March 2017



Click on Section to read more:


Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the March 2017 edition of Rise Grand Island the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation...

At the Top

Game on...for decades of islander alum

Islanders will be squaring off with Islanders on May 3, 2017, as “Rise” is sponsoring a friendly competition among the decades of senior high graduating classes during this year’s Go Big Give.

Pushing On


Islander Named 2016 National Distinguished Principal

KatIe (Beck) Mathews, Grand Island Senior High Class of 1980, was named the 2016 National Distinguished Principal from...

I've Been Thinking


If you’re an alum of a certain age, you grew up with the Grand Theater. Actually if you’re an alum of about any age, you grew up with the Grand, a wonderful constant on West Third Street in downtown Grand Island....

A Distant Mirror


Doris Dubbs, more commonly known to everyone she knew as “Gramma,” got out of the 1954 Buick with the three decorative holes on each side of the car, glancing at Howard Elementary School with both assurance and uncertainty.  She was a spunky lady, and at the age of 47, she was already the mother of four and the grandmother of three. The prospect of going to see her eldest grandchild, Mike Monk, perform at the Annual May Day “Dance on the Green,”....

Shaking the World


The GIPS Foundation is offering a unique opportunity to alumni this year.  On May 3, 2017, the GIPS Foundation will participate in Grand Island’s annual day of giving....

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.


As a senior at Grand Island Senior High in the spring of 2013, Abbey Foglesong remembers the vast amount of time put into scholarship applications...

On the Island


In Memoriam

January and February memorial list of GISH Alumni...




The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation has launched a new video campaign to raise awareness and provide information about the work of the Foundation. The first of this quartet is called “Without You” and features GISH grad Hugo Madera, a sophomore at Hastings College and recipient of the Patty and Mike Kneale Scholarship, part of the Foundation’s scholarship program. The video is well worth 90 seconds of your time as Hugo recounts the hurdles he’s cleared --  with the help of the Kneale’s scholarship -- to set himself on a path to a successful future. You can watch the “Without You” at this link (insert link).


back to top


Welcome to Rise 

Welcome to the March 2017 edition of “Rise Grand Island” the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. “Rise” is where we connect with thousands of Islanders across the globe, keeping you and them up to date on what’s happening in Purple and Gold land, and reminiscing a little bit as well.

This is Volume 2, Number 2, as we continue our second year with “Rise.” Thanks for reading us and your comments and support.

We really enjoy hearing from you, Islander alums who find “Rise” in their in-box every other month. Give us a shout, especially if you or a GISH alum you know has a done something new, newsy or newsworthy. You can reach us at the email addresses on the front page.

We issued a challenge to all the decades of alumni in our “At the Top” feature in this edition. May 3 is Go Big Give Day in Grand Island, and we thought a little friendly competition among Islanders for a good cause is in order. Also in the issue Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg has more details on the hows and whys of our competition and the new Purple and Gold Alumni Fund.

 Also, be sure to check current news at Senior High as senior Erick Estevez, our intrepid GISH correspondent and student representative on the Grand Island Board of Education, updates us with the latest from the halls of GISH.

Our “Distant Mirror” correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967, takes us back to the Maypole Dance at Howard School in 1957 revealing how school and neighborhood bonds are forever linked.

I take you to the Grand theater — where I still watch movies on Saturday nights — in my I’ve Been Thinking column. Spoiler alert: The magic of the movies … and the Grand … is still there.

Enjoy this “Rise” and remember to keep pushing on.

back to top


At the Top 

Game on...for decades of Islander alums 

Islanders will be squaring off with Islanders on May 3, 2017, as “Rise” is sponsoring a friendly competition among the decades of senior high graduating classes during this year’s Go Big Give.

Go Big Give is a one day campaign that allows donors to select a specific Grand Island area non-profit for a monetary gift. Last year donors gave the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation — the publishers of “Rise” — $17,270.

