2024 KKD Winners

  Graduating from Pennfield High School in Battle Creek will usher in a good number of changes in Emma Brown’s life. She’ll head to Concordia University in Chicago, Illinois, to study Exercise Science. As a high school student, Emma led fundraising for the Student Advisory Committee, was a member of the National Honor Society, and played first chair flute in the band. Inspired by an internship in the Physical Therapy department at Bronson Hospital, Emma hopes to apply her degree and experiences to a career in health and fitness as a nutritionist, personal trainer, physical therapist, health coach, and even a yoga instructor. Emma has a deep and profound understanding of the human experience, and rather than going back and changing anything in her life, she knows she’s learned from every experience, good or bad. She realizes that every choice she’s made has made her who she is today, and she wants to continue looking forward and focus on becoming the person she dreams of becoming instead of looking at the past.
  Once Audrey Strapp graduates from Gahanna Lincoln High School, she will be attending Ohio State University to study Business/Accounting. She hopes to become either a financial analyst or a financial manager someday. While going to high school, she was involved in many school activities, including Varsity tennis, National Honor Society, School House Mentor (Captain), and School Ambassador. Along with those activities, she was also active in her community by volunteering at G.R.I.N., church nursery, Sunday School Teacher/Aid, Nationwide Children’s Marathon, dance camp, and Ronald McDonald House. She prides herself in her hard-working mindset, softheartedness, and friendliness.
  During his high school career, Miguel Pita-Ruiz prioritized his education. His efforts resulted in high ACT and SAT marks and a 4.0 GPA. After graduating from Douglas County High School, Miguel plans to pursue a degree in Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His activities in high school included robotics and art club.
Anna Roethlisberger is planning to follow her dream of laying a solid foundation in health care by pursuing Athletic Training at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. Later on, she wants to become a Physician’s Assistant. She hopes to enhance her skills in injury prevention, evaluation, and rehabilitation while attending school. Attending Mattawan High School, Anna excelled in National Honor Society and women’s lacrosse. Her biggest accomplishment is being a part of the Alpine Ski Team, where she achieved 4th place in conference (Freshman), champion in conference (Sophomore), academic all-state (Junior and Senior), three-time MVP, and 2024 Giant Slalom Team State Champion. She contributed to her community by volunteering for the Mattawan Area Food Pantry and Mattawan High School Concessions. Perseverance and determination are her greatest strengths when faced with obstacles or setbacks.
  After graduating from Lincoln East High School, Regan Barnard will move to Omaha, where she intends to study Kinesiology at the University of Nebraska/Omaha, run track, and eventually become a Physical or Occupational Therapist. As someone whose life revolves around sports and constant movement, Regan is curious to know what Michael Jordan would have done with his life if basketball hadn’t been an option. In addition to her athletic prowess, Regan won an academic letter as a student who made the honor roll all four years of high school. She also used her leadership skills as Captain of the Lincoln East girls basketball team and was a four-year letter winner who was named All-Conference in both basketball and track. In middle school and high school, Regan was chosen to participate in the University of Nebraska’s NHRI Leadership Mentor program, which is a leadership development program.
After graduating from Pius X High School, Seth Berens plans to study Mechanical Engineering at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. While in high school, Seth was part of the Academic Decathlon and was a national qualifier one year and earned a varsity letter the next. He ran cross country and played football his freshman and sophomore years, was on the swimming and diving team all four years, serving two years as co-captain, and ran track, qualifying for state one year and earning varsity letters for two of the years. Seth was a Marshal for Squires, a member of God Teens, and his proudest achievement, Seth attained Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. Among Seth’s career goals is owning his own company that builds cars that run on hydrogen instead of gasoline. He’d also like to be part of a team that builds and competes with dune buggies that run on hydrogen.
