Members of the North Platte Community College Knights Softball Team were recognized for winning the 2015 National Junior College Athletic Association Region IX Division II softball championship.

Their head coach, Janelle Higgins, was also recognized for being named Region IX Division II Coach of the Year.

Other awards and honors include:

Dr. Melissa Kean, Creighton University alumna and the Centennial Historian of Rice University, has been named the winner of the 2016 Believe and Achieve Award, presented at the Leader for Life Luncheon in May. Kean earned a master’s degree in history from Creighton in 1993. A member of the Creighton Board of Trustees from 2011 to 2015, Kean served on the board’s athletics committee, was a contributor to the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice and was involved in a number of capital projects and scholarship initiatives, including the Leaders for Life athletic scholarship. In April 2015, Kean was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Nebraska Beta Chapter, at Creighton. She is also a member of the advisory board of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Policy, the advisory board of the College of Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University and Creighton’s National Alumni Board, for which she served as president in 2009.

LINCOLN — Twenty-seven Nebraska leaders were honored with certificates and commemorative awards at the State Chamber’s Leadership Nebraska commencement ceremony Feb. 18 in Lincoln. Graduates are current and emerging leaders from communities throughout Nebraska. The Leadership Nebraska Class VIII graduates are: Cameron Arch, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Omaha; Jill Becker, Black Hills Energy, Lincoln; Silas Clarke, Midwest Hop Producers, Plattsmouth; Eric Drumheller, EducationQuest Foundation, Lincoln; Linda Dugan, PayPal, La Vista; Andrew Elder, Pinnacle Bank, Wisner; Josh Erickson, Team Concepts, Kearney; Kari Haase, Cuming County Public Power District, West Point; Kyla Habrock, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Lincoln; Elizabeth Hilyard, City of Scottsbluff; Amy Jacobsen, deputy Douglas County attorney, Omaha; Melissa Jarecki, Nucor Steel, Norfolk; Meg Klosterman Kester, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources, Lincoln; Scott Lloyd, Ameritas Investment Corp., Lincoln; Christin Lovegrove, Heinisch & Lovegrove Law Office, Geneva; Sarah McDonald, Werner Enterprises Inc., Omaha; Stephanie Mueller, Metropolitan Utilities District, Omaha; Andrew Niehaus, Nebraska Public Power District, Brownville; Timothy Nissen, Omaha Public Power District, Omaha; Shawn Pollock, Mutual of Omaha, Omaha; Ann Prockish, CenturyLink, Omaha; Greg Ptacek, City of Neligh economic development, Neligh; Jeffrey Ray, JEO Consulting Group, Omaha; Kyle Reisenweber, Nucor Steel, Norfolk; Darren Robinson, Economic Development Council of Buffalo County, Kearney; Sara Semin, Robert B. Daugherty Foundation, Omaha; and Thomas Whiteing, Renaissance Financial Corp., Omaha. Application forms for the next class of Leadership Nebraska may be submitted until April 15. For more information, contact Roberta Pinkerton at 402-474-4422, or visit

At the bimonthly SCORE (Service Corps Retired Execs) luncheon, members Tom Sharman, CEO of Tesco Productions, and Brenda Clark, director of Metro Omaha Women’s Business Center, were recognized for 10 years of volunteer service with SCORE.Chairman David Gregg conducted the awards ceremony. SCORE is the nonprofit volunteer branch of the U.S. Small Business Association that specializes in mentoring, education and service to the small-business community.

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