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The 2014 Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award

On Wednesday, April 30, I had the honor and privilege of presenting the inaugural Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award to a graduating senior at Wayne State College (WSC) in Wayne, NE.
The award was created to showcase a graduating WSC senior who has served as an exemplary role model and contributed to the service ethos of the college campus and community at large during their college career. Selected students must have participated in at least one Service‐Learning academic or co‐curricular project/event while at WSC and have maintained good academic standing with a GPA of 2.5 or higher while in college. 
All of the applications received were excellent making the committee’s decision a very difficult one.
In addition to receiving a certificate and a ribboned medallion, the winner of this year’s award received a crystal trophy along with a check for $500. The winner will also be recognized during graduation commencement May 10. 
The second and third place finishers received a certificate along with a ribboned medallion, which is suitable for wearing at graduation to recognize their Service-Learning and civic engagements while students at WSC.  
The winner of this year’s award is Boone Evans (pictured above) who is a science major from Herman, NE.  He will graduate with a concentration in chemical sciences and eventually plans to attend graduate school in Chemistry. He was an active volunteer in Rotaract, which stands for Rotary in Action. He was nominated by Dr. Engebretsen who wrote a very strong and compelling nomination letter - in part she wrote “While many students participate in Service-Learning as a course requirement, not all students embrace a philosophy of ‘Service Above Self’, the motto of Rotary and Rotaract. Boone has distinguished himself as exemplary of this motto. Many students join clubs. Many participate in club activities, but few internalize the spirit of service as Boone has.”
Through Rotaract, Boone actively participated in numerous volunteer activities, including highway cleanup; serving meals to citizens of Wayne; making holiday cards for seniors; working with the ‘LifeServe’ Blood Center as part of their blood drive; and helping raise monetary funds to assist with the building of clean wells for the impoverished population of Zimbabwe in Africa. In addition to his volunteerism in Rotaract, he has held office positions in other clubs and activities, as well as volunteered for various science competitions on campus during all four of his college years. 
He actively participated in two Service-Learning projects: Lifespan Development Class and the seventh annual Elderfest.
In providing a personal narrative that describes his philosophy about service, Boone wrote in part: “As humans, no matter what our background, we can analyze our lives and understand when change is needed. Once we have recognized that change is needed, we can work to make the change we wish to see. The belief that we can enact change in our world is hope, and hope can lead to the most powerful and beneficial change. Hope can set us free from racial discrimination and social stigmas, and can give power to impoverished and broken peoples. I believe hope can be spread among communities and across continents through service.” 
The second place recipient was Jackie Keller who is an education major from Norfolk, NE. She will graduate with an endorsement in K-12 vocal music education. Her volunteer work included music performances at The Oaks, The Careage, and The Senior Citizen Center. She also actively participated in two Service-Learning experiences: K-6 Music Method’s Class and 7-12 Music Method’s Class.  
The third place recipient was Vickie Nielsen (pictured above) who is a student athlete from Fremont, NE. She will graduate with an applied human and sports physiology degree and plans to attend physical therapy school after graduation. Her volunteer work while a Wayne State student included NSAA wrestling hydration and body fat assessments; tornado relief; and the teammates mentoring program. She also actively participated in two Service-Learning courses: Cardiac Rehabilitation and Life Span Development.
It was such an honor to recognize such amazing stewards of Service-Learning and civic engagement.

About the author
Ron Holt (Dr. Ron Holt)
Comments (2)
  1. Reply Sherry Dorman
    May 1, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Looks like a great first recipient!

  2. Reply Kevin Armstrong
    May 6, 2014 at 6:13 am


    Keep up the great work! Thank you for your dedication and service to others.

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