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Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the March 2020 edition of “Rise Grand Island” the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation...

Grand Legacy Update

Your Gift Matters

Spring is just around the corner and so many amazing activities take place at the Foundation including Go Big Give! Each May the GIPS Foundation looks forward to...

At the Top

HISTORIC MOMENT FOR HIGH SCHOOLS … INCLUDING GISH

As Islanders across the country and the globe brace for the spread of the Coronavirus, neither Grand Island nor Nebraska are immune from its effects. The Boys Nebraska State High School Basketball Championships have always been...

Pushing On

Milestones

Ken Aldridge, Class of 1960, recently published his ninth book, "The Demise of Henry Schultz.” All of Aldridge's books are crime novels...

I've Been Thinking

Drive to the Future

If, in 10 years or so, you’re in the market for a self-driving vehicle (SDV), ask the seller if any Grand Island Senior High students had a role in its creation. You’d be in good hands if the answer was yes...

Alumni Reunions

Current Reunion Information

 

Shaking the World

GO BIG GIVE WITH THE PURPLE AND GOLD FUND OR OUR GRAND LEGACY MEMORIAL STADIUM

It is almost time for Grand Island’s Day of Giving, Go Big Give! This year we have listed both the GIPS Foundation and the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign in the...

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

2019-2020 Purple & gold fund grants

Thanks to your support, the following projects were funded through the Alumni Purple & Gold Fund...

On the Island

Kendall Bartling, Class of 2021

We’re finishing up spring break right about now here On the Island, and here’s what’s happened in the past two months. Islander Basketball season has come to an end, with the boys...

A Distant Mirror

The Challenge of Equal Treatment Siblings

Each year for over four decades, I’ve had a bet with my close friend from law school, John. We have a draft before the season begins in which we each pick six different college teams. Each week we add up...

In Memoriam

January and February memorial list of GISH Alumni...


Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the March 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 informed on what’s happening in Purple and Gold land, and reminiscing a little bit as well.

This is Volume 5, Number 2, as we move smartly in this new decade as the official publication for alumni of Islander Nation. Thanks for reading us and for your comments and support.

We really enjoy hearing from those of you who find “Rise” in your 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. We’d wold love to include it in our “Milestones” section. You can reach us at the email addresses on the front page.

Our “At the Top” lead story this issue takes up the idea that Senior High is once again part of a singular moment in history as school districts across the nation face the spread of the Coronavirus.

Leigh Lillibridge’s "Grand Legacy Update" will detail what you need to know to be part of Go Big Give, which is coming up in May. It’s your chance to support the Grand Island Public School’s Foundation and in turn support the thousands of students in our classrooms.

Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg, also writes about Go Big Give (hey, it’s a big day) and fills us in on the details of how your gift as a Senior High alum during Go Big Give can become part of the Purple and Gold Fund.

Our "Class Reunion Update" lets you know who is going to party and when, in case your class is on deck or maybe you just want to crash another class’s soiree and see a few old friends.

"Milestones" gives you a glimpse into a new book by Ken Aldridge, Class of 1960. It’s his ninth and once again takes the reader along solving a mystery, this time a suspicious death in a small town.

"From the Island" correspondent Junior Kendall Bartling. has a newsy update from the halls of GISH, including a band trip to San Antonio.

Our “Distant Mirror” correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967, discusses the equal treatment of siblings … or more specifically, his grandchildren.

My “I’ve Been Thinking” column offers you some insight to what I found when I spoke to four classes at Senior High about new technologies and the ethical implications they bring.

As usual we’ll see what songs were popular on the radio, what movies were wooing us on the big screen, what novels we were reading, and what television shows entertained us from each decade during March.

Finally, as we do every issue, we honor those Islanders who passed away the last couple months in our "In Memoriam" section.

We hope you find this “Rise” to your liking.
Remember Islanders: Keep pushing on


George Ayoub, Class of 1968
Editor, “Rise Grand Island”

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Grand Legacy Update

Your Gift Matters!

Spring is just around the corner and so many amazing activities take place at the Foundation including Go Big Give! Each May the GIPS Foundation looks forward to participating in Go Big Give, a day of giving that brings Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties together as one community, raising money and awareness for local nonprofits. Thursday, May 7, is this year’s date and we are excited that both the GIPS Foundation and “Our Grand Legacy Stadium Project” will be participating again this year! 

We need your HELP! We have $521,772 left to reach our goal on the entire Memorial Stadium Project! We have come so far, but we need your help to get us across the goal line. West Stadium is just about complete, so it is time for East Stadium’s preservation and renovation. Among the improvements at East Stadium is the addition of the Hall County Fallen Veterans Memorial Wall. This wall will honor Fallen Veterans from Hall County who died during conflict. The wall will remember those fallen veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the War on Terror. 

To visit “Our Grand Legacy Stadium Project” page, click on this link: Stadium Go Big Give.

To visit the GIPS Foundation page, click on this link: Go Big Give.

To see the list of Fallen Veterans and the plans for East Stadium, please visit:
Veterans Memorial

We will send you an email closer to the date in case you want to pre-give through Go Big Give before May 7. If you would like to give directly to the Stadium Project, you can do so now at How to Help.

Donations can also be mailed. Please be sure to include which project you would like to support and if you would like it to be included as a Go Big Give gift. 

Donations can be mailed to: GIPS Foundation
                                                       P.O. Box 4904 
                                                       Grand Island, NE 68802

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At the Top

Historic Moment for High Schools … Including GISH


As Islanders across the country and the globe brace for the spread of the Coronavirus, neither Grand Island nor Nebraska are immune from its effects. The Boys Nebraska State High School Basketball Championships have always been a seminal event for high schoolers whether their team made it or not. The “big dance” in March often meant some days off from school and a trip to Lincoln for some wing spreading. The Islanders just missed the tournament this year in an overtime loss in Districts to Creighton Prep. 

Still, as is happening all over the country, the Nebraska High School Activities Association, decided to hold the tournament last weekend with limited spectators — only essential staff and immediate family members could watch from the stands. The decision was emblematic of the newest phrase to enter our modern lexicon: social distancing.

Everything from the NBA to the NCAA’s March Madness to concerts to political rallies to reunions and get togethers of every stripe have been altered, canceled, or suspended in an unprecedented response to the growing spread of the virus, commonly known as COVID-19. 

Among those closing their doors or taking precautions are school districts. As of this writing the School District of Grand Island is not closing its doors, but has a plan moving forward to mitigate the disease’s spread in place (read it here: GIPS COVID-19 Plan). Plus, like many school districts, it also has an online way for patrons, parents, and others to get answers through its “Let’s Talk” link on the GIPS website.

