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JA Recognizes Amazing Volunteers

As we’ve mentioned, it takes a small army of generous people to make the Junior Achievement of Lincoln mission possible. Last year alone, more than 1,000 corporate and community volunteers took our curriculum into classrooms… and that number doesn’t even account for all the teachers, company coordinators, board members, donors, and others who are part of our huge, diverse, generous team.

Once a year, we get the chance to spend an afternoon focused on thanking some of these wonderful people. On June 13th, more than 100 community leaders gathered at The Cornhusker Hotel for our annual recognition luncheon, [see photos below] and it was wonderful to be surrounded by so much energy focused on building a better future for our students.

Of those 1,000+ volunteers who took the JA message into classrooms this year, four were selected to receive the prestigious “Peak Performance” awards. Congratulations to:

Volunteers of the Year

Dawn Carta, Bryan Health
Sarah Lempka, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Melanie Nebesniak, Lincoln Industries
Dan Ochoa, CHI Health Saint Elizabeth

On the other side of the coin, we also recognized some of the amazing teachers who welcomed the JA program into their classrooms and went above and beyond in supporting the volunteers and their messages. Congratulations to:

Educators of the Year

Jenifer Barton, Holmes Elementary
Lauren Dostal, Lefler Middle School
Ryan Psota, Pius X High School

In addition, Rebecca Spataro of Fiserv was named Company Coordinator of the Year for her efforts in recruiting and encouraging employees to volunteer for JA.

Four individuals also received JA USA Leadership Awards, which are presented to a select few long-time supporters of JA who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the JA mission. Recognized this year were:


Roland Temme, TMCO Inc.


Bill Ellerbee, Lincoln Industries
Jessie Fries, Lefler Middle School
Jan Rodehorst, Junior Achievement District of Kearney

Finally, six individuals were inducted into JA’s Gold Apple Society, meaning they have impacted at least 500 students and have taught at least 20 JA classrooms since 2010. These are extraordinary volunteers doing extraordinary things! Our newest inductees into the Gold Apple Society are:

Dean & Sue Belka
Kyle Hershberger, Cross Financial
Jane Janesch
Dustin Lottman, Farm Bureau Financial Services
Mike O’Neill, Security First Bank

In a perfect world, we would be able to have trophies, banners, and parades for all the wonderful people who give so generously of their time and resources to the students of JA of Lincoln. We are filled with appreciation for each and every one of you! Never doubt that you are making a difference.

Congratulations to all of this years winners, and thank you all for helping us build a better future, one classroom at a time!

Bill Ellerbee

Dan Ochoa

Dawn Carta & Jenifer Barton

Dean & Sue Belka with Dan Remigio

Dustin Lottman

JA Super School winners

Jan Rodehorst

Jane Janesh

Kyle Hershberger

Lauren Dost

Melanie Nebesniak

Mike O’Neill

Rebecca Spataro

Roland Temme

Ryan Psota

Sarah Lempka

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