March 2016


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At the Top

First Class of Football Honorees Inducted

The Grand Island Senior High Football Hall Fame inducted its inaugural class on Saturday, September 12, 2015 during a luncheon at Balz Reception Hall in downtown Grand Island. Members of the first group of Islanders honored included six players, one coach, one team and one contributor.

The inductees were players Carl Samuelson, Bobby Reynolds, Claire Boroff, John Sanders, Tom Rathman, and Harry Grimminger; Coach Ken Fischer; the 1978 State Championship team; and contributor, long-time sportscaster Nay Deines.

Full bios of these honorees can be found here.

In addition to the Saturday luncheon, the inductees and their families were special guests at the Islander football game Friday night where they were introduced at half-time.

The Senior High Football Hall of Fame is located between the school's East and Middle gyms and will house plaques honoring inductees and other historical items from the school's successes on the football field.

The initial GISH Football Hall of Fame class was selected by a committee who gathered nominations over the course of several months. If you want to nominate a deserving Islander football player, please send his name and supporting information to Coach Jeff Tomlin at Senior High:


Pushing On

Islanders in the news and newsworthy

,Class of 2009, wowed three celebrity judges on NBC's hit show "The Voice" in a March 7 televised performance. Singing a cover of Allen Stone's song, "Unaware," Huston turned the chairs of judges Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton during the show's "blind auditions," when the judges can only hear the performers voices and not see the singer. You can buy a full version of Huston's performance on iTunes. She eventually chose Williams as her coach and now moves on in the competition. When not belting out a song in front of a national TV audience, Huston teaches pre-school in Lincoln.

PAUL P. WHALEN, Class of 1949, has been honored as a Founder of Los Alamos by the Defense Department for his work in its nuclear weapons program. They write: "Paul P. Whalen has worked at Los Alamos since March 14, 1956. His accomplishments and insights have underpinned the U.S. nuclear deterrent, helping keep the peace. He has guided three generations of nuclear weapon code developers and designers at both LANL and LLNL. His philosophy has been to treat calculated results with caution, and to value measured data as the clearest insight into reality. The algorithms that he developed are incorporated into the five most relied-upon codes at Los Alamos and continue to be used today. Pauls' impact to Stockpile Stewardship, National Security, and even the Nevada Test Site are considerable. Above ground, below ground, in tunnels and armaments, his designs have guarded the United States. Paul has received Department of Energy recognition for his many efforts, the most recent being his understanding of the radiation source terms for Hiroshima and Nagasaki dosimetry studies. Paul was made a LANL fellow in 1983, and despite his retirement in 1994, he continues today to make substantial contributions to the weapons program. His legacy deserves a place with the Founders of Los Alamos."

Know an Islander who's reached a significant milestone? Email us at


I've Been Thinking

Oh, the Places We've Been

My first memory of Memorial Stadium was walking through the north end zone with my father when I was 7 or 8. The Islanders had just dispatched the Fremont Tigers with a dizzying array of running and passing and kicking.

The crowd had roared. The school song had buzzed about. The teenagers– both on and off the field – had impressed me so much that I couldn't wait to be one.

Pops had led me out of the west stands, across the track, down the sidelines and through the end zone where the grass was deep and green, thrillingly cold against my feet, the damp cool of fall having brushed it during the second half. The air hung heavy with the smell of burning leaves, an autumn ritual in Grand Island.

The game. The teenagers. The awe of a real end zone. The unmistakable scent of safe and familiar in the air. The comfort of my father next to me.

I've been thinking about what the psychologists call imprinting, the people, places and things in our early lives that leave an indelible mark, despite many intervening years.

Our feature in this edition of "Rise" is on the inaugural class of the Grand Island Senior High Football Hall of Fame. Most of those gifted Islanders showcased their talents at Memorial Stadium, still home to big, strong and fast boys in purple and gold ... and where one of my sweetest childhood memories lies.

Mike Monk writes in this edition, too, about the Carnegie Library and his longstanding love affair with its musty stacks and metal stairs and librarians' unwavering insistence on quiet. I haven't quite been shushed in the same way since my own days at the old library at Second and Walnut.