After graduating from Pius X High School, Collin Howell is planning to attend Nebraska Wesleyan University to study Accounting and continue his golf career. While attending Pius X, Collin was involved in the golf team and a student manager for the boys’ basketball team. He was an active part of the community by volunteering in numerous different positions, such as; St. John’s Fish Fry, Lincoln Youth Golf League, St. John’s Firework Stand, Youth 7th Grade Basketball Assistant Coach, St. John’s God Teen Youth Group, and Meals on Wheels. Among the many originations that Collin dedicated his time to, his most profound experience was when he got to volunteer at the Korn Ferry Golf Tournament. He has had a love for the game of golf throughout his whole life; watching professionals play taught him how much fun and commitment the game is. His greatest strengths are being kind to others, telling the truth no matter the consequences, and being a responsible and reliable person.
Once Abbey Kohn graduates from Lincoln Southwest High School, she plans on attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to double major in Textiles, Merchandising, Fashion Design, and French. While in high school, she was a member of the track & field team and Health Occupation Students of America. She received 4th place at state H.O.S.A in Anatomage. Her goal is to obtain a job in the fashion industry while using her skills in the French language. Her greatest strengths are her desire to learn new things, attention to detail, and having new experiences.
  Preslie Spurling’s strong passion for kids and her love of watching them grow and learn will take her to Nebraska Wesleyan University to study elementary and special education. At Lincoln East High School, she participated in several varsity choir groups while volunteering in the community as an assistant dance teacher and youth volleyball coach. She currently works for a child development center, which has made her passion for teaching kids even stronger.
  Dan Vo’s plan immediately after graduating from Pius X High School is to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and earn a degree in Software Engineering, where he will continue to fuel his curiosity about software. During his time at Pius X High School, he was involved in athletics that included tennis and track & field. Academically, he was involved in National Honor Society for his Junior and Senior years. He was actively volunteering throughout his community at Cathedral of Risen Christ, Lincoln Guardians of Freedom Airshow, Matt Talbot Food Pantry, Catholic Social Services Food Market, and North American Martyrs School. Dan is proud of the innovated ways he answers solutions and collaborates with team members.
  Kyley Petersen envisions a future dedicated to nurturing children’s learning. Following graduation from Waverly High School, she aims to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Wayne State College or the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Subsequently, she plans to further her education by obtaining a Master’s degree. Her ultimate goal is to establish a private practice or contribute to an elementary school environment. Throughout her high school journey, Kyley engaged in various activities, including sports such as basketball and volleyball, alongside extracurricular activities like Future Business Leaders of America, One-Act Play, National Honor Society, and Student Council. Additionally, she generously volunteered in her community, supporting groups such as the Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach and community food drives, among others.
  Samantha Scott has her sights set on graduating from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. She plans to eventually earn her doctorate degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology. During her time at Roncalli High School, she participated in many activities such as; volleyball, track & field, National Honor Society (Vice President), theater, Honors Choir, and Roncalli Singers. Samantha was actively involved in her community as a volunteer for Girl Scouts, Walk to Prevent Suicide, leaf raking, Sierra Club Dinner, Janet Plant Fundraiser, and Solo and Ensemble. Her most memorable experience was volunteering for Vacation Bible School and impacting the lives of the kids who attended. She is very determined and willing to help others.
  Brayden DePuy plans to pursue Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, after graduating from Paw Paw High School. In the future, he hopes to work for an aviation or automotive company. While attending high school, he excelled in Varsity football and Varsity Power Lifting, where he lettered in both and was named Team Captain for Power Lifting. Brayden has many strengths that consist of problem-solving, creativity, multitasking, and the ability to work under pressure.
  Paige Riley will attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall to continue her education in Vet Science. During her time at Milford High School, Paige was involved in volleyball, track, band, FBLA (Vice President), FCCLA, and Student Council (Secretary). She gave back to her community by volunteering at the Food Drive, Unified Sports, Christ’s Place Church, Field Day, and Volleyball camp. In the future, she plans to volunteer at a local animal shelter to help cats and dogs find homes. One of Paige’s greatest strengths is staying true to herself and seeing the good in all people.
