2023 Family Tree Award To The Hastings Family


By TENA L. COOK, CSC Marketing Coordinator

CHADRON – The Hastings family is a recipient of the Family Tree Award. The Family Tree Award is presented annually to families with a tradition of attending CSC.

The recipient family must include a minimum of three generations of graduates.

At least two of the family members must have a record of outstanding service to the college, the alumni association, their community, or their profession. For many members of the Hastings family, that profession is education.

The matriarch of the family, Mary (Drake) Hastings of Ogallala, Nebraska, was born in Holdrege and earned a Master’s in Secondary Supervision in 1970. Her husband, Willis, is a native of Elsie, Nebraska.  While Mary earned her master’s degree at CSC, Willis filled in teaching classes for a professor who was on sabbatical. Willis earned a bachelor’s from the University of Northern Colorado and a master’s from Kearney State. He taught Industrial Arts at Palmer and St. Paul, Nebraska, from 1963 to 1968 and at Ogallala from 1971 until he retired in 1998.

The couple has two children, John and Todd.

Todd, a 1998 CSC graduate with a master’s degree in Mathematics, is married to Marleta, a 1996 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Marleta, daughter of Marsden and Marlys Peterson, went on to earn two additional degrees from CSC, a master’s in Reading in 2003 and a Specialist in Reading in 2017.

Todd taught Mathematics at Albin, Wyoming, from 1991 to 1993 and has been teaching Mathematics at Chadron Middle School from 1993 to the present. He was the head track coach for Chadron High School for several years and plans to retire in the spring of 2024. Marleta graduated from LaGrange, Wyoming, and was a rural Dawes County music teacher and technician from 2008 to 2011, an accompanist for Chadron Schools from 2011 to 2019, and has been the Reading Intervention Teacher at Chadron Public Schools since 2019.

Their three children, Larissa, Mikaela, and Moriah, all graduated from Chadron High School.

Larissa graduated from CSC in 2017 with an education degree. While attending CSC, Larissa participated in the Eagle Dance Team and the Cardinal Key National Honor Society. She is married to Zac White who graduated from CSC in 2015, also in education. He is the son of Richard White and Suzanne McCormick and a graduate of Perkins County High School. He has been the Math teacher for grades 6-8 in Ogallala since 2016. Larissa was the Family and Consumer Science teacher for grades 6-12 from 2017 to 2022 and is currently staying at home with the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Jaydalee.

Mikaela graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education. She is married to Tristan Stephenson, son of Brian and Charlene Stephenson, who earned his Art Education degree in 2019. While attending CSC, Mikaela was involved in Sigma Delta Neu, a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and she was an embedded tutor in English classes. Tristan, a graduate of Alliance High School, was a member of Blue Key, the Art Guild, Revive, and was active in intramurals while at CSC. They live in Grant, Nebraska, where Tristan has been the Art teacher at Perkins County Schools since 2019 and Mikaela owns and operates Tripods & Tails Photography, a full-time business. Previously, she taught English at Chase County Schools and Perkins County Schools.

Moriah is married to Riley Schliep, son of Kelly Ward and Jason Schliep. Moriah earned a bachelor’s in Family Consumer Science with an emphasis in Nutrition and Wellness in 2022. She plans to attend nursing school in January 2024. A native of Grand Island, Riley graduated from high school in 2018 and CSC in July 2023 with a bachelor’s in Sports and Recreation. He was a member of the CSC football team from 2018 to 2021 while also being active in intramural sports. He works for Nutrien Seed Company in Kearney.