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Northeast in O’Neill hosts career exploration day for high school students

Northeast in O’Neill hosts career exploration day for high school students

O’NEILL, Neb. – Northeast Community College in O’Neill hosted approximately 130 high school students from eight schools recently for an event that was designed to allow them to explore some of the programs of study at Northeast and learn about Early College offerings at its extended campus in the Holt County community.

Early College provides a mechanism for students to take college courses and earn college credits while in high school through a cooperative program, formalized with a written contract, between Northeast and participating area high school districts in the College’s 20-county service region. Beginning in the Fall 2023 semester, the Early College program at Northeast will provide free tuition for all students currently enrolled in high school to take dual credit or college credit courses.  

Merri Schneider, director of the extended campus, said she received very positive feedback from the schools that participated in the day’s events. 
“The students really enjoyed the hands-on activities and appreciated having the opportunity to interact with the instructors in the small group breakout sessions,” Schneider said. “Our Fridays @ Northeast students helped with the activities during the sessions, and answered questions about what it is like to be a Fridays @ Northeast student at the O’Neill extended campus.”

Approximately 30 Northeast faculty and staff members conducted 10 breakouts including Precision Agriculture, where Courtney Nelson, precision ag trainer, worked with students to explore agriculture through an interactive session that was focused on agriculture and precision technology, including seed meters and drones. Dr. Karen Weidner, director of nursing at Northeast, led a session on pediatric nursing where students learned what is necessary to work in the rewarding profession which cares for infants through adolescence.

Other sessions focused on building construction, criminal justice, education, graphic design, nurse aide and medication aide, physical therapist assistant, veterinary technology, and welding.

Each student had the opportunity to attend four of the 10 sessions. Students from high schools in Chambers, Keya Paha, O’Neill St. Mary’s, Rock County, Stuart, Summerland, West Holt and Wheeler Central attended the event.

On the same day, Northeast hosted an O’Neill Area Chamber of Commerce Coffee that allowed Chamber members to walk through and explore the interactive sessions for the students. Dr. Leah Barrett, college president, and Dr. Charlene Widener, vice president of educational services also attended the coffee. 
“We are looking forward to hosting this event again next year,” Schneider said. “Based on feedback we have from those who attended, I anticipate this event will draw more schools and a larger group of students.”

To learn more about Early College at Northeast Community College, visit


                                                                                             PHOTO CUTLINE 

Risken Dawson, a student at St. Mary’s High School in O’Neill, attaches a wall plate to the floor, while Lawrence Werth and Brayden Krugman, also of St. Mary’s, hold the wall steady in a Building Construction breakout session, led by Northeast instructor Curtis Brandt. They were among approximately 130 high school students from eight schools who attended a day at the institution’s extended campus in O’Neill to explore careers and learn about Northeast’s Early College program.