Still, the virus and the response to it are creating a significant signpost of history —however dubious — for Senior High students. GISH has been through momentous events such as world wars, the Great Depression, a technological revolution in communication that has forever changed how we interact with one another. It has also weathered a host of smaller disruptions and transformations from bomb scares in the late 1960s to massive social and cultural changes that sometimes first show themselves among high school students.

So the Class of 2020 — some of whom may go on to be leaders in the fight against deadly pandemics — will add social distancing, self-quarantining, and Coronavirus to the memory bank of their senior year. They, like all of us, will have a newfound respect for hand washing and spatial relations.

And history will keep marching on.

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Pushing On

Milestones

Aldridge Publishes Ninth Book

Ken Aldridge, Class of 1960, recently published his ninth book, "The Demise of Henry Schultz.” All of Aldridge's books are crime novels, some based on actual cases he worked in 24 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. Aldridge's books feature a small Texas town chief of police and a cast of characters one will find in any small town. 

His latest book is about a reclusive bachelor who is found dead in his home. With no known relatives, motives, or helpful clues, the book tells of the chief and his officers discovering strange cars in town, child porn activities, and the deceased's mysterious past. The chief struggles with solving this case, but also has to handle the town's normal police work and deal with his struggling love life.

Aldridge and his wife, Vicki Varvel Aldridge, reside in the Dallas area. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Besides writing, Aldridge enjoys reading, stamp collecting, and that challenging game called, "golf."

Aldridge's books are available at Amazon.com and on Kindle.

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I've Been Thinking

Drive to the Future

 

If, in 10 years or so, you’re in the market for a self-driving vehicle (SDV), ask the seller if any Grand Island Senior High students had a role in its creation. 

You’d be in good hands if the answer was yes.

I spent a couple of Fridays last month putting four classes of Mr. Eric Hartel’s business students and Mr. Chris Holton’s multimedia students through their paces.

They impressed me. And they acted their age. 

After I led them through a 45-minute discussion of some ethical principals and moral decision making, they broke into groups of six or seven. I charged each group with deciding whether the software on their company’s SDV would — in the event of an unforeseen emergency — be programmed to save its occupants or those outside the vehicle.

So you can play along at home, here was the scenario: What would a SDV do if a group of pedestrians ran out into the street, close enough that braking would not save them. Turning the wheel would avoid them but would result in what would surely be for the vehicle’s occupants a fatal crash into walls on either side of the road.

Drivers today would make a split second decision if faced with that scenario. But a SDV — designed in part to increase overall safety on our roads — is programmed months or even years before to make a decision: the pedestrians or the occupants.

Not only did the group have to decide how to program the vehicles and what their moral reasoning would be, they also had to come up with a way to market their vehicles, including slogans.

They were armed only with 45 minutes of enough basics to differentiate between utilitarianism (you decide moral questions based on the consequences of your decision, which should be the greatest good for the greatest number) and deontology (a clear set of rules guiding your decisions, regardless of the consequences.)

That and their tech savvy and experience.

Walking among the groups, I was struck by how natural AI is to this generation. The idea of a self-driving vehicle seemed normal and expected. Having used this exercise when working with adults, I find older thinkers often quibble with either the premise of a self-driving vehicle or the possibilities a SDV offers.

Student discussions were thoughtful. They got the underlying implication that their future, surely a time of incredible technological growth, still needed ethical guidelines to solve moral dilemmas … some of which are brought on by the technology itself.

Remember, these students, have never really known anything but a smartphone, the computer in their pockets. They can’t imagine phone booths. They may have never known what clockwise means. Nor can they conceive of a world where the answer to most things isn't on Google.

Except, perhaps, the answer to an ethical dilemma faced by the designers, engineers, and marketers of SDVs.

Hartel invited me to speak because his class was exploring business ethics, one of the three ethics courses I teach as an adjunct for a small private college. An ongoing goal of GISH’s Academies is to connect with and provide a platform for local professionals in hopes of bringing experience, knowledge, and expertise to the curriculum students will master to be successful once they leave Senior High. 

The results from their discussions? A split decision, although the majority of groups opted to save the SDV’s passengers, citing concerns that no one would buy something designed to save those outside the vehicle before it saved those inside.

Their thinking was mainstream. National research into this very question has revealed that while a considerable majority of drivers believed SDV’s should save those on the outside first, few of those responding said they would buy one.

It’s a dilemma.

Here’s what’s clear: Plenty of white space remains on the drawing board when it comes to ethical questions raised by our incredible advances in technology.

And based on my three hours at Senior High, I can think of a number of GISH students who should be involved in the pictures that will emerge.

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Are you planning a class reunion?

 

We can help get you started!

Contact us for your class list and send us information about your reunion. We will post it to our webpage.

Kari Price, Alumni Coordinator
kprice@gips.org
308.385.5900 ext. 1148

Class of 1956

The Class of 1956 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at their monthly gathering. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Midtown Holiday Inn at 6:00 pm. 

Class of 1960

The Class of 1960 is planning their 60th Class Reunion on September 18-19, 2020. If you have changed your address, please update to receive reunion information.
Contact: Donna Weaver Smith, (308) 382-1621, email: , 2127 N. Sherman Blvd., Grand Island, NE 68803.

The Class of 1960 gathers on the 1st Wednesday of each month at TOMMY'S Restaurant at 11 am. Join us!

Class of 1966

The Class of 1966 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at their monthly lunch gathering. They meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Platt Duetsche at 1:00 pm.  

Class of 1970

The Class of 1970 will have their 50th Class Reunion on July 16, 17 & 18, 2020. A mailing was sent in January 2020 with details. Contact with questions.

Class of 1990

The Class of 1990 will have their 30th Class Reunion on July 17 & 18, 2020. Join the Facebook group at GISH Class of 1990, 30 year reunion for updates and to connect with classmates.

Class of 2000

The Class of 2000 will have their 20th Class Reunion on June 12 & 13, 2020. Join the facebook group at Class of 2000 GISH. The main dinner will be on Saturday at Balz Reception Hall in Grand Island. $25.00 per ticket for the dinner, RSVP needed. They will have a DJ and cake from the Chocolate Bar. For more information please contact Elizabeth Patterson at or
Erica Wilkinson at 

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Shaking the World

Go big give with the purple and gold fund or our grand legacy memorial stadium

 

It is almost time for Grand Island’s Day of Giving, Go Big Give! This year we have listed both the GIPS Foundation and the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign in the Go Big Give platform. There are so many great ways to give back to students!

It has been a lot of fun to see the alumni Purple and Gold Fund make its mark on this day too. We are going to run our Decade Challenge contest again. We will count your gift to either the GIPS Foundation or the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign towards the Decade challenge. The last two years have been dominated by the 1970s decade. But, it is clear that the 1960s are showing up to play. And, maybe, just maybe, this will be their year! My friend George Ayoub would like to see that! He is really hoping to win that ‘street cred’ thing.  For real!

