'Why I Want to Go to College' Writing Contest 2012
Treasurer Don Stenberg Recognizes Nine Nebraska Students at Werner Park for Winning Essays

Nine Nebraska seventh and eighth graders were recognized Sunday at Werner Park in Papillion for their winning entries in the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust (NEST) 2012 essay contest, “Why I Want to Go to College.”

The winners were recognized before the start of the second game of the doubleheader between the Omaha Storm Chasers and the Tacoma Rainiers. The winners were greeted with congratulatory handshakes from Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, and Storm Chasers president and general manager Martie Cordaro.

Three winners from outside Nebraska were unable to attend the event.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the essay contest sponsored by the State Treasurer’s Office and the Storm Chasers. A total of 679 entries were received. Initial judging was done by students and faculty in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and final selections were made by State Treasurer Stenberg.

“I want to congratulate this year’s winning entries and to thank all the hundreds of students who shared their hopes and dreams for college with our office. I was impressed with the quality of the writing, as well as the depth of understanding of the necessity of a college education today for their own well-being and for the well-being of society,” State Treasurer Stenberg said.

Winners were selected from each of Nebraska’s three U.S. Congressional districts and from entries from outside Nebraska. First-place winners received $1,000 each toward a Nebraska College Savings plan and a night’s stay in an Omaha-area hotel; second-place winners received $500 each toward a College Savings plan, and third-place winners received $300 each toward a College Savings plan. At the Storm Chasers game, each was introduced to the crowd over the loudspeaker and each was given a certificate from Treasurer Stenberg.

The 12 winners and their hometowns and schools are listed here:

1st Congressional District

First:Andrew SimpsonBreeze Hill AcademyWayne, NE
Second:Kathryn (Kate) ScanlanPlatteview CentralSpringfield, NE
Third:Madison SwannScott Middle School Lincoln, NE

2nd Congressional District

First:Kara RuffcornWestside Middle SchoolOmaha, NE
Second:Shayla AndersenRussell Middle SchoolOmaha, NE
Third:Taylor HoganMcMillan Magnet SchoolOmaha, NE

3rd Congressional District

First:Matthew PekarekHigh Plains CommunityStromsburg, NE
Second:Molly LambertChambers Public SchoolEwing, NE
Third:John HusmannCatholic High SchoolKearney, NE


First:Madeline NichollsChandler Preparatory AcademyChandler, AZ
Second:Lauren HynesLebanon Junior High SchoolLebanon, MO
Third:David GutierrezAll Saints Catholic SchoolHayward, CA

About NEST

NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the Bloomwell 529 Education Savings Plan, and the State Farm 529 Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. Union Bank & Trust Company serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 285,000 accounts, including over 94,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.

Investments Are Not FDIC Insured* · No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee · May Lose Value
*Except the Bank Savings Static Investment Option Underlying Investment
  • Jana Langemach
  • Director of Communications
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