Winners of 'Why I Want to Go to College' Writing Contest Announced

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LINCOLN, Neb. Fourteen winners in the 2014 “Why I Want to Go to College” writing contest sponsored by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) were announced today by State Treasurer Don Stenberg.

The winners will be recognized Sunday at the Storm Chasers game at Werner Park in Papillion, Neb. Winners receive contributions to NEST college savings plans, ranging in value from $500 for third place to $2,000 for first place and totaling $15,000. First-, second-, and third- place winners were selected in each of Nebraska’s three U.S. Congressional districts, and one set of winners was selected from outside Nebraska.

“We are proud of the 14 winners and of all 1,044 seventh and eighth graders who took time to enter the writing contest and tell us about their educational goals. We recognize that all the students who entered put time, effort, and thought into their work, making the task of choosing winners difficult for us. This year, in fact, we had two ties. The essays I read were creative and sincere and included themes of hard work, positive family influences, and perseverance,” Stenberg said.

“We also want to thank the teachers and parents who encouraged children to enter the writing contest and who support the value of learning to write well in the classroom and at home,” he said.
Stenberg said the annual writing contest, now in its 12th year, has been an effective way for seventh and eighth graders to reflect on the value of higher education and to think about how they will pay for their education at a four-year college, a community college, or a technical school. The contest is an opportunity for students to add to their Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) accounts or to get started saving if they do not already have accounts, Stenberg said.

“While parents are encouraged to start saving for their children’s education from birth, they can still accumulate substantial savings and take advantage of significant tax incentives by opening accounts when children are junior high school age,” Stenberg said.

The writing contest entries were judged by students and faculty in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha with final selections made by Treasurer Stenberg.

The 2014 winners are as follows:

First Congressional District – Nebraska

First: Bethany Black, Schuyler Middle School, Schuyler

Second: Breanna Smith, Logan View Public School, Hooper

Third, tie: Elizabeth Zander, Pound Middle School, Lincoln

Third, tie: Guadalupe Rodriguez, Schuyler Middle School, Schuyler

Second Congressional District – Nebraska

First: Kayla Martin, Gretna Middle School, Gretna

Second: Paige Miller, Gretna Middle School, Gretna

Third, tie: Dawson Beutler, Russell Middle School, Omaha

Third, tie: Mitchell Feagins, Peter Kiewit Middle School, Omaha

Third Congressional District – Nebraska:

First: Dominic Naughtin, Sutherland Public School, Sutherland

Second: Sophia Harder, Randolph Public School, Belden

Third: Brandy Friedrichsen, Centura Public School, Boelus

Outside of Nebraska:

First: Amy Burke, Moore Middle School, Arvada, Colo.

Second: Gina Kim, Field Middle School, Glenview, Ill.

Third: Anne Moellers, Christ the King Catholic School, Little Rock, Ark.