  After graduating from Potterville High School this spring, Eric Vue will be attending Michigan State University to further his studies in Pre-Pharmacy. After finishing at Michigan State University, he would like to transfer to Michigan College of Pharmacy to follow the steps of his mother and become a Pharmacist. He actively participated in athletics while attending school. He was part of the Varsity Soccer, track, marching band, and cross-country teams. Eric strived in academics and was proudly a member of the National Honor Society, where he was elected Treasurer, and Student Council where he was the Class Executive. He volunteered for his community at Hmong Family Association, where he took pride in organizing activities for youth at the annual New Year’s festival. Eric takes pride in himself as a person who is always willing to be there for others.
Liam Evans‘ plan after graduating from David Douglas High School is to complete his general education classes at Mount Hood Community College and then transfer to Portland State University to major in Technical Filmmaking and Computer Science. During high school, he was a proud member of the Wind Ensemble (Band) and Stage Run Crew (Technical Theater). His community volunteering activities included SOLVE Street Cleanup and SnowCap Food Distribution. Liam has a passion for writing, music, filmmaking, and history. Those passions have helped him excel in writing short stories, creating stop-motion films and scripts, and learning to play the guitar.
After graduating from Seward High School, Ona Stutzman plans on attending Concordia University but is still unsure about what her course of study will be. She will also be continuing her athletic career by being a member of the Concordia basketball team. While attending high school Ona was a Varsity letter winner for softball, basketball, and track & field. She was involved in FCA, Junior Jays Mentoring Program, and National Honor Society through her school. Ona gave a lot of her time to her community by volunteering at various places. These places are the People City Mission (Lincoln & Omaha), Youth Basketball Camps, Vacation Bible School, Youth Softball Camps, Youth Group, New Horizons Ministry, and Life-Care Alliance. 
  After graduating from Seward High School, Emily Bujarski will be attending the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, to pursue Art Education. Art has always allowed her to express herself and be creative, which is something that she loves. During high school she was part of the soccer and cross country (manager) athletic teams and extra-curricular activities that include Skills USA and Key Club. Emily was also involved in numerous musical activities including marching band, musical, wind ensemble/symphonic band, One Act, and mixed choir. She gave back to her community by volunteering for Multi-Cultural Fair Day, Blue River Pet Rescue, nursing home, Canned Food Drive, and Soup Dinner. Her greatest strength is being able to be creative through art and music, which has helped her gain confidence.
  Megan Zahnow plans to follow her dream of working with injured athletes by majoring in Exercise Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where she will earn her Bachelor’s Degree. She then wants to apply to a physical therapy doctorate program. As a student at Vicksburg High School, Megan was involved in numerous activities such as; cross country, track, indoor track, marching band, symphonic band, and National Honor Society. She strived to become a captain of multiple activities. She gave back to her community by volunteering at Middle School cross country and track meets, Club Competitive Gymnastics, church youth group (Team Leader), Florida Hurricane Relief, leaf raking for the elderly, and children’s programs at her local church. Megan’s greatest strengths are her hard work, dedication, and perseverance throughout life. She prides herself in the practice that she puts into each new skill.
After being a patient at a local physical therapy establishment, Carleigh Bodfield is following her dreams of becoming a Physical Therapist at the University of Nebraska-Wesleyan. Her goal is to help people in difficult challenges and watch them surpass hardships, just like she did. She wants to major in Pre-Physical Therapy at Wesleyan and then transfer to UNMC for Graduate School. While a student at Waverly High School, she was involved in numerous school activities, such as yearbook, softball, journalism, Academics Honor Roll, and National Honor Society. She also was an active member of her community by being involved in her local youth group, Big Sister, babysitting, and Youth Group Outreach. Carleigh prides herself on being able to communicate with others, be a good team member, and her ability to adjust to changes.