Even though the 70’s won the street cred for 2019, seven decades were represented. That is very impressive. In all, alumni gave nearly $20,000 that day. $3,221.25 was unrestricted and therefore designated to the Purple & Gold Fund.  

The GIPS Foundation awarded three classroom grants this year that were funded with help from the Purple & Gold Fund. The grants were awarded for projects at Grand Island Senior High and Success Academy (our alternative high school program).  A detailed description of these grants is available in the "Your Legacy. Their Opportunity." section.

LET’S DO THIS AGAIN!

On May 7, 2020, the GIPS Foundation will again participate in Grand Island’s annual day of giving. This online giving day makes it easy for anyone in the world to give to their favorite Grand Island charities. All unrestricted 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 sure that other decades get a crack at this “Street Cred” thing, we will offer the decade challenge again. 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 for example, your gift will be attributed to the 1950s decade.

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.

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 30. 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 30. The day of giving is May 7. The direct link to the GIPS Foundation Go Big Give page is: 
https://www.gobiggive.org/gipsfoundation

The direct link to the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign Go Big Give page is: https://www.gobiggive.org/gimemorialstadium

We will send a reminder e-mail blast on April 30 and again on May 7 with these links. 

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 10,022 students who attend our schools. We are excited to participate in such an impactful fundraiser. 

5,777: the number of alumni receiving this e-mailed newsletter. Just think about the results, if YOU and each of your fellow 5,776 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 $57,770 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.

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Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

2019-2020 Purple & Gold Fund Grants

Thanks to your support, the following projects were funded through the Alumni Purple & Gold Fund.

Kenneth DeFrank, Success Academy, $1,970, “Flexible Seating.”
Success Academy is an alternative program that focuses on students with mental and behavior challenges. We would like to offer more flexible seating to our students, including wiggly chairs, rocking chairs, and any other non-traditional seating to help kids stay focused on their academics. This grant benefited 91 students in grades 9-12.

Jerome Dubas, Grand Island Senior High, $1,146, “UNDRground Contemporary Arts Marketing.”
The Senior High Art Department collaborates with the Azteca Market to operate a professional art gallery- UNDRground Contemporary Arts.  The operating expenses include postcard mailings, postage, and vinyl, insurance, transportation expenses, food for receptions, website hosting fees, pedestals, and other miscellaneous expenses (light bulbs, paint, cleaning supplies, hardware, etc.).  Every two months we have a new show and we use the postcards to market each of the art shows, and we apply vinyl to the entry foyer wall with the artist's name and the name of the show. This grant benefited 45 students in grades 9-12.

Corey Farlee, Shaun Willey and Maggie Mintken, Grand Island Senior High, $250, “Journals & Paper Planners for Freshman Academy.”
Working as a counselor in the Freshman Academy at Grand Island Senior High we have learned that our freshmen need help with organization and dealing with emotions. We have found success using journaling strategies to manage feelings and maintain mental health with many students. We have also observed student's organization skills and grades improve by using paper planners to help them gain control of their workload, which can be overwhelming for freshman. The transition from middle school to high school can be troubling, so having these materials to assist our students with this transition would be helpful. This grant benefited 100 students in grade 9.

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On the Island

Kendall Bartling, Class of 2021

 

We’re finishing up spring break right about now here On the Island, and here’s what’s happened in the past two months.

Islander Basketball season has come to an end, with the boys having a very successful season, going 17-8, and making it to district finals, coming just short of making it to state after on overtime loss to Creighton Prep. The girls went 2-20 and lost in the first round of districts.

Student Directed One Acts have been casted, and practices will begin soon. The performances will be held on May 8th and 9th, starting at 6 p.m. in the Little Theatre.

The Islander show choirs have had a successful season so far, with Ultimate Image placing 1st at the inaugural Hastings Tiger Clash, and the Omaha North Viking Cup. Future Image has placed 1st in the prep division at Gretna and the Viking Cup, and getting 2nd overall at the Tiger Clash.

I’m finishing this article from my hotel room in San Antonio, where the Islander Band is enjoying the Texas weather. The band has visited the USS Lexington (below), and will be visiting the Alamo, the Briscoe Art Museum, and performing at Six Flags in San Antonio. 

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A Distant Mirror

The Challenge of Equal Treatment of Siblings

 

Each year for over four decades, I’ve had a bet with my close friend from law school, John. We have a draft before the season begins in which we each pick six different college teams.  Each week we add up the AP ranking for our top five teams (throwing out the worst team) and the low score wins. The weekly winner gets $20. Also, when one of my teams plays one of his teams, the winner of each “matchup” wins $20. The winner of the final poll at the year’s end gets $40. And, if either of us picks the National Champion, that is also worth another $40. Generally one of us will win one or two hundred dollars, but some years we just about break even.   

This past August, when John and I were getting ready to have our draft, my sports-loving, six-year-old grandson Leo, whom I have written about previously, wanted to know about the bet. I explained the bet, and Leo said he wanted to help pick teams. So we examined the pre-season rankings, ranked our favorites, and got ready to draft. “Grandpa, you have to get Alabama” was just one of his pieces of advice. I told Leo that I sometimes lost money and sometimes won money, but that if we won money this year, I would share it 50/50 with him. He was in! He told me he had already saved up $14, from tooth fairy money and other gifts.

As the season progressed, our teams won virtually every week’s $20 prize and also did well in matchups. Luckily, we had picked LSU, Alabama and Georgia, each of which had good years. Throughout the fall, Leo and I would watch games on Saturday and root for our squads. After each week, I would tell him where we stood. Near the end of the season, we were ahead $260, and we had a chance to win more with LSU in the National Championship game. He was getting more and more excited.  

When Leo and family were at our house in California for the Christmas break, Leo and I went to a friend’s house where Leo and I joined three friends to watch the LSU-Oklahoma National Championship semi-final game. This was also a matchup, since we had LSU and John had Oklahoma. LSU dominated the game. Leo was up high-fiving me and my buddies and dancing after every LSU touchdown. My daughter Susannah, Leo’s mother, and I also took Leo to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. We saw one of our teams, Oregon, win a thriller. Leo was pumped up. LSU then went on to win the National Championship, and after the dust settled, Leo and I had won $360 — $180 for me and $180 for Leo.  

I then called Leo, who was then back in Minnesota, and we rejoiced in our winnings. But on that call, in the background, I heard Leo’s nine-year-old sister, Victoria, and she asked, “What about me Grandpa?” I explained that Leo had helped me pick teams, and had helped me root for them all year long, and that he had been part of the bet. She then replied, “But what about me Grandpa?” I lamely said that I would do something for her too. 

