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Hard works pays off for Copsey twins awarded full-tuition scholarships to UNL
November 20, 2015 Frank Marquez   

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Hard works pays off for Copseys Twins awarded full-tuition scholarships to UNL

Although identical twins do some things differently, there are still a lot of things they do the same. For Megan and McKenna Copsey, being named recipients of the Regents Scholarship by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was one of them.

The Regents Scholarship is among the most prestigious awards granted by the university. Every year, about 400 to 500 students earn the scholarship valued at $27,000 in tuition and associated costs, or 128 credit hours by merely applying for admission to UNL.

The school examines student records, activities and accomplishments, and a 350-word personal statement. Catching someone’s attention, McKenna wrote about her interests in interior design and how she wanted to follow her mom’s dream, while Megan wrote about her desire to go into business and how her involvement in certain activities promoted that interest.

In order for their scholarships to be renewed each year, each must maintain at least a 3.5 GPA, and complete 24 credit hours each academic year with a minimum of nine graded hours per semester. That is seemingly no problem considering both girls carry a 4.0 grade point average. Both earned 33 on the ACT. Both play and excel at soccer and softball, on top of being involved in a number of clubs and activities, both are highly motivated.

When it came to being so driven, aside from high expectations set by their parents, both girls were pushed by something invisible to their peers, teachers and coaches. They had been diagnosed with Diabetes. For Megan it came sooner. “I had diabetes (type 1) when I was 18-months old,” Megan said. “Growing up in grade school, some people treated me differently like I was fragile, and I didn’t think that mattered. So, I tried to prove them wrong, and showed them I could be as good as anyone else.”

Megan added, “I looked up to my family; I wanted to make them proud, but mainly, I just wanted to excel in everything I did.”

McKenna said, “I didn’t have diabetes as long as Megan. I was diagnosed in eighth grade. That really drove me to become a better athlete.
Sometimes, it affects you on the field if your numbers go too low or high. I didn’t want that to define who I was as an athlete. I wanted to tell people, ‘hey, I have this disease, but I’m not letting that stop me from playing.’ I think it causes others to stop making excuses in what they do. I didn’t want to make excuses too, and say ‘I missed that save.
It must have been off because of how I was feeling.’ I just hold myself to a higher standard because of it.”

As the twins enter adulthood, they find the gap between them growing even more. Although their mother dressed them in similar clothes and styled their hair the same way when they were younger, the divergent paths actually started to form once they entered junior high school, where they were assigned to separate academic teams. Each developed friendships by proximity, being in different parts of the school all day. After that, the twins began to pursue their own academic interests.
This year, other than taking a few of the same courses: College Composition, International Relations, American Government, and German 4, their interests, although semi-related, will take them to different parts of UNL’s campus.

Born just a minute sooner than her sister on Jan. 15, 1998, the elder twin, McKenna, currently serves as the print and design editor for Gering High School’s student newspaper, “Blue Prints,” while Megan’s focus has been on DECA and honing her skills in business.

Megan’s interest in business formed when she took a few courses in marketing. She also joined DECA, a club which promotes entrepreneurship among young people.

She also greatly admires her father Gering businessman Brian Copsey, who runs JBC Petroleum Distribution Company in the city’s downtown on 10th Street, a business named after the twins’ grandparents and founders Jack and Betty Copsey.

McKenna, on the other hand, has been accepted into the College of Architecture at UNL. She developed an interest in interior design watching TV shows with her mom and “thought it was really cool.”

Her mother, who attended UNL for a year, never finished her degree in interior design, but “she talks about how much fun she had, and how she misses it,” McKenna said. “I just want to finish her dream for her. We might start a business together, but we’ll be partners.”

If their high school records are any indication, there’s little doubt the twins will finish what they start, meet their goals, and make their dreams come true. Megan has served as president of Student Council, vice president of Art Club, co-president of Book Club, a member of DECA, Key Club, GGAA (Gering Girls Athletic Association for letter winners). She also played high school softball and soccer, and belonged to the Gering Girls Softball Association, Traveling Soccer, and National Honor Society.

DECA has been the most rewarding for her. She has won numerous accolades at the regional and state levels for her accomplishments in business and finance.

Similarly, McKenna has stood out among her peers as well. She has served as vice president of Key Club, a member of Student Council, Quill and Scroll (National Honor Society for Journalism students), and National Honor Society. She too played soccer and softball, and has been a member of Traveling Soccer, GGAA, and the GGSA.

Among her finer achievements, McKenna was named to the Journal-Star Academic All-State soccer team her sophomore and junior years.

She also was named Best in Nebraska for graphic illustrations last year, with the distinct possibility of winning it again this year.

“Competitive? I would say so,” Megan said. “Academically, we’re trying to see who has the better grades. In classes, we’d like to see who got the higher percentages on tests, or at the end of each semester.”

McKenna added, “My parents have always pushed us. Since grade school, we were always high achieving. It was unacceptable if you got anything lower than a B.”

When they aren’t vying to outdo each other in the classroom, they stay busy in other endeavors. They have even discussed joining forces after they earn their degrees at UNL. “We talked about doing something together because (Megan) works at the Daily Grind – a coffee shop on Gering’s main street – and I like cooking. I thought about designing a place, but that lasted for about an hour,” McKenna joked.

McKenna – who works part-time writing a column called “Teen Voice” for the Gering Citizen, and a second job for a few nights a week at the Scotts Bluff Country Club – said she doesn’t know where she wants to end up after college. Megan echoes the sentiment.

They have visited Chicago, New York, Orlando, Fla., Dallas and plan to visit a few other cities during their college years. And both have considered studying abroad.

Right now they’re anxious to wrap up high school, and then start to focus on their freshman year at UNL and new horizons. “There’s more independence; it’s not like you have to go to classes for seven hours a day,” McKenna said. “I feel like going to UNL will be a more a relaxed environment. It’ll be easier in that sense,” McKenna said.

As for the underclassmen who they have mentored and guided in their senior year or for anyone who has ever doubted the benefits of school, they advise taking stock in long hours and hard work. McKenna said, “Even though you’re studying for that test, or finishing the last problem for homework, you might think it’s ridiculous. There are some really late nights finishing essays and projects, and studying for exams, but once you start getting the grades back, and this scholarship award, you realize the last four years have paid off.”

Megan added, “Stick with it, even though it’s really stressful. It’s amazing when you finally see the results of all the years you put into it.”
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