Alumni stretching across 10 decades comprise the "Rise" mailing list, so not everyone has had the joy of a late night at Glover's Diner (strong coffee please, before we go sneak into the house long past curfew) or bowling at Rockwell's or the perfect fries at Hight's Drive-In. Or, for recent alums, joining the play's cast at Perkins for some post show antics and late night bonding, the kind that lasts a lifetime.

Yes, some things have always been there, or so it seems: Coney Island, the Yancey (in one form or another), the Grand ... and Grand Island Senior High, the one thing we all have in common, if not the actual building, at least the soul and spirit of the place.
When "old Walnut" on Elm St., which was once "old Senior High," was in a state of serious disrepair and about to be sold to a developer for apartments, I wrangled a self-tour of the place.

The building was my junior high. It was my father's high school. Both places had molded us.

But what I took away from crumbling walls and sagging ceilings was that the building was no longer a school, no longer the connective tissue to our best friends, our teammates, our business partners, our brothers and sisters in arms, our wives, our husbands, our lifelong bonding agents -- regardless of time and distance.

They still call the place the Old Walnut Apartments, but for those of us who called it school, it is no longer Walnut ... nor Senior High. The place is now simply memories we share with class after class of lifelong bonding agents.

Aside from a school building, every age group has a "hangout." For my generation it was Nifty Drive-In on South Locust, a beef burger palace straight out of "American Graffiti" and the southern terminus for cruising, that socializing teen rite of passage now displaced by Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

I spent so much time there (and had the middling class rank to show for it) that my mother would call Jack and Vern, the owners, and tell them to send me home. Once, I received a letter, addressed to me, at Nifty Drive-In. Go figure.

Nifty's was safe and familiar ... a place where we made friends and surely a few enemies; a place that was part of the lens through which we considered the world, the one that lay on the adulthood side of the door we were about to open; a place – like many others in Grand Island such as a library or a diner or a football stadium and most especially a school building -- where unbeknownst to us, a deep and resonant part of us was being shaped.


A Distant Mirror

The Grand Island Carnegie Library

In the 1950's and 1960's, long before Amazon, Barnes and Noble and E-Bay, the typical Grand Island student found his or her books at the Grand Island Carnegie Library. It was a badge of maturity and grown-up status to have that most precious item, the library card.

This was also long before the days of I-pads, smart phones, play stations, and x-boxes. Those with a passion for watching sports generally watched the local teams, since often only one Major League baseball game or pro football game would be shown on television each week. So, when not out riding bikes, playing sandlot baseball or building forts in the back yard, many grade-schoolers actually read books.

I owe a great deal to my childhood friend and Howard School classmate, Steve Schroeder. Beginning in the second and third grades, he had a profound influence on me. Steve's father was the Minister of the Lutheran Church on Seventh and North Locust Streets. I would ride my bike to his house to play. Sometimes we would play whiffle ball outside, but often we would hang out in his basement. The Schroeder family had a wonderful new set of encyclopedias, and Steve would amuse himself by making lists. He started with lists of sports achievements. He would carefully make numbered lists of the top 10 home run hitters in baseball history, the top ten pitchers in career wins, the teams with the most World Series wins and a multitude of other sporting statistics. But he also delved into matters in which I suspect few third graders had an interest, compiling lists, for example, of the top 10 iron ore producing countries in the world, the top ten banana producing countries in the world and the 10 highest mountains in the world. He opened many doors to me at this early age that would otherwise not have been opened until much later.

By the summer after the fourth grade, Steve and I would make trips on our bikes together to the Grand Island Carnegie Library to check out books. The library, located at 321 West Second Street, at the corner of Walnut and Second Streets, was a beautiful and imposing building. One of 58 public libraries in Nebraska funded by Andrew Carnegie, it was dedicated in 1907, but more about that later.

The books for students in grade school were located in the basement of the building, reached by walking to the entrance on the right side of the library and down the steps. The upper floors held the more imposing and massive stacks of books for adults. The head librarian beginning in 1960 was Roberta Lawrey, a lady whom I recall being a bit stern, but kindly. Far more than today, the code of silence was assiduously followed. But silence was not always possible, in part since the metal stairs were quite noisy, no matter how carefully one climbed them. The basement area had an academic feel and smell to it, with small shelves holding the books, and smaller tables and chairs available for reading or studying.