Later, my son-in-law explained to Victoria that “You have to be in it to win it.” But this did not satisfy her, and I understood why. Her brother Leo had been given an opportunity that she was not given, and that did not seem fair. But I thought it would send the wrong message to simply give her $180 too.  

So I told her, “Victoria, I love you so much, and you are my best girl, so while I will not give you money, I will let you pick out a present or two that you would really like.” She thought long and carefully, and finally said, “I would really like a harmonica.” She then added, “And I would like some “Hair Chalk.” I then learned that “Hair Chalk” is something 4th grade girls use to dye their hair weird colors, but it washes right out.  So I immediately bought her a nice harmonica and some “Hair Chalk,” and she was a happy camper.  

It had been wise not to suggest ways to make things even, but to let her declare what would do so. And it worked, thank goodness. By the way, Victoria also has announced that next year she wants to help pick teams and be part of the bet. Leo then immediately exclaimed, “But she doesn’t know anything about football!”

This story barely scratches the surface of the challenge of treating sibling children or grandchildren, equally. Woe be it to the parent who gives one child the best bedroom, the most time, the sweetest smile, or anything that is viewed as superior by another sibling. 

When my two children were young, we bought a three bedroom house with a master bedroom, a large second bedroom and a much smaller third bedroom. We gave the large bedroom to Susannah, our older daughter, and the lesser bedroom to her younger brother James, who was just two years old when we bought the house. When they grew older, we eventually got them used cars. Assessing the cars we bought and the small bedroom, our son hinted that he might have been shorted somehow in all this. I asked him what he thought was fair, and he said, “Well, when you get a new car, could I have your used BMW Z3 sports car?” I asked if that would make things completely even, and he immediately said it would. So we made a deal. And again, for goodness sake, everyone was happy.

Slip ups in the quest for equal sibling treatment can be devastating. I know a family where the well-to-do parents of three daughters made their will. They decided to give the two younger sisters a far greater inheritance, since the older daughter had married someone who made a ton of money. The older daughter was crushed, feeling she was being punished without cause, and that true parental love should result in equal treatment. Those types of decisions can create lasting hard feelings and bitterness. 

So parents and grandparents, be vigilant at striving for equal treatment. And when in doubt, or in time of crisis, sometimes it works to ask the child what they think would be fair. And the cold hard truth is that even with precisely equal treatment, one child may achieve greater success or happiness by virtue of time, chance, or their own actions.  

The challenge of equal treatment is not always about money, but also time, help, moral support, and the way in which our gracious love is given. Parents must never express the thought that they prefer a certain child, or think one child is better, or more attractive, or more anything. “I love you all the same” has to be the unyielding mantra.  

Good luck you crazy parents!


Mike Monk can be reached at .

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In Memoriam

January and February memorial list of GISH Alumni...

BRAD JENSEN, Class of 1970, died Dec. 26, 2019, in Lincoln. He was 68.

DIXIE (MORROW) KROHN, Class of 1972, died Jan. 4, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 65.

DR. STANLEY URWILLER, longtime math teacher at Senior High and a GIPS Foundation Legendary Educator, died Jan. 6, 2020, in Island. He was 83.

LOEL LUFT, Class of 1962, died Jan. 10, 2020, in North Platte. He was 76.

CATHERINE (PAULMAN) REED, Class of 1972, died Jan. 13, 2020. She was 66.

MARY (TRENTMAN) STOLTENBERG, Class of 1947, died Jan. 13, 2020. She was 90.

SUSAN (HAMMON) ROLO, Class of 1970, died Jan. 15, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 67.

ANN JESSEN, Class of 1965, died, Jan. 17, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 72.

RONALD KRAFT, Class of 1963, died, Jan. 17, 2020, in Hastings. He was 75.

CATHERINE (RIEF) MILLER, Class of 1951, died Jan. 18, 2020, Grand Island. Catherine lived in Wood River. She was 86.

CAROL (HUMMELL) KENYON, Class of 1951, died Jan. 20, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 86.

ALVIN RINKE, Class of 1960, died Jan. 20, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 78.

JERRY DIMMITT, Class of 1960, died Jan. 23, in Wood River. He was 78.

JEANETTE (PETERS) HAWTHORNE, Class of 1955, died Jan. 23, 2020, in Central City.

LINDA (MARTINEZ) RIVERA, Class of 1982, died Jan. 23, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 56.

KENNETH KITTEL SR., Class of 1954, died Jan. 26, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 83.

MARY JO (VANOSDALL) LAHNERS, Class of 1956, died Jan. 27, 2020, in Lincoln. She was 81.

DOLORES ‘DEE’ (KILLION) BROWN, Class of 1947, died Jan. 27, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 91.

GERALD ‘JAKE’ MENSIK, Class of 1958, died in Port Charlotte, Fla. He was 79.

KURT NABITY, Class of 1987, died Jan. 28, 2020, in Independence, Mo. Kurt lived in Stilwell, Kan. He was 50.

LEONARD SCHWIEGER, Class of 1948, died Jan. 30, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 89.

BARBARA (FINLEY) BROWN, Class of 1948, died Jan. 31, 2020, in Grand Island. Barbara also taught art at Senior High. She was 90.

JUSTINE ‘CRIS’ (CHRISTENSEN) FOWLER, Class of 1955, died Feb. 6, 2020, in Chelan, Wash. She was 81.

SHARON (MEYER) CEMPER, Class of 1968, died Feb. 6, 2020, in Omaha. Sharon lived in Grand Island. She was 69.

BERNICE (SCHMIDT) ROSS, Class of 1948, died Feb. 7, 2020, in Central City. She was 90.

BILLIE (MCCRIGHT) WETTERER, Class of 1945, died Feb. 12, 2020, in Grand Island. Billie lived near Wood River. She was 92.

DOUG CREMEEN, Class of 1970, died Feb. 15, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 67.

JOSEPH O’NEILL, Class of 1979, died Feb. 16, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 59.

ROBERT KNICKREHM, Class of 1948, died Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver, Colo. He was 89.

PENNI (KIRSCHBAUM) PASS, Class of 1985, died Feb. 22, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 53.

CAROL (HASSELMANN) BYERLY, Class of 1964, died Feb. 23, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 73.

VERA (MILLER) JACOBSON, Class of 1948, died Feb. 24, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 89.

OLGA (PETERSEN) SWEET, Class of 1952, died Feb. 26, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 85.

POLLYANNE MEYER, Class of 1945, died Feb. 28, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 92.

MELVIN GLAUSE, Class of 1944, died Feb. 29, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 93.

To report an alumni death since February 29, 2020, please send an email with the first name, last name, class year and maiden name if applicable to

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Media Inquiries
Jack Sheard, Marketing & Communications
308-385-5900 Ext. 1127
Your Legacy.
Their Opportunity.

