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Northeast Community College Students Earn All-State Academic Honors

Northeast Community College Students Earn All-State Academic Honors

LINCOLN, Neb. – Three Northeast Community College students were recognized in Lincoln recently for their selection to the 2024 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-Nebraska Academic Team.

Rachel Gaver, Fremont, Kylie Jerabek, Ashton, and Kaleb Wragge, Norfolk, joined 15 other all-state team members from Nebraska’s five other community colleges in a ceremony at the Warner Legislative Chamber at the Nebraska State Capitol. 

The all-state academic team is sponsored by PTK – an international honor society for two-year colleges – and the Nebraska Community College Association, to honor students for academic achievement, leadership and community service. 

The three honorees were each introduced and presented Nebraska All-State Academic Team medallions and certificates.  

Gaver earned a Health Information Management Systems (HIMS) certificate in Summer 2023. She is on the tentative graduation list for a HIMS diploma and an associate of applied science degree in May. She plans to enter the workforce after her graduation from Northeast. 

Gaver is motivated by several things in her life, most importantly her parents.  

“My parents are constantly working hard to give their family the best life possible. They have taught me that the best things happen from hard work instead of handouts. The importance of hard work helps me learn the importance of independence.” 

Gaver said earning a degree in HIMS will allow her to be employed where she feels she can assist others. 

“I chose the HIMS major because I enjoy helping other people and not always getting the credit,” she said. “This allows me to make a difference in the healthcare system without all of the publicity. HIMS professionals work behind the scenes in quality care to improve the healthcare within hospitals.” 

Jerabek is pursuing an associate of applied science - agriculture-agronomy degree at Northeast. She plans to attend Northwest Missouri State University upon graduation. Jerabek said she has always enjoyed being active in everything she could because the activities have allowed her to grow as a person. 

“In high school I joined almost every activity I could, and I have enjoyed having similar experiences in college,” she said. “I have always been able to balance school and activities because I have such a strong passion.” 

Jerabek’s pursuit of agronomy at Northeast has allowed her to see the potential of many career opportunities that she plans to take advantage of.  

“I have been able to stand out as a member of the (Northeast) crop and soils judging team after being selected by teachers to join these teams. I really enjoyed soil judging which is why I am trying to pursue it further. … I am planning on working in either soil science or soil conservation this summer and hopefully pursue it fulltime after I complete my bachelor’s degree.”  

Wragge earned an associate degree - academic transfer from Northeast in Fall 2023. He is currently pursuing a Diploma in Horticulture and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Horticulture and Golf Course Management. After Northeast, he plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Wragge has struggled with difficult periods in his life citing what he describes as “poor standards” and what they can do to a person and their health. He said he has looked back on the challenges he has faced in his life and has used them as motivation to succeed. 

“Since coming to college, I have had a lot of time to think about and recover from my experiences. Since recovering from my experiences, I have been able to offer assistance to people that I know have gone through the same or similar experiences to help them recover.” 

Wragge’s goal in life is to become a landscape designer. He said his major in horticulture at Northeast ties significantly into his career goals. 

“Many people take pride in how their property looks and often gain or lose confidence based on how it looks. I wish to work as a landscaper and landscape designer so that I can make people feel good about their property and give them confidence and quality of life that they deserve.”   

Phi Theta Kappa, college presidents and state associations sponsor All-State Academic Team ceremonies in 39 participating states. 

Students from the 39 participating states nominated to the All-USA Academic Team are named to the All-State Academic Teams. Ranking on the All-State Academic Teams is generally determined by the student's score in the national competition. 

All-State Academic Team recognition ceremonies vary by state but are most often held in the state capital with legislators, education leaders, and corporate leaders attending. All-State Academic Team members receive special recognition at these ceremonies including medallions and certificates and may include scholarships. If applicable, Coca-Cola Gold, Silver, and Bronze Scholars are also recognized. 

Northeast Phi Theta Kappa Tau Chi Chapter sponsors are Colleen Barnes, criminal justice/sociology instructor; and Amanda Nipp, vice president of student services.  

Phi Theta Kappa All State 

Northeast Community College All-Nebraska Phi Theta Kappa members are (front row, from left) Kylie Jerabek and Kaleb Wragge. Also shown from Northeast (back row, from left) Colleen Barnes, adviser; Pat Wojcik, board member; Amanda Nipp, adviser; and Leah Barrett, president. Rachel Gaver of Northeast was named to the team but unable to attend the induction in Lincoln. (ChadCRD Images)