Mr. Firecracker and Miss Independence

Anvil Firing at the 4th of July Celebration in Seward, Nebraska

Mr. Firecracker and Miss Independence

The July 4th Mr. Firecracker and Miss Independence Essay contest is sponsored by the Seward Rotary Club. Phil Bangert is the Project Chairman.  Essays are judged by a volunteer panel of members of the Seward Rotary Club.  The Rotary Club has sponsored this project since 1967.

The students are honored at the Chamber Kick-Off Luncheon, read their essays there and are also guests with their families at a Rotary Luncheon and read their essays at the Rotary Club meeting.  They attend the Governor’s Reception on July 4, ride in the Grand parade and read their essays at the Bandshell on July 4.  They all receive a trophy and bag of fireworks and their photo and essay are printed in the local, Special Edition of the Seward Independent.  Their essays are also placed on the Seward July 4 website.

2020 Miss Independence and Mr. Firecracker

Michael Frisbie
Mr. Firecracker

St. Vincent de Paul School – 2nd Grade

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Why I Like to Live in Seward

Seward……where the Fourth of July lives! We celebrate our freedom in this town! It’s the best town of ALL!

There’s LOTS to do in Seward. Take a dip in the big, round pool! Go to Concordia University and watch a football or soccer game. Ride your bike or take a walk on the Plum Creek Trail. Take a nice nature walk around the Seward pond. In August there’s a great county fair with animals, rodeos, rides, concession stands and music. Visit the National Guard Museum to learn about history. You will even see some tanks and airplanes there. If you’re hungry after all that, go out to eat at one of Seward’s good restaurants.

But the best time to visit Seward is the Fourth of July! In the morning you can see basketball games, firefighters having water fights, apple pie eating contests, a pole vaulting contest, a car show and an air show. In the afternoon you can watch a huge parade. There’s floats, fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, tractors, bands, and LOTS of candy! If you’re hungry you can find a funnel cake at a concession stand. At night there’s a humongous fireworks show. You will always have a good time.

This is why I LOVE to live in Seward, Nebraska!

Darien Sugden
Mr. Firecracker – Runner-Up

Seward Elementary – 3rd Grade

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Why I Like to Live in Seward

What I love about Seward is that there a lot of parks for us to enjoy.  It is so convenient to find a park to play in or to play catch.  Our parks are outstanding.

Another reason I like to live in Seward is the Bike Trail.  My family and I ride our bikes on the trail and it is fun.  We even had a family picture taken on the trail.  

In Seward you don’t have to worry because Seward is a small town.  One more reason is that  Seward has friendly neighbors that take care of your pets when you are gone and take in your mail but don’t open it until you have read it.

The final reason I like to live in Seward is because of the Fourth of July Celebration.  We have a lot of activities during the day and then at night we have a giant fireworks show.  It is great day.

And that is Why I Like to Live in Seward!

Carly Kolterman
Miss Independence

St. Vincent de Paul School – 4th Grade

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Why I Like to Live in Seward

It is a crazy time right now for so many people but that doesn’t mean that Seward is changing. When
looking at the question, “Why I like to Live in Seward, I guess the reason is because it is perfect-even
with all the changes we are facing. Now, I really don’t “live in Seward” but I live “near Seward” in the
country. I spend most of my time in Seward and feel that I live in Seward enough to write this essay.
Seward is a fun place, offers many learning choices and is my home. I love “living” here in Seward!

I like to live in Seward because it is fun and because of all the fun activities. For example, I love our
county fair, our great swimming pool and all the recreation activities for the kids like, softball, soccer
and basketball. The Fourth of July parade is my favorite summer activity. I love watching all the people
of Seward gather around the streets and watch the parade. Sometimes I am even in the parade on a
float or truck. I also like the pet parade, and this year I was hoping that I could enter our new dog into
the contest. (I don’t think he will wear his bandana there though. He doesn’t like wearing it at all at our
home so, we may have to make him wear a bandana anyway, even if he does tear it off.) The fireworks
are so much fun too and a great way to end the day.

