The December Youth Rotarian of the Month is Jax O. Johnson, a senior at Seward High School. He was honored at the annual Seward Rotary Pastor’s Day celebration on Wednesday, November 12 at noon at the Jones Bank and Trust Co. auditorium at a special luncheon meeting. He is the son of Brady and Jill Johnson of Seward.
Jax is on target to graduate from SHS in May and is a member of the SHS Quiz Bowl team, a leader in the SHS Skills USA organization, competing at the state level in the Video Production competition as well as the Firefighting competition. He is active in the SHS Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club in the high school, and represented SHS in many FBLA contests at the State Competition. He participated in the local SHS VFW Voice of Democracy Speech Contest as a sophomore, and was a participant in the local Poetry Out Loud poetry recitation contest at the high school. He also participated for three years in the State Fair Education Division competitions including quiz bowl and the various educational tests.
He has long been a leader in the Pride of Seward High Marching Band, as well as the SHS Pep Band for all four years. He also served on the SHS Veteran’s Day Committee, supporting and volunteering to assist the area veterans. Jax is one of the leaders on the SHS Golf team and looks forward to the spring season. He also participated in football for three years and wrestling for two years.
Jax is a member of the Seward High Academic Decathlon Team and will be competing at the regional level of competition in Omaha in January-under the theme of “The 1960’s –A Transformational Decade” with questions on the novel Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Deadby Tom Stoppard.
His community involvement includes longtime membership in the H4 4-H Club; he is a ten year member of 4-H and has been serving as the club president for the last four years. He is very active in the local Seward County Fair, participating in a range of activities over the years including reaching five levels of the six-part Diamond Clover program. He is currently working on Level 6.
He is an active member of St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, a member of their local Godparent youth group and often serves as a voice of youth for the congregation, as well as one of the lead youth volunteers at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He enjoyed attending the Lutheran National Youth Gathering representing the St. John Lutheran Church youth program.
His work experience has included summers with Monsanto and Team Elite in the fields with various field work duties and serving as an intern with the Seward County Attorney office through the First Job Seward program and being an instructor for the St. John Summer Horizon’s program for the “Dare to Be Dangerous” class. He most recently served in Basic Training at Ft. Jackson, SC for the Army National Guard, in the area of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist. He currently is employed by Windmill Pines Christmas Tree Farm in Seward and continues to serve his National Guard duty one weekend per month.
In the area of “Service Above Self” community service, besides of his dedication and service to our country as a member of the Bravo Team- US Army/Nebraska National Guard, he enjoys participating in a host of community activities through the SHS Skills USA and SHS FBLA community service projects. He was involved in the St. John Vacation Bible School program as an assistant for many years. He serves as a Technology Assistant Volunteer at the Senior Center, a 4-H Day Counselor, a St. John Summer Horizon’s Enrichment program volunteer and was the designer and creator of the Seward Elementary School Book Walk. He assisted with the local quiz bowls as a volunteer and made various program presentations on his world travels and his experiences with the US Army Boot Camp.
After high school Jax plans to attend Concordia University-Nebraska or Chadron State College in the area of Business or Business Administration.
He will again be honored at the SHS Honors Night in May and recognized as one of the finalists for the Youth Rotarian of the Year award and the Youth Rotarian of the Year scholarship. The Seward Rotary Club honors a Youth Rotarian of the Month during the school year each month and recognizes one SHS Senior. Jax was presented a Book Scholarship from the Rotary and a bag of Rotary information, along with a special Seward Rotary banner. To apply for a Youth Rotarian Award, contact the SHS Counselors.
Both of the SHS International students- Silvie Opolka from Germany and Matilde Ferrari from Italy were recognized and honored at the recent Seward Rotary Christmas luncheon on Wednesday, December 12 at noon at the Jones Bank and Trust Company in Seward at their auditorium. The Christmas luncheon also honored the area pastors of Greater Seward. Also attending the luncheon was their host parent Steve Haas of Seward. He and his wife Beth are hosts to both of the girls this school year.
The girls were both introduced and presented to the Rotary membership, along with the area pastors. They were presented gifts of "Seward"-items that are made in Seward-such as glassware, Christmas ornaments and candy-items that have a Seward or Nebraska connection..
They were both reminded that they are halfway through their exchange program. Both girls promised to return at the end of the school year in May and present a program on their experience in Seward and as an Exchange student.
The Seward Rotary is affiliated with Rotary International and enjoys clubs in almost 200 countries around the world. Student exchange is a very important foundation of Rotary International.
Seth Van Engelenhoven, Seward High Senior, was selected the winner at the Nebraska American Legion District 12 Oratorical Contest held recently on Sunday, November 04, 2018 at 2:00 pm at the Nebraska National Guard Museum in Seward. He was selected to represent District 12 at the Regional Contest also to be held in Seward on December 1, 2018 at 7:00 pm at the Seward Civic Center. Bonnie Brewer of Elmwood, Nebraska, the District 12 Commander, welcomed the group on behalf of the District and Ken Meyer, of the Seward American Legion Post #33, the host for the contest, welcomed the visitors to the contest and the new Nebraska National Guard Museum. He offered to give tours of the museum following the contest to anyone interested. Meyer led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance to the US Flag.
Seth was asked to prepare and write a prepared, eight to ten minute oration on some aspect of the US Constitution and then draw one of four US Constitution Amendments and then to speak extemporaneously for three to five minutes on the selected Amendment. The Amendments selected for the contest were Amendments 1, 4, 13 and 21. He drew Amendment 1 for the extemporaneous speech on the Freedoms-- “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.”
Judges for the event were Dr. Louis Reith, Bonnie Kruse, and Greg Holloway. Jon Kruse served as the timer for the contest and Dick Hans served as the Sargent of Arms and host for the contestants. Mrs. Kelley Limback of Seward High, is Seth’s Speech teacher and was introduced by Seth and thanked publicly. Jerry Meyer, Director of the Nebraska National Guard Museum coordinated the arrangements, assisted by Clark Kolterman, President of the Seward Arts Council.
Bonnie Brewer, District 12 Commander presented Seth with the District 12 Oratorical Gold medal and a $100 cash scholarship from the Nebraska American Legion District 12. He will now represent District 12 at their Regional contest held in Seward at the Seward Civic Center at 7:00 pm and again be asked to present a ten minute oration on some aspect of the US Constitution and one of the same four Amendments to be drawn that evening. There are five Districts competing at the Regional Level. The winner from the Regional level will advance to the State Contest in January. Seth is officially sponsored by the Seward American Legion Post #33.