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Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the November 2019 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

November is a special month to remember our Veterans and to give thanks for our many blessings. As progress is being made on the historic East Stadium, we want to share with you some facts

At the Top

New Locker Room at Memorial Stadium To be Named After Hall of Fame Coach Ken Fischer

The Coach Ken Fischer Locker Room will part of the new Memorial Stadium. The Grand Island Board of Education voted at its regularly scheduled meeting on November 14 to accept the naming rights for the locker room, named in honor of the legendary Islander football coach

Pushing On

Milestones

This month we highlight the newest class inducted into the Grand Island Senior High Football Hall of Fame this fall. We’ll also highlight “A Certain Mercy,” the new book from Wayne Anson, Class of 1968.

I've Been Thinking

Remembering Dr. Miller's Office

Dr. Miller was always Dr. Miller. Never Gene nor Dr. Gene nor Dr. E. Eugene but rather Dr. Miller. That was his name. It still is. He was my high school principal, and, as imprinting goes...

Alumni Reunions

Current Reunion Information

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Classroom Mini-Grants

On Tuesday, November 12, Wednesday, November 13, and Thursday, November 14 members of the staff for the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation and Grand Island Senior High Cheerleaders surprised...

On the Island

Kendall Bartling, Class of 2021

Hello! I figured that I would take a few short words to introduce myself: I’m Kendall Bartling. I walk the halls of Grand Island Senior High as a junior, as a band nerd, and most importantly, as an Islander. I’m looking forward to the opportunity...

A Distant Mirror

The Magic of Sports Uniforms

As we peer into the distant mirror today, we travel back 65 years to Amherst, Nebraska, a town of maybe 500 people in 1954, just northwest of Kearney. We see the Amherst High School football team in a Friday night game against neighboring Riverdale. It was the first football game...

In Memoriam

September and November memorial list of GISH Alumni ...


Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the November 2019 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 4, Number 6, the last edition of Rise this calendar year, our fourth year as the official publication for alums 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 done something new, newsy, or newsworthy. You can reach us at the email addresses on the front page.

Before we begin, a shout out for Giving Tuesday, the nationwide movement marked this and every holiday season in an effort to give thanks and then to give. See the Giving Tuesday ad in this issue.

Our “At the Top” lead story this issue is about the new Coach Ken Fischer Locker Room at the new Memorial Stadium. Read about the team effort used to raise the funds for the naming rights.

Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg, writes about this years round of classroom mini-grants that were handed out by the foundation.

Leigh Lillibridge’s Grand Legacy Update will explain the spectacular Veterans Memorial Wall, part of the new Memorial Stadium.

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 highlights the newest class inducted into the Grand Island Senior High Football Hall of Fame this fall. We’ll also highlight “A Certain Mercy,” the new book from Wayne Anson, Class of 1968.

We’re welcoming a new From the Island correspondent this issue. Junior Kendall Bartling will be our intrepid man about the halls of Senior High, keeping all of us informed as to what’s happening at our alma mater. Glad to have you on the Rise team, Kendall.

Our “Distant Mirror” correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967,  discusses sports uniforms and how they have changed through the years.

My “I’ve Been Thinking” column remembers Dr. Miller, my high school principal, focusing on how our perspectives of those in charge changes over the years.

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 November.

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

November is a special month to remember our Veterans and to give thanks for our many blessings. As progress is being made on the historic East Stadium, we want to share with you some facts about its rich history. Memorial Stadium was first built in 1947 as a lasting tribute to then Hall County’s Fallen Soldiers of World War I and World War II. From 1945 to 1947 the entire Grand Island community rallied behind the fundraising effort to raise the funds to build the stadium.

Our current mission in addition to renovating and preserving this historical facility, is to remember all of Hall County’s Fallen Soldiers from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and the War on Terror on a new Memorial Wall. With that in mind, you may have a family member who gave the ultimate sacrifice during these wars and if so, we would like to hear from you. We want to be certain and keep you up to date on the progress of this heartfelt project. To share your loved ones story, please contact Leigh Lillibridge, Campaign Coordinator at 308-385-5900 Ext. 1246 or email

To make a donation in Honor of a Veteran or in Memory of a Fallen Soldier, please visit: Ways to Give

Your gift can also be mailed to:  GIPS Foundation
                                                         Attn: Memorial Stadium
                                                         P.O. Box 4904
                                                         Grand Island, NE  68802-4904


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At the Top

New Locker Room at Memorial Stadium To be Named After Hall of Fame Coach Ken Fischer.


The Coach Ken Fischer Locker Room will part of the new Memorial Stadium. The Grand Island Board of Education voted at its regularly scheduled meeting on November 14 to accept the naming rights for the locker room, named in honor of the legendary Islander football coach.

Mary Pat Fischer spearheaded a group of former players, colleagues, and friends of Coach Fischer and his family who raised the money for the naming rights to the new locker room, which will be underneath the new west stadium. Former Islander Coach Greg Uhrmacher, who coached along side Fischer for 16 years, was also instrumental in the campaign to make the Coach Ken Fischer Locker Room a reality.

The fundraising team also included dozens of former Islanders who played for Coach Fischer during his 18 years (1973-1991) at the helm of the Senior High football program. Fischer’s teams qualified for the state playoffs 14 times, winning it all in 1978 and making the finals twice, in 1987 and 1990.

