Three future Lopers awarded prestigious UNK Honors Program scholarship

KEARNEY – Three high school seniors will attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney as Omaha World-Herald/Kearney Hub Scholars.

Carter Hohlen of Lincoln, Will Krondak of North Platte and Zoey Smallwood of Fremont are this year’s recipients of the prestigious scholarship, awarded to the top students admitted to the UNK Honors Program.

Offered by the Honors Program and supported by the Omaha World-Herald and Kearney Hub newspapers, this scholarship is one of the premier academic awards at UNK. It covers room and board, tuition and fees and books for up to four years, with a total value of more than $82,000. Students must have a GPA of at least 3.85 and an ACT score of 30 or better to qualify.

A total of 165 students applied for the scholarship, now in its 40th year.

“It is always inspiring to witness the depth of talent and diversity of backgrounds among those students who seek to be part of the UNK Honors Program,” said associate professor Angela Hollman, the program’s director. “This year’s scholars have the character of leadership and academic excellence that defines this scholarship and our program. We welcome them alongside the entire fall 2024 cohort.”

The UNK Honors Program challenges students to go above and beyond by putting them in an environment where their learning and development are not limited. Students develop individualized pathways to success through research and creative activity, community service, leadership opportunities and other experiences while building strong ties as part of a close-knit community.

Carter Hohlen

Hohlen attends Lincoln Christian High School, where he’s active in cross country, track and field, Math Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honor Society. He’s also part of the Country Bible Church youth group, and he serves as a discipleship group leader at school.

Hohlen volunteers at Country Bible Church and through an international mission project in Mexico. He also volunteered at a summer vacation Bible school for Afghan refugees and served as a volunteer youth track and basketball coach and student manager for the Lincoln Christian football team.

Hohlen is a nine-time state medal winner in track and cross country and three-time Academic All-Conference, Lincoln Christian Academic Letter, NSAA Academic All-State and NCPA Academic All-State honoree. He received the NSAA Believers & Achievers award in 2023, along with Elks No. 80 Leadership Recognition and the National Spanish Exam Honorable Mention medal.

He’ll compete for the UNK track and cross country teams.

Will Krondak

Krondak attends St. Patrick’s High School, where he’s been involved in band, jazz band, choir, swing choir, speech, cross country, track and field, discipleship groups, National Honor Society and a youth mentoring program. He also served as a counselor at a Catholic leadership camp.

Krondak was selected for Cornhusker Boys’ State in 2023, and he’s participated in the Best of the West Music Festival in North Platte and HOBY Youth Leadership seminar. An NCPA Academic All-State honoree, he received a local NSAA Believers & Achievers award in 2023, along with a Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award and his school’s Multi-Activity Student Award. He was also a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.

Zoey Smallwood

Smallwood attends Fremont High School, where she’s participated in orchestra, marching, symphonic and jazz band, choir, volleyball, tennis, Multicultural Club, Key Club, Thespian Society and National Honor Society. She’s the current choir president, orchestra concertmaster and marching and symphonic band brass captain and section leader.

Smallwood also serves as student manager for the boys tennis team, and she’s a member of the Sing Omaha Girls Choir. She’s volunteered with the Salvation Army, First Lutheran Church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Fremont High School and Thriftology/LifeHouse.

A Fremont Youth Leadership Academy participant and scholarship recipient, Smallwood has received her school’s Academic Achievement Award numerous times, along with the Patrick S. Gilmore Award honoring outstanding band students. She’s a member of the National Society of High School Scholars.