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Jueden, Martini earn statewide recognition for their efforts

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HARTINGTON — Sheila Jueden of Cedar Catholic and Steve Martini of Hartington-Newcastle have both been honored with the Outstanding Service Award by the Nebraska State Athletic Administrators Association (NSIAAA).

Ten people across the state received the award which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to high school athletics.

When interviewed, both Jueden and Martini were humbled by the distinction. Neither viewed the extra time they put into numerous activities throughout the year as anything worth mentioning. To them, it is part of their job, in a sense.

“I’d rather have criticism than praise, it is just something I am not good at [dealing with],” said Jueden. “I think I am appreciated, but when they tell me thanks for all I do that is all I need.”

Jueden and Martini are both extremely active with their respective schools, but neither seemed to feel what they were doing was award-worthy.

That is until they started thinking about everything they do.

In Jueden’s profile, she lists a plethora of duties like bus transportation supervisor, operating the concession stand, assisting the Booster Club with fundraisers, preparing food for penance services, running the school’s Spirit Store, coaching the girls’ golf team for the past 10 years, and more.

Martini mentioned how his role with the athletic programs has expanded since a former athletic director initially got him involved with reffing volleyball. Then he started running the book for basketball games.

He has since become a referee in football, has helped coach different teams, and also has spent time with the track and eld team.

“A lot of times I feel like I am not doing enough,” said Martini. “It is a few hours at night but it is not all of the hours of practice and watching lm that the coaches do. So I have never thought that I did that much really, but it is nice to know that someone has noticed it.”

Martini said the NSIAAA award is similar to an award he received from the Lewis & Clark Conference for his service to his school and beyond, but still, Martini stayed adamant on where the attention should be given.

“To compare what I do with what the coaches do, they are the ones committing a large amount of time.”

Both Jueden and Martini said they like what they do, which is part of the reason why they were honored.

Not only do they help out when needed, but they step into the roles gladly.

“I enjoy it,” said Jueden. “I just like doing what I am doing. I don’t like being praised for the stuff that I do because a lot of it is my job. I love this place, I love my job, and I will do what it takes to make it operate.”

Martini and Jueden are being honored alongside eight other individuals. Lincoln Northeast’s Cindy Hennen, Seward’s, Stephanie Croston, Auburn’s Bob Knipe, Hastings’ Mill Will, Beatrice’s Rich Hovendick, Fremont’s Mike Funk, Louisville’s Brian Orr, and Alma’s Bruce Ring were also honored with the distinction.

These 10 people were presented with the NSIAAA Outstanding Service Awards at a banquet on Wednesday, March 6.

The award is presented alongside the State Athletic Director of the Year, District Athletic Directors of the Year, NSIAAA Assistant Athletic Director of the Year, and the Award of High Distinction.

The banquet takes place at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln.