16 April Two OPS/UNO Service Projects Earn Recognition from Nebraska First Lady April 16, 2013 By News News 0 Nebraska first lady Sally Ganem recognized the Omaha Public Schools and the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Service Learning Academy P-16 Initiative during the 2013 First Lady’s Outstanding Community Service Award luncheon in April. A group of South High Magnet students and OPS staff received an award in the Outstanding Service Learning Program category for their collaborative project with UNO known as “Sacred Circle.” The program promotes the Native American culture by bringing together UNO Native American Studies students with Native American students at South High Magnet School. For the last three years, the UNO students have visited South students each week to serve as mentors and work on community service and art projects to foster pride in Native American culture and help develop student leaders. Norris Middle School students and staff received an award in the Outstanding School Volunteer Program category for their volunteer project “Redbird Closet,” which is a clothing pantry for families in need. Norris Middle School has a Family and Community Room that serves as the hub of their service projects in the school and community. With the help of the UNO Service Learning Academy, Completely Kids and Hanscom Park United Methodist Church, Norris students and staff began collecting clothing for babies, children, teens and adults. Students serve by washing, folding and organizing the clothes and have logged more than 600 community service hours this school year. These projects were two of 10 recognized at the awards ceremony, which is sponsored by ServeNebraska, the Nebraska Volunteer Service Commission. Related Articles Celebrating OPS Alumni Jeff Snow graduated from Omaha Bryan High School in 1988. Snow is the Co-owner and Executive Chef of Catering Creations, "Voted Best Caterer” in Omaha since 2011 and specializing in custom menus for events of all styles from 40 to 3000 guests. Chef Snow also co-owns with his wife, Jennifer. Catering Creations is located in the Omaha Old Market at 19th and Jackson. Snow began cooking at such an early age, he can't even remember a time when he wasn't working in a kitchen or studying the culinary arts. Snow attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where he obtained a degree in Occupational Studies. Upon graduation of the C.I.A., Jeff worked at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida and at Sarducci's Italian Restaurant in Plano, Texas. Snow eventually returned to his hometown of Omaha and worked for ten years as the Executive Chef of a French café in downtown Omaha. Jeff started his catering and event planning company with his wife in 2002 and Catering Creations now brings the restaurant to you with off-premise catering services for a wide variety of events. Ryan Ellis graduated from Omaha Central High School in 1997. Ellis began his career P.J. Morgan Real Estate as an intern while attending Creighton University. He graduated from Creighton with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and took on a leadership role as property manager for P.J. Morgan Real Estate. In 2007, Ryan was promoted to Vice President and Chief Operating Officer due to his outstanding leadership and his excellent work in real estate sales and leasing. In 2009, Ryan became the President of P.J. Morgan Real Estate. John Krayneski graduated from Omaha South High School in 1961. Krayneski is the owner of AAA Building Components and Quality Door & Trim. The oldest of 10 children, Krayneski is a founding board member of the South High School Alumni Association and is past President emeritus. Krayneski was inducted into the SHSAA Hall of Fame in 1996. A Gold Key National Home Builders Association, Krayneski has served on the boards of the Metropolitan Home Builders Association for 15 years and the Nebraska State Home Builders. He is a MOBA Associate of the Year as well as a 50 Penny Spike recipient. Krayneski and his wife Beverly (Moravec) Krayneski - 1962 have made significant financial and volunteer contributions to South High School through the Alumni Association. Peg Harriott graduated from Benson High School in 1974. She serves as President and CEO for the Child Saving Institute. Harriott oversees the agency’s administration, programming and services, financing, and fundraising. Harriott also served in leadership positions at Uta Halee from 1978 to 1999 and as the Executive Director of Omaha’s YWCA from 1999 - 2008. Harriott has a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She received the UNO College of Business Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 2005. As an Omaha Benson High School Graduate, she was also inducted into the Benson Hall of Fame in April 2008. Quiana Smith graduated from Omaha North High School in 1995. She pursued a career in acting and singing and later took her talents to Broadway after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ithaca College Musical Theater. Smith has appeared in all major venues, sang at a Presidential inauguration, spent three years with the Disney production of Mary Poppins, and has been a guest soloist with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra. Smith is the daughter of longtime Omaha World-Herald photojournalist Rudy Smith. After numerous successful roles in Broadway theatre and the positive experience of her first TV screen work, a co-starring role on the BET mini-series A Royal Birthday, Smith is pursuing more TV and film work in Los Angeles. Pete McCann, age 49, founded Ideal Images in July 1998 with just a $10,000.00 investment. Ideal Images has since become the largest company in its industry in Nebraska. Ideal Images proudly employs over 50 people and is based in Omaha, NE. Before founding Ideal Images, Pete McCann worked in the sporting goods industry for over 15 years. Over this time he worked at United Sporting Goods, Olympia Village and Charlie Rose Baseball. McCann participated in all phases of the business. From that experience, Pete McCann concluded he would launch his own business, Ideal Images. Pete McCann is an active participant in many philanthropic endeavors. He annually supports the following organizations; Campfire USA, Salvation Army, DJ Heroes, Creighton Athletic Foundation, Big Brother Big Sisters, Alzheimer’s Walk, UNO Women’s Walk and Heartland Family Services. This year, Pete was especially proud in playing a major role in helping the Team Jack Foundation raise over 1 million dollars in the fight against children’s pediatric cancer. He has also been actively involved in many Burke High School projects (baseball field, weight room and the stadium scoreboard) over the past several years. Pete also received the Hometown Hero’s award in the fall of 2015 from the Omaha FBI in honor of the work he did in raising over $230,000 to the family of Officer Kerrie Orozco who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Pete lives in Omaha and is a Burke High School graduate from the class of 1985. He lettered in football and baseball. He has been married to his high school sweetheart Stephanie, Burke 1987 for 29 years. The have raised four children, Alex (Burke 2007), Morgan (Burke 2010), Mitchell (Burke 2012) and Mason (Burke 2014). Debra Esser, MD graduated from Northwest High School in 1975. Dr. Esser is vice president, medical policy and quality medical director. She is a member of the Blue Cross Shield of Nebraska leadership team with responsibility for medical policy and medical review, as well as strategic oversight of quality management programs. Previously, Dr. Esser served as chief medical officer for Aetna Better Health of Nebraska. Prior to that, she held leadership positions at Coventry Health Care Nebraska/Iowa, Omaha Physician’s Clinic and Methodist Hospital and United Healthcare Nebraska/Iowa. Dr. Esser is actively involved in community service and has served as president of the Metro Omaha Medical Society board of directors and is currently president of the Metro Omaha Medical Society Foundation, in addition to being a member of Live Well Omaha and Hope Medical boards. She is also on Senator Gloor’s Patient Centered Medical Home steering committee. Dr. Esser completed medical school at the University of Nebraska at Omaha/Lincoln and her family practice residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She earned a master’s degree in medical management from Tulane University. Susana Lara graduated from South High School in 1991. Susana was inducted into the South High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2015. Susana Lara is a curriculum specialist at Omaha South High School. She received her B.S. degree in secondary education with endorsements in Spanish, English and ESL and her M.A. degree in education leadership in teaching and learning. Her students won awards in the National Spanish Exam Competition and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Language Competition. She worked to create curriculum for the first “Spanish for Spanish” program and to align it with the Language Arts curriculum to support literacy and writing skills in both English and Spanish, which is growing. She advocated for a Latin American Studies course, which is now offered to students. As Advanced Placement coordinator, she has worked with other teachers to expand the program, resulting in South High having the highest number of students taking and passing the AP Spanish and Culture Examination. The classes have grown from one section to multiple sections and have maintained high passing rates. She works with parents to inform them of the benefits of advanced placement, dual enrollment and higher education. She held a parent-student conference and college fair that included more than 100 parents and students who visited the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Other schools since have followed suit. She won the Knights of Columbus Education Leadership Award, Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award and a Barrientos Scholarship Award in Education. Her community service includes starting the first Spanish youth club at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. She volunteers as a religious education teacher at the church and has received volunteer awards from Gomez Heritage Elementary School. The Latino Leaders group she sponsors has volunteered at local elementary schools, adopted families at Christmas, cleaned up South Omaha, painted over graffiti, and participated in Cinco de Mayo activities. Niles Paul graduated from Omaha North High School in 2007 where he was a three-sport star in football, track and basketball. Paul helped Omaha North to a 9-2 record and a trip to the Class A state quarterfinals. Paul was regarded as the top prospect in the state of Nebraska in 2007 and later went on to play for the Nebraska Cornhuskers from 2007 to 2010 and ended his college career with 103 receptions for 1,532 yards and 5 touchdowns. His career total of 4,122 all-purpose yards ranks fifth all-time in Nebraska history. Paul was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft as a wide receiver by the Washington Redskins, the team he continues to play for. Niles Paul continues to give back to North High and the Viking football team through mentoring opportunities. His family is a primary fundraiser for a scholarship recognizing North High volunteers. John Mangiameli is a former Omaha Northwest High School graduate of 1973. After graduating from Northwest, Mangiameli received his cosmetology license and is now the president and owner of Creative Hair Design Salon and Spa in Omaha, Nebraska located off of 120th and Pacific Street. Creative Hair Design Salon and Spa has been in business since 1982. Mangiameli says his inspiration as a hair stylist comes from working as an apprentice under his father. When asked what keeps him inspired John says, “as long as hair keeps growing and turning gray we will be in business.” Dr. Alvin Samuels Jr. graduated from Omaha Central High School in 2006. After high school he attended Creighton University where he received his Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology in 2010. While at Creighton Samuels spent four months studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, joined Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated and participated as an officer in the Pre-Dental Society. After college, Samuels spent a year academically preparing for dental school in the Post-Baccalaureate Program at Creighton University. After the post-bac program Samuels enrolled in dental school at Creighton University School of Dentistry. While in dental school Samuels married his wife, Yvonnda A. Samuels, JD. Yvonnda graduated from Creighton’s School of Law in 2014 and Samuels graduated from Creighton’s School of Dentistry in 2015. Samuels was able to attend dental school via the United States Navy Health Profession Scholarship Program and as a result, he is currently practicing dentistry as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. Samuels is practicing as a resident in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency in Norfolk, VA. This past January Samuels and his wife were blessed with their first child, a daughter, Amora Samuels. Upon completion of Samuels five-year commitment to the Navy he plans to become a Navy dental specialist or return to Omaha where he and his wife will practice their respective professions. Angeline Larson (Petak) is a proud South Omaha girl who graduated salutatorian from Omaha Bryan High School in 2002. She has an MBA from Creighton University and a BS from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Larson currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. a federally qualified health center system serving the medically underserved, under-represented, and underinsured residents in Omaha. In her role at Charles Drew, she leads the school-based health center program, health care for the homeless and primary care in public housing programs. She also leads the Corporate Compliance program, Medical Records, Patient Financial Services, Information Technology, Facilities, and Enabling Services such as interpreter services, transportation and reception. Larson also serves as the Youth Exchange Officer for international high school exchange students for the Rotary Club of Omaha Suburban a volunteer organization. She also volunteers as an advisory board member of the Creighton chapter of Alpha Phi Sorority and serves on the selection committee for Youth Leadership Omaha. Larson is proud of the education she received at Bryan High School where she was a 4-year varsity letter winner in Volleyball and was involved in Yearbook, National Honors Society, Future Business Leaders of America and Student Council. She credits her coaches Mr. Tom O'Hara and Mr. Paul Boisseree for influencing her love of both volleyball and tennis. She also credits her English teacher Mrs. Cathy Pierson who pushed her to succeed. "Mrs. Pierson taught my most difficult high school class, Senior AP English. She never let me cut corners and held me accountable to my work. She believed I was smart and pushed me to be better," Larson said. Angeline is married and lives in Omaha with her husband Peter Larson, an engineer at the University of Nebraska Medical Center - UNMC. Fernando “Butch” Lecuona III graduated from Benson High School in 1969. Butch served as Deputy Assistant to Omaha Mayor, Mike Fahey after retiring as the State of Nebraska Commissioner of Labor through three gubernatorial administrations from both political parties. Butch also served as a Cabinet member in each administration. Butch was in his 18th year with the Nebraska Workforce Development-Department of Labor when he retired from State government. Butch is now CEO/Executive Director for the Community Education Foundation in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Camille Metoyer-Moten graduated from Burke High School in 1972. A native of Omaha, Camille has been singing and acting in the city and surrounding region for more than 30 years. Often described as “Omaha’s most versatile singer” she is an independent singer/songwriter and performs for many special events around the city as a guest soloist and also has her own pop/jazz band. Her theater performance credits include starring roles in Ragtime, Evita, Funny Girl, Tarzan, Little Women and Having Our Say to name a few. Her musical travels have taken her to Barcelona, Spain. She has been a recipient of several awards including the Omaha Arts and Entertainment award, Theater Arts Guild and Fonda/McGuire awards. Her guest solo appearances have included the Omaha Symphony, Jazz on the Green and the Governor’s Arts Ball. She was recently nominated as top jazz vocalist for 2015 in the city. She has released two CD's and is in the planning stages of a third. Camille is also a public speaker and has released an inspirational book regarding her recent battle with cancer. Camille has been inducted into the Omaha Black Musicians Hall of Fame. Camille has been married to Bishop Michael T. Moten for 40 years and has two grown children. Her first love is serving the Lord. Camille has her music website at: www.musicbycamille.com OPS Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees 2017 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees Andre Woolridge – Benson High School A 1992 Omaha Benson graduate, Woolridge scored a championship-game record 50 points to lead the Bunnies to the state title his senior year. He was All-Metro for three years and finished with 1,911 points, a Class A record. A four-year starter at Iowa, he led the Big 10 in scoring and assists his senior year and earned third-team All-American honors. He set the Iowa record for career assists. He played professionally in France, Italy, Turkey and Greece. Terry Eyman – Bryan High School Terry Robert Eyman was born in Omaha, Neb., on Aug. 19, 1968. He is the youngest of six siblings born to Robert and Anne Eyman. Eyman attended Chandler View Elementary School, Bryan Junior High School and graduated from William Jennings Bryan High School in 1986. During his high school years, he was an offensive and defensive lineman under the coaching guidance of Tim Bond. Terry received the Most Improved Player Award during his football years at Bryan High School. Following high school, Eyman attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After meeting with Coach Tom Osborne, he made the decision to join the Husker football program as a “walk-on,” and played the position of swing tackle during his years with the Huskers. Through hard work and perseverance, Terry was able to earn a scholarship and a starting position/rotation with the Huskers during his junior and senior years of college. Eyman graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a business degree in 1991. After graduation, he returned to Omaha, Neb., and joined the family business, Eyman Plumbing. He credits his business knowledge and experience to his work with various plumbing companies throughout the area. He is currently owner and CFO for Eyman Plumbing in Omaha. He lives in La Vista, with wife, Michelle Haynes, and their combined family of five children: Maddison, Nicholas, Benjamin, Robert and Waylon. Eyman enjoys coaching youth football, taking motorcycle rides, spending time with the family and, of course, watching football games at any level. Gary Graner – Burke High School Gary Graner grew up in the southwest Iowa town of Manning. He played football, basketball, and baseball and was awarded all-state basketball honors his senior year. After graduating from Manning High School in 1974, he played college basketball at the University of South Dakota from 1974-1978, graduating with a history degree and a high school teaching certificate and coaching endorsement in May of 1978. Coach Graner taught and coached at Omaha Burke High School for 33 years. When he joined Burke High School in the fall of 1978, Graner started as an assistant to John Johnette and assistant football coach to Larry Jacobsen. Upon the retirement of Coach Johnette in 1988, Coach Graner became Burke High School’s second head boys’ basketball coach holding that position for the next 18 years. In those 18 years, his teams qualified for the State Tournament eight times and finished as State Runners-up twice, 1993 and 2000. Burke High teams also won the Metro Holiday Tournament three times during his tenure. Ten of Coach Graner’s 18 teams finished the year in the OWH’s final state top ten rankings. In 1992, he was chosen to be the head coach for the Valentino’s NE All-Star team representing the state of Nebraska in the annual Las Vegas tournament and the following season was honored as the Metro Conference Coach of the Year. Coach Graner loved challenging his athletes to not only excel on the basketball court but also in the classroom and daily life. The teams he coached played an exciting brand of basketball, which brought the community out in force. That excitement and success generated by his teams’ hard-nosed play, along with the promotion of youth basketball through summer basketball camps and clinics, resulted in Coach Graner being honored with Burke High School’s Community Leader Award in 2000. Graner has always felt his reward for coaching has been the great fortune of being a part of the lives of so many wonderful student-athletes and working with dedicated coaches, staff, and administrators at Burke High School and throughout Omaha Public Schools. Coach Graner and his wife, Jessica, have been married forty-one years and all four of their children: Matt, Steve, Michelle, and Alli currently live in the Omaha area. Jessica Haynes - Central High School Jessica Haynes was born and raised in Omaha where she graduated from Central High School in 1985. A three-time all-state and three-time All-Metro player, Haynes helped Central to back-to-back basketball state championships in 1983 and 1984. In 1984, she averaged 16.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and her rebound and coast-to-coast drive for a layup sealed the state championship. She averaged 22 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game as a senior when she was a Parade All-American, Street and Smith’s All-American, Converse All-American, and Carnation Milk All-American. In track, she ran on three gold-medal relays helping Central to Class A titles in 1983 and 1984 and was also named High School All-American. Haynes attended San Diego State University where she was a three-year starter and a two-time All-Big West Conference selection averaging 16 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game during her career. She also played on two Olympic Festival teams in 86’ and 87. In 1997, Haynes was selected as a developmental player in the WNBA and assigned to the Utah Starzz. Haynes was inducted into the Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and 2011. She was also inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame. Haynes is now a mental health therapist and travels the country as a motivational speaker. Haynes is the mother of three wonderful children; William, a celebrity hairstylist also known as Tokyo Stylez, Jerrica, a United States Postal Service employee and Hunter, a freshman at Millard North. Dave Underwood - North High School Dave Underwood graduated from Omaha North High School in 1962, where he lettered in basketball, baseball and was an All-City selection first baseman in baseball. He was a member of the Omaha Storz American Legion team that finished third in the nation in 1961. Underwood was not only a standout on the field but a great teacher and coach. He taught and coached in the Omaha Public Schools at Lewis and Clark Middle School, South and Burke High School. His coaching career included coaching football, basketball and baseball. As a baseball coach at Burke, his teams achieved State Championships three times between 1970 and 1975. During the summers, he ran baseball camps for youth in the Omaha area with Bill Olson of Northwest High School. Underwood is co-founder of the Collins-Orcutt All- Star game featuring the areas top baseball players each Spring. Underwood has had an impact on youth not just in sports but spiritually. He led a group called Fellowship of Christian Athletes, who met at his house once a week to discuss how they could become better people in the eyes of the Lord and be a positive influence to people around them. One of his player’s said quote, “meeting you, playing for you and being your friend has been one of the greatest honors in my life and I would not be the same person had that not happened.” After a short stint at IBM, Underwood returned to coaching as an assistant baseball coach at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He helped lead Nebraska to its first regional appearance attempting to secure a berth in the College World Series. After two years at Nebraska, he served one year as an assistant coach at Creighton University and was named head baseball coach the following year. As head coach, he was on the College World Series Board of Directors from 1981 to 1985. He was twice honored as a College Coach of the Year in 1982 and 1983. He helped lead Creighton to its first ever ranking in the Collegiate Baseball Magazine. In 2013, Underwood was named to the Omaha Old-timers Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. In 1986, Underwood co-founded The Real Estate Brokerage Firm with a former player and Hall of Fame member, Tim Wurth. The company has been in business for 31 years and is a multi-faceted commercial real estate firm. In 2005, Underwood co-founded a new company called Heritage Communities to develop, build and manage care facilities for seniors. Underwood and his wife, Marilyn, live in Omaha, have five children are the proud grandparents of 12 grandchildren. Mikaela Perry-Grimes – Northwest High School Mikaela Perry-Grimes was born in Omaha, Neb., and is the daughter of longtime Omaha Public Schools (OPS) employees Doris and Otis Perry II. She attended Springville Elementary, Nathan Hale Junior High and Northwest High schools. Grimes excelled both academically and athletically. In high school she was a member of the National Honor Society and lettered in cheerleading, basketball and track and field. Following in her brothers’ (Mark and Otis III, who were stellar athletes in their own right) footsteps, she was a state champion in track and still holds the number three time in the 200 meters and the top time in the 100 meters on the Nebraska Girls All-Time Track Chart. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she was one of the first African-American cheerleaders that the school had ever had and was a member of the then, Big 8 Conference Championship track team. Completing her track career at the University of Alabama, she also hit another milestone as one of the first African-Americans elected to the school’s homecoming court before graduating with her bachelor’s degree. She competed for both the Midwest Striders and Cornhusker Flyer Youth Track Clubs. During her track career, Grimes won several awards, but her proudest moment was competing for the USA Junior team at the Pan-Am Junior Games where she ran the second leg on a 4x1 that not only won, but broke the World Junior Record. Today, Grimes lives in Nashville, Tenn. and is a Human Resource Administrator and co-chair for the Nashville Diversity and Inclusion Chapter at T-Mobile. In her spare time, she coaches for the Training Ground Youth Track Club, where several of her athletes have reached All-American status. She is married to Reggie Grimes and has 3 children: Maya,19; Reggie,15 and Reghan,13. All three are following in her footsteps. Reghan is a city middle school track champion, a two-time youth track All-American and MVP of her Middle School’s volleyball and basketball teams. Reggie is a county track champion, made the TSSAA State Track Meet as a freshman and was voted Offensive MVP for his high school football team. Maya was a two-time TSSAA state champion, High school All-American and Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Freshman of the Year competing for Austin Peay State University. Terrance Badgett - South High School Terrance Badgett started playing basketball in the fifth grade at Belvedere Elementary. A guy by the name of Jonathan Culver Sr. gave Badgett advice. He said “you can be great, if you practice.” Badgett took his advice and became a successful student and professional athlete. Badgett attended R. M. Marrs Magnet middle school where he played as a seventh grader and averaged 34.4 points a game. In high school, Badgett was an All-American all four years. He was a two-time all-state player and led the South High Packers to the Class A state championship in 1990 and averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game the following year. During his senior year he earned honors as the Gatorade Nebraska Player of the Year. Badgett was a Nebraska Cornhusker recruit and made the Big Eight All-Bench team, won the Big eight tournament and the National Invitational Tournament. As a Husker, he played in 127 games and scored more than 200 points each season, finishing with a career total of 953. Badgett played professionally for five seasons in the U.S. and overseas in Taiwan, Ireland, Germany and the Philippines. Back in the United States, Badgett played for Sioux Falls Sky-force, Wisconsin Blast, San Diego Wildfire and the Kansas City Knights. In 2003, Badgett returned to Omaha from Sacramento and worked at Omaha Home for Boys for eight years. He received his master’s degree in Human Services in 2005 at Bellevue University and began working as Executive Director for the YMCA. In 2012, Badgett started a new career at the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands. Today, Badgett continues to invest his time in other non-profit work for the homeless and mental health services for youth. He now works for the Heartland Behavioral School of Omaha. Badgett has one daughter, Camryn Joy Badgett. Thomas Warren - Technical High School Thomas Warren graduated from Omaha Technical High School in 1979. He earned a football scholarship to Morningside College where he graduated in 1983 with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice and sociology and a minor in psychology. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1989 in criminal justice with an option in public administration. While at Technical High School, Warren earned eight varsity letters: three in football, three in track and two in basketball. In football, he ran for 700 yards, eight touchdowns and had 36 tackles against opposing teams and was a Metropolitan Conference Runner-up in 1977. In basketball, his team were Metropolitan Conference Champions in 1978 and Holiday Tournament Champions in 1979. His track team were District Champions in the 4 x 200-yard relay. At Morningside College, Warren was a four-year starter as defensive back and his team were the All North Central Conference Second Team in 1982 and he was honored as the North Central Conference Defensive Player of the Week. His team also defeated the University of Nebraska at Omaha 3-0 after Warren forced a fumble that led to the game’s only score. After graduation, Warren served on the Omaha Police force from 1983-2008 and was the first African-American in Omaha to serve as Chief of Police from 2004-2008. Warren also won the World Police and Fire Olympic Gold Medal in 1983 in weightlifting for his class. Today, Warren serves as President/Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Nebraska. James Lund - Middle Schools James Lund was born and raised in Omaha and graduated from Omaha North High School in 1970. He attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he received a bachelor’s degree in education. While attending UNO as an undergraduate, he was a member of the men’s basketball and golf team. While in college, James met his wife, Marlene and they married in September of 1974. They’ve been married for 43 years and raised four children, Eddie, Julie, Andy, and Dan. After teaching, coaching and being a dad to four little ones, Lund returned to UNO and completed his master’s degree in 1989. Participating in college athletics influenced Lund’s decision to make teaching and coaching a career. Lund began his teaching and coaching career at Martin Luther King School. He taught at King from the fall of 1976 to the spring of 1984. In the fall of 1984, he transferred to Morton Middle School where he finished his career with OPS. At both schools, Lund coached girls’ and boys’ basketball, football, wrestling, soccer, swimming and gymnastics. Basketball was his favorite sport of all, in which he coached over 55 boys and girls teams during his time with OPS. In order for more students to participate in sports, he also sponsored intramural units at Morton. During his tenure at Morton, Lund coached against each one of his children, while they attended rival schools. Lund’s philosophy of coaching was to emphasize sportsmanship, skill development and team work. The strategies he employed were done to help players improve their skills rather than just win games. Over the thirty-one years he coached, he was privileged to work with many student athletes who went on to participate in high school and college athletics. Throughout the years, Lund participated in men’s basketball leagues and golf tournaments. He also enjoyed coaching his children and now grandchildren through outside youth organizations. Retirement offers Lund extra time to be more involved with his six grandchildren. When he is not being Papa, he enjoys golfing, cycling and traveling. Community Contributors Jim Fuxa Jim Fuxa attended Ashland Park Elementary and graduated from South High School in 1960. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Omaha University on athletic scholarships and graduated with and bachelor’s degree in education in 1965. He worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota at Mankato and obtained his master’s degree in education in 1971. At South High School, Fuxa wrestled and had an undefeated dual meet season in his sophomore and senior years. He was undefeated in district and state championships his senior year in high school and in two seasons at Omaha University, he had a dual meet record of 18-1. During Fuxa’s junior year in high school, he started coaching wrestling at the South YMCA and was paid ten cents per student, per session. His teams won five consecutive state YMCA championships. Later, he took part in road races and duathlons. He won over 200 medals and trophies during the 80s and 90s in those events. Fuxa competed for the USA Duathlon team and placed sixth in his age group in the 1993 world championships in Dallas. Even later in life, he participated in the Senior Winter Games in Summit County, Colo., winning numerous first place medals in Nordic skiing, snow shoe racing and the biathlon (shooting and Nordic skiing). Fuxa was employed by the Omaha Public Schools for 31 years. From 1967-1970, he coached football, wrestling, gymnastics and track and field at Lewis & Clark Middle School. In his third and final year at the junior high school, his teams won city championships in football, wrestling and track and field. After graduating from Mankato in 1972, he was hired as an administrator in Physical Education and Athletics in the Omaha Public Schools (OPS). During his tenure, he revised the playground apparatus policy for OPS regarding play and safety. Fuxa also suggested to a staff member at Sunny Slope a way to get a plan period for the elementary classroom teachers. He approached the Omaha Education Association with the idea that teachers receive plan time while traveling specialists were with their students. He also guided several teachers in the development of the curriculum guide called the “War on Weight.” In 1993, Fuxa proposed to the leadership of the JROTC program in OPS schools that they initiate a biathlon at the high school level, which included running and shooting. It has been an annual event ever since. Near the end of his career with OPS, he volunteered to coach wrestling at Beveridge Middle School where he coached from 1995-1997. His final year, his team won the city wrestling championship. Those same wrestlers, along with members of Morton’s team moved on to Burke High School where they won Burke’s first and only state wrestling championship. Fuxa coached two different youth soccer teams to state cup championships in 1985 and 1986. He became a wrestling official in 1967 and officiated many tournaments, including the Nebraska high school championships. In his final year of officiating, he worked the Big 8 Tournament in Stillwater, Okla. As a member of the Greater Omaha Sports Committee (GOSC) within the Omaha Convention and Tourism Bureau, Fuxa started perhaps the first high school scholar-athlete awards program in the county. The program continues today, forty years later. Also as a member of the GOSC, he helped set up the Big 8 Volleyball Tournament and clinics. These clinics were held at Omaha South during the Big 8 Tournament for girls from the four-state area surrounding Omaha. Fuxa also served on the Nebraska Winter Games committee in the mid-90s. One of his responsibilities was the food service for over 4,000 people at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. He still practices what he preached many year ago working out almost daily. He enjoys archery, cycling, hunting, hiking and has recently taken up pickle ball. Fuxa has two children: Nikki Mildren and Cory Fuxa, who reside in Fort Worth, Texas with their families. There are four grandchildren ranging in age from seven to 18. Jim is married to wife, Roxanne Smith, and they reside in Colorado Springs, Colo. Stu Pospisil Stu Pospisil is an Omaha World-Herald sportswriter and third-generation OPS graduate who has covered high school sports for the newspaper since 1984. He is currently the newspaper’s prep sports coordinator. He attended Fontenelle Elementary and Monroe Junior High before graduating from Benson High in 1980. At Benson, he was involved in National Honor Society, journalism, music and the math and metric clubs. He was team statistician for football, boys basketball and baseball. His professional career began in 1981 with the Sun Newspapers of Omaha while a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He joined the World-Herald in June 1984 and completed his degree at UNL that year. After five years as the Metro Conference beat writer, Pospisil became the statewide prep rater in 1990. He has become regarded as the leading prep authority and historian in the state. He assisted the Metro Conference in assembling its records during its golden anniversary season in 2014-15, which resulted in every school receiving a large plaque to commemorate its conference championship. Pospisil also has chronicled Nebraska golf on all levels for the past 30 years, including the 2013 U.S. Senior Open and the 1996 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the Cox Classic, the Masters and PGA Championships and countless state and local events. Since 1988, he has been the director of The World-Herald match play championship for Omaha-area golfers. He co-founded the revival of the men’s city golf championship in 1998. He has been a contributor to Sports Illustrated, Golf Journal and Gold World. He has been honored by the Nebraska School Activities Association, Nebraska Coaches Association, Nebraska State Athletic Administrators Association, Nebraska PGA and the Metro Omaha Golf Championship. He has received the Nebraska Gold Hall of Fame’s Davis Special Recognition Award and has been inducted into the Benson High Hall of Fame and Burke High Swimming Hall of Fame. Pospisil is married to the former Sherry Fischer of Scribner, Neb. They have seven-year-old twin sons, Adam and Kyle. 2016 OPS Athletic Hall of Fame John Stella John Stella was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, attended St. Peter grade school and graduated from South High School in 1953. While at South, he played basketball and baseball for Coach Conrad “Cornie” Collins and played American Legion Baseball in 1951 for Coach Harold Hunter and for Cornie Collins in 1952. In 1953, he played for Coach Red Brummer in Woodbine, Iowa, after disqualifying to play American Legion Baseball due to his age. Stella went on to play baseball at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (then Omaha University) for Coach Virgil Yelkin from 1954 to 1957. In 1955, “Runt” Marr offered him a professional contract to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals but he opted to remain in college and finish his degree. In 1959, he signed a contract as a pitcher and outfielder with the San Francisco Giants and played for its minor league – the Hastings Giants – in Nebraska. He left professional baseball the following year to work for the U.S. Postal Service and retired in 1992. In his spare time, he served as a coach for the St. Ann team of the Omaha Catholic Youth Organizations Baseball League (1961-1966), South High School’s American Legion Baseball team (1982-2012) and continues to serve as the team manager. In addition, he served as the assistant coach for South’s spring baseball team from 1985 to 2012. Honors and awards he’s achieved include the Nebraska Baseball Coaches Man of the Year in 1992, 1994 and 2002, Nebraska Baseball Coaches Association’s District 5 Assistant Coach of the Year in 1996, South High Packer Greats Hall of Fame in 2003, Omaha Old-Timers Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, was honored by the city when the baseball diamond at Brown Park was named John Stella Ball Field in 2009 and he was inducted into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. Additionally, he was named the Sons of Italy’s Italian/American of the Year in 2003 and honorary president of the Santa Lucia Festival in 2014. He is a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 331, and serves on the American Italian Heritage Society, Croatian Cultural Society of Omaha, Omaha G.I. Forum, National High School Baseball Coaches Association, Nebraska Coaches Association, Nebraska/Western Iowa Oldtimers Association, Santa Lucia Festival Committee and Sons of Italy. Calvin Jones Calvin Jones was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised by his grandmother, Pauline Smith, who instilled in him the importance of empowerment, education, resiliency and perseverance toward excellence. He graduated from Central High School in 1991. As a student-athlete at Central, Jones was a consensus prep All-American for Coach William Reed and established Class A rushing records for a game (367 yards), a season (2,196 yards) and a career (3,965 yards). In 1989, he averaged 8.4 yards per attempt, scored 22 touchdowns and was the Gatorade Circle of Champions Nebraska Running Back of the Year. Additionally, he was a track and field state champion sprinter in the 100 and 200 meters. Jones’ career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is legendary. As a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate and All-American I-back, he recorded two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, earning him Second All-Time honors at UNL. His career record of 3,153 yards and 40 touchdowns earned him 12th in the Big Eight. He averaged 105.1 yards per game. Honors he received during his college football career include Second Team All-Big Eight (1991), Sports Illustrated Player of the Week (11/11/91 vs. Kansas), Big Eight Offensive Newcomer of the Year (1991), Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year (Coaches, 1992), Sophomore All-American (Football News, 1992), Honorable Mention All-American (UPI, 1992), Second Team All-American (Football News, 1992), Two-time Consensus All-Big Eight (1992, 1993), Honorable Mention All-American (UPI, 1993), Third Team All-American (Football News, AP, 1993), Four-time Big Eight Player of the Week (1993), Doak Walker Award finalist (1993) and preseason All-American (1991). Oakland selected Jones in the sixth round of the 1994 NFL draft. In 1997, during his season with the Green Bay Packers, Jones played on the winning team in Super Bowl XXXI (31). In 2004, he was inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame. Christy Neneman Christy Neneman was born in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated from North High School in 2000. She began her sports career while in grade school at All-Saints Catholic School, playing baseball, softball, soccer, football and basketball. At North High School, Neneman was a three-time All-State and Super All-State selection, a three-time All-Metro choice, served as captain of the All-Tournament All-Class team her sophomore year and was named Miss Nebraska Basketball as a senior. Neneman attended Creighton University where she established herself as one of the greatest players in Missouri Valley Conference history. As a team leader and go-to player, she earned All-Freshman Team honors in her first season with the Bluejays, notching 19 points and eight rebounds in her first career start. The feisty guard continued to blaze a path through the Valley and was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior. Neneman was the leading scorer for Creighton during the Jays’ march to the NCAA Tournament in 2002, averaging 16.6 points per game in a 27-7 season. She was named to the All MVC First Team three times during her career. Neneman finished her career at Creighton with 1,732 points, which remains the fourth best in the school’s history. Her name appears all over the record books, including her career-high of 39 points scored against Drake in 2002, the fifth largest total for Creighton. Neneman is a member of the Creighton Sports Hall of Fame, along with the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame. She graduated from Creighton in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Neneman went back to school to pursue a degree as a physical therapist assistant and graduated from Clarkson College in August of 2014. Today, she works at the Neuro Rehabilitation Center as a physical therapist assistant. We salute Christy Neneman inducted into the 2016 OPS Athletic Hall of Fame. Clark Preble Clark Preble was born and raised in Omaha and attended Belvedere Elementary School, Springville Elementary School and Nathan Hale Junior High before graduating from Northwest High School in 1984. In football, he lettered all three years and helped the Huskies earn a three-year record of 28 -5 and make a state championship appearance his sophomore year, a semifinal appearance his junior year and a quarterfinal appearance his senior year. In basketball, he played varsity his junior year and while at Northwest the team earned a record of 56-17 and advance to the state tournament each year. In baseball, the team earned a three-year record of 64-5, won state titles all three years, were named Collegiate Baseball National Champions during the 1983 season and were second in the Collegiate Baseball rankings in 1984. Individually, he was named All-Metro his junior year and All-Metro, All-State his senior year. During his senior year, Preble had a 0.56 earned run average, which was a Northwest record. In Legion baseball, the Huskies won AAA Midget titles his ninth and 10th grade summers and Legion titles his 11th and 12th grade summers. His Legion career was highlighted by a 50-1 record his sophomore summer. Preble attended Auburn University where he was named to the All Southeastern Conference baseball team his junior year. During his senior year, the Tigers won the Southeastern Conference tourney, he was named to the All-Tourney Team and the team came within two wins of making the College World Series. Preble graduated from Auburn University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. In 1990, Preble returned to the Omaha Public Schools to teach mathematics at Nathan Hale Junior High School. In 1995, he transferred to his alma mater where he has taught ever since. At Northwest, Preble has coached basketball, track and baseball. During his years as an assistant baseball coach for Bill Olson, the teams won state titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994 in Legion ball and 1994 in high school baseball. A highlight of his basketball-coaching career occurred during the 2004-2005 season when his freshman team went 18-0. Clark earned his master’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1997. He is married to wife, Maureen and they have two sons: Chad and Connor. Jay Ball Following his father’s example, Jay Ball began his teaching and coaching career with the Omaha Public Schools in 1987. In 1995, he became the head football coach at South High before taking over the same position at Central High in 2006. In the spring of 1998, Ball and six other OPS high school football coaches met with the purpose of improving athletes’ performance on the field at a camp that stressed fundamentals through individual and team drills. In June of 1998, they held their first team camp at Norris Middle School that culminated a Jamobree/Scrimmage Day at UNO. Outback continued to sponsor the camp until 2004. In 2005 MG Contracting and Design, owned by Ball’s sister Jill and late brother-in-law Mark Goodrich, became the new sponsors. Since 2005, the camp has grown into a premier high school team camp in the state of Nebraska. Today, the camp includes Papio South, Bellevue West, OPS and Concordia, attracts tremendous media attention, and is recognized by players, coaches and parents, as the event where the football season begins and player development is highlighted. Since 2005, teams participating in the MG Camp have made the state playoff semi-finals seven times, finished as state runner-ups twice and crowned as state champions three times. In the final state ranking for 2015-2016, teams who attended the MG Camp held four of the top six spots for the season. The opportunity to help improve the lives of young people and the football teams of OPS is a core belief of the Ball family. Jay Ball is married to his wife Bette, they have a stepson Kris, and a granddaughter Hailey. John Morse John Morse began his baseball career with Murphy’s Midgets for Coach Duce Belford in 1950. He attended Benson High School and graduated in 1953. As a student-athlete, he served as a guard on the school’s basketball team for Coach Scotty Orcutt, lettered seven times in basketball and baseball, earned Intercity in basketball honors and Second Team Intercity in baseball honors. At the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he lettered eight times and was a catcher for Coach Virgil Yelkin for two years and then Coach Jack Cotton. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1957 and his master’s degree in education in 1975. He taught at Technical High School from 1958-1984. As a coach, his freshman basketball team was unbeaten in 1964 and in 1966; and the baseball team took the state title and won the district title in 1967. He taught at Benson High School from 1984 until his retirement in 1993. During his tenure as a history teacher for the Omaha Public Schools, he completed notable work in history, human relations and multicultural programs, which exposed students to Black history, American Indian history, Chicano American history and Asian American history. As a member of the Nebraska Advisory Committee in the 1970s, he helped schools integrate multicultural education into their classrooms and wrote a teachers’ manual for integrating Black history into American History textbooks for the Omaha Public Schools. He taught human relations classes at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Metropolitan Community College from 1993-2008. Awards he received throughout his career include the Omaha Education Association’s Human Relations Teacher of the Year (1980), Benson Booster Club’s Teacher of the Year (1989), Nebraska Cooper Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching (1986), and the Peter Kiewit Foundation’s Teacher Achievement Award (1991). He was inducted into the Technical High School Hall of Fame and the Benson High School Hall of Fame in 1991. Morse was married to his wife, Anita, for 49 years before she passed away in January of 2006. They have three children, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Jill Goodrich As an Omaha Public Schools’ graduate, Jill Ball grew up spending Friday nights at various football stadiums around the metro area, cheering for Technical High School and Bryan High where her father, Jerry Ball, was the defensive coordinator. Soon, the Ball family had to divide their football watching and cheering time between North High, South High and Central High once Jill’s brother, Jay, started his football-coaching career. In the spring of 1992, Jill met her future husband, Mark Goodrich. After becoming a member of the family in 1994, Mark soon became a passionate supporter of football even though he was more comfortable as a swimmer and being outdoors fishing and hunting. In the summer of 2004, Jill’s brother and father approached the couple about sponsoring and becoming the directors of a high school football camp formerly known as the Outback Camp. They accepted and in spring of 2005, the MG Contracting and Design Football Camp – soon to be known as the MG Camp – made its debut. Mark and Jill enjoyed being a part of such an amazing group for 11 years. Sadly, Mark passed away on January 11, 2016 and the decision was made to dissolve MG Contracting and Design, Inc. and the company no longer sponsors the camp. Goodrich says the camp would not have experienced the success it did if not for the dedicated coaches whose objectives were to ensure that each participant received individual instruction, fundamentals of the game, and proper technique. Mark and Jill considered it a privilege and an honor to have contributed to the young players of the Omaha football community and the OPS Athletic Department. Ken Dirks Ken Dirks was born in Nashville, Kansas and graduated from Nashville-Zenda High School in 1971. As a student athlete, Dirks lettered in both basketball & baseball and developed his love for sports. After graduation, Dirks attended St. John’s & Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas on a basketball & baseball scholarship. He student taught at a middle school for the Wichita, Kansas Cooperative Urban Teacher Education program and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1975. Dirks began his teaching career with the Omaha Public Schools in 1975, and spent the first three years as a traveling physical education teacher at Wakonda, Fontenelle, Belvedere and Franklin Elementary Schools. In 1979, he transferred to Lewis and Clark Middle School where he taught physical education and coached for the next 32 years. During that time, his teams won city championships in football, girls basketball, boys basketball, wrestling, track and boys soccer. He also served as the head baseball coach at Central High School in the spring of 1986 and 1987. Dirks has been married to his wife and high school sweet heart, Shirley Allender, for 40 years and they have four grown children: Joe, Dustin, Amber and Ashley. They have six grandchildren, with another on the way. Today, Dirks is the state director of Nebraska’s United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) for Baseball where he sanctions teams and tournaments for athletes ages seven to 14. Terry Thomas Terry Thomas was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1969 and graduated from Burke High School in 1987. He attended Coffeeville Community College in Coffeeville, Kansas, Ellsworth College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, and Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. At Burke High School, Thomas was a standout student-athlete in track and field and football. Thomas started his track career as a bantam for the North Omaha Boys Club. He was known for his speed and agility. In track field, he was a member of the first place 4 by 100 relay team in 1985, and first individually in the 100 and 200 in 1986, and in the 200 and 400 in 1987. At the time, he held the metro record in the 400 with a time of 48.93 seconds. During his senior year in high school, Thomas was All-State and selected to the All-Metro First Team. In football, he was an All-Nebraska wide receiver in 1986, participated in the 1987 Shrine Bowl and held the school record with 1,220 yards his senior year. Thomas has served as a track and field and football mentor for young boys and girls. Today, he serves as the head drummer during Sunday services at Pleasant Green Baptist Church and oversees the drum section for the Pleasant Green Marching Saints. Scarlett Wilson Scarlett Wilson was born in northwest Arkansas. She attended Rogers (AR) Public Schools from the 1st through 12th grades. As a student-athlete at Arkansas Tech University, she lettered all four years in basketball, volleyball, soccer-speedball and tennis. She graduated with bachelor’s degree in physical education, English and social studies. Wilson began her teaching career at Mabelvale High School near Littlerock, Arkansas. In addition to teaching, she coached team and individual sports and played Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball for two years. She later accepted a physical education position at Central High School in San Angelo, Texas. Over the course of four summer sessions Wilson earned her master’s degree in education/physical education at the University of Arkansas. In the 1960s Wilson’s husband was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, that’s when Wilson began teaching at Indian Hill Middle School and Bryan Junior/Senior High School. Another military transfer took the family to Tainan Air Force Base (TAFB) in Taiwan. There, she taught conversational English at a girls’ middle school, physical fitness and swimming at TAFB, and Pacific-Rim volleyball. Wilson later returned to Omaha Bryan High School and coached tennis, gymnastics, swimming, diving and soccer. In addition to her professional career, she coached U.S. Synchronized Swimming, served as a scorekeeper for basketball, volleyball and wrestling, volunteered at state events and registered as a referee in volleyball, basketball, swimming, diving and soccer. She retired from OPS 1998 and went on to teach language exploration and health at Elkhorn Middle School and then physical fitness at Elkhorn High School. After 50 years, she officially ended her education career. Today, Wilson referees volleyball, swimming and diving, serves as a basketball scorekeeper, volunteers and continues to maintain her childhood farm in Cross Hollows, Arkansas. She also enjoys activities with her daughter, Lara, her son in-law Mark, and their two sons Jake and Zack. Tony Veland Tony Veland was born and raised in Omaha. He attended Benson High School where he excelled in the classroom, graduating third in his class. As a standout athlete he received nine varsity letters in football, basketball, and track. Veland earned the Second team All State and All Division honors as a quarterback and set the record for total yards in the 1991 Shrine bowl at 260. After graduating from Benson High School in 1991, Tony attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and business. At UNL, Veland played as a defensive back and starter for both national championship teams in 1994 and 1995. During his senior year, Veland was selected as captain of the team, he earned Second Team All Big Eight honors for his safety play and an invitation to the Hula Bowl. The Denver Broncos selected Veland during the sixth round of the 1996 NFL draft. Veland won a ring as a member of the Denver Broncos Super Bowl XXXII championship team in 1997 over the Green Bay Packers and ended his playing career in 1998 with the Carolina Panthers. Veland went on to become the Defensive Coordinator of the Omaha Beef of United Indoor Football. He spent six seasons coaching the Beef. Today, Tony Veland is an advisor with Heritage Financial, he helps coach football at Northwest High Magnet School and devotes time to outreach programs such as TeamMates Mentoring program. Tony has two children, Tony who is 25, and Arianna who is 18. OPS Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees 2018 Alonzo "Lonnie" Tapp – Benson High School Alonzo Tapp graduated from Lincoln High School in 1968, Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1972 and completed graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1982. In high school, he participated in football, wrestling and track and played on the All-City football team in 1967. At Wesleyan, he earned Offensive Freshman of the Year, was a four-year letter winner in football and a three-year letter winner in wrestling. Following graduation, he taught in Lincoln Public Schools from 1972-1977. He began his coaching career as a JV football coach at Whittier Junior High in Lincoln, Nebraska, and later coached football at Wesleyan while earning his master’s degree. His first coaching position was as a defensive coordinator at Thomas K. Gorman Catholic School in Tyler, Texas. He was hired as a teacher and head football coach at Benson High School in 1985 and retired in 2007. Today, he is a running back coach at North High School with Larry Martin. Kimera Bartee – Central High School Believed to be the first Central graduate to play in baseball's major leagues, the speedy Bartee has made his mark as a rangy outfielder for three teams and now as a coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Central all-state player accepted a scholarship to Creighton, helping the Bluejays to their only appearance in the College World Series in 1991. Drafted by Baltimore in 1993, he made his major-league debut with the Detroit Tigers in 1996. Over parts of six seasons with the Tigers, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies, Bartee became best known for his speed on the base paths and slick defense. He swiped 36 bags in his career, successful on two-thirds of attempts. In 1996, he led the American League in range factor, a measure of ground covered in the outfield. Now he's passing on his knowledge to the next generation of players. He spent nine seasons as Pittsburgh's minor league base running and outfield coordinator and managed the team's Class A affiliate in 2011. Then in 2017, he returned to the major leagues as the Pirates' first base, outfield and base running coach. He believes his biggest accomplishment is raising his three children: Andrew, Amari and Taeja. He is also grateful to his mother, father, sister and brother who have been his biggest fans throughout his life and have given him unconditional support. Daniel Warthen – North High School Daniel Warthen was born on December 1, 1952 in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated from North High School in 1971. In high school, he was an All-American quarterback, tight end and linebacker. Warthen was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the second round of the 1972 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his debut with the Expos on May 18, 1975, pitching a scoreless eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds. He pitched four seasons in the major leagues with Montreal, Philadelphia and Houston. He finished his major-league career with a 12-21 win-loss record and a 4.31 ERA. Warthen began his coaching career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1981, following that with coaching in the minor league organizations of San Diego and Philadelphia. Warthen was the pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers (1999-2002), San Diego Padres (1996-1997) and Seattle Mariners (1991-1992), also serving as the Mariner bullpen coach in 1991. He was the pitching coach for the Triple A Norfolk Ties from 2003-2005. Warthen served as the bullpen coach for the Los Angeles Dodger under manager Grady Little from 2006-2007. On June 17, 2008, he was named the New York Mets pitching coach, replacing Rick Peterson and remained there until 2017. Today, Warthen is the assistant pitching coach for the Texas Rangers. -Wikipedia Website Roland Munro – Burke High School Roland Munro grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and attended Burke High School, Midland University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At Burke, he participated in soccer, cricket and volleyball. In college, he played tennis. After graduation from college, Munro was a British Guiana National Volleyball team player and later, coached at Midland College. He joined the Omaha Public Schools as a science teacher at Morton Junior High and taught there for 31 years. He later became a soccer coach at Burke High School, where his teams were five- time runners-up and won the Nebraska State Soccer Championship in 1990 and 1994. During this time, he also coached city league soccer in Omaha for 27 years. Munro says he is grateful for bringing soccer to the Omaha area. Damon Benning – Northwest High School Damon Benning was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from Northwest High School in 1992 and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1996. While at Northwest, he played basketball, football and baseball and earned All-Metro, All-State and Super State honors. Benning joined the Huskers in 1993 after earning a scholarship at the IB position. At UNL, he was a four-year letterman who helped the Huskers to back-to-back national titles. He finished his career carrying the pigskin 270 times for a total of 1,562 yards. Benning also caught the ball 12 times for a total of 134 yards and returned 32 kickoffs for 770 yards. He finished his Husker career with 2,625 all-purpose yards. After college, he was signed as a free agent by the Carolina Panthers in 1997; the Lincoln (IFL), 2000; Lincoln (AF2), 2001; and Lincoln (NIFL, 2002, 2004). Today, he is part of The Sharp & Benning in the Morning on 1620 The Zone. Lad Nemecek – South High School Lad Nemecek was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and was a 1960 graduate of South High School. He went on to attend Arizona State and graduated in 1964. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1972. While at South, he played football and baseball. His baseball team earned the Intercity League All-Star Baseball Award and he was selected to play in the Shrine Bowl. At South, he has the state record for 27 strikeouts in an 11 inning game vs. Central at Rosenblatt Stadium. Some of his fondest memories are winning the state football championship and winning the intercity baseball championship. As a senior at South, he had seven professional baseball teams offer him a contract, but he opted to play for Arizona State. During his career at Arizona State, he had the opportunity to play in the College World Series. He is one of two OPS players to play in the College World Series and to be featured on a memorial plaque behind home plate at the infield at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. He began his Omaha Public Schools’ career as a math teacher and coach at Marrs Junior High School. He went on to coach for 30 years at South High School. Phil Wise – Technical High School Phillip Wise was a 1967 graduate of Technical High School and graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1972. He participated in football and wrestling at Tech and football at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His fondest memory at Tech was winning the state baseball championship and meeting so many outstanding athletes. Following college, he was selected by the New York Jets in the sixth round (136th overall) of the 1971 NFL Draft. Wise played in nine NFL seasons from 1971-1976 with the Jets, and 1976-1979 with the Minnesota Vikings. He finished his NFL career with 92 games and six interceptions. Today, he is a member on The KQ92 Morning Show with Tom Barnard on KQRS-FM in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jim Collin – Middle Schools Jim Collin was a 1960 graduate of South High School and went on to attend Creighton University (1960-1963) and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (1963-1966). He attained his master’s degree from UNO in secondary administration in 1970. While at South, he played football, basketball and baseball. His football team won the state championship in 1958, a city championship in basketball in 1957, 1959 and 1960 and a state championship in 1960 with a record of 21-0. His baseball team won city championships in 1957, 1958 and 1960 and he played on the All-City team in 1960. During college, he played basketball for Creighton and baseball at UNO. At UNO, his teams were regional champions in 1965 and 1966 and placed second in the Division 2 national tournament in 1966. He began his Omaha Public Schools’ career as a teacher and basketball coach at Bancroft Junior High. He went on to coach baseball at Norris Junior High. During this same time, he also served as a basketball referee for Division 2 (1965-1980) teams, and officiated three Nebraska State Tournaments and was voted the number one official in metro basketball by coaches. Community Contributor - Joe Smejkal of Porfirio Construction Joe Smejkal is a 1977 graduate of Omaha Bryan High School. He attended Corrigan Elementary, Bryan Jr. High and Omaha Bryan High School. Joe loved baseball and ran cross country. "Everything I am doing for OPS is a reflection of my education in the District. It is who I am today and I have great lessons from teachers and instructors that I carry with me every single day." After earning a degree in architectural technology, Smejkal went into the construction business in 1993. He attributes his success to the great program he experienced at Bryan High. He met Dave Van Metre in 2005 through a mutual friend Steve Cavlovic, who was also a friend of his dads. Joe and Dave developed a unique partnership and model. Their first project was at Brown Park. It was a personal project for Joe, since his mother and father attended South High. After graduation, his father went on to play professional baseball in the mid-1940s. Joe and his siblings know about his dad, who passed away when he was five, because of his baseball career thanks to his Aunt, who kept a detailed scrapbook. Joe estimates that he and Dave have done 30 different field/stadium renovations "to level the playing field for OPS students with their suburban counterparts. In most cases, we unleveled the playing field because our projects end up being first class and superior to our counterparts in other parts of the city." Joe loves all of the projects he has been involved in with Dave Van Metre, Brook Bench, Steve Eubanks and the Omaha Public Schools’ Foundation, because of the difference they have made to the community. He does this because he just wants to give back and make kids' lives better. Chris Gradoville – Bryan High School Chris Gradoville was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on July 10, 1984, to Ron and Joyce Gradoville and hails from a family of standout Creighton athletes. His grandfather, Bob Gradoville, played baseball, football and basketball at Creighton University, his cousin, Pam (Gradoville) Simon, was inducted into the Creighton Hall of Fame for her efforts in basketball as the second-leading scorer in women’s history, and his cousin, Tim Gradoville, played baseball at Creighton and was later drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2002 Amateur Draft and played in the big leagues in 2008. Gradoville graduated from Bryan High School in 2002 and Creighton University in 2007. At Bryan, he participated in baseball, football and basketball. As a sophomore at Bryan in baseball he earned -All-state honorable mention as catcher and MVP of the Elkhorn Legion Tournament. His junior year he earned first-team all-metro and all-division and second-team all-state as catcher, named MVP of the Bellevue Tournament and MVP of the Elkhorn Legion Tournament. His senior year he earned second-team all-metro as catcher, first-team all-division as a designated hitter and second-team all-state as a catcher and participated in the Collin-Orcutt All-Star game. His career totals in high school were 88 hits, 74 RBIs, nine home runs and 37 runs. In football his senior year he earned his team’s Offensive Lineman of the Year, all-division and second-team all-metro as center, Metro Offensive Lineman of the Year and was invited to play in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl All-Star Game. In basketball, he earned honorable mention all-division selection. At Creighton, Gradoville played baseball. During his sophomore year, he led the team with a hitting average of .403 and a .621 slugging percentage, he batted .467 with 19 RBI and a .529 on-base percentage during the final month of the season, had 19 multi-hit games and seven home runs (ranked third on the team), hit .435 with runners on base, had a 10-game hit streak (5/7-5/26) and went 9-for-16 with seven RBI and four runs scored to make the NCAA Lincoln Regional All-Tournament Team. His junior year, he was team captain, started 49 of 52 games for the Jays, had a .287 batting average and was fourth on the team, had 24 multi-hit games and nine home runs. In 188 at-bats, recorded 54 hits, 35 runs and 39 RBI, his 87 total bases ranked third on the team. Went 5-for-5 against Tennessee Tech (3/12) and had a season-high six RBIs and was named NCBWA National Player of the Week, Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and MVC Player of the Week after recording three straight games with two home runs, batting .500 and slugging 1.380 in five Bluejay wins while driving in 18 RBIs. He had only five errors on the season and a .982 fielding percentage and was second on the team in slugging percentage with .463 and had an on-base percentage of .340. He also received honorable mention All-MVC honors. As a senior, he was team captain, started all 61 games for the Jays at catcher and threw out 61 percent of runners trying to steal bases. He hit .399, which was second on the team with 56 RBIs and helped lead the Jays to a 2007 Missouri Valley Conference tournament title, led them to the Fayetteville NCAA regional and was named semi-finalist (top 3) for the Johnny Bench Award. Gradoville’s favorite high school memories include winning districts in football on a last-second field goal to make it to the state playoffs his senior year, playing in the 2002 Shrine Bowl, playing with his best friends and earning a Division 1 scholarship offer. His favorite college memories include hitting his first and last collegiate homeruns at Rosenblatt Stadium, winning two conference titles, playing in the NCAA Tournament twice and getting drafted to play professional baseball. Following college, he played four seasons with the Texas Rangers, making it to AAA and appeared in two big league exhibition games in Arlington, Texas. He retired from baseball in 2010 and opened The Academy of Sports Performance in Spokane, Washington. A chiropractic sports injury clinic is attached to the Center as well. He also co-owns a wedding venue with his wife. Today, he enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and traveling during his spare time. Benson High Magnet Students Earn Recognition for Artwork Congratulations to Benson High Magnet School art students Aljenis Bonilla, Miranda Davis, Helen Lee and Keng Yang who recently won awards in the Iowa Multi State Region Scholastic Art & Writing Competition. The students earned recognition in the “Drawing” and “Mixed Media” categories. The selected work from Benson will be on display during the Nebraska State Visual Arts Competition Exhibit at the Teacher Administrative Center from February 22—March 20. The students who received Gold Key Awards will send their artwork to New York for the national Scholastic Art Awards competition. Congratulations also to Benson High Magnet students Devante Jones and Helen Lee, whose work placed in the Nebraska Educational Technology Association’s (NETA) competition. Helen Lee’s animation, entitled “Flight,” placed in the “Open Class” category, while Devante Jones’ self-portrait, entitled "Color Me Cool," received third place in the “Graphic Imagery” category. See the students’ winning artwork below! "Pop Art Pet" by Miranda Davis -- Gold Key Award, Mixed Media "Self Portrait" by Keng Yang -- Gold Key Award, Drawing "Bunny" by Helen Lee -- Silver Key Award, Drawing "Self Portrait" by Aljenis Bonilla -- Silver Key Award, Drawing "Self Portrait with Mask" by Helen Lee-- Honorable Mention, Drawing "Self Portrait" by Devante Jones -- NETA Graphic Imagery "Flight," an animation by Helen Lee -- NETA Open Class Kellom Art Teacher Earns State Recognition Congratulations to Kellom Elementary art teacher Melissa Cleaver who was selected as the 2010 Elementary Art Educator of the Year by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association (NATA). Comments are closed.