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There were over 30 high school students, plus faculty and local volunteers that contributed and assisted in the annual “Bluejay Way” Community Service Day on Sunday, November 5th, 2023 throughout the Greater Seward area. The day promoted community service at Seward High School and coordinated opportunities for the students to add to their community service hours. The school and community introduced a wide variety of venues to serve as opportunities for the students to add to their list of community service hours or begin their community service program. This year the program was coordinated through the Seward High Key Club with teacher advisors Ross Briggs and Ashlee Rickert.
Each graduate at Seward High is required to complete 30 hours of community service as a qualification for graduation. This is a day of volunteer time that is sponsored and coordinated twice a year-and as a result, if a student completes these two days twice a year, half of their community service requirement is fulfilled.
There were four teachers from SHS assisting with this event. Jordan Hinrichs coordinated the Nebraska National Guard Museum volunteer opportunities. Lynette Petersen was assisting and directing at the Seward County Historical Society Museum in Goehner with a group of seven students. SHS teacher - Ashlee Rickert worked with students to prepare the major floats for the annual Seward Holiday Parade sponsored by the SCCDP and Ross Briggs was the coordinator at the Seward Civic Center with seven students working on a variety of projects from setting up the trees for the GFWC Seward Woman’s Club’s Festival of Trees, bagging tourism information for area visitors and bundling brochures for the Seward County Visitor’s Bureau. Other community members volunteered and assisted guiding the students throughout the event in supervisory positions during the day at the various sites, including the Seward United Methodist Church.
“It was wonderful and rewarding to see these students working “side by side” with numerous, longtime volunteers at all of the sites,” noted SHS Educator Lynnette Peterson. “The experience was well organized and the students could see immediately that their work made an impact on the facility or project that they were assigned. Many of the students also noted that they planned to return to their worksite and volunteer for more hours, as the experience generated an interest in the activities that occurred at that location. In fact, some had never been to the volunteer site before-and that also proved to be very educational.”
This event has been coined, "The Bluejay Way" and it was labeled a success for our students and community. All in all, there were 30 students, four volunteer teachers, and extra volunteer adult and volunteer supervisors at each location, which amounted to almost 50+ volunteers working at five locations for a two hour period of time - all generating community service as volunteers!
“For many of these students, it is their first step into community service and being a volunteer. Our goal is to introduce them to a variety of community service opportunities in Seward and “wet their appetite to do more,” commented coordinator SHS Educator- for the Seward High Key Club-Ross Briggs. “Seward is a great town, known for its many wonderful volunteers and we must continue to educate and build the next generation of volunteers for Seward, Nebraska - instilling in these students the desire to “give back” to the community!”
The duties at each of the locations included…..
Nebraska National Guard Museum - Outdoor maintenance of cleaning up around the building, working with set up inside the museum as well.
SCCDP Christmas Floats- Cleaned and repaired the floats and checked lights and such, in preparation for the big Seward Holiday Christmas Festival.
Goehner-Seward County Historical Society Museum - Cleaned up the grounds around the buildings, cleaned inside the buildings, polished the school house and cleaned and dusted the exhibits.
Civic Center – cleaned out basement storage room, sorted and bundled new tourism brochures/maps, made tourism packets, sorted Christmas decorations and put together the Christmas trees for the Festival of Trees
Methodist Church – cleaned the outdoor children’s garden and gathered the leaves/sticks and yard debris and polished and cleaned the pews in the church.
Each of the locations continues to offer community service opportunities for volunteers. Please contact them to assist with their programs. The event was coordinated by SHS educator Ross Briggs of Seward Key Club. For more information on the program contact Briggs at SHS 402-643-2988 or email him at Ross.Briggs@sewardschools.org.
Seward High Senior, Jadyn Nelson was selected the 2023 November Youth Rotarian and honored on Wednesday, November 8th at the noon luncheon meeting of the Seward Rotary Club. Rotarian Anita Foor introduced Jadyn and presented his resume to the club members. The Rotary Club presented him with a bag of information on Seward and Rotary and a special Rotary Banner. He is the son of Duane and Jaala Nelson of Seward.
