North Star High School: Outstanding Youth Engagement Program

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Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting the award winners for our Strengthening Democracy Awards on April 24th at the International Quilt Studies Museum in Lincoln. You can buy tickets here.

Led by Civic Engagement Mentor, Cliff McEvoy, Mrs. Elizabeth Carranza-Rodriguez and her 6th period class of twenty-six geography students from North Star High School completed Civic Nebraska’s Civic Engagement Mentor program. What started as a simple yet important conversation with McEvoy on his Air Force background, turned into a creative service learning project in which they created care packages for Nebraska’s deployed Air National Guard members.

After learning from Master Sergeant (MSgt) Sarah Bredthauer of the Nebraska Air National Guard, about the deployment of twelve members of her civil engineering squadron during the holidays, the class immediately jumped to action.

After learning and researching about issues facing deployed military when they leave and come home, the students looked at a variety of ways to approach the issue and develop a meaningful service project that would assist the military members over the holidays.

They decided to send care packages, full of requested Husker gear items.  With the help of the reigning Miss Nebraska and Nebraska Husker Coach Papuchis the class was able to acquire some sought-after Husker apparel and posters. But they didn’t stop there. They reached out to friends, family, and the Lincoln community for gift cards to buy items and ran a donation drive which raised $75 in gift cards to buy food and over $150 to pay for postage.

McEvoy said, “For me, what began as a class discussion about military service had culminated in a service learning project where 26 Lincoln Public School students showed how the kindness of the community can come together to donate time, items, and money for a good cause: Nebraskans deployed over the holidays in defense of our country.”

Because this class was not afraid to get involved, ask questions, ask for help, and inspire others through their service, they are one of the recipients of the Outstanding Youth Engagement Program award.

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