Since “Rise” is a publication for Senior High alums, we thought it would be fun for eight decades of graduating classes (starting with the 1940s) to compete against each other to see who could raise the most money for the Purple and Gold Fund, a new special fund for alumni donors. Money from the Purple and Gold Fund will be used for scholarships and classroom mini-grants. For details on both, please click scholarships or classroom mini-grants.

Donating is simple, too. Just click the link here:

Then it’s simply a matter of tabulating the numbers for decade bragging rights, something Islanders everywhere love to have. The early favorite according to our sources is the 1980s but our latest information shows the odds tilting toward the 1950s. In a bunch close behind is the 1940s, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s, 2000s. Even the newbies, the 2010s are on track to make a run at winning the competition.

We’ll remind you of the contest a couple more times before May 3. For more details on Go Big Give — including how to give early — read GIPS Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg’s story on the big day’s activities in this edition of “Rise.”

For now, however, the game is on for Purple and Gold Nation.

back to top


Pushing On


Islander Named 2016 National Distinguished Principal

KatIe (Beck) Mathews, Grand Island Senior High Class of 1980, was named the 2016 National Distinguished Principal from Nebraska by the Nebraska Association of Elementary Principals. Mathews has been the principal at Park Elementary in Kearney for 19 years. Mathews will represent Nebraska in Washington D.C. later this year. Kearney superintendent, Dr. Kent Edwards, told the Nebraska Council of School Administrators magazine, NCSA Today, that Mathews makes a positive contribution to students, teachers, and the Kearney Public Schools. “She has established herself as a leader and valuable team member within our school system. In all my associations, Katie has demonstrated an ability to motivate train, and equip staff to facilitate student success with any K-5 setting.”

back to top


I've Been Thinking


If you’re an alum of a certain age, you grew up with the Grand Theater. Actually if you’re an alum of about any age, you grew up with the Grand, a wonderful constant on West Third Street in downtown Grand Island.

I thought about that on a recent Saturday night when I was part of packed house at the Grand watching the Academy Award nominated “Hidden Figures” on the big screen.

I’ve been going to the Grand for over 60 years. I never tire of its cavernous darkness, its art deco cool, its majestic curtain, which still rises before every show.

Technology has turned our living rooms and dens into personal “home” theaters and malls now offer multiple shows in small, cookie cutter auditoriums and on equally small screens.

But if you really want to go to the movies, if you really want a sense of the Hollywood the dream factory and all its inherent magic, you need to see a film at the Grand.

The fabulous art deco theater still packs them in on the weekends with great films in a charming, sophisticated atmosphere. For movie lovers and those of us more … ahem … seasoned film buffs, the Grand is the place to be on a Saturday night.

It’s become quite the social occasion, too, where you’re likely to see friends and maybe make plans for a treat at the Chocolate Bar after the movie.

Such continued success has not come easily for the Grand, however.


If not for two angels who first saved the Grand in 1986 and then again in 2004 when an intrepid band of volunteers stepped forward, the Grand may have gone the way of the Capitol and the Island, two other movie palaces of my youth. That group became The Grand Foundation, a  non-profit formed to keep the city’s theater treasure open. A grant from the Kaufmann-Cummings Foundation the next year breathed new life into the motion picture palace and continued cash donations and volunteers have made the Grand, well, grand once again.

Here’s how it happened, according to the Grand’s web site: The old Lydia Theatre had fallen on hard times when David Kaufmann and Harry Shiller bought it in 1930 and renamed it the Grand. They remodeled but the Depression made a few cents for a movie a luxury for too many and the Grand, about half its current size, stumbled along .

Two things saved the theater: The first was Kaufmann and Shiller’s investment. in the exact spot they built a new, larger Grand Theater, which opened on May 7, 1937 with a screening of “A Star Is Born,” starring Janet Gaynor, Frederick March, and Adolph Menjou.

The second was the hiring of Wally Kemp as the theater’s manager in 1944. Kemp — Uncle Wally to the thousands of kids who populated his “Summer Shows” and entered his wacky events such as the Hula Hoop Contest — became synonymous with the Grand. Even the showman himself, Kemp insisted on “fanfare, hoopla, and ballyhoo,” a formula which made the Grand a huge success until his retirement in 1975.

The Grand was the center for many community events, too, from special screenings Wally-inspired ideas.

I remember clearly my senior year in high school putting on a coat and tie and ushering people into their seats for a non-denominational Good Friday service. A potent thunderstorm raged outside. From the Grand’s foyer we watched pools of rainwater run against the curbs of Third Street, convincing each other the water that jumped from the puddles after each pounding drop from the gray heavens formed a tiny cross.

By 1985 the Grand, like many theaters of its generation and style had fallen on hard times, closed its doors. The same year the Capitol was razed. The Island had already been shuttered. The next year two men, Jay French and Juan Portillio, filled the void, saving and reopening the Grand, which was then purchased by the Fridley Theater chain in 1992 — only to close again in 2004.

That’s when “The Grand Foundation” rescued the city’s cinematographic treasure, so an old movie buff like me can regularly renew his six-decade love affair with the big screen in the same place the relationship started.

And now, if you’ll excuse the overused adage, I’ll see you at the movies … I hope … at the Grand.

back to top





Nominations accepted now! 



Click here for Hall of Honor nomination form 


Click here for Legendary Educator nomination form 

nominations due april 30


back to top


A Distant Mirror

May 1, 1957 - The dance on the Green 

Doris Dubbs, more commonly known to everyone she knew as “Gramma,” got out of the 1954 Buick with the three decorative holes on each side of the car, glancing at Howard Elementary School with both assurance and uncertainty.  She was a spunky lady, and at the age of 47, she was already the mother of four and the grandmother of three. The prospect of going to see her eldest grandchild, Mike Monk, perform at the Annual May Day “Dance on the Green,” filled her with both pride and anticipation. The Dubbs family had moved to Grand Island only three years before, and she was still making friends with the parents of Mike's classmates. Though a young grandmother, Doris was prematurely wrinkled due to a major rapid weight loss she experienced in her early 40s. No one seemed to even consider her age though, since her swaggering confidence and good humor assaulted everyone she met.

Howard School was about seven blocks from Mike's home at 317 East 12th street. It was just two blocks down to 10th Street, where Mike’s friend George Ayoub lived. One then proceeded five blocks west to 10th and Cedar, to reach the modern brick grade school. Doris's drive was of course a simple one with few other cars on the streets. In this sleepy town of 25,000 or so, the pace was measured and comfortable even in your Buick cruising the streets. Children under age five, too young for kindergarten, played casually in their yards or rode through the neighborhood with little restriction on their tricycles. The concept of nursery school or pre-school was generally foreign to the mothers in town. Pre-school children for the most part entertained and amused themselves, alternately playing with the neighbor kids, pressing their mothers for “something to do” or inventing endless games, projects, plots and dramas to fill their lives of leisure.

Doris walked along the cement sidewalk ringing Howard School and headed toward the grassy pasture between the two wings of the school. As she approached, she saw a gaily colored Maypole had been erected in the center of the green grass. Folding chairs had been placed in two rows encircling the field in which the dances were to occur. Doris was never one to hesitate, and she characteristically walked directly to the seats she thought presented the best view. She saw a single empty seat in the second row and sat down quickly, involuntarily smiling a big smile and saying “Hello” to the woman seated to her left.

Ellen Parmley, the woman to Doris's left, returned her smile and extended her hand to Doris. As Doris shook the lady's hand she saw a woman younger than herself, likely in her 30’s, with a radiant smile on a face that was badly scarred by a burn or birth mark of some kind. Doris first experienced a brief feeling of pain and sympathy for the woman, thinking “that poor dear, to have gone through something like that.”  Within minutes, however, Doris had lost consciousness that a scar even existed, engrossed entirely in the lively personality of the mother of Bob, Mike, Cindy, and Dave Parmley.

