'Why I Want to Go to College' Writing Contest 2017
State Treasurer Stenberg Honors NEST Writers, Delivers Unclaimed Property Check to Storm Chasers

Six seventh and eighth graders were recognized Sunday at Werner Park in Papillion in the “Why I Want to Go to College” writing contest sponsored by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust and the Omaha Storm Chasers.

In addition to recognizing the students, Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg had a surprise for the Storm Chasers. Treasurer Stenberg presented a check for $17,811.05 for unclaimed property to Martie Cordaro, president and general manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers. The check from the Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division was for refunds and account balances from four companies that had done business with the Storm Chasers.

“We were excited to award NEST scholarships to our writing contest winners and to present the Storm Chasers with a sizeable amount of money from our unclaimed property program,” Stenberg said. “These are two of the most visible programs in the Treasurer’s Office and represent our outreach and service to the residents of Nebraska. This was an excellent way to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our collaboration with the Storm Chasers for our annual writing contest.”

So far this year, the Treasurer’s Office has returned almost $7.4 million in unclaimed property to more than 9,400 individuals. Last year, the Treasurer’s Office returned a record $16.3 million, representing almost 17,000 claims from individuals.

Before the start of Sunday’s game with the Reno Aces, the Storm Chasers thanked Treasurer Stenberg for his work with the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, the state-sponsored 529 college savings program, and for his work returning unclaimed property to rightful owners.

“I am proud of the students who were recognized at home plate before the start of Sunday’s game. They wrote persuasively about the people who inspire them as well as their career plans, educational goals, and the obstacles they have overcome. They represent Nebraska values of hard work, family support, perseverance, and a commitment to helping others,” Stenberg said.

Winners receive contributions to Nebraska Educational Savings Trust college savings plans, ranging in value from $500 for third place, $1,000 for second place, and $2,000 for first place. Three winners were chosen in each of Nebraska’s three U.S. congressional districts. Three winners from outside Nebraska also were chosen, but did not attend the game.

A record 1,847 entries were received this year from across the United States. The contest was announced in January and entries were due March 17. 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 of the 2017 contest are listed below:

1st Congressional District— Nebraska

First:Becca WalkerLincoln, Nebraska
Second:Maddox Weckerle-DietzNorfolk, Nebraska
Third:Ellie MahonyLincoln, Nebraska

2nd Congressional District— Nebraska

First:Dylann EhegartnerPapillion, Nebraska
Second:Mia NelsonOmaha, Nebraska
Third:Ed QuintanaSpringfield, Nebraska

3rd Congressional District— Nebraska

First:Macie WhalenSterling, Nebraska
Second:Weston ReinekeTaylor, Nebraska
Third:Heather BoseStamford, Nebraska

Outside Nebraska

First:Eleanor KaruehEllicott City, Maryland
Second:Waishy HarmonTampa, Florida
Third:Molly KennedyLake City, Minnesota

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.

About First National Bank of Omaha

First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska and its affiliates have more than $23 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.

  • Jana Langemach
  • Director of Communications
  • 402-471-8884