PLATTSMOUTH – Natalie Briggs was a shining star at Plattsmouth High School with her level of talent, work ethic and determination.
Nebraska officials honored the PHS senior on Tuesday with one of the brightest tributes in the state’s constellation of awards.
Briggs was one of 48 seniors from across the state to receive the Believers & Achievers Award from the Nebraska School Activities Association. NSAA representatives selected the 48 winners based on their outstanding achievements in academics, activities, and community service. Each student will be honored at a state championship event during the school year and will be featured on a poster sent to all NSAA schools.
NSAA officials sent emails to winning students notifying them of the honor. Briggs was preparing for cross-country training in the high school fitness center when she learned she had earned the statewide honor.
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“I was pretty shocked,” Briggs said. “I was sitting here in the fitness center before training and got a message that I was one of the recipients. I was really surprised.”
Chris Wiseman, Plattsmouth’s cross-country manager and track and field co-coach, said he was happy for Briggs. He felt she was well deserving of having her name on the state winners list.
“I love the quote that if my son or daughter were friends with Natalie, then I’d feel good about whatever kind of friends they choose,” Wiseman said. “Natalie is a reference for me. He is a great human being. She’s incredibly smart, she’s a great leader, she works hard, and she strives to improve in everything she does.
“For example, she hasn’t missed a single cross-country practice in the past two years. Not one. She’s someone everyone can count on, so it’s really great to see her being recognized statewide like this.
Plattsmouth Yearbook Advisor Christine Knust was aware of the NSAA Believers & Achievers Award program from previous years at the school, and she encouraged Briggs to complete the application process. She said Briggs was someone who meant a lot to both the yearbook program and the whole school.
“I’m so excited for her,” Knust said. “She’s just an amazing young woman. She’s really developed as a leader over the last few years. You can tell her confidence is much higher and she has the type of work ethic that makes her feel better. helped her become stronger in everything she’s done. I’m really excited for her, because she’s someone who totally deserves it.
Briggs maintains a full schedule with a wide range of activities. She is chair of the Academy Core Leaders program at Plattsmouth and is a member of student council, the National Honor Society and the yearbook. She also participates in cross country, basketball and track and field, has served as a shop steward and has attended Plattsmouth Rotary Club meetings as a student ambassador.
“I like to keep busy,” Briggs said. “I like to get involved in a lot of things, whether it’s sports or something school-related. I really like the variety of activities because I meet a lot of people and can have different experiences with things.
Briggs has qualified for the past three national cross country meets and won a slew of medals in regular season races. She participated in several national track and field competitions and was a member of the starting lineup for PHS basketball games.
Briggs also excels in class. She is a recipient of the NSAA Academic All-State Award and was on the Honor Roll and Merit Roll for several semesters at PHS. She won awards for her poetry and held leadership positions in several school activities.
Briggs said she enjoys walking into the classroom every day at Plattsmouth.
“I always loved school,” Briggs said. “It’s a lot of fun, because I like to learn new things every class. Subjects like reading and writing are really interesting to me, so having the chance to do it every day is fun.
Wiseman said the commitment to excellence was one of the main reasons for Briggs’ success in a business solar system.
“Natalie wants to be good,” Wiseman said. “She wants to do well in things, whether it’s setting the fastest time in a race or getting a good mark in a class. As a coach, it’s really fun to see that, because you know that “She gives her best in everything. And she approaches everything with a very humble attitude too. She just sets a great example for others to follow.
Applicants for the award were required to possess a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.70 on a 4.0 scale and be involved in school and community activities. NSAA officials evaluated each student’s resume and read a 250-word essay each applicant wrote for the program. The judges also considered personal characteristics such as helpfulness, volunteerism, honesty and humility.
Wiseman said all of those attributes applied to Briggs. He said she used her brilliant talents to become a shining star in the Plattsmouth community.
“If we had 100 Natalies, the world would be a better place,” Wiseman said. “She’s someone who really makes a difference with everything she does.”