Custer County Foundation’s 2016 Scholarship Ceremony

Custer County Foundation’s 2016 Scholarship Ceremony


The Custer County Foundation held their annual Scholarship Award Ceremony on Sunday, March 20th at the One Box Convention Center in Broken Bow.  

Board member, Julianna Jenkins conducted the welcome to the estimated 200 people in attendance on a beautiful spring day.  Julianna introduced our guest speaker, Aaron Thompson, a former graduate of Broken Bow High School.  Mr. Thompson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and a Master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix.  He currently serves as the Nebraska Kansas Area Manager for the United State Bureau of Reclamation.  Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States.  Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.    

Mr. Thompson shared with us his journey after graduation to where he is today.  He offered a great deal of useful advice for the students in the audience.  He addressed some pivotal points after graduation, pointing out it is a lot easier to pass your class the first time and to not let other people discourage you.  He mentioned for those pursuing a degree in engineering, 1 in 3 students will graduate.  His professor was quick to point that statistic out to his class, the professor had each student look at the person sitting to their left and the person sitting to their right, the professor then stated out of the three, only one of you will graduate.  Mr. Thompson could have been very discouraged by this message but he and the two students sitting next to him all graduated.  Mr. Thompson told those in attendance about his experience working at the Hoover Dam, highlighting the tour in which he was told, he could eat in the “dam” cafeteria, he could park in the “dam” parking lot, he even went on to ask if that was his “dam” desk.  The crowd was very entertained by his “dam” tour!  Mr. Thompson also mentioned it is important for students to keep their eyes open, a different goal may fall in their lap and don’t be afraid to pursue it.  To close, Mr. Thompson summarized his speech stating, set a goal, figure out how to get there, take some risks, never give up, and enjoy the journey.   

This scholarship ceremony continues to be successful because of our special guests in the donors who travel from Kansas City, and Lincoln, in addition to the many from Custer County.  Not only are they in attendance to present their scholarships, but to share great stories about their families and offer words of advice and encouragement.  Their presence also gives them an opportunity to meet the students whose lives they are directly impacting.  Another element is that of surprise for the students receiving the scholarships.  Until their name is called, they are neither aware of the scholarship they are receiving nor the amount.  This anticipation makes the event even more enjoyable.

Executive Director, Lindsay Divan announced sixty-seven scholarships would be presented to fifty-eight students for a total amount of $72,250 awarded!  She went on to explain the selection process and thanked the scholarship committee for their hard work and dedication in selecting the recipients.  Nearly 550 applications were received and selecting the recipients was not an easy task.  After all the awards were presented the guidance counselors were thanked for all the assistance they offer the students with the application process.  The ceremony closed by inviting attendees to enjoy refreshments and cookies, while wishing the graduates best of luck as they begin a new chapter and thanking those in attendance.

The Custer County Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax exempt organization that was created in 1991 to promote charitable giving for the good of the communities of Custer County.  The steady growth of the Foundation is driven by donors’ generosity, ideas and beliefs that the Custer County Foundation can make a difference in the lives of the people who live and work in Custer County.  The Foundation exists because of people who have a desire to give back to the community where they lived, prospered, worked and played.  

Scholarships offered through the Foundation are for various fields of study including, nursing, veterinary medicine, journalism, and even general studies.  

Best wishes and congratulations to all of our Custer County high school graduates!

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