Article - A notable quote Thank you donors

A notable quote: ‘Thank you, donors!’

Two UNK students pursuing their passion – Early Childhood – feel grateful for the people who support this University of Nebraska priority.

Posted: Thu, Feb 2, 2017

Ruth Palma keeps this quote in her head, and her heart:

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

Frederick Douglass said that. Ruth, a UNK sophomore, used his words last year for a class project on universal preschool. She thinks of those words often as she studies to become a teacher of young children.

“The quote reminds me that those early years at a preschool can help shape not only great minds – but also great citizens, which is one of the reasons why I strongly believe that we should provide high quality early childhood education to children.”

She’s passionate about early childhood education, she says, because teachers helped build her up. When she was a shy little first-grader who struggled to read, she says, a patient, caring teacher made all the difference. She wants to return to her hometown, Grand Island, after she graduates and teach kindergarten or first grade.

Ruth is a Thompson Scholar and part of the Thompson Scholar Learning Community at UNK.  That’s a program that helps first-generation college students. She also has the Peter Kiewit Foundation Educators Opportunity Scholarship.

She would like to give back someday if she can, maybe create a scholarship herself, because she feels grateful for what good people have given her – like all of the good people she hasn’t even met who’ve supported early childhood efforts and students like her at the University of Nebraska. 

She keeps those people in her head and her heart.

“If I could talk to a donor I would tell them, ‘Thank you so much for providing the money so that people like me who want to make a difference in the lives of little children are able to do it.’”

UNK sophomore Breanna Hiner feels the say way.

“If I were talking to donors who support early childhood, I would say, ‘Thank you,’” she says. “I would say, ‘Thank you as a future educator as well as a student who had a positive experience during preschool.’”

Breanna grew up in Kearney. Like Ruth, she also is a Thompson Scholar and is studying early childhood education. She plans to open a family daycare one day and volunteer for Head Start.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

Breanna keeps that quote in her head and heart, too. (She was one of the students in that group project with Ruth last year.)

“I want to work in early childhood because I believe that what children learn and experience in the first few years of life sets them up for the rest of their future,” she says. “Young children who have access to quality education are more likely to graduate, go to college, have successful relationships and live successful lives.”

Student support is one of the priorities of the University of Nebraska’s Our Students, Our Future fundraising initiative, which is helping to make better futures for us all. The two-year, $200 million initiative seeks gifts in support of students and goes through 2017.

If you would like to help promising students like Ruth and Breanna make the world a better place, please contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216 or send us a message

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