Enhancing opportunities by seeking and securing resources for projects, scholarships and programs.

Access digital copies of our district flyers.

Improving school-to-home communication by distribute school flyers directly to families digitally.


 

Click on Section to read more:

 

Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the March 2020 edition of “Rise Grand Island” the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation...

Grand Legacy Update

Your Gift Matters

Spring is just around the corner and so many amazing activities take place at the Foundation including Go Big Give! Each May the GIPS Foundation looks forward to...

At the Top

HISTORIC MOMENT FOR HIGH SCHOOLS … INCLUDING GISH

As Islanders across the country and the globe brace for the spread of the Coronavirus, neither Grand Island nor Nebraska are immune from its effects. The Boys Nebraska State High School Basketball Championships have always been...

Pushing On

Milestones

Ken Aldridge, Class of 1960, recently published his ninth book, "The Demise of Henry Schultz.” All of Aldridge's books are crime novels...

I've Been Thinking

Drive to the Future

If, in 10 years or so, you’re in the market for a self-driving vehicle (SDV), ask the seller if any Grand Island Senior High students had a role in its creation. You’d be in good hands if the answer was yes...

Alumni Reunions

Current Reunion Information

 

Shaking the World

GO BIG GIVE WITH THE PURPLE AND GOLD FUND OR OUR GRAND LEGACY MEMORIAL STADIUM

It is almost time for Grand Island’s Day of Giving, Go Big Give! This year we have listed both the GIPS Foundation and the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign in the...

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

2019-2020 Purple & gold fund grants

Thanks to your support, the following projects were funded through the Alumni Purple & Gold Fund...

On the Island

Kendall Bartling, Class of 2021

We’re finishing up spring break right about now here On the Island, and here’s what’s happened in the past two months. Islander Basketball season has come to an end, with the boys...

A Distant Mirror

The Challenge of Equal Treatment Siblings

Each year for over four decades, I’ve had a bet with my close friend from law school, John. We have a draft before the season begins in which we each pick six different college teams. Each week we add up...

In Memoriam

January and February memorial list of GISH Alumni...


Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the March 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 informed on what’s happening in Purple and Gold land, and reminiscing a little bit as well.

This is Volume 5, Number 2, as we move smartly in this new decade as the official publication for alumni of Islander Nation. Thanks for reading us and for your comments and support.

We really enjoy hearing from those of you who find “Rise” in your 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. We’d wold love to include it in our “Milestones” section. You can reach us at the email addresses on the front page.

Our “At the Top” lead story this issue takes up the idea that Senior High is once again part of a singular moment in history as school districts across the nation face the spread of the Coronavirus.

Leigh Lillibridge’s "Grand Legacy Update" will detail what you need to know to be part of Go Big Give, which is coming up in May. It’s your chance to support the Grand Island Public School’s Foundation and in turn support the thousands of students in our classrooms.

Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg, also writes about Go Big Give (hey, it’s a big day) and fills us in on the details of how your gift as a Senior High alum during Go Big Give can become part of the Purple and Gold Fund.

Our "Class Reunion Update" lets you know who is going to party and when, in case your class is on deck or maybe you just want to crash another class’s soiree and see a few old friends.

"Milestones" gives you a glimpse into a new book by Ken Aldridge, Class of 1960. It’s his ninth and once again takes the reader along solving a mystery, this time a suspicious death in a small town.

"From the Island" correspondent Junior Kendall Bartling. has a newsy update from the halls of GISH, including a band trip to San Antonio.

Our “Distant Mirror” correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967, discusses the equal treatment of siblings … or more specifically, his grandchildren.

My “I’ve Been Thinking” column offers you some insight to what I found when I spoke to four classes at Senior High about new technologies and the ethical implications they bring.

As usual we’ll see what songs were popular on the radio, what movies were wooing us on the big screen, what novels we were reading, and what television shows entertained us from each decade during March.

Finally, as we do every issue, we honor those Islanders who passed away the last couple months in our "In Memoriam" section.

We hope you find this “Rise” to your liking.
Remember Islanders: Keep pushing on


George Ayoub, Class of 1968
Editor, “Rise Grand Island”

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Grand Legacy Update

Your Gift Matters!

Spring is just around the corner and so many amazing activities take place at the Foundation including Go Big Give! Each May the GIPS Foundation looks forward to participating in Go Big Give, a day of giving that brings Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties together as one community, raising money and awareness for local nonprofits. Thursday, May 7, is this year’s date and we are excited that both the GIPS Foundation and “Our Grand Legacy Stadium Project” will be participating again this year! 

We need your HELP! We have $521,772 left to reach our goal on the entire Memorial Stadium Project! We have come so far, but we need your help to get us across the goal line. West Stadium is just about complete, so it is time for East Stadium’s preservation and renovation. Among the improvements at East Stadium is the addition of the Hall County Fallen Veterans Memorial Wall. This wall will honor Fallen Veterans from Hall County who died during conflict. The wall will remember those fallen veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the War on Terror. 

To visit “Our Grand Legacy Stadium Project” page, click on this link: Stadium Go Big Give.

To visit the GIPS Foundation page, click on this link: Go Big Give.

To see the list of Fallen Veterans and the plans for East Stadium, please visit:
Veterans Memorial

We will send you an email closer to the date in case you want to pre-give through Go Big Give before May 7. If you would like to give directly to the Stadium Project, you can do so now at How to Help.

Donations can also be mailed. Please be sure to include which project you would like to support and if you would like it to be included as a Go Big Give gift. 

Donations can be mailed to: GIPS Foundation
                                                       P.O. Box 4904 
                                                       Grand Island, NE 68802

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At the Top

Historic Moment for High Schools … Including GISH


As Islanders across the country and the globe brace for the spread of the Coronavirus, neither Grand Island nor Nebraska are immune from its effects. The Boys Nebraska State High School Basketball Championships have always been a seminal event for high schoolers whether their team made it or not. The “big dance” in March often meant some days off from school and a trip to Lincoln for some wing spreading. The Islanders just missed the tournament this year in an overtime loss in Districts to Creighton Prep. 

Still, as is happening all over the country, the Nebraska High School Activities Association, decided to hold the tournament last weekend with limited spectators — only essential staff and immediate family members could watch from the stands. The decision was emblematic of the newest phrase to enter our modern lexicon: social distancing.

Everything from the NBA to the NCAA’s March Madness to concerts to political rallies to reunions and get togethers of every stripe have been altered, canceled, or suspended in an unprecedented response to the growing spread of the virus, commonly known as COVID-19. 

Among those closing their doors or taking precautions are school districts. As of this writing the School District of Grand Island is not closing its doors, but has a plan moving forward to mitigate the disease’s spread in place (read it here: GIPS COVID-19 Plan). Plus, like many school districts, it also has an online way for patrons, parents, and others to get answers through its “Let’s Talk” link on the GIPS website.

