Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Awards Scholarships

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway is pleased to announce the winners of two scholarships in the amount of $250 each. This is the first year for the scholarships to be offered and 30 well-qualified applicants from all areas of the Byway applied. The winners are Justy Bullington of Mullen and Jordan Gross of Grand Island.

Bullington is a senior attending Mullen High School with plans to attend Chadron State College in the fall majoring in communications/public relations and journalism. The scholarship committee was impressed by her great grades and her essay explaining her plans to return to the Sandhills area after she completes her education. Her parents are Garth and Jodi Bullington of Mullen.

Gross will graduate from Northwest High School in Grand Island this spring. Her future plans are to major in radiography at the University of Nebraska at Kearney or Fort Hays in Kansas. Gross’ exemplary community service and future career choice made a big impact on the scholarship selection committee. Gross is the daughter of Al and Deb Gross of Grand Island.

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway is dedicated to helping our area thrive and grow. The Byway believes that by encouraging our youth to  become members of local organizations and governments, by job shadowing local businesses or volunteering for community service it will be beneficial to all of us. The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway is excited to help the winners with their education and hopefully return to the area to live and work.

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway is honored to share these two amazing women’s essays in hopes it will inspire others to contribute to their communities in positive ways. For more information on the SJSB visit:

Justy Bullington Essay:

As I make the 15-mile drive one way into the community of Mullen, I have the breathtaking privilege of viewing the beautiful Sandhills. This drive allows me to take the time to appreciate all that rural Nebraska has given me. I feel that by furthering my education I will be able to give back to the area that has been so plentiful to me.

I plan on attending Chadron State College with a major in Communications/Journalism. Communications is an area of study that everyone uses daily. Living on a ranch, my family and I rely greatly on all the advantages communications have to offer. One way communications is utilized is the use of weather services to prevent our cattle from being affected by harsh conditions. We also use livestock video sales in order to increase the buyer market of our cattle.

With a major in Communications/Journalism I would be able to be an integral part of communications in rural Nebraska. I will be able to provide useful services to communities in order to stimulate business and growth throughout Nebraska. By earning a degree in Communications, I feel that I will be an asset to communities along Nebraska’s Highway 2.

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Scholarship will allow me to further my education and be a contender in the future work force of Nebraska. This scholarship will open the door of opportunity for me and help me succeed. With the ever-rising cost of education, scholarships like The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway help to make it possible for students, like me, to continue their education. I would like to thank Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway for funding this scholarship for high school students and I appreciate you considering me for this award.

Jordan Gross Essay:

When we invest in our education, we increase our ability to contribute to the future. Why a health care professional? First be an advocate for your own health. Sports have been an important aspect of my life. My personal experience from chronic leg injuries initiated my interest in the field of Radiography. As a student athletic trainer for two years, I’ve worked with professional Physical Therapists. This has given me an understanding and empathy for other students with injuries. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to job shadow at Saint Francis Medical Center.

My entire family grew up in rural areas of Nebraska. Grandparents still reside in Custer County, My parents both graduated from Ansley High School. My sister met her husband at Chadron State College and now they reside in Kearney. I’m an alternate in the UNMC KHOP program for Radiography. I’ve already committed to practice health care in rural Nebraska. Fort Hays’ program has state-of-the-art facilities and I would be trained in multiple specialty areas. It will be a hard decision. I plan to return to Nebraska and make a meaningful difference in society.

As a graduate from Girls State and Leadership Tomorrow, I’ve strengthened my leadership skills and increased my knowledge by interacting with others, sharing ideas and differences. Our success will depend upon our ability to work as a team.

It is in the journey or Sandhills Journey that will make us strong. Service draws amazing people to you. Ideas, such as, adopt a resident at a nursing home, organize youth visits to local agencies, raise funds for a hike and bike trail, create a community vegetable garden. Our generation will soon assume the responsibility of leadership in our community, our state and our nation, but these opportunities carry awesome responsibilities. Carpe Kairos-“Seize the Moment”.

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