Pictured Above: (Back row left to right) John Wilkins, Heartland Bank President / CEO | Madison Bonin | Mitchell Manning | Jacob Swartzendruber | Andrea Mumm, Heartland Bank CSA Supervisor / Universal Banker | Lucas Swartzendruber, Heartland Trust Company President | (Front row left to right) Sydney Jividen | Lauryn Monteforte | Sydney Simacek | Caleb Hendrickson | Jan Stoldorf, Heartland Bank Vice President / Branch President | Not pictured: Kelsey Bigelow | Maddi Galusha

In continued efforts to give back to the communities we serve, Heartland Bank has been providing local students with scholarships for the past 49 years. Named after the first bank president from the Wilkins family, the Earl H. Wilkins Scholarship fund is awarded to graduates in Fillmore County seeking post-secondary education. Administered by the Heartland Trust Company, the scholarship aims to provide financial support for students to flourish in their studies.

This year’s recipients include a variety of studies. The nine students, consisting of freshman and sophomores, are majoring in agriculture, business, health sciences, journalism, broadcasting, political science and sociology.

The students explain how the scholarship can lighten their student loan debt.

"This scholarship means a lot to me because it shows the people in the community care, that the people here are invested in the lives of those who are growing up here that could potentially be employees for them in the future. [The scholarship] gives opportunities that you might not have if you didn't have that extra bit of money to help out," says Lauryn Monteforte, Business Administration major at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

By helping local students, the scholarship hopes to make education more of a possibility and have these talented individuals return to improve the rural communities.

"The scholarship, to me, means a lot because I'll have law school after my 4-year degree and that's a lot of debt to take on. Eventually, my plan is to come back to the Shickley area to work in agricultural policy," says Caleb Hendrickson, Political Science and Ag Business major at the University of Nebraska - Kearney.

Heartland Bank also sees the positive impact of investing in future generations time and time again.

"This scholarship helps with my finances but it helps that a bank like this continues to give back to the community," says Sydney Jividen, Gerontology major at the University of Nebraska - Omaha.

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2019 Scholarship recipients


Jacob Swartzendruber

Jacob graduated from Shickley High School and is the son of Jon and Linda Swartzendruber. A sophomore at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL), he is currently majoring in Agricultural Economics with a minor in Agronomy. After receiving his degree at UNL, Jacob plans to pursue a career in agriculture. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, fishing and working on the family farm.

Sydney Simacek


Sydney Simacek

Sydney graduated from Fillmore Central High School in 2019, and has lived in Geneva all her life. She is the daughter of Todd Simacek and Melissa Sharp. Sydney attends Southeast Community College in Beatrice. She plans to go into the Human Services Program and graduate with an Associate of Arts degree.

Lauryn Monteforte


Lauryn Monteforte

Lauryn is currently studying Business Administration at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL) with a goal of adding Finance as a second major next year. Lauryn is active in the Undergraduate Women in Business Club, and keeps busy working at the University of Nebraska high school as an Office Assistant. After college, her goal is to work in banking.


Sydney Jividen

Sydney graduated from Fillmore Central High School in 2018. She is currently attending the University of Nebraska - Omaha (UNO), majoring in Gerontology. After completing her studies at UNO, she plans to apply for occupational therapy schools. Sydney is active in the UNO club volleyball team, Relay for Life and the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.


Mitchell Manning



Mitchell Manning

Mitchell grew up in Burress, Nebraska, and graduated from Exeter-Milligan High School. He is currently studying Ag Economics at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL). He is a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. After graduation, Mitchell plans to return home to the family business.


Caleb Hendrickson


Caleb Hendrickson

Caleb is currently studying at the University of Nebraska - Kearney (UNK), majoring in Political Science and Ag Business. After graduation, he plans to attend law school. Caleb’s goal after school is to work in agricultural policy, and open his own firm in rural Nebraska.


Madison Bonin


Madison Bonin

Madison is a 2019 Fillmore Central High School graduate, currently attending the University of Nebraska - Omaha (UNO). She is majoring in Journalism and Media Communications with a concentration in Creative Media.



Kelsey Bigelow

Kelsey is the daughter of Mark and Becky Bigelow from Milligan, Nebraska and a 2018 graduate of Exeter-Milligan High School. She currently is attending Northeast Community College in Norfolk, majoring in Broadcasting with a concentration in radio and television. After graduating, she plans to transfer to a four-year college to further her broadcasting degree along with double majoring in sports management.

Madison Galusha-1


Maddi Galusha

Maddi is a sophomore at Hastings College, studying Sociology with a minor in Philosophy. She also hopes to pick up an additional minor in Education. In March, Maddi will be going to Spain for two weeks as a part of the experiential learning course. Continuing her education has opened many doors for Maddi, and she’s excited to see where her studies take her.

Sarah Taubenheim

Sarah is the Media Specialist at Heartland Bank. She graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a degree in Communication Studies. Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and friends and organizing and decorating her home.

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