AK-SAR-BEN CORONATION AND SCHOLARSHIP BALL
The Coronation and Scholarship Ball has a mission of promoting, recognizing and celebrating volunteerism, philanthropy and community pride. It is a fundraising vehicle for the Ak-Sar-Ben Scholars program operated in partnership with the Horatio Alger Foundation and TeamMates Mentoring Program. The Horatio Alger Association has been our partner since 2005. The TeamMates program joined forces with Ak-Sar-Ben in 2008, adding the benefit of mentoring for each scholarship recipient. Fifty four-year scholarship awards are presented to Nebraska and western Iowa students who have overcome great personal adversity and are in need of financial assistance to attain a college degree. The $6,000 awards, payable over four years, are matched by local colleges and universities, including the University of Nebraska system, Creighton University, College of Saint Mary's, Bellevue University and Metropolitan Community College. The Ak-Sar-Ben Scholars program assists over 200 students annually to open the doors of opportunity.
The original Coronation and Scholarship Ball was established in 1895 to recognize individuals in the region for their civic endeavors. The 118th King and Queen were crowned October 18, 2014, in the magical kingdom of Quivira - Queen Morgan Claire Kristensen and King Michael Yanney. Mike Yanney, is a Kearney native and founder of America First Companies, now Burlington Capital Group. The Korean War-era veteran also founded All Our Kids Inc., a youth mentoring service now called Partnership 4 Kids. Yanney is currently the chairman of Building Healthy Futures. His wife, Dr. Gail Walling Yanney, is a retired anesthesiologist who served for 14 years on the Nebraska Medical Center board. Morgan Kristensen is a Minden native and a student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Kristensen's father, Doug, is UNK's chancellor and is a former state senator and speaker of the Nebraska Legislature; her mother, Terri Harder Kristensen, is a district court judge.
Also recognized during this event are outstanding leaders from around the Heartland. Princesses, Escorts, and Pages represent their families who are being honored for their contributions to the region. The Court of Honor Recognition Award is also distributed at the Ball. Recipients from throughout the region are recognized for one of the following eight categories: agriculture, arts, business and industry, education, philanthropy, professions, public service, and sports.
The 2014 Coronation & Scholarship Ball was Saturday, October 18, 2014. To view it via COX ON DEMAND programming, simply use the following navigation sequence: ON Demand --> FreeZone --> Cox Omaha Metro --> Local Events. Select the Ak-Sar-Ben tab from the tabs at the bottom of the screen and you should see the option to watch the coronation ceremony. The program will be available through Jan. 11, 2015.
All aspects of the event are directed by volunteers who serve on the Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Ball Committee and the Women's Ball Committee. The current members are as follows:
2015 Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Ball Committee
George A. Little, Coronation Ball Committee Chairman
Terry J. Kroeger, Coronation Ball Committee Advisor
Jeanie Jones, Women's Ball Committee Chair
Kim Simon, Women's Ball Committee Advisor
2015 Women's Ball Committee
Jeanie Jones - Chairman, CBC, Endowment-Investment Committee
Kim Simon - Advisor, CBC, Endowment-Investment Committees
Kim Banat - Production Chair
Jennifer Bettger - Heartland Escort Chairman, Regale Co-Chair
Linda Chloupek - Treasurer, Royal Court Brunch Chair, Scholarship Chair, Regale Assistant
Kim Falk - Page Assistant, Standard Bearer Chair
Kate Grabill - Princess Chair
Lisa Gravelle - Invitations, Production Assistant Inventory, Scholarship Assistant, WBC Concierge
Kim Hord - Heartland Princess Chair, AK Friends Liaison
Carrie Jenkins - Site Chair, Royal Court Welcome Assistant
Suzanne Kotula - Royal Court Luncheon Chair, Court of Honor Chair, Regale Co-Chair
Beth Kramer - Reservations Chair, Royal Court Brunch Assistant, Files and Lists
Stephanie Murphy - Page Chair
Karen Nelsen - Royal Court Supper Assistant, Program Chair, Community Support/Endowment
Erin Owen - Photography Chair/Historian, Publicity Chair, Social Media, Page Luncheon Chair
Buffy Ricceri - Escort Chair
Andee Scioli - Royal Court Welcome Chair, Yearbook Chair, Regale Assistant, Gifts/Courtesy/Tribute Cards
Karen Sundell - Royal Court Supper Chair, Social Chair
Jennifer Zatechka - Page Luncheon Chair, Production Assistant Scenario