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Becker picks up Burney award

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HARTINGTON — Two graduating high school seniors are being honored for their excellent leadership and communication skills.

Sydney Becker has won the Joan Rossiter Burney Cedar County News Outstanding Communicator award.

Hartington-Newcastle’s Alexa Lammers became just the fourth recipient of the Gov. Charles Thone Cedar County News Leadership award. Both awards were presented during the school’s annual Activities Night ceremonies.

The awards are presented to honor two of Hartington’s most famous former residents. 

Burney earned national acclaim for her writing and public speaking. 

Her writing career began as a columnist for the Cedar County News more than 50 years ago.  She later wrote for several publications, including the Omaha World-Herald and Nebraska Farmer magazine.  She was a nationally known motivational speaker and was named National Mother of the Year in 1991 and inducted into the Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame in 2015.

Thone, a Bow Valley native and Hartington High grad, was elected to serve Nebraska in Congress in 1970, a position he held until 1978, when he ran for and won the Nebraska governorship.

The awards focus on the outstanding leadership qualities of the recipients — qualities that are exemplified by the namesakes of these awards.

While both Thone and Burney were widely known across the state and country, they always made sure to tell people that they hail from Hartington, Neb., — giving much of the credit for their accomplishments to the town, the people, that helped to raise them.

Becker, is the daughter of Mark and Sandy Becker,  She will attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and major in Graphic Design.  

She served as the Senior Class President at Cedar Catholic this year and was the captain and four-year letter winner of the speech team, as well as a State speech qualifier. She was also co-captain for the girls basketball cheer squad and was a member of the National Honor Society.

Becker earned several honors during Tuesday’s awards ceremonies.

She earned varsity letters for her participation and leadership in cheerleading, dance, band, Swing Choir, Band, One Act, Speech and Volleyball; and was recognized for earning NSAA Academic All State in Speech,