“Well, Hello,” repeated Doris, “I’m Doris Dubbs, and I'm here to see my grandson Mike who is dancing with the second grade. He's that little blond guy over there who needs to pull his pants up a little.”

“Why, hello,” said Ellen. “I'm Ellen Parmley, and I believe my little guy Mike in the second grade is a friend of your Mike. You see we just moved to Grand Island this year from Mead, Nebraska. I can't believe it has taken this long to meet you, as much as Mike and Mike have been playing together.”

“Oh your little Mike is a cutie,” said Doris. “ He’s a little stinker sometimes, too.”

“He sure is, Doris,” said Ellen, “and you know I have Bob in the third grade, Cindy who's just turned five, and then little Davie.”

“How old ls Davie, now?” asked Doris.

“He's not even two yet — and he may be my cutest little guy yet — but I sometimes wonder if he isn't going to be my biggest headache.”

“Well, if it isn't one thing it’s 21 with a young one that age.  I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that they are all the best headaches you'll ever have.''

“But tell me,” said Ellen, “How many grandchildren do you have?”

''Well, I'll tell you — right now I've got my three daughters and my three grandchildren all living under my roof, which gives me plenty of help when I need it!"

"My goodness gracious, Doris, I didn't realize you all lived together. Now Ramona is Mike’s mother, right?”

"That’s right” said Doris, “And Ramona also has Mike's little sister Patty, who just turned five like your little Cindy.  Ramona is the sweetest girl in town but she’s had a couple of tough luck marriages that just haven't worked out. She divorced Mike’s father when Mike was not quite two years old, I think mostly because she was too young to be married. She was married at age sixteen, and gave birth to Mike two months before she was eighteen. Then she married Patty’s father, a nice guy who just couldn't get his drinking under control, and she had to get out of that one."

“And your other two daughters?” asked Ellen.

“Jerenne is Ramona’s younger sister, and she and her boy Randy also live with us. Then there's my youngest girl, Cindy, or Lucinda Sue, who is four, a year younger than Patty and Randy, who are five, like your Cindy,'' explained Doris. "Ramona and Jerenne are both working, but they are not ready just yet to get out on their own yet. And I'll tell you, those little ones can keep you running, but they get in line a lot faster for ol' Gramma than they do for their mothers."

By this time the dances had begun, and Doris and Ellen were watching the sixth graders square dance. Since neither Mike was involved yet, the ladies continued their conversation in a more confidential manner.

"Well, Doris, you sound like you have your hands full. I know how grandmas can become a real convenient babysitter.”

"You' re right about that, but you know how darn cute they can be, just when you want to smack them.”

“Oh, I know, said Ellen. "My Mikey is just a cute little feller, but he brings me a couple of headaches, too. Miss Moore sent him down to the kindergarten class, along with Steve Schroeder, for acting up; and you know I don't know if Mike even minded. He came home from school and was a little embarrassed, but he said the nap was fun. That little guy — I just have to laugh."

"Oh I know, I came home last summer and Randy, Patty and Cindy had played 'barber shop.' They got out my good pinking shears, my best scissors, and started cutting each other’s hair. They couldn't do much but hack at Randy's. But the girls both had long beautiful pig tails, and they had cut off both of Cindy's pig tails, and one of Patty's, when I walked in on them. 'Jesus Christ' I said (you've got to excuse my language, but I was an angry grandmother!). I didn't know whether to cut off the other pig tail or not.''

By this time, the second grade had assembled for the French folk dance they were to present. Mike had told his Gramma how his teacher, Miss Martin, said it was very important as the dancers circled at the end of the dance for the children to kick their knees very high. She emphasized the need for "each and every" child to kick high together to achieve the desired result.

Ellen, too, had heard of the practice time given to the folk dance and she watched closely, spotting her son Mike. Doris quickly found her grandson Mike in the circle of second graders, and also recognized Steve Schroeder between Mike Parmley and her Mike Monk. As the dancers began, Mike Monk caught his Gramma's eye and flashed a quick smile, but was careful not to miss a step and returned his concentration to the steps they had practiced.

Like many of the second grade boys, Mike Parmley wore a nice white shirt, with a black bow tie the color of his thick dark-rimmed glasses. He liked square dancing, but tried to avoid the girl with the sweaty hands, a type that bothered Parm more than most. But any activity that involved jumping and running was fine with him. As Parm rounded the circle near his mother, he also caught his mother's eye and they exchanged broad grins and mutual enjoyment of the festivities. Parm felt good when his mother was near him, and to bring her to laughter gave him as much pure pleasure as anything. Today he was performing for Ellen, and he tried his best to perform the dance perfectly.

Steve Schroeder was bored with the whole dancing business. Girls were the last things he wanted to be near, not to mention touch. He also felt stupid dancing dumb foreign dances that no one danced in real life. He thought it was particularly humiliating to have to do all this in front of all the kids in the whole school, mothers dressed up in dresses and hats, and all the teachers and principal just waiting for you to make a mistake.  Schro mechanically went through the steps, clearly the least enthusiastic dancer in the second grade. As the dance built to the climax, the children, about 13 girls and 13 boys, began to prance in a circle. This was the part of the dance where the knees were to be lifted high. Mike Parmley and Mike Monk both kicked as high as they could, prancing like show horses. By this time Schro was totally humiliated in his own mind. He avoided his mother's eyes, and trotted along slowly, failing completely to raise his knees, shuffling along with a frown on his face.

Mike Monk saw Schro shuffling ahead of him and whispered loudly, “Schro, kick your knees you dummy!"  He frowned at his good friend.

Schro looked back at Mike, slowed his pace even more, and for the first time all day, felt good. He broke into a huge grin while looking at Mike. Suddenly Mike thought Schro shuffling along was the funniest thing in the world. Both boys were soon laughing loudly as they completed the final steps in the dance.  Parm saw Schro, too, and grinned without knowing exactly what was so funny.

“Would you look at that Steve Schroeder,” said Doris. “I don't know what he's trying to do. You know I think that boy Steve isn't going to take much baloney when he grows up.”

“It was a real nice dance no matter what,” said Ellen, “My family is from Greece, and I love seeing the different dances from other countries. I think it's so good for the kids to get a chance to see something from a different land."

The concluding dance to the “Dance on the Green” spring celebration was the Maypole Dance. In this dance, the fifth graders danced in a circle, each holding a very long ribbon extending down from the top of Maypole. As the dance proceeded, the dancers danced in and out among each other, slowly weaving the ribbons into a tight braid coming down the Maypole. As more and more of each dancer’s ribbon became woven down the pole, each dancer necessarily drew closer to the center, and the radius of the circle methodically shortened.  

As Doris watched the event, the individual dancers seemed to fade from view, becoming part of an organic whole. The colored ribbons seemed almost to move of themselves, like a machine systematically producing a precise, beautiful, and inevitable pattern that no one could change.

back to top


Shaking the World 


As George described in his piece above, the GIPS Foundation is offering a unique opportunity to alumni this year.  On May 3, 2017, 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 want to use this opportunity to establish the PURPLE and GOLD FUND. All gifts from alumni who give to the GIPS Foundation through the Go Big Give platform will be credited to the Purple and Gold Fund. This fund will be used to offer grant opportunities to fund programs, projects and scholarships that benefit individual students, classrooms of students, or the entire campus/district. When awards are made from this fund, this newsletter will feature them.