Still, the virus and the response to it are creating a significant signpost of history —however dubious — for Senior High students. GISH has been through momentous events such as world wars, the Great Depression, a technological revolution in communication that has forever changed how we interact with one another. It has also weathered a host of smaller disruptions and transformations from bomb scares in the late 1960s to massive social and cultural changes that sometimes first show themselves among high school students.

So the Class of 2020 — some of whom may go on to be leaders in the fight against deadly pandemics — will add social distancing, self-quarantining, and Coronavirus to the memory bank of their senior year. They, like all of us, will have a newfound respect for hand washing and spatial relations.

And history will keep marching on.

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Pushing On

Milestones

Aldridge Publishes Ninth Book

Ken Aldridge, Class of 1960, recently published his ninth book, "The Demise of Henry Schultz.” All of Aldridge's books are crime novels, some based on actual cases he worked in 24 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. Aldridge's books feature a small Texas town chief of police and a cast of characters one will find in any small town. 

His latest book is about a reclusive bachelor who is found dead in his home. With no known relatives, motives, or helpful clues, the book tells of the chief and his officers discovering strange cars in town, child porn activities, and the deceased's mysterious past. The chief struggles with solving this case, but also has to handle the town's normal police work and deal with his struggling love life.

Aldridge and his wife, Vicki Varvel Aldridge, reside in the Dallas area. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Besides writing, Aldridge enjoys reading, stamp collecting, and that challenging game called, "golf."

Aldridge's books are available at Amazon.com and on Kindle.

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I've Been Thinking

Drive to the Future

 

If, in 10 years or so, you’re in the market for a self-driving vehicle (SDV), ask the seller if any Grand Island Senior High students had a role in its creation. 

You’d be in good hands if the answer was yes.

I spent a couple of Fridays last month putting four classes of Mr. Eric Hartel’s business students and Mr. Chris Holton’s multimedia students through their paces.

They impressed me. And they acted their age. 

After I led them through a 45-minute discussion of some ethical principals and moral decision making, they broke into groups of six or seven. I charged each group with deciding whether the software on their company’s SDV would — in the event of an unforeseen emergency — be programmed to save its occupants or those outside the vehicle.

So you can play along at home, here was the scenario: What would a SDV do if a group of pedestrians ran out into the street, close enough that braking would not save them. Turning the wheel would avoid them but would result in what would surely be for the vehicle’s occupants a fatal crash into walls on either side of the road.

Drivers today would make a split second decision if faced with that scenario. But a SDV — designed in part to increase overall safety on our roads — is programmed months or even years before to make a decision: the pedestrians or the occupants.

Not only did the group have to decide how to program the vehicles and what their moral reasoning would be, they also had to come up with a way to market their vehicles, including slogans.

They were armed only with 45 minutes of enough basics to differentiate between utilitarianism (you decide moral questions based on the consequences of your decision, which should be the greatest good for the greatest number) and deontology (a clear set of rules guiding your decisions, regardless of the consequences.)

That and their tech savvy and experience.

Walking among the groups, I was struck by how natural AI is to this generation. The idea of a self-driving vehicle seemed normal and expected. Having used this exercise when working with adults, I find older thinkers often quibble with either the premise of a self-driving vehicle or the possibilities a SDV offers.

Student discussions were thoughtful. They got the underlying implication that their future, surely a time of incredible technological growth, still needed ethical guidelines to solve moral dilemmas … some of which are brought on by the technology itself.

Remember, these students, have never really known anything but a smartphone, the computer in their pockets. They can’t imagine phone booths. They may have never known what clockwise means. Nor can they conceive of a world where the answer to most things isn't on Google.

Except, perhaps, the answer to an ethical dilemma faced by the designers, engineers, and marketers of SDVs.

Hartel invited me to speak because his class was exploring business ethics, one of the three ethics courses I teach as an adjunct for a small private college. An ongoing goal of GISH’s Academies is to connect with and provide a platform for local professionals in hopes of bringing experience, knowledge, and expertise to the curriculum students will master to be successful once they leave Senior High. 

The results from their discussions? A split decision, although the majority of groups opted to save the SDV’s passengers, citing concerns that no one would buy something designed to save those outside the vehicle before it saved those inside.

Their thinking was mainstream. National research into this very question has revealed that while a considerable majority of drivers believed SDV’s should save those on the outside first, few of those responding said they would buy one.

It’s a dilemma.

Here’s what’s clear: Plenty of white space remains on the drawing board when it comes to ethical questions raised by our incredible advances in technology.

And based on my three hours at Senior High, I can think of a number of GISH students who should be involved in the pictures that will emerge.

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Are you planning a class reunion?

 

We can help get you started!

Contact us for your class list and send us information about your reunion. We will post it to our webpage.

Kari Price, Alumni Coordinator
kprice@gips.org
308.385.5900 ext. 1148

Class of 1956

The Class of 1956 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at their monthly gathering. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Midtown Holiday Inn at 6:00 pm. 

Class of 1960

The Class of 1960 is planning their 60th Class Reunion on September 18-19, 2020. If you have changed your address, please update to receive reunion information.
Contact: Donna Weaver Smith, (308) 382-1621, email: , 2127 N. Sherman Blvd., Grand Island, NE 68803.

The Class of 1960 gathers on the 1st Wednesday of each month at TOMMY'S Restaurant at 11 am. Join us!

Class of 1966

The Class of 1966 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at their monthly lunch gathering. They meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Platt Duetsche at 1:00 pm.  

Class of 1970

The Class of 1970 will have their 50th Class Reunion on July 16, 17 & 18, 2020. A mailing was sent in January 2020 with details. Contact with questions.

Class of 1990

The Class of 1990 will have their 30th Class Reunion on July 17 & 18, 2020. Join the Facebook group at GISH Class of 1990, 30 year reunion for updates and to connect with classmates.

Class of 2000

The Class of 2000 will have their 20th Class Reunion on June 12 & 13, 2020. Join the facebook group at Class of 2000 GISH. The main dinner will be on Saturday at Balz Reception Hall in Grand Island. $25.00 per ticket for the dinner, RSVP needed. They will have a DJ and cake from the Chocolate Bar. For more information please contact Elizabeth Patterson at or
Erica Wilkinson at 

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Shaking the World

Go big give with the purple and gold fund or our grand legacy memorial stadium

 

It is almost time for Grand Island’s Day of Giving, Go Big Give! This year we have listed both the GIPS Foundation and the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign in the Go Big Give platform. There are so many great ways to give back to students!

