has forced me to be organized, held me accountable, and has been so determined to help their students succeed quite like she has. She is also a big part of why I chose to pur- sue a degree in biology. While taking her class- es, if I ever had an issue or didn’t understand a con- cept, she was always there to lend a helping hand. Mrs. Hardin is one of a kind. She is extremely pas- sionate about teaching, and I hope to be as moti- vated and determined in my career as her. I will never be able to thank her enough for all that she has taught me, but I will re- member her wisdom and enthusiasm forever.” Sydney Pelster Wallace High School Sydney is the daugh- ter of Ben and Jill Pelster of Wallace. She plans to study business adminis- tration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Goals: Returning to a rural area of Nebraska highly interests me because of the job oppor- tunities and community support. I want to be an effective communicator, task manager and hard worker. I am confident that with all of these at- tributes I will be able to make a positive impact on my workplace and the peo- ple that I work with. Once earning an entry-level po- sition at a job that I love, I hope to continue working my way to high-level jobs in the company. I hope to start a family and raise my children in a small community just like I was. I hope that through hard work throughout the rest of high school and my col- lege career, I will make my professional and person- al goals something very attainable for me. I know that I have the skills and work ethic necessary to be successful. In her own words: “I ammotivated to achieve academically and in the community by knowing that I can be a role mod- el for younger members of my school and community, wanting to make a positive impact on my communi- ty, and setting myself up for success in the future. Some of my favorite mo- ments from high school are when I have younger students come up to me af- ter events and tell me that someday they hope to be having as much fun and success as I am in high school. Part of my moti- vation also comes from the fact that I know I am making a positive impact on my community by the things that I am doing. “The final thing that motivates me to achieve is knowing that I can make the most of my opportuni- ties in high school to set me up for success in col- lege and life after college.” Achievements and awards include: Honor roll four years, David Scholarship, Nebraska Business Honors Academy, Academic All-State volleyball and basketball, all-conference volleyball and basketball, Cornhusker Girls State delegate. Activities: National Honor Society, FFA, vol- leyball, basketball, track, one-act play, speech, Quiz Bowl, student council, band, choir, 4-H, Nebraska Farm Bureau ag crew. Community and vol-

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O’Malley, North Platte St. Patrick High School. “He has taught me earth science, biology and anatomy. His classes have always been fun and entertaining. ... I learn in his class, and I seem to retain the informa- tion for a longer period of time than other class- es. ... He understands the material and presents it in a way that engages the mind, is easy enough to understand, and in a way that I will remem- ber it for a long period of time. He leaves some of the connections up to the students to make, which is much better than simply regurgitating in- formation and having the students write it all down.”

Molly Paxton Mullen High School

Molly is the daughter of Dusty and Mindy Paxton of Tryon. She plans to study biological science and pre-medicine at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Goals: I have focused my passions and goals around becoming a doctor. I plan to either attend the University of Nebraska- Lincoln or Nebraska Wesleyan in the fall. If I choose Wesleyan, I plan on running cross coun- try and track. Upon graduation, I plan to attend medical school ei- ther at the University of Nebraska Medical Center or Creighton. My career goal is to become an ob- stetrician. I would also like to specialize in di- abetic patients. I have a passion for helping people, and I would love to help bring life into the world. My second option is to be a dermatologist. This op- tion appeals to me because I wouldn’t have to be on call, and if I have a family, it would be easier to bal- ance work and home life. I plan to move back west in the Kearney or Grand Island area to practice. In her own words: “As a little girl, I was always interested in learning as much as possible from as many people as possi- ble, and that mentality has not changed as I have aged. My parents have al- ways motivated me to be the absolute best version of myself that I can be at all times. I have also been blessed with the most supportive and uplifting teachers and communi- ty that I could ask for. I am extremely proud of where I come from, and that mo- tivates me to make them proud with everything that I do. Lastly, I ammoti- vated to achieve because I have high goals and plans for my future. In order to accomplish them, I must always remain self-driv- en and determined. I have many people to thank for holding me accountable, and I will never be able to repay them.” Achievements and awards include: National Honor Society vice pres- ident, honor roll four years, Academic All- State in cross country and speech, Presidential Award for academic excel- lence, U.S. Bank Believer and Achiever, valedic- torian, state speech qualifier, state track, cross country and basketball qualifier, FCCLA state sec- retary, Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska, Nebraska High School Rodeo Queen, stu- dent council president. Activities: National Honor Society, volleyball, cross country, basketball, track, speech, FCCLA, FFA, high school, Spanish honor society, TeamMates, student council. Community and vol- unteer service: Partner Up Rodeo, National Honor Society feeding the home-

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