Decade Challenge

Just to make this a little bit fun, we have created an alumni decade challenge. We will record how many gifts and how much was raised for the Purple and Gold Fund by decade. So, if you are a member of the class of 1956, your gift will be attributed to the 1950s decade. We have several decades to cover, we think up to eight, but maybe more. It will be fun to find out!

Questions and Answers

If my decade has the most gifts or gives the highest amount, what do we get? The answer is street cred. We will highlight the decade winners in the May newsletter and give your decade the coverage it deserves. Yearbooks, here we come!

How will you know who belongs to which decade? When you give to the GIPS Foundation through Go Big Give, we get a list of donors. We will match this list with our database and credit the proper decade. Please be sure to list your name as you give to Go Big Give.  If you give anonymously, we don’t get your identifying information, and therefore would not be able to credit the gift to your decade.

Can I send a check instead? Yes, but to be credited to this challenge, your check needs to be made out to Go Big Give and sent to our office by April 24. Our office address is: GIPS Foundation; PO Box 4904; Grand Island, NE 68802. The physical address is 123 South Webb Road.

How do I give? – The Go Big Give online portal will open for pre-giving on April 26. The day of giving is May 3. The direct link to the GIPS Foundation Go Big Give page is:

We will send a reminder e-mail blast on April 26 and again on May 3 with this link. 

Why are you asking alumni? 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 9,700 students who attend our schools. We are excited to participate in such an impactful fundraiser. 

5,618: the number of alumni receiving this e-mailed newsletter. Just think about the results, if YOU and each of your fellow 5,617 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 $56,180 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.

back to top


Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.


As a senior at Grand Island Senior High in the spring of 2013, Abbey Foglesong remembers

 the vast amount of time put into scholarship applications.

“I remember the application process being quite extensive, with several essays, letters of recommendation, information,” Foglesong said. “My advice for current students is to set aside time every day to whittle away at their application.”

The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation scholarship application window opened December 1, 2016 and closes February, 15, 2017. Foundation executive director Traci Skalberg said all high school seniors who are planning to continue their education at a postsecondary institution should apply.

“The GIPS Foundation’s mission is seek, secure and invest resources for the benefit of the students, staff and alumni of Grand Island Public Schools,” Skalberg said. “Our interest in our students doesn’t end once their preK-12 journey in our schools has ended.”

In 2016, 102 students, 59 percent of all students who applied, were awarded GIPS Foundation scholarships.

“Most students who get a scholarship from us average about $1,250,” Skalberg said. “Scholarships range from $250 to $220,000. We are serious about investing in the future of students and the future of our community. Scholarships are a mechanism to do this.”

Foglesong, now close to graduating from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, would be proof of that.

“I am blessed to have been awarded a scholarship through the GIPS Foundation,” she said. “This scholarship has been helpful throughout my four years at UNL and I am very thankful.”

Fellow Class of 2013 GISH graduate Claudia Lopez agrees.

“It was such a blessing that hard work paid off,” Lopez said. “I worked hard in school to have good grades. I applied for all the scholarships I could and prayed that God would answer my prayers.”

Lopez graduated from Central Community College in Hastings after studying to be a dental assistant. She now lives in Grand Island and works for Dr. Lofgreen at Island View Dental.

“I love my current job but would someday love to become a dentist,” she said.

Getting where she is now was made possible because of her scholarships.

“The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation brightened my future,” Lopez said.

That’s why she encourages students to invest their time in the scholarship application process.

“The process was long but nothing in life comes easy,” Lopez said. “You fill out applications and spend long nights proofreading to make it perfect. Apply to all the scholarships you can try your hardest to have good grades. In the long run, it will all help you brighten your future.”

She had a little extra advice for students.

“In order to keep your scholarship you need to maintain good grades and continue to give time to your community,” she said. “Be involved in school.”

Foglesong agreed.

“I urge all GISH students to apply for scholarships,” she said. “It never hurts to apply and any bit of scholarship money can be extremely helpful for college.”

