Nex-Tech Announces Annual Scholarship Recipients


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Lenora, Kan. – Nex-Tech is proud to announce its ten scholarship recipients for the Nex-Tech Scholarship. Each will receive a $1,000 award for excellence in demonstrating their passion and how that has led to their chosen career.

Jesse Bebb, Logan Junior/Senior High School, son of Monica Bebb of Lenora.  Jesse plans to attend Garden City Community College, where he will study cosmetology.

Cecelia Beck, Stockton High School, daughter of Rob and Mary Ellen Beck of Stockton.  Cecelia plans to attend Dodge City Community College.  Her future plans are to become both a dietician and a florist.

Tucker Eckols, Hill City Junior/Senior High School, son of Bradley and Barbara Eckols of Hill City.  Tucker plans to attend Emporia State University this fall, entering the field of biology.

Monica Jirak, Thunder Ridge High School, daughter of James and Sandra Jirak of Kensington.  Monica plans to attend Pittsburg State University this fall, majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. She hopes this path leads to a future medical career.

Bjorn Jonsson, Lincoln Junior/Senior High School, son of TJ and Sheri Jonsson of Lincoln.  Bjorn is enrolled at Kansas State University for the fall and will begin studies in architectural engineering.

Taylor Keller, Palco Junior/Senior High School, son of Myron and Rachel Keller of Palco.  Taylor has a strong interest in leadership, business, and entrepreneurship.  He will be attending Washburn University this fall.

Sabre Plante, Hill City Junior/Senior High School, daughter of Tim and Crystal Plante of Hill City.  Sabre plans to attend Kansas State University, where she will pursue a degree in hospitality management.

Ethan Shippy, Hays High School, son of Darrel and Kay Shippy of Hays.  Ethan will attend Fort Hays State University this fall, majoring in biology.  He hopes to one day become a surgeon.

Sarah Zahradka, Hoxie Junior/Senior High School, daughter of David Zahradka of Hoxie and Shannon Simmons of Blanket, Texas.  Sarah has enrolled at Hays Academy of Hair Design in Hays in pursuit of a career as a cosmetologist.

Taitem Zeigler, Natoma Junior/Senior High School, son of Tracy and Annette Zeigler of Natoma.  Taitem plans to attend Cloud County Community College this fall to study aviation.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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