At that time, a library card would permit you to check out a maximum of six books at one time. That summer, Steve and I fell into a routine. We would check out the maximum six books at a time, then go home and dive into them with real zest. Each was proud to announce to the other that he had finished the six books and ask if it was time to go back for more. At first the books I selected were not terribly diverse, but would include mostly biographies of my sports heroes. A typical set of six for me might include "The Mickey Mantle Story," "The Babe Ruth Story," "The Willie Mays Story," "The Henry Aaron Story," "The Ted Williams Story" and maybe one Beverly Cleary book, e.g., "Henry and Ribsy." Steve was more adventurous, getting stories like "Freddie the Pig Goes to Mars" and other fantasy books. I eventually branched out to "Tom Sawyer," "Huckleberry Finn," other American classics, and lots of fiction about sports.

Another strict rule was that one could never, ever, no matter what, write in a book. To defile a book was among the highest sins. The dignity of the printed word should never be defaced. I accepted this maxim with general agreement, but when I got to college, all that changed. There students bought their own books and wrote in them liberally, recording thoughts, questions, and emphasizing points the author had made. Today I cannot imagine not writing in my books. But rules are naturally different for one's private property, than for public property. Whoever next read "Freddie the Pig Goes to Mars" would not be interested in Steve Schroeder's scribbled notes.

In a stroke of brilliance, during the summer after my fifth grade year, in anticipation of the upcoming 1960 Rome Olympics, the city grade schools and the Carnegie Library established a Reading Decathlon. For every 10 books a student read that summer, the student would be deemed to have won one of the 10 events in the decathlon. This knocked me out. To combine my growing love for reading with the Olympics, in which I was totally engrossed, was magical. So I set out to read my way to winning as many events as possible. That summer I read 49 books, winning four events in the Reading Decathlon. But then my family went off on vacation, cutting short my efforts. To this day I regret not finishing just one more book so I could have gotten that fifth event win. When school resumed the next year, there was a ceremony at Howard School to present the awards. I thought I might be among the readers with the highest number of books read, and indeed I was. But, to my surprise, there were six or seven students who surpassed my 49 books. I think one student read more than 75 books. The Carnegie was our friend.

When I grew a bit older, I discovered the magazine section of the library, on the first floor. It of course had magazines with which I was familiar, Life, Look, Time, Saturday Evening Post, and Sports Illustrated. But it also had magical magazines I had never seen, like The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Republic.

Many years later, during the Christmas break in my first year in law school in 1971, I would again retreat to the library. It was the one place I could be protected from the disruptions and temptations of socializing with friends, to study for my Torts final that would occur when I returned to Philadelphia after Christmas vacation.

Completely unbeknownst to me until I prepared this recollection was the rich history behind the groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies held for the Carnegie Library. Much of this history pops up when one Googles the Grand Island Carnegie Library on the internet. There is a particularly nice piece written in 1984 by Roberta Lawrey herself. Plans for a new library had commenced in 1902. Andrew Carnegie was contacted for the purpose of obtaining funds for a community library building. Carnegie grants stipulated that a city would have to make a commitment to provide ongoing support for the library, as well as provide a site for the building. The board and city council adopted a resolution that the city would provide for an annual levy of $2,000 for library maintenance. G. H. Thummel, R. R. Horth, James Cleary and H. H. Glover donated a site at Walnut and Second streets. Andrew Carnegie then granted $20,000 for the structure.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 27, 1903. By chance, President Theodore Roosevelt was on the campaign trail, taking a cross-country train trip, and he was to have a stop in Grand Island. Mayor James Cleary asked President Roosevelt to assist in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new library. As Ms. Lawrey's story relates, Roosevelt accepted with alacrity and broke the sod with such zeal, Mayor Cleary had to employ agile feet to avoid being a target. A lady in the audience remarked, "He handles the spade better by a whole lot than my spouse."

The Grand Island Carnegie Library was formally dedicated in 1907. Charles F. Bentley introduced the featured speaker at the dedication, William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was another legendary political figure, a dominant force in the populist wing of the Democratic Party. He not only represented Nebraska in Washington as a member of the House of Representatives, but also was selected three times as the Democratic Party's candidate for President of the United States (1896, 1900 and 1908).

