Staff Members Lend a Helping Hand


Murray, NEB — Conestoga Jr/Sr High Schools Nurse Tracy Andersen and Counselor Laurel Kreifels have worked together to open up the “Cougar Convenience Store”. They officially started brainstorming this idea in Spring of 2021. The grand opening of the store was the start of Fall of 2021. The Cougar Convenience Store allows students who are in need of basic necessities to grab what they need.

In Spring of 2021 the office staff was starting to see more of a need for everyday items by students. It could be that a student forgot something at home, or maybe a family is going through a rough patch and needs a little bit of extra help. Kreifels says “Eitherway, having a convenient way for students to get these items helps to have less stress and go about their school day.” Kreifels has shared this idea with other schools and they have lots of questions and are interested in starting something similar at their schools! Students have been showing their gratitude since the opening and Kreifels wants to say “It has been great to see students use the store and feel comfortable coming in and getting needed items. The community support has also been amazing with donations.”

Nurse Tracy Andersen would like to mention that since becoming a school nurse she has worked in different schools and a wide range of students PK-12.​​ Throughout this time, Andersen has noticed that it can be hard for students to focus on learning when they are stressed, hungry, or worried about not having the things they need to care for themselves at home. When brainstorming the Cougar Convenience Store Andersen had one thing on her mind, and it was to help the students. She said “If we can help make sure those basic daily items are taken care of and ensure our students aren’t having to worry about those things, they can focus on learning, socializing and participating in the extracurriculars they have the opportunity to do as students.” There are many students that are involved in activities and spend lots of their time at school and may just need a little snack also.

Kreifels and Andersen will continue to communicate with the community to find the needs for the students and their families at Conestoga. The store has hygiene products, non perishable foods, snack items and toiletries. They have also been able to get clothing items as needed. Everything is free so if you are ever in need of any of these items, don’t be afraid to head over to the Cougar Convenience Store!