Skalberg said donors to the GIPS Foundation are making investments as well.

“Scholarships come from donors who are interested in giving students opportunities,” she said. “These donors are from all walks of life. Sometimes a scholarship is a fund designed to commemorate a legacy of a loved one who has passed away. Sometimes the fund is a family’s way of expressing their gratitude for the solid education they received through GIPS. In all instances, the scholarship funds share a value system.”

The funds come with certain criteria, Skalberg said. If, for example, it is important to a donor to invest in students who are working 20 hours per week in addition to going to school, that becomes part of the criteria for their scholarship winner.

“Donors participate in creating the guidelines of the fund,” Skalberg said. “If music is an interest, or sports or a particular major ... whatever values the donor holds dear can be written into the guideline.”

Getting from the donor to the student is quite the process.

“All of the GIPS Foundation college scholarships are offered through an online application,” Skalberg said. “Students fill out a comprehensive file about themselves. One submission can get them in the running for all GIPS Foundation scholarships in which they qualify.”

More information about scholarships can be found on the GIPS Foundation website at:

“The majority of the application is geared towards
Grand Island Senior High students, but there are also scholarships in the application open to area students from other high schools as well,” she said.

Once the forms are all filled out and the deadline has passed, the review process begins. This takes about 90 volunteers who put in an average of eight hours each, reading and ranking scholarship applications.  

The review is a “blind review,” meaning the reviewer does not have access to names and identities of applicants. All reviewers have to sign a conflict of interest form prior to being allowed to review.

“The Foundation also has what we call an ‘equity’ process,” Skalberg said. “Once all scholarship applications are reviewed and ranked, they go through an Equity Committee. This committee ensures one student doesn’t get, say, 20 scholarships. Instead this high-performing student will get the most valuable scholarships he or she wins. The rest of the scholarships this student might have ranked number one on will go to the next person in the line. It is a nice way to spread the scholarships among the most students and to do the most good.”

Then the Foundation awards the scholarships. There is an annual event at the high school where students meet the donors of the scholarships they were awarded.

“It is a special moment for the students to thank the donors and the donors to meet the students they are investing in,” Skalberg said. “This connection makes an impact on both parties.”

Graduates are then off to college, in part, thanks to the GIPS Foundation scholarships.

“My college experience has been wonderful,” Foglesong said. “Throughout my four years at UNL, I have been exposed to so many fantastic opportunities that shaped me into the person I am today. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school to get my Master of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences, with the hope of becoming a clinical pediatric dietitian at a Children's Hospital.”

Lopez enjoyed her time in college, as well.

“College is a fun, stressful experience,” she said. “I loved it. I was independent and worked at my own pace. Teachers were helpful but don’t hold your hand throughout the year. You learn to grow up and I loved that experience.”

     Abbie Foglesong             Claudia Lopez

 GIPS Foundation scholarships by the numbers:

Scholarships awarded, 2007: 104
Scholarships awarded, 2016: 141
Amount awarded, 2007: $103,175
Amount awarded, 2016: $646,833
Total scholarships awarded, 2007-2016: 1,169
Total amount awarded, 2007-2016: $2,865,058

back to top


On the Island 


Get to Class: A new rule has been implemented at Senior High to put a dent in students skipping classes. For the rest of the school year if a student is caught skipping a class, he or she will be assigned a one-hour detention. Failing to serve the assigned detention will earn someone a seat in Saturday School. If students fail to meet that obligation, they will be suspended from school until a meeting can be set up with the school, the student, and the student’s parents.

Fun on Valentine's: Candy Grams for a Valentine or special friend were sold during lunch periods for only a dollar by Senior High’s LGBT group. This year you could also buy a singing Valentine compliments of the the Senior High Madrigals. The songs were delivered Valentine's Day and only cost $5 dollars. Key club rounded out the Valentine’s Day festivities selling cookies at school on February 14.