Another reason I really like living in Seward is because of the schools and my education. I love my
school-St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School. We have great teachers, wonderful priests, super kids and
even a school dog named Daisy. Education also happens at our Memorial library and the summer
programs like ‘’Summer Horizons,’’ where I learn to cook and make pottery and movies on the
computer. The Old Glory plays are also very fun and educational and my piano and dance teachers have
taught me so much. One of my favorite educational activities is learning about cattle and showing cattle.
I need to know all the answers about my cow when I show them and be in control.

The final reason I like living in Seward is that it is my home. Almost all of my family lives here-great
grandma’s, grandpa and grandma’s, lots of cousins, aunts and uncles and even some relatives I don’t
know how we are related but we are. Seward is my home and the home of my family and friends, so
why would I not like it here? We get together as a family here to celebrate all of the holidays and many
birthdays. It is a perfect place for me to live and grow up.

I plan on living in Seward for a long time and will always spend my Fourth of July in Seward. So, no
matter how crazy the world becomes, we will always have a Fourth of July in Seward and I will be there
celebrating.

Jordyn Samuels
Miss Independence – Runner-Up

St. John Lutheran School – 4th Grade

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Why I Like to Live in Seward

5…4…3…2…1…Boom!!!  That was a firework and a countdown to the list of my top five reasons why I like to live in Seward.  There are so many places, people, and activities that make our town special, and I can’t wait to share some of my favorites with you.  

My fifth reason why I like living here in Seward is going to the Seward Memorial Library.  I love going there to pick out books, to watch my baby brother climb on the small indoor slide, and to attend the library’s clubs.  The clubs give opportunities for building with Legos, learning about animals, playing chess, making fun projects, and trading Pokémon cards.

My fourth reason that I enjoy Seward is that Seward is a town full of kind, caring people.  I like going outside and playing tag with the kids in my neighborhood.  I also like knowing that I live in a safe town because there are a lot of people who become policemen, firemen, and doctors. I think we all should thank them for their hard work.

My third reason that I like Seward is that there are a lot of things to do here in all seasons of the year.  When it is hot, I like to go to Seward’s swimming pool to go down the twisting and turning slide or to jump off the diving board into the deep pool.  I like biking down to Plum Creek Trail and finding animal tracks there.  When it’s cold, I like to go sledding on one of Seward’s many hills with my brothers and sister or watching a movie while eating yummy popcorn at the Rivoli Theater with my family.

My second reason why living in Seward is so enjoyable is going to school and church at St. John Lutheran.  I like going to a Christian school with so many friends and awesome teachers.  This year, my teacher was Mrs. Soflin, and she taught me so many things!  My favorite classes are religion, music, P.E., and Language Arts.  I also love going to church with my family and learning about God’s Word.

My number one reason why I love living in Seward is the Fourth of July celebration!  Seward is the Fourth of July city!  I love going downtown for the parade to watch the floats and get candy. One of my favorite times is when we get lunch from the food trucks. My favorite food truck is Dippin’ Dots. After we eat, we get to go and watch the beautiful fireworks at dusk to celebrate our country’s freedom.

The Seward Memorial Library, friendly people, many activities to do throughout the year, my school and church, and the Fourth of July celebration are my five biggest reasons why I love to live in Seward.  5…4…3…2…1…KABOOM!!!

Previous Winners

Winner from previous years are listed in order of Mr. Firecracker, Mr. Firecracker Runner-Up, Miss Independence and Miss Independence Runner-Up.

