Looking back on his time as the Daily Nebraskan's advertising manager, Nick Partsch's responsibilities went beyond discussing budgets and contracts with department heads or staff. It went beyond developing marketing plans and directing the paper's advertising and promotional campaigns.
In the 14 years he worked at the University of Nebraska’s student newspaper, the Lincoln, Nebraska-resident also recruited and trained young people on being successful in the advertising field. That's when he discovered something.
"Working with students enforced my belief that there's something amiss with society," said Partsch, who retired in 2012.
Of his observations at the Daily Nebraskan, he continued, "More students are coming to college lacking many life skills necessary to be the kind of person to advance rapidly in their chosen field."
So he took it upon himself then to provide those young folks the life skills necessary to succeed. Today, that same passion drives him as a grandparent who not only looks out for his 11 grandchildren but also advocates for future generations of Nebraskans.
Just looking at the stats, that future seems grim. Nearly 40 percent of Nebraska’s children, age 0-5, are considered at risk of failing in school and life, according to a study by First Five Nebraska, an early learning advocacy group.
That's what makes living in Nebraska, as Partsch puts it, "more of a challenge than a resort area."
But knowing that high quality early childhood experiences and environments decrease crime and improve community safety, Partsch is ready for his generation to step up and hold elected officials' feet to the fire when it comes to early childhood education.
But that's easier said than done. "One of the biggest problems of people my age is that we think this doesn't affect us anymore," Partsch said.
The questions he often hears are: Why should I vote for school bond issues since I don't have kids in school? Why should I support early childhood learning when all my grandkids in this area aren't in school?
But Partsch sees the connection. He knows a child’s earliest environments and experiences will help shape who they are as adults. He believes that providing quality early childhood experiences leads to quality adult citizenship. It stands to reason that quality adult citizenship leads to a brighter future for Nebraska’s way of life. That’s why, despite most of his grandchildren living outside of Nebraska, he stayed invested in the young people at the Daily Nebraskan.
His suggestion for bridging the gap between young and old includes more communication between them to understand how interdependent they are. "We have a lot of wisdom to share," Partsch said. Of the future, he added, “Those kids are going to take care of us some day, one way or another."