The Custer County Foundation held their annual Scholarship Award Ceremony on Sunday, March 17, at the Sargent High School Gymnasium in Sargent, NE.
Alicia Hermsmeyer, Board Member and Treasurer of the Custer County Foundation, conducted the welcome to the estimated 250 people in attendance. Alicia also introduced our guest speaker, Rebecca Connealy, who grew up in Sargent and graduated from Sargent High School. Rebecca attended Wayne State College where she competed on the Women’s Track and Field Team and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry Health Sciences. After Wayne State College she attended the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Rebecca currently lives in Whitman, Nebraska with her husband, Gabriel, and 10 month old son, Finnegan. Rebecca works as an RN at Box Butte General Hospital, and helps with various duties on her husband’s family ranch.
Rebecca offered a wealth of information and useful advice for those in attendance. She advised students to, never say never, never is so definitive. Life begins outside of your comfort zone. Life is way less enjoyable playing things safe, if you are not uncomfortable you are not trying. She went on to say the most boring piece of advice she could offer is, “don’t be lazy,” and encouraged students to get up and try. Rebecca stated that when you challenge yourself and start operating at your full potential you will find it to be addicting. She encouraged students to make each day successful.
This scholarship ceremony continues to be successful because of our special guests, the donors who travel from places like Kansas City and Lincoln, as well as 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 unique aspect of the ceremony is the element 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 seventy-four scholarships would be presented to sixty-nine students for a total amount of $88,850 awarded! Scholarships offered through the Foundation are for various fields of study including, nursing, veterinary medicine, journalism, lineman, and cosmetology to name a few. Scholarships are available for four-year and two-year degrees. She went on to explain the selection process and thanked the scholarship committee for their hard work and dedication in selecting the recipients. Nearly 950 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 thanking those in attendance and wishing the graduates best of luck as they begin new chapters in their lives.