2019 – Quinton Moore, Henry Wake, Kennedy Dominy, Samantha Quist
2018 – Ethan Boggs, Layne Luebbe, Lily Brashear, Ayda Metschke
2017 – Lawson Luebbe, Connor Sveeggen, Molly Marroquin, Makayla Mumaugh
2016 – Conner Matzke, Matthew Schultz, Noelle Geidel, Ella Mohnike
2015 – Noah Fields, Braeden Dey, Julya Metschke, Sophia Matthias
2014 – Sam Matthias, Hank Hughes, Claire Geidel, Grace Roberts
2013 – Nathan Miller, Justin Matulka, Sydney Christensen, Hannah Bierbaum
2012 – Matthew Sherman, J. J. Metschke, Destiney Grunke, Corbynne Jester
2011 – Theo Hughes, Alec Sackschewsky, Kenna Piskoriski, Hannah Helmer
2010 – Jaden Volzke, Angelo Wignall, Lena Hughes, Gretchen Moll
2009 – Nathan Bierbaum, Grant Hartman, Lydia Asplin, Kenna Michaelson
2008 – Dakota Fernau, Matthew Sherman, Leah Sackschewsky, Madison Geidel
2007 – Adam Holtorf, Jacob Sloup, Morgan Doehring, Madison & Kelsey Sloup
2006 – Joel Ketner, Joe Gremel & Jacob Bierbaum, Ashlyn Hanson, Kristi Einspahr
2005 – Thomas Suhr, Andrew Cahoon, Sierra Wignall, Grace Halder
2004 – Sam Brauer, Adam Holtorf, Emily Culp, Brittany Baumbach
2003 – John Cahoon, Brandon Schaefer, Kara Einspahr, Emmi Moll
2002 – Richie Graves, Jake Suhr, Allison Pearson, Kylie Schildt
2001 – Clint Aegerter, Nathan Klintworth, Jennifer Gleisberg, Emma Blanke
2000 – Mitch Lyons, Nate Stepp, Alyssa McConnell, Felicia Kolterman
1999 – Austin Adamek, Rodney Mueller, Susan Neimoth, Katie Hofer
1998 – Cade Luebbe, Ben Gremel, Katie Bangert, Carrie Niemoth
1997 – John Sloup, Ben Hartmann, Katie Karel, Jessica Helge
1996 – Wesley Mahalek, Jim Thomas, Stephanie Frey, Jennifer Hartmann
1995 – Conor Hofer, Gavin Koehler, Wendy McConnell, Kate Owens
1994 – Tim Hartmann, Steven Pike, Megan Zabrocki, Stephanie Hotovy
1993 – Derek Hain, Blake Schulz, Rachael Schulz, Sarah Bollwitt
1992 – John Riggert, Craig Aldrich, Beth Kilzer, Kylie Brand
1991 – Dan Schipper, Matt Dinslage, Amanda McConnell, Jessica Kolterman
1990 – Ben Pratt, Nathan Kolterman, Stacie Kotera, Katie Dickinson
1989 – Ryan Brauer, Ryan Kinworthy, Alexa Pragman, Tina Schmeiding
1988 – Joshua Eickmeier, Titus DeBoer, Christine Mueri, Jamie Nesbitt
1987 – Cory Wood, Jeff Kimball, Amy Horton, Amy Gausman
1986 – Jason Zimbelmann, Andrew Schlueter, Suzy Ohlmann, Rebecca Mannigel
1985 – Greg Karpenko, Jeff Matzke, Angie Coon, Melissa Zabka
1984 – Jason Meyer, Tim Mannigel, Nicole Erks, Ann Pavletich
1983 – Mark Stein, Matt Ehrlich, Marie Obermueller, Angela Yost
1982 – Trent Thorell, Tom Pfliger, Mary Smith, Misty Brooks
1981 – Ray Koch, Nathan Lucas, Lisa Urbanek, Cari Hain
1980 – Scott Broekemeier, Doug Ortlieb, Anne Warner, Corrie Stelmachowicz
1979 – David Miers, Craig Jelinek, Bevin Gerkensmeyer, Kim Jost
1978 – Scott Seevers, David Stohs, Jennifer Kruse, Jennifer Rhode
1977 – Dan Oetting, Lukas Galen, Jill Volzke, Julie McConnell
1976 – Jon Oetting, David Stewart IV, Liz Brunworth, Kristy Rocker
1975 – Peter Glawatz, Tim Kraft, Kim Whittemore, Teresa Zoucha
1974 – John Korinko, Bob Schulz, Kris Plamann, Ginnelle Mueller
1973 – Peter Meyer, Alan Geis, Cara Hans, Barb Fiala
1971 – Kevin Probst, Doug Geis, Diane Sanders, Barb Geis
1970 – Brian Keller, Jean Brigham
1969 – David Lange, Michael Preuss, Brenda Peter, Susie Nutzman
1968 – Mark Schultz, William Roundey, Pam Jeary, Connie Schultz
1967 – Susan Boals, Miss Centennial

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