It has been a lot of fun to see the alumni Purple and Gold Fund make its mark on this day too. We are going to run our Decade Challenge contest again. We will count your gift to either the GIPS Foundation or the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign towards the Decade challenge. The last two years have been dominated by the 1970s decade. But, it is clear that the 1960s are showing up to play. And, maybe, just maybe, this will be their year! My friend George Ayoub would like to see that! He is really hoping to win that ‘street cred’ thing.  For real!

Even though the 70’s won the street cred for 2019, seven decades were represented. That is very impressive. In all, alumni gave nearly $20,000 that day. $3,221.25 was unrestricted and therefore designated to the Purple & Gold Fund.  

The GIPS Foundation awarded three classroom grants this year that were funded with help from the Purple & Gold Fund. The grants were awarded for projects at Grand Island Senior High and Success Academy (our alternative high school program).  A detailed description of these grants is available in the "Your Legacy. Their Opportunity." section.

LET’S DO THIS AGAIN!

On May 7, 2020, the GIPS Foundation will again participate in Grand Island’s annual day of giving. This online giving day makes it easy for anyone in the world to give to their favorite Grand Island charities. All unrestricted 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 sure that other decades get a crack at this “Street Cred” thing, we will offer the decade challenge again. 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 for example, your gift will be attributed to the 1950s decade.

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.

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 30. 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 30. The day of giving is May 7. The direct link to the GIPS Foundation Go Big Give page is: 
https://www.gobiggive.org/gipsfoundation

The direct link to the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign Go Big Give page is: https://www.gobiggive.org/gimemorialstadium

We will send a reminder e-mail blast on April 30 and again on May 7 with these links. 

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 10,022 students who attend our schools. We are excited to participate in such an impactful fundraiser. 

5,777: the number of alumni receiving this e-mailed newsletter. Just think about the results, if YOU and each of your fellow 5,776 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 $57,770 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.

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Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

2019-2020 Purple & Gold Fund Grants

Thanks to your support, the following projects were funded through the Alumni Purple & Gold Fund.

Kenneth DeFrank, Success Academy, $1,970, “Flexible Seating.”
Success Academy is an alternative program that focuses on students with mental and behavior challenges. We would like to offer more flexible seating to our students, including wiggly chairs, rocking chairs, and any other non-traditional seating to help kids stay focused on their academics. This grant benefited 91 students in grades 9-12.

Jerome Dubas, Grand Island Senior High, $1,146, “UNDRground Contemporary Arts Marketing.”
The Senior High Art Department collaborates with the Azteca Market to operate a professional art gallery- UNDRground Contemporary Arts.  The operating expenses include postcard mailings, postage, and vinyl, insurance, transportation expenses, food for receptions, website hosting fees, pedestals, and other miscellaneous expenses (light bulbs, paint, cleaning supplies, hardware, etc.).  Every two months we have a new show and we use the postcards to market each of the art shows, and we apply vinyl to the entry foyer wall with the artist's name and the name of the show. This grant benefited 45 students in grades 9-12.

Corey Farlee, Shaun Willey and Maggie Mintken, Grand Island Senior High, $250, “Journals & Paper Planners for Freshman Academy.”
Working as a counselor in the Freshman Academy at Grand Island Senior High we have learned that our freshmen need help with organization and dealing with emotions. We have found success using journaling strategies to manage feelings and maintain mental health with many students. We have also observed student's organization skills and grades improve by using paper planners to help them gain control of their workload, which can be overwhelming for freshman. The transition from middle school to high school can be troubling, so having these materials to assist our students with this transition would be helpful. This grant benefited 100 students in grade 9.

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On the Island

Kendall Bartling, Class of 2021

 

We’re finishing up spring break right about now here On the Island, and here’s what’s happened in the past two months.

Islander Basketball season has come to an end, with the boys having a very successful season, going 17-8, and making it to district finals, coming just short of making it to state after on overtime loss to Creighton Prep. The girls went 2-20 and lost in the first round of districts.

Student Directed One Acts have been casted, and practices will begin soon. The performances will be held on May 8th and 9th, starting at 6 p.m. in the Little Theatre.

The Islander show choirs have had a successful season so far, with Ultimate Image placing 1st at the inaugural Hastings Tiger Clash, and the Omaha North Viking Cup. Future Image has placed 1st in the prep division at Gretna and the Viking Cup, and getting 2nd overall at the Tiger Clash.

I’m finishing this article from my hotel room in San Antonio, where the Islander Band is enjoying the Texas weather. The band has visited the USS Lexington (below), and will be visiting the Alamo, the Briscoe Art Museum, and performing at Six Flags in San Antonio. 

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A Distant Mirror

The Challenge of Equal Treatment of Siblings

 

Each year for over four decades, I’ve had a bet with my close friend from law school, John. We have a draft before the season begins in which we each pick six different college teams.  Each week we add up the AP ranking for our top five teams (throwing out the worst team) and the low score wins. The weekly winner gets $20. Also, when one of my teams plays one of his teams, the winner of each “matchup” wins $20. The winner of the final poll at the year’s end gets $40. And, if either of us picks the National Champion, that is also worth another $40. Generally one of us will win one or two hundred dollars, but some years we just about break even.   

This past August, when John and I were getting ready to have our draft, my sports-loving, six-year-old grandson Leo, whom I have written about previously, wanted to know about the bet. I explained the bet, and Leo said he wanted to help pick teams. So we examined the pre-season rankings, ranked our favorites, and got ready to draft. “Grandpa, you have to get Alabama” was just one of his pieces of advice. I told Leo that I sometimes lost money and sometimes won money, but that if we won money this year, I would share it 50/50 with him. He was in! He told me he had already saved up $14, from tooth fairy money and other gifts.

As the season progressed, our teams won virtually every week’s $20 prize and also did well in matchups. Luckily, we had picked LSU, Alabama and Georgia, each of which had good years. Throughout the fall, Leo and I would watch games on Saturday and root for our squads. After each week, I would tell him where we stood. Near the end of the season, we were ahead $260, and we had a chance to win more with LSU in the National Championship game. He was getting more and more excited.  

When Leo and family were at our house in California for the Christmas break, Leo and I went to a friend’s house where Leo and I joined three friends to watch the LSU-Oklahoma National Championship semi-final game. This was also a matchup, since we had LSU and John had Oklahoma. LSU dominated the game. Leo was up high-fiving me and my buddies and dancing after every LSU touchdown. My daughter Susannah, Leo’s mother, and I also took Leo to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. We saw one of our teams, Oregon, win a thriller. Leo was pumped up. LSU then went on to win the National Championship, and after the dust settled, Leo and I had won $360 — $180 for me and $180 for Leo.  

I then called Leo, who was then back in Minnesota, and we rejoiced in our winnings. But on that call, in the background, I heard Leo’s nine-year-old sister, Victoria, and she asked, “What about me Grandpa?” I explained that Leo had helped me pick teams, and had helped me root for them all year long, and that he had been part of the bet. She then replied, “But what about me Grandpa?” I lamely said that I would do something for her too. 

