'Why I Want to Go to College' Writing Contest 2015
NEST ‘Why I Want to Go to College’ Winning Writers Recognized at Werner Park
Photos by Jana Langemach

State Treasurer Don Stenberg recognized Nebraska winners in the 2015 NEST “Why I Want to Go to College” writing contest for seventh and eighth graders Sunday at Werner Park in Papillion, Neb.

The young writers were recognized on the concourse of Werner Park during a rainstorm that delayed the start of the Omaha Storm Chasers game with the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Eventually, the game was postponed until Monday.

Treasurer Stenberg presented certificates to eight winners and shook each winner’s hand. This is the 13th year for the annual writing contest sponsored by the Storm Chasers and the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), a division of the State Treasurer’s Office.

First-, second-, and third-place winners were selected from each of Nebraska’s three 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.

“Congratulations to all the winners and to the more than 1,000 seventh and eighth graders who entered the writing contest. And thank you to the teachers, parents, and mentors who encouraged the students to enter the contest and who continue to support and encourage these young people through school and their daily activities,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “The importance of strong role models in shaping and influencing these young lives is apparent in what they wrote in their essays.”

The “Why I Want to Go to College” writing contest was announced in January and entries were due March 27. Preliminary judging was done by students and faculty in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska-Omaha with final selections made by Treasurer Stenberg.

Winners are listed below:

1st Congressional District - Nebraska

First:Jared NielsenWaverly Middle SchoolWalton, Neb.
Second:Colton MeyerLincoln Lutheran SchoolEagle, Neb.
Third:Priscilla LebesseGoodrich Middle SchoolLincoln, Neb.

2nd Congressional District - Nebraska

First:Kellen McLaughlinGretna Middle SchoolOmaha, Neb.
Second:Jacqueline CervantesPapillion Junior High SchoolPapillion, Neb.
Third:Richard McManusPapillion Junior High SchoolPapillion, Neb.

3rd Congressional District - Nebraska

First:Katie BathkeAllen Consolidated SchoolsDixon, Neb.
Second:Raif RuppertLoup County Public SchoolTaylor, Neb.
Third:Andi BargstadtWinside Public SchoolsWinside, Neb.


First:Nyah GermanSouthwest Middle SchoolOrlando, Fla.
Second:Kurt RinehartMonterey Bay Charter SchoolMarina, Calif.
Third:Sarah JohnsonFamily of Christ Christian SchoolTampa, Fla.
Hear from four of the winning writers about why they want to go to college in their own words below.

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
  • 402-471-8884