News Release

November 20, 2017



On November 13 the Nebraska Department of Education recognized 139 outstanding students from across the state at a special recognition event for individual and team awards received at national events throughout the year.

The Commissioner’s Recognition is a collaborative effort between the Governor’s office and the Nebraska Department of Education, including the Center for Student Leadership and Expanded Learning, that provides support for all high school students engaged in Nebraska Career and Technical Education.

More than 250 students, parents, teachers, administrators, State Board of Education members, and senators attended the event. Deputy Commissioner of Education Deb Frison and Lt. Governor Mike Foley recognized the Nebraska Career Education students who received first, second, or third place or finalist awards during their national leadership and skills competitions held by their respective Career and Technical Student Organizations.

The students recognized during the Commissioner’s Recognition are members of DECA, Educators Rising, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, HOSA: Future Health Professionals, PBL, and SkillsUSA. They represent schools from every corner of the state.

DECA Award Winners:

  • Audrey McCann of Westside High School
  • Dallas Jones of Lincoln Southeast High School
  • An Dang of Lincoln High School
  • Samuel Curry of Elkhorn High School
  • Chad Lepaopao of Millard South High School


DECA is an international organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

Educators Rising Award Winners:

  • Emma Davis of The Career Academy
  • Maria Kamar and Marga Galins of The Career Academy
  • Katelyn Ryman of Millard Education Academy
  • Caila Gains, Riana Lurice Prudente, Ryleigh Gebers, and Emily Cole of The Career Academy
  • Taylor Powers of The Career Academy
  • Ryleigh Gerbers of The Career Academy
  • Ally Fricke and Emma Miller of The Career Academy

Educators Rising is an international student organization dedicated to supporting young people interested in education-related careers.

FBLA Award Winners:

  • Colton Patrick, Quianna Logans, and Lindsay VanRyckeghem of Bellevue East High School
  • Corbin Johnson and Keegan Shuck of Chadron High School
  • Luke Bigelow and Hunter Guru of Lincoln East High School
  • Ashley Stewart, Grayson Wegener, and Julia Niven of Lincoln Southwest High School
  • Terese Navarra of Bellevue West High School
  • Matteo Antunez of Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca High School
  • Alek Timm and Rachel Kraemer of Arlington High School
  • Cole Tessendorf of Lakeview High School
  • Garrett Richters and Preston Stuhr of Centennial Junior-Senior High School

FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) provides innovative leadership and career development programs for students.

FCCLA Award Winners:

  • Audrey Worthing of Elm Creek Public School
  • Claire Harrison of Franklin Public School
  • Andrea Jackson of Franklin Public School
  • Sheldon Johnsen of Medicine Valley Junior-Senior High School
  • Sabra Schmidt of Medicine Valley Junior-Senior High School
  • Emily Morrow, Allison Ludwig, and Allison Becker of O’Neill Public School
  • Emma Bixler of Neligh-Oakdale Public School
  • Adrianna Vinton of Mullen Public School
  • Mary Walnofer and Brooke Ehlers of Chambers Public School
  • Whitney Parker, Jillian Karl, and Tara Stelling of Nebraska City High School
  • Colton Kraft of Waverly Public School
  • Madeline Wittstruck, Callie Carraher, and Sydney Schildt of Milford Public School
  • Taylee Neefe of Hemingford Public School
  • Mia Kegley of Kearney High School
  • Robyn Isom of O’Neill Public School
  • Jordan Bidwell of Overton Public School
  • Caitlin Murphy of Exeter-Milligan Public School
  • Jordan Wilbur and Madison Yelken of Franklin Public School
  • Alexis Richmond of Chase County Public School
  • Hayley Vitosh of Chase County Public School
  • Tessa Metschke of Chambers Public School

FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) is a national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and addresses important personal, family, work and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences.

FFA Award Winners:

  • Bailey Boitnott and Jenna Knake of Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca High School
  • Luke Krabel of Adams Central High School
  • Stetson Dittmar of Sumner-Eddyville-Miller FFA
  • Blake Kirchoff of Superior High School
  • Korbin Kudera of Leigh FFA
  • Leigh-Anne Lehmann of Eustis-Farman FFA
  • Jack Bauerle, Emma Ferguson, and Molly Luhrs of Imperial High School

FFA is an organization of agricultural education students preparing for careers in agriculture, food and natural resources.

HOSA Award Winners:

  • Victoria Blankenship, Alyssa Robinson, Emma Hauenstein, and Alexandria Welch of Bellevue East High School
  • Anna Walther, Merry McCully, and Molly Cloyd of Bellevue East High School
  • Saisha Adhikari of Millard West High School

HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) is an instructional program that prepares students for health care careers.

Phi Beta Lambda Award Winners:

  • Scott Riley of Peru State College
  • Michaela Mapes and Kurt Cronican of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Ashlyn Draper, Brooke Rudebusch, and Samantha Hinrichs of Peru State College
  • Alexandra Kenney of Peru State College
  • Emily Karr of McCook Community College
  • Rebecca Lorens and Jessica Premer of McCook Community College
  • Kandace Ward of North Platte Community College
  • Kurt Cronican Of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Dustin Hageman of Doane University
  • Rose Wehrman and Brenna Backemeyer of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Brady Conant and Rose Wehrman of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Michaela Mapes of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Kate Richerson of Nebraska Wesleyan University
  • Trevor Lockard of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Rebekah Otten of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Dawson Brunswick and Stephanie Alfred of Chadron State College
  • Abi Sheen of University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Sara Bournia, Tori Tetrick, and Tami Myers of Doane University
  • Corbin Heller, Reba Burgett, Madisyn Ayers, and Anna Bauerle of Doane University
  • Drew Kasch of Chadron State College
  • Drew Kasch, Molly O’Connell and Troy Fields of Chadron State College

Phi Beta Lambda is the collegiate division of the FBLA-PBL association, which prepares members for careers in business or business-related occupations.

SkillsUSA Award Winners:

  • Charles Ames and Shirocco Williams of Metropolitan Community College
  • Bo Jensen of Northeast Community College
  • Matt Spawn of Wayne State College
  • Randy Larson of Southeast Community College
  • Clayton Pavelka of Hastings High School
  • Joseph Massman and Jesse Osborn of Columbus High School
  • Evan Mettenbrink of Seward High School
  • Garrett Beard of Hastings Senior High School
  • Calvin Craig and Dylan Kudera of Northeast Community College
  • Abby King, Korissa Runyan, Hallie Malsbury, Josline Garcia, Kelsey Epp, Rebecca Ady, and Breanna Patterson of North Platte High School
  • Miranda Hornung of Raymond Central
  • Christopher Galusha, Jarod Harris, Greta Hughes, Evan Mettenbrink, and Riley Pollock of Seward High School
  • Drew Persigehl of Bennington High School

SkillsUSA is a national organization serving high school and college students who are enrolled in training programs in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations and tech prep.


David Jespersen
Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Education