Later, my son-in-law explained to Victoria that “You have to be in it to win it.” But this did not satisfy her, and I understood why. Her brother Leo had been given an opportunity that she was not given, and that did not seem fair. But I thought it would send the wrong message to simply give her $180 too.  

So I told her, “Victoria, I love you so much, and you are my best girl, so while I will not give you money, I will let you pick out a present or two that you would really like.” She thought long and carefully, and finally said, “I would really like a harmonica.” She then added, “And I would like some “Hair Chalk.” I then learned that “Hair Chalk” is something 4th grade girls use to dye their hair weird colors, but it washes right out.  So I immediately bought her a nice harmonica and some “Hair Chalk,” and she was a happy camper.  

It had been wise not to suggest ways to make things even, but to let her declare what would do so. And it worked, thank goodness. By the way, Victoria also has announced that next year she wants to help pick teams and be part of the bet. Leo then immediately exclaimed, “But she doesn’t know anything about football!”

This story barely scratches the surface of the challenge of treating sibling children or grandchildren, equally. Woe be it to the parent who gives one child the best bedroom, the most time, the sweetest smile, or anything that is viewed as superior by another sibling. 

When my two children were young, we bought a three bedroom house with a master bedroom, a large second bedroom and a much smaller third bedroom. We gave the large bedroom to Susannah, our older daughter, and the lesser bedroom to her younger brother James, who was just two years old when we bought the house. When they grew older, we eventually got them used cars. Assessing the cars we bought and the small bedroom, our son hinted that he might have been shorted somehow in all this. I asked him what he thought was fair, and he said, “Well, when you get a new car, could I have your used BMW Z3 sports car?” I asked if that would make things completely even, and he immediately said it would. So we made a deal. And again, for goodness sake, everyone was happy.

Slip ups in the quest for equal sibling treatment can be devastating. I know a family where the well-to-do parents of three daughters made their will. They decided to give the two younger sisters a far greater inheritance, since the older daughter had married someone who made a ton of money. The older daughter was crushed, feeling she was being punished without cause, and that true parental love should result in equal treatment. Those types of decisions can create lasting hard feelings and bitterness. 

So parents and grandparents, be vigilant at striving for equal treatment. And when in doubt, or in time of crisis, sometimes it works to ask the child what they think would be fair. And the cold hard truth is that even with precisely equal treatment, one child may achieve greater success or happiness by virtue of time, chance, or their own actions.  

The challenge of equal treatment is not always about money, but also time, help, moral support, and the way in which our gracious love is given. Parents must never express the thought that they prefer a certain child, or think one child is better, or more attractive, or more anything. “I love you all the same” has to be the unyielding mantra.  

Good luck you crazy parents!


Mike Monk can be reached at .

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In Memoriam

January and February memorial list of GISH Alumni...

BRAD JENSEN, Class of 1970, died Dec. 26, 2019, in Lincoln. He was 68.

DIXIE (MORROW) KROHN, Class of 1972, died Jan. 4, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 65.

DR. STANLEY URWILLER, longtime math teacher at Senior High and a GIPS Foundation Legendary Educator, died Jan. 6, 2020, in Island. He was 83.

LOEL LUFT, Class of 1962, died Jan. 10, 2020, in North Platte. He was 76.

CATHERINE (PAULMAN) REED, Class of 1972, died Jan. 13, 2020. She was 66.

MARY (TRENTMAN) STOLTENBERG, Class of 1947, died Jan. 13, 2020. She was 90.

SUSAN (HAMMON) ROLO, Class of 1970, died Jan. 15, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 67.

ANN JESSEN, Class of 1965, died, Jan. 17, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 72.

RONALD KRAFT, Class of 1963, died, Jan. 17, 2020, in Hastings. He was 75.

CATHERINE (RIEF) MILLER, Class of 1951, died Jan. 18, 2020, Grand Island. Catherine lived in Wood River. She was 86.

CAROL (HUMMELL) KENYON, Class of 1951, died Jan. 20, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 86.

ALVIN RINKE, Class of 1960, died Jan. 20, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 78.

JERRY DIMMITT, Class of 1960, died Jan. 23, in Wood River. He was 78.

JEANETTE (PETERS) HAWTHORNE, Class of 1955, died Jan. 23, 2020, in Central City.

LINDA (MARTINEZ) RIVERA, Class of 1982, died Jan. 23, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 56.

KENNETH KITTEL SR., Class of 1954, died Jan. 26, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 83.

MARY JO (VANOSDALL) LAHNERS, Class of 1956, died Jan. 27, 2020, in Lincoln. She was 81.

DOLORES ‘DEE’ (KILLION) BROWN, Class of 1947, died Jan. 27, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 91.

GERALD ‘JAKE’ MENSIK, Class of 1958, died in Port Charlotte, Fla. He was 79.

KURT NABITY, Class of 1987, died Jan. 28, 2020, in Independence, Mo. Kurt lived in Stilwell, Kan. He was 50.

LEONARD SCHWIEGER, Class of 1948, died Jan. 30, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 89.

BARBARA (FINLEY) BROWN, Class of 1948, died Jan. 31, 2020, in Grand Island. Barbara also taught art at Senior High. She was 90.

JUSTINE ‘CRIS’ (CHRISTENSEN) FOWLER, Class of 1955, died Feb. 6, 2020, in Chelan, Wash. She was 81.

SHARON (MEYER) CEMPER, Class of 1968, died Feb. 6, 2020, in Omaha. Sharon lived in Grand Island. She was 69.

BERNICE (SCHMIDT) ROSS, Class of 1948, died Feb. 7, 2020, in Central City. She was 90.

BILLIE (MCCRIGHT) WETTERER, Class of 1945, died Feb. 12, 2020, in Grand Island. Billie lived near Wood River. She was 92.

DOUG CREMEEN, Class of 1970, died Feb. 15, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 67.

JOSEPH O’NEILL, Class of 1979, died Feb. 16, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 59.

ROBERT KNICKREHM, Class of 1948, died Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver, Colo. He was 89.

PENNI (KIRSCHBAUM) PASS, Class of 1985, died Feb. 22, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 53.

CAROL (HASSELMANN) BYERLY, Class of 1964, died Feb. 23, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 73.

VERA (MILLER) JACOBSON, Class of 1948, died Feb. 24, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 89.

OLGA (PETERSEN) SWEET, Class of 1952, died Feb. 26, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 85.

POLLYANNE MEYER, Class of 1945, died Feb. 28, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 92.

MELVIN GLAUSE, Class of 1944, died Feb. 29, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 93.

To report an alumni death since February 29, 2020, please send an email with the first name, last name, class year and maiden name if applicable to

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