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2017 Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest Winners Named

LINCOLN – Halle Johnson, 10, a fourth-grade student from Thayer Central Elementary School in Hebron (Thayer County), earned first place in the 2017 Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest, sponsored by the Nebraska Association of Emergency Management (NAEM), the National Weather Service (NWS), the Nebraska Military Department and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Johnson’s poster features a baseball diamond being struck by lightning with the slogan, “One Strike from Lightning and You’re Out.”

The contest was open to all fourth grade students in Nebraska. The top four finishers were recognized by Lt. Gov. Mike Foley at a proclamation signing for Severe Weather Awareness Week, at the State Capitol today (Wednesday, March 8, at 10 a.m.). Gov. Pete Ricketts signed certificates recognizing the top four students. County emergency managers submit the top three posters from their counties for judging at the state level.

Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 27-31, and is observed to increase awareness of, and response to, severe weather hazards. A statewide tornado drill is scheduled as part of the week’s activities at 10 a.m., on Wednesday, March 29.

“We hope Nebraskans will take time during our annual Severe Weather Awareness Week to prepare for the severe weather we face in Nebraska during the spring and summer months,” said Bryan Tuma, NEMA assistant director. “Making a safety plan and reviewing proper safety precautions is a good practice for those of us who live in areas affected by tornadoes, floods and severe thunderstorms.”

Severe weather can result in tragic losses that preparation and planning can prevent. Through the poster contest, fourth graders from across the state encourage Nebraskans to follow weather safety precautions. 

“Danger Signs” was the topic of the second place poster, by Sienna Boerkircher, 8, a Home BACE home-school student in Hemingford (Box Butte County). Her poster depicts an angry sky with a tornado and what to watch for, dark sky, large hail, large dark low-lying clouds and a low roar.

The third place poster, “Word to the Wise, Be Like an Owl” was entered by Darrah Wagner, 10, of Creighton (Knox County) at Creighton Community School. OWL stands for …Obey Watch Listen on Wagner’s poster which includes an owl encouraging people to take cover during a lightning storm.

“Keep Calm and Find Shelter” was the theme of the poster by Canon Holley, 10, of Central Valley School in Scotia (Greeley County).

Posters were judged on originality, effort and accuracy. The top prize is a $125 gift card, second is $100 and third $75, all provided by NAEM. NWS provides a $50 gift card for fourth place. NEMA provides certificates for all the students and the Nebraska Military Department mats the posters as a remembrance for students.

The top four (place, name, age, city/town, county, school)

First, Halle Johnson, 10, Hebron, Thayer, Thayer Central

Second, Sienna Boerkircher, 8, Hemingford, Box Butte, Home BACE

Third, Darrah Wagner, 10, Creighton, Knox, Creighton Community

Fourth, Canon Holley, 10, Scotia, Greeley, Central Valley

Honorable Mention Alphabetical Order (name, age, city/town, county, school)

Ashlynn Cole, 10, Omaha, Sarpy, Palisades Elementary

Kaiden Copeland, 10, Cozad, Dawson, Cozad Elementary

Charlie Gompert, 10, Center, Knox, Gompert Home

Jedric Dankenbring, 10, Hebron, Thayer, Thayer Central

Hailey Levinson, 10, Springfield, Sarpy, Springfield Elementary

Hollie Macke, 10, Brunswick, Knox, Creighton Community

Mason McGreer, 10, Grant, Perkins, Perkins County

Corbin Scott, 10, Hastings, Adams, Doniphan-Trumbul Elementary

Kaitlyn Simpson, 10, Burwell, Garfield, Burwell Elementary

Pricilla Solorio Barreto, 10, Wayne, Wayne, Wayne Elementary

For more information on severe weather awareness or preparing for severe weather visit: