SCHUYLER, Neb. -- Students at Schuyler Elementary got an early holiday gift on Friday.

Packed into the building's gym students gathered to hear the news that they had won News Channel Nebraska's and UnitedHealthcare's Small Towns Matter giveaway.

The event has been ongoing for almost five years, a partnership that has provided over 1,000 bike helmets to students across Nebraska. 

Jeff Stafford the CEO of Nebraska Medicaid plan for UHC said the program has been a great way to encourage safety and health for young students.

"It's always a chance to be of and part of the community which is absolutely the most important thing for what we do in healthcare and wellness," Stafford said. "All of our team really care and really look forward to this work and these kind of events."

The check ceremony was televised live on NCN Friday morning, as students cheered for the news.

Schuyler Elementary was chosen from over a hundred nominations thanks to the support from the Schuyler community; something the school said they are grateful for.

"Thank you very much to everyone for your support," said Superintendent Dr. Bret Schroder. "We have a lot of kids on bikes so this is excellent. I think also the recognition of not only our town but of Schuyler Elementary. It's a great place to learn and this is a great place to live, so I think it's a great recognition."

Bill Comley head principal at the school said the award was a surprise, but a well-deserved one for the students.

"Just coming in, it was kind of a surprise to all of us," Comley said. "The kids deserve it. It's going to be awesome and that money is going to go a long way toward us providing books or something towards to all the kids. It'll be great"

In addition to every student receiving a bike helmet, the school was also gifted $2,500 for the school to use at their discretion.

The Small Towns Matter giveaway is planned to continue in 2024.