4 Step Make College Happen Plan Earns Kaci Nuehring a $15,000 Scholarship

Kaci Nuehring, senior

Kaci Nuehring, senior

Colson Mullane, senior

Colson Mullane, senior

Mason Statton, senior

Mason Statton, senior

Three of the ten scholarships in the nationwide Make College Happen Challenge by Sallie Mae® were awarded to Waukee High School seniors. Kaci Nuehring placed first in the challenge and was awarded a $15,000 scholarship. Colson Mullane and Mason Statton placed in the top ten and each earned a $1,000 scholarship.

“This whole experience has just been surreal,” Nuehring said. “College is expensive. Finding and earning scholarships takes effort, creativity and determination.”

The Make College Happen Challenge is catered towards helping students and parents prepare for college. The contest gives current high school students free reign to present how they plan to pay for college, allowing them to create their projects in any medium they choose.

“I liked the Draw My Life idea because it’s simple and engaging. My English teacher Mrs. Gaul constantly reminded me to remember my audience,” Nuehring said. “I had no idea that the project would amount to anything as big as this scholarship.”Nuehring created a video based on the Draw My Life concept as part of an assignment for her College Prep English course. Draw My Life videos consist of someone drawing figures on a whiteboard, which represent events in the person’s life.

Nuehring’s plan for paying for college included four steps that any Waukee High School student can do.

Her first step was to earn credit for college while in high school by taking Advanced Placement (AP) and/or concurrent courses with the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). There is no tuition cost for students or families who enroll in concurrent courses with DMACC. For the 2014-15 school year, Waukee High School students earned 6,681 credit hours which represents a total savings of $935,340.

Second, Nuehring applied for as many scholarships as she could. Scholarship information is available on Waukee High School website under resources and links and in the daily announcements.

Next, students should get a job and start saving now. If students are interested in a career, they are encouraged to find a job related to that field. Waukee High School offers two programs focused on providing students with real world experiences: Waukee Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) and School-to-Work.

Waukee APEX provides juniors and seniors the opportunity to explore professions of interest through a problem-based, inquiry learning method. Local and global business partners participate with highly skilled instructors to provide authentic exposure and skill acquisition in 21st century professions.

School-to-Work allows seniors to explore potential careers within a specific area inside and outside the Waukee APEX economic drivers through internships.

Both programs offered at Waukee High School provide experiences in authentic work settings and allow students to earn college credit and/or certifications while earning high school credit.

Finally, students always have the opportunity to apply for student loans. However, students are encouraged to only take out the minimum, if possible.

Nuehring is taking her four step college plan seriously. Not only has she been awarded scholarships, but she has also earned more than 30 college credits. Additionally, in October of 2015 she worked as an intern pharmacy technician for the Waukee Hy-Vee Pharmacy as part of the School-to-Work program.

Nuehring will continue her internship with Hy-Vee this summer and plans to attend Kansas University (KU) in the fall to major in pre-pharmacy.

View the complete list of Make College Happen Challenge winners here: https://www.makecollegehappenchallenge.com/winners