Matthew Kent – 2013 Winner in Metro Omaha and Southwest Iowa
Matthew Kent graduated from Burke High School in Omaha, NE. Throughout high school Matt was an involved in both his school and in his community. He was the class Valedictorian, Student Council President, Class Treasurer of Senior Senate, a member of his Academic Decathlon Team and the President of his Science Club. Matthew’s talents were apparent in school, but his amazing capabilities also extended beyond the classroom.
Scouting was a major part of Matthew’s life. By being involved with the Boy Scouts for 11 years, Matthew learned the importance of trustworthiness, morals, obedience, leadership and integrity. Through scouting, Matthew received two major recognitions. He was the recipient of the William T. Hornaday Conservation Award which is presented to an individual for distinguished service in natural resource conservation, and he also became an Eagle Scout, the highest honor a Boy Scout can earn. “Matthew’s personal integrity and confidence always communicated he was in control of any situation he was in,” stated the scoutmaster of Troop 308.
Matthew plans to earn a degree in Pharmacy at Drake University in Des Moines IA. When asked why a degree in Pharmacy? He replied, “I just want to help people and make a difference in my community.”
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Naomi Zipursky – 2013 Winner in Metro Omaha and Southwest Iowa
Naomi attended Burke High School in Omaha, NE where she graduated with honors in the top 5% of her class. She was an A.P. Scholar, a member of the All State Band, the All City Band and the UNO Honor Band. Various teachers at Burke describe Naomi as: “someone who can honestly work with anyone,” “she organizes everything and everyone,” “she finds fun in nearly every activity, “she makes the entire class better when she is there.”
“As wonderful as the activities are at school, I still love being out in the community and being involved,” said Naomi. The majority of her involvement outside the walls of Burke High was with the Jewish Community - as a Jewish Life Cycle Events teacher at Beth El Synagogue, Vice President of Religious Education and President of the local chapter of United Synagogue Youth. “Naomi Zipursky is the kind of person who comes around once in a great while. She is responsible, caring and generous with her time.” These were the words of the director of congregational learning at Beth El Synagogue where Naomi was a student and also a teacher.
Naomi was also elected to attend Cornhusker Girls State where she became a Wild Wilson Woman for life (each floor is a town in Nebraska and each town is assigned a name. (Naomi was given Wilson.) “There is never a dull moment in my life,” she concluded in her Student of Integrity Award application, and she has loved every moment of it so far and looks forward to the future.
Naomi is exploring political science and international studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and hope that she may someday be an international lawyer or diplomat.
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Madison Costello - Metro Lincoln/Greater Nebraska
“Special” is only one of many words that describe Madison Costello who attended Gothenburg High School in Gothenburg, NE. Besides being an outstanding student, Madison had accomplished many other things during her high school career. Future Farmers of America (FFA) played a huge role in Madison’s life. Some of the honors she received were: a Silver Medal in Sheep Production Proficiency named a State FFA Floriculture Team Qualifier and was a Star Greenhand Award recipient. Madison also excelled in Speech. Representing her school and community, she was elected NFL Speech President her senior year and was also a SWC Speech Team Champion.
Additionally, volleyball, track, choir, musicals and Student Council were activities Madison participated in. “Ms. Costello is a leader both in and out of school. Madison exemplifies leadership by working closely with both adults and students. She is motivated to accomplish tasks and helps move others to action,” stated the principal of Gothenburg High School.
Madison is attending the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where she is majoring in Speech Pathology while studying sign language. Her long-term career goal is to work as a speech pathologist in a school setting and eventually become an administrator and education leader.
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David Von Behren - 2013 Winner in Metro Lincoln/Greater Nebraska
David von Behren attended Falls City High School in Falls City, Nebraska. He was chosen as a Student of Integrity Award recipient not only because of his outstanding accomplishments in the classroom but the leadership and achievements he showed outside of school as well. “David has always been my top student in every class that I have taught,” said David’s Business/Computer Teacher. “He strives for perfection in his work and that is why he was the ‘picture perfect’ representative for Falls City High School. “
Not only was David an NSAA Association Academic All-State Winner in Cross Country, Speech, Track , Chorus and Band, he was also elected as a delegate to American Legion Boy’s State, received the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership for Service Award and qualified in the State Speech Contest in the areas of Entertainment, Informative Speaking and Duet Acting.
Although David excelled in academics, music was his first love. David plays the violin, piano, organ and trumpet. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. While a junior in high school, David earned the 2012 Nebraska Young Artists Award for musical achievement in piano and organ. At his church, David was the full-time organist. To help other people realize their passion for music, he was a self-employed piano instructor.