By the early 1970's, the community decided a new library was needed. Amazingly, Emil Roeser and Ret. General Theodore Buechler, both of whom had been present at the Carnegie library ground breaking in 1903, assisted with the groundbreaking ceremonies in November of 1972. The "Roosevelt" spade was activated for this occasion. April 28, 1973, was the date for the laying of the cornerstone. The wonderful and imposing Carnegie Library building, beset by roof leaks and pigeon problems during periods of its history, was then sold to private interests.

While modern libraries contain a wealth not only of books, but also of computer and other resources, I wonder if grade school students today read as much as they did in the 1950's and 1960's. It is of course a different world. And while the Grand Island Carnegie Library no longer exists, the memories it produced and the literary foundation it permitted us to build, are still vividly reflected in this Distant Mirror.


The Faith of Innocents

By Jeff Greenberger, Class of 1967
With recollections from Mike Monk, Class of 1967

[Writers' note: This is a story on its surface about Nebraska football, but at its core about the impermanence of memory and, when you are lucky, the permanence of friendship.]

In the early to mid-60's there wasn't much to make a Nebraskan proud. We didn't have an Empire State Building or a Disneyland or even a Mount Rushmore. Sure, we had the Goldenrod and Meadowlarks, but those invoked small, private moments of pride that usually began to fade around Fourth Grade.

All that changed beginning in 1962 when Bob Devaney became the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhusker football team. (And a change was necessary since Nebraska, a football powerhouse in the first 40 years of the 20th Century, had, during the years 1941 to 1961, compiled the second worst winning percentage in the country among major colleges.) In his first year, Devaney's team was 9-2 in the regular season and beat Miami in the ill-fated Gotham Bowl. That season was followed by records of 9-2 in 1963, 10-1 in 1964 and 9-2 in 1965. Nebraska had its Mount Rushmore!

For Nebraskans of all ages and genders, the Big Red became the best thing to happen to the state since Arbor Day. And for a 13-year old boy who loved sports, the Cornhuskers became close to a religion. (The Cornhuskers even delivered a minor miracle in our young lives — perhaps blasphemous to some — when the television broadcast of their defeat of the hated Oklahoma Sooners on November 23, 1963, interrupted the otherwise non-stop coverage of John F. Kennedy's death and funeral.)

But as central as the Huskers were to my existence, I had never seen them in person. That changed thanks to Mike Monk, who would become my best friend in high school and remains one of my closest friends to this day.

In the autumn of 1964 we had both begun our sophomore years at GISH. One of the exciting parts of sophomore year was getting to know classmates who had gone to the other junior high school. Mike had gone to Walnut and I had gone to Barr. We both had spent most of our young lives listening to the Cornhuskers on radio and only occasionally watching them on TV, but neither of us had ever seen a game in person. Mike suggested that we take a bus to Lincoln and go to the game together, even though we were just getting to know each other. Mike was a quarterback on the Grand Island High School football team and destined to become Student Council President, so I was honored that he asked me.

We were still in the no-driver's-license-zone so we had to get our parents' approval, which was grudgingly given. With the faith of innocents we boarded the Greyhound bus for Lincoln one beautiful autumn Saturday. As Mike recalls it, the bus ride was quiet and relaxed; we were both nervous — just taking a bus by ourselves was a new experience — but neither of us wanted to show the other too much of that. We were dropped off at the Greyhound station in Lincoln and after a short walk to Memorial Stadium we found the bus parking lot.

Now, mind you, Nebraska was four seasons into a string of sellout games that continues to this day and is the longest in college football history. We had no tickets and any that might have been available would have cost more money than either of us had or personally even seen. Of course, that didn't deter us. Mike had heard that there was a way to sneak into Memorial Stadium.

The way in was simple. First you had to climb a 12-foot high chain-link fence and drop down on the inside of an area where tour buses were parked adjacent to the stadium. You then had to move among the buses avoiding detection until you were as close to the stadium as you could get and still be hidden. And, then when you were sure that there were no security guards watching, you had to run across the open area into a bathroom on the exterior of the stadium. Mike had been told that there was a transom window at the back of the toilet room that incongruously opened into the stadium.