This SHS Honor Student has been involved in numerous Advance Placement Classes and Dual Credit Classes as well. He is consistently on the SHS Honor Roll as well. His junior year he was awarded with the “Preparation” Award by his English teacher at SHS.
Jadyn is involved in a host of activities at Seward High and especially enjoys the sport of Cross Country. He is was recently named a Seward High Cross Country Letterman. He is also a member of the SHS Track and Field Team and participated in many successful meets over the years-participating in Track and Cross Country for a total of six years.
Jadyn is a leader in the Seward High Show Choir, serving as a loyal member of the present show choir and as the boy’s Dance Captain. He has served as an assistant for the Show Choir Camp for the middle school. He was awarded the “Dedication” Award by the SHS Show choir instructor. He is also a member of the “Select Choir” and Jazzy Jays.
He is an active leader in the SHS Key Club, the Builders Club and the Seward High Ambassadors-hosting tours and representing SHS at a variety of activities. He always participated in the Key Club Multicultural Fair for the Elementary students.
He is a pillar in the SHS Skills USA leadership team and has participated in many of the Skills USA competitions, both at the State and National Level of Skills USA. He placed 18th his Sophomore year at National Skills USA and 18th his Junior year at National Competition with his 3D Animation Project and he place First at the State Level of competition of Skills USA this last year in 3D Animation. He was also a team member and placed 2nd in the Skills USA Opening and Closing ceremony for Skills USA at the State Level. He has competed in Cabinet Making and Mousetrap Vehicle contests with Skills USA.
Jadyn is an artist and loves art-especially pottery. He has placed first at the local, District and State level for the GFWC NFWC Art Contests with his pottery, named “Best of Show” and recognized as well as several contests with his pottery. . His pottery placed first in the Education Division of the Nebraska State Fair this year and his sculpture place fourth at the State Fair as well. He has been recognized with a variety of awards and honors at the Seward County Fair for his art and entries in Open Class.
Jadyn has been involved in the Play Production/One Act presentations at SHS for several years and participated in a variety of contests with his performances. He was awarded the Outstanding Actor Award both at the Central Conference and District levels. He was named the Elks Lodge Performing Art/Drama Awardee for SHS for his presentation in the musical.
He serves as a voice of youth with his membership in the Seward County “Pheasants Forever!”
Since he was 13 he has been employed and busy, especially during the summer months, most recently working for 2F Poultry of Beaver Crossing with a varied set of tasks centered on poultry care. He has also worked for Syngenta in Goehner as a pollinator, detasseler and worked in the fields with rogueing. Jadyn was employed by Houchen Book Bindery and worked across the bindery with varied jobs one summer. He uses most of the funds generated for college savings.
He plans to attend either and obtain a degree and work in the profession of mechanical engineering or hardware development and plans to either attend Southeast Community College in Milford to earn a degree in Electromechanical automation or attend Hastings Central Community College for a degree in Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Drafting and Design.
His “Service Above Self” hours center on his volunteer projects with his many service groups-food drives, blood drives and other activities. He has spent many hours hosting as a Student Ambassador and been involved with both flood and hail storm clean-up efforts. He has been a willing camp counselor with Track Camp, Cross-Country Camp, Outdoor Education Camp and Show Choir Camp for the Middle School and enjoys working and volunteering with the local senior citizen programs and a host of other volunteer efforts.
He was recognized and thanked for his outstanding career at Seward High and presented with a Rotary Book Scholarship-and will be recognized again at the SHS Honors Night at Seward High School. He is now also a finalist for the Seward Youth Rotarian of the Year-which will be named at the Honors Night.
The Seward Rotary Awards the Youth Rotarian Award monthly and nominations can be obtained from the SHS Counselor’s Office.