David plans on earning a BA in Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio.
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Anna Maiersperger - 2013 Winner in South Dakota
Anna Maiersperger attended Washington High School in Sioux Falls, SD. Academics were not the only thing that drove Anna during her high school years. In the community she was an active member of the Serve and Learn Student Association (SALSA), a club that provides students’ opportunities to help their community by volunteering. Her Business and Technology teacher stated, “I have worked with quite a few students in my time teaching, however, few have demonstrated the integrity and fortitude displayed by Miss. Maiersperger.”
In the last four years, Anna has: served food for banquets, worked at the Second Chance Rescue Center, been an usher for the Sioux Empire Jazz and Blue Foundation, participated in local food drives and worked at the Volunteers of America thrift store. “Anna makes the people around her step up their game, and with her personality, she helps keep any environment that she is in a light and positive one,” said Anna’s manager at the bistro where she worked.
Anna is currently a freshman at Dakota State University at the University Center in Sioux Falls, SD where she is pursuing a career in Business Management.
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Amy Shan - 2013 Winner in South Dakota
Amy Shan attended Madison High School in Madison, SD. “Amy is one of those unique young people who has a rare combination of creativity, analytical capabilities, endless optimism and unwavering ethics,” described one of Amy’s teachers.
Outside the classroom, Amy organized not one, but five, “Alex’s Lemonade Stands” for Childhood Cancer Research events where she raised nearly $1,000. Amy organized and spearheaded the local high school and elementary schools’ Recycling Programs, and she spent a total over 50 hours educating the community on good recycling habits. For her work, she was recognized by her community as a 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Finalist. At the 2012 HOBY SD Leadership Seminar, she was the Assistant Coordinator of Leadership for Service and Junior Staff where she helped inspire over 132 HOBY Ambassadors to volunteer. In her church, Amy helped serve meals, played the piano, was a Sunday school teacher and quilted blankets for refugees.
Amy is attending The Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania where she will follow in her parent’s footsteps of earning a degree in Business Administration. After Amy completes her education, she wants to fulfill her life goal of creating her own non-profit organization where she can continue to help others.
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Cooper Clawson - 2013 Winner for The Kansas Plains
Cooper Clawson attended Meade High School in Meade, Kansas. Cooper was a member of both the National Honor Society and Honor Roll during his four years in high school. He also spent four years on the Student Council and was elected Class President both as a freshman and a senior. On the playing field, Cooper was just as hard-working and respected as he was in the classroom. Cooper was a member of the Buffaloes Football team and was selected, by coaches, as a captain of the MHS 2012 State Championship football team. He was also awarded for his sportsmanship by his tennis coaches in 2012.
In the community, Cooper was an active member in 4-H and served as Vice President of the State 4-H Council in 2012. He also was an involved member in his church as a member of the Praise and Worship team where he showed “a high level of servant leadership and integrity.” His volunteerism and passion for helping others went beyond the borders of the United States. In 2012, Cooper went on a mission trip to Ecuador where he helped lead two Vacation Bible Schools in jungle villages and help build an orphanage. “I have had the privilege of knowing Cooper for the past four years. He has developed into a hard working person devoted to integrity, being ethical and being a dependable person. He is a leader among his peers and an individual who is actively involved in his school, community and state,” said a former teacher and family friend of Cooper.
Cooper is attending Kansas State University where he plans to obtain a “Dual-Major” in Agribusiness and Finance along with a minor in Spanish. After college, he would like to work in agriculture finance and production.
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Amber Schmid - 2013 Winner for The Kansas Plains
Amber Schmid comes from Kensington, Kansas where she attended Thunder Ridge High School. Ms. Schmid graduated first in her class. Amber was not only a diligent student, but she also shined outside the classroom. She kept busy by being a member of the volleyball, basketball, track, cheerleading and dance teams. She was class President during both her junior and senior years and also participated in Math Relays and Pep Club.
Additionally, Amber found it very important to be involved in her community. She was an assistant in her community’s reading program, and she delivered meals to people who couldn’t go out and get groceries. When the Haiti disaster struck, Amber created health kits to help victims stay safe from infections and diseases.
Her church is also a close to Amber’s heart. She was an assistant Sunday School teacher, a children’s church aide, worked in the nursery and helped in the annual Easter egg hunt and children’s Christmas play. Amber is also part of a farm family, so at a moment’s notice; she had to become a ranch hand with chores, cattle to move and fences to fix.
Amber is currently attending Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas where she plans to get a degree in education and become an elementary teacher.
Read Amber’s Esssay