Maxine Moul, State Director of USDA Rural Development Nebraska, made a formal presentation of the USDA RUS Grant Award to Educational Service Unit 8 in Neligh this afternoon.
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Moul presented a plaque to ESU administrator Bill Mowinkel in recognition of the $287,442 grant which will further their distance learning capabilities. The grant will be used to update distance learning equipment and connect 30 schools in Northeast Nebraska to Northeast Community College. Students will be able to get advance placement classes, dual credit courses and job skills training. ESU 8 received one of four grants awarded in Nebraska.
"I love doing these events across the state," Moul said.
She said she witnessed a virtual tour while at a presentation in North Platte yesterday. First graders from North Platte learned about puppets from a teacher in Atlanta, Ga.
"Distance learning is the great equalizer," she said. "It's wonderful to see how it opens the doors to our children. Getting college credit through Northeast is another added benefit."
Mowinkel sang the praises of his two ESU 8 employees who were instrumental in applying for the grant.
"ESU 8 is honored and humbled by the $287,443 matching grant," he said. "This will be a benefit to all districts involved and Northeast Community College. We applaud the efforts of Molly Aschoff and Mary Gurney in the preparation and submission of this successful grant application."
Aschoff thanked Moul and said the grant will help many students.
"We have band students who are taking classes through the Manhattan School of Music and we had 11 Vietnam War vets come in to send out a program to our schools," she said. "There are no boundaries anymore."
Others attending the presentation were Gurney; Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast Community College; Northeast staff members Jim Curry, Eric Johnson and Wayne Ericson; Darrell Podany of Sen. Mike Johanns office; Tiffany Settles of Sen. Deb Fischer's office; Neligh-Oakdale Supt. Kim Lingenfelter, N-O board president Carrie Pitzer; and ESU 8 employees Jill Bates, Tonya Strom and Elleah Wiebelhaus.
The following schools will receive funds from the grant: Cody-Kilgore Unified School, Valentine Community School, Ainsworth Community School, Keya Paha County School, Rock County Public School, Battle Creek High School, Chambers Public School, Clearwater-Orchard High School, Elgin Public School, Elkhorn Valley Public Schools, Ewing Public Schools, Madison Public Schools, Neligh-Oakdale High School, Newman Grove Public School, O’Neill High School, Osmond Community Schools, Pierce Public School, Plainview Public School, Pope John High School, Stanton Community Schools, Stuart Public School, Verdigre High School, West Boyd High School, Wheeler Central High School, West Holt High School, Bloomfield High School, Niobrara High School, Wausa Public School, ESU 17 in Ainsworth, and ESU 8 in Neligh.