The Beatrice Educational Foundation announced several scholarships on Sunday totaling $81,575 for Beatrice students.
Among those scholarships were five Fred and Virginia V. Vette scholarships for $6,000 each. The scholarships were given to Steven Powers, Evan Witulski, Calvin Shuck, Kayla Gaertig and Nalin Theplikhith.
Two Francis Fellwock Reed Scholarships were also awarded for $7,000 each to Alexis Thavenet, who plans to attend Creighton University to become a physician assistant, and Hannah Rinne, who plans to attend Liberty University to become a physician.
A Hall of Fame award was given to William Armstrong, who graduated from Beatrice High School in 1972.
In high school, Armstrong participated in football, basketball and track, and was rewarded the Roger Woods Memorial trophy his senior year. Since graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1976, Armstrong returned to Beatrice, where he has spent two terms as the BHS Athletic Booster Club president, St. Paul Board of Education president and served on the YMCA, Nitro Soccer Club and YRI board of directors, among other things.
Armstrong said he felt privileged to be recognized as part of the other members who have received the award.
“But enough of what I’ve done,” Armstrong said. “We’re here today to celebrate you seniors. You’ve done a great job, and are just beginning. You’re leaving Beatrice and going out in the world, and you are going to do great things.”
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Armstrong reminded students that they are always welcome in Beatrice.
“There’s something here in Beatrice that is worth coming back to,” Armstrong said.
The foundation also gave a Friend of Education award to Laureen Riedesel, along with a stuffed animal dressed like the Energizer Bunny to symbolize her untiring energy and enthusiasm for educating students and the community.
Riedesel has been the director of the Beatrice Public Library since 1977, and has helped numerous students with research and composition projects, and has held several events to honor Beatrice citizens. Two of which – Robert Taylor and Weldon Kees – were BHS graduates.
Riedesel said she didn’t think she was even eligible for the award.
“Beatrice high school has incredible, incredible graduates,” she said. “You know that. Just look around. I’m so impressed with what Beatrice High School has accomplished over the years, with these incredible people who stay here, and also go out into the world and share the values and education they got in Beatrice.”
Riedesel said she is thankful for the amount of support the community has given library has gotten over the years. She explained that she moved around a lot growing up, and her goal was to move somewhere and get to know multiple generations of people.
“I’ve gotten to do that in Beatrice,” Riedesel said. “I heard some of the names of people that some of you receiving those scholarships don’t know. But I’ll tell you, they were wonderful. They would be so proud of you, and I am so proud.”
A full list of BHS scholarships will appear in a future edition of the Daily Sun.