On Thursday, May 2, Civic Nebraska will honor Nebraskans of all ages whose efforts ensure a more modern and robust democracy in the Cornhusker State.

The 2019 Strengthening Democracy Awards honorees include educators, advocates, students and everyday Nebraskans who demonstrate exceptional civic leadership and who embody Civic Nebraska’s vision of a collaborative, innovative society. Civic Nebraska will honor the winners from 5-7 p.m. at the DelRay Ballroom, 817 R St. Tickets are available at http://bit.ly/2DsrTLV.

“Civic Nebraska was founded on the idea that a strong democracy does not build itself. It takes dedicated citizens of all ages working together to strengthen our civic institutions,” said Adam Morfeld, Civic Nebraska’s founder and executive director. “Strengthening Democracy Awards honor civic advocates for their day-in, day-out efforts to build democracy that may otherwise go unnoticed.”

Civic Nebraska’s 2019 Strengthening Democracy honorees are:

Outstanding Voting Rights Advocate: Robin Vodehnal for her longtime service as an election protector and advocate for voting rights in Greater Nebraska. During the 2018 general election, she played an instrumental role in recruiting nonpartisan election observers in central Nebraska.

Community Connector: Bryan Seck for connecting and advocating with a message of care and compassion. Seck partners with Spreetail and Duncan Aviation to deliver beds to families in need. Coupled with his community board service, his strategic planning consulting business and workforce development efforts, Seck is a champion for civic health in Lincoln.

Defender of Democracy: Edison McDonald for vigilantly working to expand rights for others. McDonald has been a powerful and competent voice at the Nebraska Legislature for disability rights and is a valued partner of Civic Nebraska's Election Protection Program.

Outstanding Neighborhood Leader: Beth Menhusen for being an active community builder in north-central Lincoln. Menhusen has partnered with Collective Impact Lincoln to create programs that support the economic and social connection of neighbors. She facilitates programs that build bridges between new and established communities in the Clinton and Hartley neighborhoods.

Outstanding Educator: Charity Iromuanya for her support of after-school programs at Everett Elementary. She also has planned, facilitated and coordinated a popular spring break and summer program with Everett. She ensures students get opportunities that may not be presented to them otherwise such as visiting universities, zoos, bookstores and other institutions that prompt students to think, "I could see myself doing this someday."

Building Young Leaders Award: Nola Derby-Bennett for her work leading Lincoln’s 26-school Community Learning Center initiative. Derby-Bennett manages the delivery of an array of programs and activities with community partners including Civic Nebraska. She works closely with both after-school providers and school personnel to ensure that Lincoln’s CLCs deliver high-quality academic and enrichment programming.

Outstanding Student Leaders: Keziah McIntosh and Matviy Yarmolyuk. Keziah, a fifth-grader at Campbell Elementary, is a member of Student Council and a mentor to younger students. Matviy, a third-grader at Campbell, leads by example through kindness toward peers, respect for adults and enthusiasm for learning.

Vann Price, Lincoln Public Schools’ supervisor of Secondary Personnel Services, will deliver the event’s keynote address. Since 2018, Price has recruited and placed secondary teacher transfers, provided support service including promotions and counseling, the district’s Leadership Development Program, summer school staffing and other assignments for LPS. Price also served at Lincoln North Star High School since its opening in 2002 — first as associate principal, and from 2011-18 as the Navigators’ principal. A 29-year LPS veteran, Price also has taught at Campbell and Humann elementary schools.

About Civic Nebraska

A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, Civic Nebraska creates a more modern and robust democracy for all Nebraskans. It is dedicated to increasing K-12 civic engagement, promoting statewide civic health and protecting voting rights. To learn more, visit civicnebraska.org.


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