After assessing the situation, we charged the fence, vaulted up and over, and survived a quick drop to the ground. We dodged among the many buses, noticing that we were not alone; there must have been at least ten other boys following the same plan. We all stopped on the other side of the bus closest to the stadium. Peering around the bus we saw the magical bathroom — but it was a unisex bathroom and a woman exited it while we were watching. Hoping that we didn't confront another woman and determining that there were no security personnel around, like lemmings on speed, we all ran one at a time across the 40 feet of open area to the bathroom door, hearts pounding all the way.

Mike ran ahead of me. A sink and a dirty mirror were in the first small room with an open door leading to the toilet. Thankfully both rooms were empty. In succession we entered the room. We then stepped up on the closed toilet seat under the transom, then to the top of the toilet's water tank and threw ourselves through the narrow opening. We tumbled onto an area underneath the stadium seating that, as I recall, was covered with the grey granulated material that you would find on nice tennis courts.

We were in!

By this point it was late in the first quarter and like all of our fellow lemmings we moved out from under the stadium and milled among a lot of other people, mostly kids, in the area near the south end zone (this area now contains seats right down to the edge of the end zone — and surely the bathroom is no longer a secret entrance). From there we watched the rest of the first half of the game. Mike thinks it might have been a game against Kansas State, but I honestly don't remember whom we were playing that day.

Mike and I weren't satisfied with just being in the stadium. We wanted seats. And remember, Nebraska games were ALWAYS sold out. We went looking for seats during halftime. Though beggars, we decided to be choosers. We didn't walk up the aisle at the 10-yard line, or the 20-yard line or even the 30-yard line; we went up the 50-yard line. Again, with the faith of innocents, we ascended the aisle at the 50-yard line, the prime cut of stadium seats. Halftime was nearing an end. Sure enough there were two seats right on the aisle about halfway up. Perfect! There were programs under the seats and cushions on the seats. We sat, very pleased with our new seats, though fully expecting very soon to be evicted by the rightful owners. As we sat down, I heard a slight titter among the surrounding ticket holders, which seemed perfectly natural. Halftime ended and still the owners had not returned to reclaim their seats. Seconds turned into minutes and still we sat. After about six or seven minutes a lady behind us leaned over and said, "Those are the Governor's seats."

I guess when you're the Governor and can go to any games you want and have the pressing business of running the 37th most populous state in the union you can be excused for leaving the game at halftime. He never came back.

After that bus ride and football game Mike and I became increasingly close. Since then we have both gone to college, become lawyers, attended each other's weddings and watched as our children have grown and, in the case of Mike's daughter, had children of her own. Together we return religiously to our GISH reunions, but recognize that this almost 50-year friendship was cemented on that miraculous trip.


Shaking the World

Crunching the Numbers for Impact

At the GIPS Foundation numbers matter. 5,112: the number of students who benefited from a GIPS Foundation classroom mini-grant project this school year. $25,619: the number of grant dollars awarded for mini-grant projects this school year. 9,555: the number of students in grades Pre-K-12 at GIPS. 119: the number of scholarships offered last year by the GIPS Foundation. $407,400: The scholarship dollars given by the GIPS Foundation to the Class of 2015. 49: the number of students who were offered dual credit scholarships by the GIPS Foundation this school year for their Career Pathways Institute classes. 100s: the number of individual opportunities the GIPS Foundation provides annually for students who need a hand. 1,325: the number of GIPS teachers, staff, and board members who contributed personal gifts to fund the above numbers for students last year. 1,869: Donors who invested in students with the GIPS Foundation last year.

At the GIPS Foundation we have many more numbers. It is not really the numbers that are important, it is the stories that these numbers represent. It is the investment in real faces, real lives, and real opportunities for our students. This is the reason that I get up and come to work every day. I know that philanthropic investment in students makes a difference. I know that there is power in numbers. I know that my personal gift when added to many others will open an opportunity for one student, a classroom of students, or even a whole school.

