'Read to Win $529!' Drawing 2015
Statewide Winners of NEST $529 Read to Win Drawing Recognized in Capitol Ceremony
More than $11,500 awarded to children and libraries across Nebraska
Photos by Destiny Czaplewski

Treasurer Don Stenberg and First National Bank of Omaha presented $529 NEST college savings scholarships today to winners from Nebraska’s three congressional districts in the NEST Read to Win $529 Drawing, sponsored by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), First National Bank of Omaha, and the Nebraska Library Commission.

Winners were recognized today in the Capitol Rotunda. Not all winners were able to attend the ceremony.

More than 20,000 children and teens were entered in the drawing after completing summer reading programs at their local libraries across the state. Five winners were chosen in a random drawing from each of Nebraska’s three U.S. Congressional Districts. They were awarded $529 each in a NEST 529 College Savings account, and their respective library branches received $250 each.

First National Bank of Omaha, program manager for NEST, provided the prizes.

Winners and the libraries where they took part in summer reading are as follows:

District 1
Calleigh Chmelka, 5, Lincoln, Victor E. Anderson Library
Landon Bliss, 7, Lincoln, Charles H. Gere Library
Andrew Furasek, 10, Lincoln, Bethany Library
Taylor Searcey, 13, Lincoln, Victor E. Anderson Library
Haylee Young, 13, Lincoln, Victory E. Anderson Library
District 2
Ava Brooks, 4, Omaha, Millard Library
Keaton Irwin, 5, Omaha, Swanson Branch
Brayden Sanchez, 7, Omaha, Saddlebrook Branch
Landon Flora, 11, Omaha, Millard Library
Melia Minnich, 11, Omaha, Elkhorn Branch
District 3
Grace Eickhoff, 5, Grand Island, Grand Island Public Library
Jack Reents, 7, Hastings, Hastings Public Library
Taylin Rhoads, 8 Grand Island, Grand Island Public Library
Aydrien Vetter, 8 Ravenna. Ravenna Public Library
Lened Reyes Estrada, 10, Grand Island, Grand Island Public Library

Libraries receiving donations in the Read to Win event are as follows:

Omaha Public Libraries, $1,000, for four branch libraries
Lincoln City Libraries, $750, for three branch libraries
Grand Island Public Library, $250
Hastings Public Library, $250
Ravenna Public Library, $250

“I am pleased to be a part of the NEST Read to Win event and to lend my support to young readers and community libraries across Nebraska. Community libraries play a vital role in nurturing children’s love of reading and providing children with shelves of books to spark their imaginations. At NEST, we also hope to spark imaginations and encourage children to dream big for their futures,” Stenberg said.

“We truly hope all these eager summer readers and their parents and grandparents will start thinking about saving for college and, if they haven’t already, will begin exploring the savings plans available through the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust,” he said.

“Reading is a wonderful part of lifelong learning and, for children and teens, preparation for higher education,” said Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director of NEST at First National Bank of Omaha, the NEST Program Manager. “With this scholarship, we hope children will continue to read and dream for their own futures. And, we hope that families make it a priority to save for those dreams.”

State-sponsored 529 college savings programs, like NEST, take their name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office, provides tax-advantaged ways to save for college through four college savings plans. Treasurer Stenberg is Trustee, and First National Bank of Omaha is program manager. The trust has total assets of $3.75 billion and more than 233,000 accounts nationwide, including 69,000 in Nebraska. A Nebraska taxpayer can deduct up to $10,000 from state income taxes when filing as an individual or as a couple filing jointly.

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 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.

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.

About Nebraska Library Commission

As Nebraska's state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services-"bringing together people and information." Visit http://booksarejustthebeginning.com/ for more examples of how Books Are Just the Beginning at Nebraska libraries.

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