NCTA: Family scholarship honors agricultural heritage

CURTIS, Neb. _ Ellie Jarecke of Culbertson and William Huebner of Hershey exemplify the tradition of individuals and families engaged in Nebraska agriculture.

Both students were 2021-22 recipients of the Sylvia Clawson English Memorial for the Fred and Edna Hecht Scholarship.

Descendants of the Hecht family recognize NCTA students each year in commemoration of their family heritage in southwestern Nebraska. They value higher education and students pursuing careers that benefit the state and rural communities.



During their senior year at NCTA, Ellie Jarecke and William Huebner received $2,500 scholarships. Each was active in student programs at Curtis College.

Ellie Jarecke



Ellie Jarecke’s goal is to become an agricultural educator and teach high school students.

“I had an amazing agricultural teacher for two years in high school (Lauren Miller of Sumner) who taught me so much and brought out the love I have for agricultural education today,” says Jarecke.

She grew up on the family farm with a seed business and spent much of her time in the home welding shop. Jarecke was active in FFA at McCook High School and 4-H for 12 years and was a summer intern in 2021 at the Hitchcock, Dundy and Hayes County Nebraska Extension Office.

Originally, Jarecke majored in business at Lincoln, but returned to her southwest Nebraska roots to attend NCTA and work at a McCook nursing home.

“I worked my whole career through high school and college so I could be the first generation in my family to get a bachelor’s degree,” she said.

Jarecke majored in agricultural education at NCTA and in August was a transfer student to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in agricultural leadership, education and communications. After her ALEC program and teaching students, she will graduate from UNL in 2024.

Stock exchanges have opened doors. Eventually, Jarecke says she can get her master’s degree.

Jarecke is studying agricultural education at Lincoln and Huebner is a farmer on a family farm near Hershey. NCTA
Courtesy picture

William Huebner

His family farm inspired William Huebner of Hershey. The 2020 Hershey High School graduate excelled in academics and athletics at HHS. At NCTA, his studies in agricultural production systems emphasized diversified agriculture with agro-industry, crops and livestock.

At NCTA, he served as a member of Student Senate, Academic Honorary Phi Theta Kappa, and Intramural Sports.

After graduating with honors in May, Huebner is back at the family farm south of Hershey.

One of the benefits of attending the NCTA, Huebner says, was the proximity, being an hour from home. He returned on weekends and during the busier seasons to help his family.

Acquiring skills in precision agriculture, animal nutrition, ration formulation, and artificial insemination of beef cattle were among the academic highlights.

The APS Capstone class in its final semester brought together the many components of running an agricultural business, he said.

Huebner received the scholarship for both his freshmen and his sophomore years.

Honoring family heritage

The Sylvia Clawson English Memorial honors the 1947 alumna of Nebraska School of Agriculture (a high school) and the legacy of her parents Ira and Vinnie Clawson, her maternal grandparents Fred and Edna Hecht and the paternal grandparents Jake and Ida May Clawson. , all the farming families in the region.

Fred Hecht was a leading advocate for the state of Nebraska to choose Curtis as the site for a new residential agricultural high school for rural residents. The school opened in the fall of 1913.

Sylvia wanted her grandfather’s efforts in agriculture and education to be supported. She died in 2009 in California, where she and her husband, Ted English, had raised their family.

The Fred and Edna Hecht Scholarship Fund was established through the University of Nebraska Foundation. It continues thanks to the support of the descendants of the family.

–NCTA

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