Spring is the season of collective impact at the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. In a span of 10 weeks, the Foundation embarks on three very important fundraising efforts that give rise to all of the wonderful numbers that make up the investment in students throughout the year. We begin with our community fundraising campaign the Tradition of Excellence. This year's campaign is chaired by Todd and Kelly Enck. The Enck family celebrates almost 100 years of tradition and affiliation with the Grand Island Public Schools. This campaign is going on right now and we hope to add to our numbers this year, those that support our students. More information can be found here

At the end of March, we will kick off our annual staff campaign at the Grand Island Public Schools. Last year, GIPS staff and boards gave more than $83,000 to the Staff/Board Campaign. We counted 1325 donors participating. That was 91% of our staff and 100% participation from the Board of Education and the Foundation Board. This year's campaign includes a challenge gift from Ed & Meta Armstrong. The Armstrong family, like the Enck family, has a strong tradition with the Grand Island Public Schools. More information about that effort and the Armstrong Challenge gift can be found here

And finally, on May 3, 2016, the GIPS Foundation will participate in Grand Island's annual day of giving. This is an online giving day that makes it easy for anyone in the world to give to their favorite Grand Island charities. We could really use YOUR help with this effort. Charities that participate in the Go Big Give campaign are eligible for prizes and matching gifts based on number of unique givers, total dollars raised, and number of gifts raised per hour. Talk about a way to broaden our impact! We know there is power in numbers. This Go Big Give Day maximizes the collective impact concept to generate real dollars that in our case, translate into opportunities for the 9,555 students who attend our schools. We are excited to participate in such an impactful fundraiser.

One more number that I need to share with you...5,281: the number of alumni receiving this e-mailed newsletter. Just think about the results, if YOU and each of your fellow 5,280 alumni and friends gave $10 or more to the GIPS Foundation through the Go Big Give effort. The collective impact of your gift, not counting the matching gifts or prizes earned that day would add up to $52,810 for students! That is 100 more scholarships, or 50 more grants, or 200 more individual opportunities funded. It would be amazing to see this number. We want you. We need you. We hope that you will consider the power of your gift to students. Though not typical between newsletters, we will be sending out a couple of reminder e-mail blasts about this Go Big Give effort between now and May 3.Let's see what we can accomplish together.

"Never doubt that a group of thoughtful people can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." – Margaret Mead


Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

 A Legacy of Excellence

"If learning isn't fun, you are doing it wrong!" Dorothy Maurer regularly expressed this sentiment to friends and colleagues. Mrs. Maurer was a master teacher. She would often lower her voice in her room of energetic third graders to get their attention. When Mrs. Maurer spoke quietly, the children listened. She was a champion for their success and they knew it. Frequently she would spend an entire evening working on a lesson or project for just one child who needed a little extra attention. Her influence was cut short by a courageous fight with cancer in 1988. Upon her death, so many of her former students sent memorials and their condolences at the loss of their talented teacher.

Dorothy's family, including former superintendent Marv Maurer and their children Carmen and Joel, initiated an endowed scholarship in Dorothy's memory so she could continue to invest in the students she loved, forever. The first Dorothy N. Maurer scholarship was awarded in 1989. 2016 marks the 27th consecutive year that Mrs. Maurer's fund has offered a scholarship. The criteria for the scholarship reflects Mrs. Maurer's zest for learning and appreciation of tenacity and excellence. The scholarship is awarded each year to the student who ranks number 1 in Shis/her graduating class and has the highest ACT score.

Mrs. Maurer's scholarship was one of the first endowed scholarships and the driving force behind the Academic Aristocrat Scholarship program. Through the generosity of many donors, this program offers scholarships for all qualifying students who graduate in the top 15% of their class at Grand Island Senior High. Seventy-two (72) scholarships will be awarded this year as part of the Academic Aristocrat Program.

Mrs. Dorothy Maurer, your students will never forget your positive impact. Your mark on past, current and future generations will be felt, forever. Your legacy IS their opportunity!

For more information about how to set up your legacy fund, call or e-mail Traci Skalberg,
308-385-5900 ext. 1170;


On the Island

Senior High Current Events

  • January 1 not only brought the New Year, it also ushered in a new semester for students. Many opportunities are offered in second semester that allow students to create their own niché within the school community.


