Eleven 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) 2014 writing contest, “Why I Want to Go to College.”
The Nebraska winners were recognized before the start of the Omaha Storm Chasers game with the New Orleans Zephyrs in a break in what was a day of significant storm damage across Nebraska. Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, shook the winners’ hands at home plate and presented each with a certificate.
A total of 1,044 entries were received in the 12th annual writing contest sponsored by NEST and the Storm Chasers. 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 Treasurer Stenberg. NEST college savings account contributions totaling $15,000 were awarded to winners in this year’s contest.
“Congratulations to this year’s winners, and thank you to all the seventh and eighth graders who wrote about their dreams for higher education in the NEST writing contest. I enjoyed reading the entries, and I was impressed with the quality of the writing and the young people’s aspirations for their futures,” Treasurer Stenberg said.
First-, second-, and third-place winners were selected from each of Nebraska’s three U.S. Congressional districts and from outside Nebraska. First-place winners received $2,000 each toward a NEST college savings plan; second-place winners received $1,000 each toward a NEST savings account, and third-place winners received $500 each toward a college savings account.
The 2014 winners are as follows:
1st Congressional District - Nebraska
|First:||Bethany Black||Schuyler Middle School||Schuyler, NE|
|Second:||Breanna Smith||Logan View Public School||Hooper, NE|
|Third (tie):||Elizabeth Zander||Pound Middle School||Lincoln, NE|
|Third (tie):||Guadalupe Rodriguez||Schuyler Middle School||Schuyler, NE|
2nd Congressional District - Nebraska
|First:||Kayla Martin||Gretna Middle School||Gretna, NE|
|Second:||Paige Miller||Gretna Middle School||Gretna, NE|
|Third (tie):||Dawson Beutler||Russell Middle School||Omaha, NE|
|Third (tie):||Mitchell Feagins||Peter Kiewit Middle School||Omaha, NE|
3rd Congressional District - Nebraska
|First:||Dominic Naughtin||Sutherland Public School||Sutherland, NE|
|Second:||Sophia Harder||Randolph Public School||Belden, NE|
|Third:||Brandy Friedrichsen||Centura Public School||Boelus, NE|
|First:||Amy Burke||Moore Middle School||Arvada, CO|
|Second:||Gina Kim||Field Middle School||Glenview, IL|
|Third:||Anne Moellers||Christ the King Catholic School||Little Rock, AR|
Details about next year’s essay contest will be available on the State Treasurer’s website at www.treasurer.org/cs/ and through local schools in February 2015.
The Nebraska College Savings Program provides four qualified tuition plans under Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The four plans in the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust are the NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer is the Program Trustee, and First National Bank of Omaha is the Program Manager. Investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council.
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 TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha 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 261,000 accounts, including 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.