Dancing the Night Away: The Winter Formal, known as the Snowball, was held on Feb. 18  from 7:30-10:30 p.m. at Senior High. The night was filled dancing, laughter, and beautiful decorations. Thanks to the GISH SADD group for hosting the Winter Formal.

Purple Dot Program: In an effort to remind Senior High parents and students that GISH is a safe environment where the school supports them, the superintendent’s Purple Dot Program was relaunched March 1, 2017 with an event that featured games and goodies for students and parents. The relaunch was to remind students and parents that they are always welcome to go to any teacher with any concerns they may have.

A Good Cause: Student Council hosted a “Macho Man Volleyball Tournament” to raise money the council uses to help support those
 families at GISH who need it most.

back to top


Want to support specific projects or schools?

Click here for a list of projects and opportunities posted by our GIPS Teachers and Schools.


In Memoriam

January and February memorial list of GISH Alumni...

LINDA SLOSS, Class of 1974, died November 16, 2017 in Grand Island. She was 60.

PAULA (LARSEN) CATES, Class 1972, died December 30, 2016 in Lakeland, FL. She was 62.

SHIRLEY BEBERNISS, died January 9, 2017 in Kearney. She was a former teacher at Seedling Mile Elementary. She was 82.

GARY CAROTHERS, Class of 1964, died January 12, 2017, in Grand Island. He was 70.

RHEITA (MORLEDGE) SCHMER, Class of 1964, died January 13, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 70.

DAVID VALASEK, Class of 1980, died January 16, 2017, in Grand Island. He was 55.

EVALYN (ERDBRUGER) SORAHAN, Class of 1938, died January 19, 2017, in Grand Island. She was 96.

BOBBIE (WEBBER) QUANDT, Class of 1957, died January 21, 2017, in Aurora, Colo. She was 77.

GENE LAWREY, Class of 1951, died January 22, 2017 in Grand Island. He was 83.

WAUNITA (SAWYER) EMKEN, Class of 1955, died January 26, 2017 in Cedar Rapids, IA. She was 80.

GIOVANI LOPEZ, Class of 2014, died January 26, 2017 at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He was 20.

GLENN FULTON, Class of 1964, died February 2, 2017, in Kearney. He was 71.  

SARA (OSBORN) WAKEMAN, Class of 1961, died February 6, 2017, in Grand Island. She had lived in Lake Isabella, Calif. She was 73.

VALERIE HETRICK, Class of 1988, died February 7, 2017, in Grand Island. She was 46.  

MARY (MARTINEZ) CABALLERO, Class of 1973, died February 8, 2017, in Omaha. She lived in Grand Island. She was 61.

CLEMENCE WIECZOREK, Class of 1953, died February 9, 2017, in Grand Island. He was 82.

PHYLLIS (SCHROEDER) DUNN, Class of 1945, died February 9, 2017, in Grand Island. She was 89.

MARGIE (HUMPAL) KLEIN, Class of 1945, died February 11, 2017, in Grand Island. She was 90.

LORENE (OOLEY) BUHRMAN-CHIANCOLA, Class of 1945, died February 12, 2017, in Naples, Fla. she was 90.

PAMELA (ROBLEDO) MALONE, Class of 1968, died February 12, 2017 in Grand Island. She was 66.

ELOISE (KUTSCHKAU) SHERRY, Class of 1942, died February 19, 2017 in Grand Island. She was 91.

BONNIE OWENS, died February 20, 2017, in Wayne. Bonnie was a former English teacher and chairman of of the English Department at Senior High. She was 96.

DIXIE BEST, Class of 1959, died February 26, 2017 in Grand Island. She was 75.

ENID (KELSO) CONNELL, Class of 1944, died February 28, 2017 in Phoenix, Ariz. She was 91. 

To report an alumni death since February 28, 2017, please send an email with first name, last name, class year and maiden name if applicable to

back to top