  • The Superintendent Student Advisory Committee interviewed three Superintendent candidates and was a direct influence on this decision made by the Board of Education to hire Dr. Tawana Grover who takes over for Dr. Rob Winter on June 1. Welcome to Grand Island, Dr. Grover.


  • Many Islander events have happened in the past few months. The Performing Arts department put on a hilarious comedy, "Shakespeare in Hollywood." The successes of the Visual Arts department were recognized at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In this statewide competition, GISH artists entered 89 art pieces into this exhibition.

GISH Theater Facebook Album
Shakespeare in Hollywood

  • Slight renovations to the east side of Senior High made the space significantly more efficient. These new tables and chairs give students a place to hang out and do homework during free periods.


  • As a Valentine treat, a mysterious group wrote the name of every GISH student on a heart and posted them in the hallways. This made for some fun scavenger hunting and improved school spirit.


  • In athletics the Islander swimming teams made some noise at the state tournament with the boys finishing seventh in the team race, bringing home two gold medals and the girls coming in 14th. The wrestlers were fourth in Class A with senior Gage Grinnell bringing home a gold in the 285 pound division. The girls and boys basketball teams fought hard, both winning play-in games in districts, but both going out in the first round.

GIPS Facebook Album

Islander Swimming

State Wrestling - 1

State Wrestling - 2

Islander Boys Basketball

Islander Girls Basketball



In Memoriam

ED BECKER, Class of 1945, died Jan. 2, 2016, in Lincoln. He was 88 and lived in Grand Island.

BOB DICKSON, Class of 1967, died Jan. 6, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 67.

DENNIS FISHER, Class of 1964, died Jan. 10, 2016, in Aurora, Colo. He was 69.

RHONDA BUCHANAN, Class of 1976, died Jan. 12, 2016 in Grand Island. She was 57.

DARRELL RAY HILL, Class of 1967, died Jan. 14, 2016 in Hastings. He was 66 and lived in Grand Island.

RICH WATSON, Class of 1966, died Jan. 15, 2016, in Union City, Calif. He was 67.

CATHY (SANDER) REHER, Class of 1959 died Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 75.

LARRY RHOADS, Class of 1959, died Jan. 19, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 74.

WILLIAM (BILL) MARSHALL, III, Class of 1962, died Jan. 20, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 71.

BETTY (HARE) SCHWEIGER, Class of 1941, died Jan. 21, 2016 in Grand Island. She was 92.

DAWN (HEADLEY) ESCALONA, Class of 1975, died Jan. 25, 2016, in Elm Creek. She was 58.

FRED SCHRITT, Class of 1957, died Jan. 25, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 77.

BUD BOYSEN, Class of 1961, died Jan. 26, 2016 in Morse Bluff, Ariz. He was 72.

ROSALIE CHANEY, Class of 1958, died Jan. 26, 2016, in Giltner. She was 74.

JIMMY BELL, Class of 1968, died Feb. 29 2016 in Grand Island. He made his home in Phillips. He was 65.

RENEE (HEIMBUCH) HANSEN, Class of 1969, died Feb. 29, 2016 in Grand Island. She was 64.

STEVE SCHULTZ, Class of 1964, died Feb. 4, 2016 in rural Doniphan. He was 69.

MARGO (WEBSTER) SCHAGER, Class of 1957, died Feb. 5, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 76.

JANET (CLAUSSEN) LOCKHART, Class of 1959, died Feb. 7, 2016 in Lincoln. She was 74.

VERA (OWEN) HOWE, Class of 1946 died Feb. 9, 2016, in Olivia, Minn. She was 86.

DELORES (ALLEN) WATSON, Class of 1954, died Feb. 9, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 79.

DOLORES (LOEFFELBEIN) GUYETTE, Class of 1937, died Feb. 14, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 98.

SID WHITE, Class of 1938, died Feb. 14, 2016, in Grand Island, He was 96.

LYNN BERGGREN, Class of 1968, died Feb. 16, 2016, in Lexington. He was 65.

JACK POLSKI, Class of 1959, died Feb. 16, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. He was 74.

To report an alumni death since March 1, 2016, please send an email with first name, last name, class year, and maiden name if applicable to