The Beatrice Educational Foundation will be hosting a reception his Sunday afternoon at the Beatrice High School to honor recipients of this year’s Hall of Fame awards, Friend of Education honor, and hand out over 90-thousand dollars in scholarships to students. Executive Director of the Foundation, Doris Martin says the 2:00pm ceremony will be held in the commons area of the high school.

Foundation Board member Steph Perkins says the two individuals being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year are 19-75 Beatrice High School graduate Rich Hovendick and 19-64 Beatrice High School graduate Dr. Rebecca Cox-White.

Hovendick has been active in many local organizations including being president of the Beatrice Community Hospital Foundation for 20 years; served two terms on the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce and was the chairman in 1990; was the president of the Beatrice Educational Foundation; a Blue Valley Shrine Member for 35 years and past president; a former member and past president of the Beatrice Area Arts Council.

Rich was the chairman of the Hevelone Center for Performing Arts fundraising committee where he was instrumental in raising $500,000 in 67 days to complete the performing arts auditorium at the high school. He continues to serve on the Hevelone Foundation.

His involvement with improving the lives of young people is impressive. He has been a TeamMates mentor for 11 years and is on the board of directors. In addition, he has been the public address announcer at Beatrice High School since 2005 for football, boys’ basketball and volleyball games. He received the NSIAAA (Nebraska State Athletic Administrators Association) Outstanding Service Award in 2018-2019.

Rich is an active member of Christ Church Episcopal serving as an Eucharistic Minister, a Lector, a vestry member and former Senior Warden of the Vestry.

One of his most recent contributions to the community is heading up the Big Give Gage County for the Gage County Foundation. During the past two years this one-day event has raised over $395,000.

He graduated from Beatrice High School in 1975. He returned to Beatrice in 1981 after graduating from the University of Nebraska and the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science to join his family-owned Griffith Hovendick Chapel as a third generation member. He is committed to providing dignified personal services to hundreds of families in Beatrice and the surrounding area.

Dr. Rebecca Cox-White is a Professor Emerita in the Department of Philosophy, California State University in Chico, CA. She received two faculty recognition/achievement awards and was nominated for Outstanding Professor of the University. She is the author/co-author of three books and numerous  journal articles. The focus of  much of  her work has been on Biomedical Ethics.

After graduating from Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital School of Nursing Cox-White had a 20-year career in nursing, In 1976 as Bioethics was being integrated into academic, professional and clinical medicine, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship where she discovered her interest in bioethics and returned to school eventually earning her Doctor of Philosophy degree. Following graduation she relocated to Chico, CA to teach at California State University. She taught Moral Theory, Social and Political Ethics, Biomedical Ethics, and the senior seminar in Contemporary Moral Theory.

In 1997 Cox-White began to work with professors across the country to stimulate the growth of a National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, a program in which college students analyze a collection of moral dilemmas, culled from contemporary news sources and ultimately commit to conclusions about the morally preferable resolutions to these dilemmas. This program, which had 14 universities fielding teams in 1997, now has over 100 universities participating from eight regions in the U.S. as well as from an increasing number of international universities.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Cox-White has served on the Bioethics Committees for two regional hospitals, bringing techniques in the analysis of ethical dilemmas to many regional health professionals. For nine years she edited the Bioethics Bulletin, a regional newsletter for hundreds of regional clinicians. She also speaks regularly to a wide variety of nursing/medical groups and other professional and community associations on the moral importance of health and healthcare in the lives of both individuals and or communities.

Perkins says this year's recipient of the Friend of Education award is Jane Esau.

Esau, the 4-H Program Coordinator for Gage County for over 30 years utilized both formal and informal settings to provide learning opportunities for thousands of students, K through 12th grade, in both the 4-H program and formal school settings. Beatrice Public School students were the direct beneficiaries of her dedication.

She introduced the Character Counts program to Gage County. The program, developed nationally by Michael Josephson focuses on teaching youth the value of kindness, fairness, caring and other key values. Jane worked with the Beatrice school system to implement the program in the Middle School.

Her School Enrichment programs were popular with teachers and students. Jane worked with individual teachers to supplement their teaching curriculum with special programs conducted in the classroom. Perhaps the most popular was the Embryology project, where Jane brought eggs and an incubator into the classroom. She helped the students to candle the eggs, and celebrated with them when a successful hatch occurred. This one project reached hundreds of students. Other programs included Bread in a Bag, Garbage Pizza, and science projects where students made fabric from corn starch and then carried out a variety of tests on their finished product.

An afterschool project involved working with Jan Smaus and students to create and sew a number of Quilts of Valor which were then presented by the students to local veterans.

Other projects demonstrating Jane’s creative style included Earth Days, where students learned the importance of protecting our natural resources such as water, a Day at the Fair, where students had hands-on learning with farm animals and machinery; and Farm Safety Training where students learned the importance of working with machinery safely.

Her enthusiasm for teaching youth both life and subject matter skills was evident and helped hundreds of students. Her approaches kept students engaged and eager to learn.

The public is invited to this Sunday's event at the Beatrice High School to honor these three individuals.