Reaching for her potential
Brooke Draskovic’s eyes light up when she talks about working with kids and getting her hands dirty, whether it’s painting with them inside or playing in the dirt outside. The Lexington native, who is working toward an associate of applied science degree in early childhood education at CCC-Hastings, is one of only 12 students in Nebraska to receive a Reaching Your Potential Scholarship from the EducationQuest Foundation. She’s the only one attending a community college and the only one who’s not enrolled in a college or the university in Lincoln or Omaha.
All 12 students who received a portion of the more than $72,000 in EducationQuest scholarship money have overcome obstacles to make college possible. For Draskovic, her childhood was defined by her mom, Martha, working two jobs to make ends meet. Draskovic helped by taking care of her younger brother, Jesse Jr. Helping is something she loves to do, and children have long been her focus. Before graduating from Lexington High School in 2022, she served as a physical education, math and classroom aide at an elementary school and taught a food and nutrition class at the middle school.
As a CCC student living on campus and serving as a student ambassador has given her new opportunities. “The campus is very inclusive and I’ve gotten to know a lot of different types of people,” she said. She also has enjoyed her classes, especially one taught by early childhood education instructor Jackie Zeckser that explored how children see things. A class assignment had her writing her own book, something she didn’t think she could do when she first started. The finished book features illustrations of a bear family with two parents and one baby and explores separation anxiety.
Draskovic plans to graduate from CCC in spring 2024 and then transfer to the University of Nebraska-Kearney to earn a bachelor’s degree. She wants to be a social studies teacher so she “can use my experiences to be a positive resource for my students.”