Fischer was also a standout player at six-man St. Edward where he was All State before heading to Lincoln — like brothers Pat, Rex, and Cletus — to play for the Huskers. After graduation from UNL, Fischer coached the Oakland Vikings to an undefeated Class C State Championship in 1951. His overall record as a high school coach was 214-69-9. 

Fischer, one of Nebraska’s greatest high school coaches, was a member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, Grand Island Football Hall of Fame, and the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

The varsity football team and the boys varsity track team will use the new locker room.

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Pushing On

Milestones

Anson honored for "A Certain Mercy"

Wayne Anson, Class of 1968 was honored recently by the Author Academy Awards for his novel, “A Certain Mercy.” Anson, writing under the pen name, William Silvaneus, was a Top Ten finalist in the 2019 Author Academy Awards annual awards gala at the Igniting Souls Conference in Columbus, Ohio in late October. 

According to its website, the Author Academy Award is bestowed for literary merit and publishing excellence in the writing and publishing industry. It's given annually by Author Academy Elite (AAE). 

“A Certain Mercy” is a mystery set in Grand Island. From Amazon, where Anson’s book is available, is this synopsis: “When his business card turns up on the bodies of two dead homeless men, Stephen Brown, the Director of Social Services at the Salvation Army in Grand Island, Nebraska, falls under suspicion of the Chief Investigator, Laqueta Ellison. The fact that each card contains a message to the deceased raises the stakes. Soon more bodies are found. Is it suicide? Accident? Murder? Some questions must be answered before Stephen Brown and Laqueta Ellison can identify the killer, if there is only one, and prevent further deaths: An unidentified boy with a torn anus, an eighteen-year-old female incest/prostitution victim, a quadriplegic living in the trees despite being wheelchair bound, a developmentally disabled Native American, and a Mexican family fleeing La Linea. Why are Grand Island’s most vulnerable dying violently?”

According to Anson, aside from Amazon, “A Certain Mercy” is available for order at bookstores through IngramSpark (Lightning Source)

In Grand Island, the book is available at the Stuhr Museum Gift Shop (no entry fee required to shop at the Gift Shop) and in Kearney at Sequel Bookstore. Signed books can be purchased at williamsilvaneus.com. (postage is paid) or email Wayne directly at to arrange a personal delivery in the Grand Island area.

Books are also available at Francie and Finch in Lincoln and Chapters Books and Gifts in Seward. Out-of-state, there are copies in several bookstores in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Books ship internationally for free through  https://www.bookdepository.com/.


New Class Inducted Into Football Hall of Fame

The Islander Football Hall of Fame inducted its fifth class the weekend of September 20-22 in Grand Island.

Six players, Bill Callahan, Stan Farrer, Jake Gdowski, Kevin Trosper, Matt Vrzal, and John Wemhoff; one coach, Einer Toft; one team, the undefeated 1958 Islanders; and one contributor, longtime statistician, Dick Stalker, comprise this year’s class. They or a family member were introduced at halftime of the Islander football game against Lincoln North Star on September 20. Each was formally inducted into the hall the next day at a luncheon in their honor. Their images, along with other Islander football memorabilia and honorees, are displayed in the Football Hall of Fame area adjacent to the East Gym at Grand Island Senior High.

For full bios and photos of this year’s class go to https://www.gishfootball.com/hall-of-fame

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I've Been Thinking

Remembering Dr. Miller's Office

 

Dr. Miller was always Dr. Miller. 

Never Gene nor Dr. Gene nor Dr. E. Eugene but rather Dr. Miller. That was his name. 

It still is.

He was my high school principal, and, as imprinting goes for my generation and I suspect others, has stayed Dr. Miller in my mind — and on my tongue and in my pen — for the 51 years since I graduated from Grand Island Senior High. 

He died last month at the age of 90. 

Whatever one thinks of his or her high school principal — I came to admire and respect Dr. Miller — the “boss” at school during those years when teens begin to stake out their claim on independence … or simply rebel … no one can deny the impact a principal can have on a high school.

High schools often take on the persona of the man or woman whose office is the last place most students want to find themselves. That’s the stereotypical image we carry around: Being sent to the principal’s office for some offense, more than likely a rather serious one given the chain of command I found at GISH from 1965 to 1968. Most “discipline” matters went to an assistant principal. (Some schools called the second whips vice principals, a title I still smile at, since the vice principal often dealt with knuckleheads who are into some sort of high school “vice.”)

But sometimes you might find yourself in Dr. Miller’s office for something as innocuous as gathering quotes for a story in the “Islander" or a photo for the “Purple and Gold.”

Still, the default setting for any time one spends in the principal’s office is rarely listed on résumés.

Dr. Miller moved into Senior High’s corner office in 1964 and stayed there for 18 years, lending his considerable leadership skills and his personality to Senior High. What I saw as 17-year old was a ship too tight, an unreasonable expectation of manners, and an unreachable focus on academics. That skewed view changed dramatically once I left high school and grew up, which I’m happy to report happened just a couple years ago. 

When I moved back to Grand Island in 1989 after a decade in Lincoln and a decade in Los Angeles — a 20-year span during which time I logged a couple stints in schools — I began running into Dr. Miller, mostly at Islander activities and ball games. And so began a friendly relationship and my after-the-fact-wish-I would-have-known-then-what-I-know-now realization that a tight ship, some manners, and a focus on academics were just what high schools — and yours truly — needed. 

And to whatever extent the education osmosis was successful in penetrating my teenaged brain, I’m grateful every day for whatever I took from my three years at Senior High, whose personality then was a blend of Dr. Miller as I knew him while I was in high school and then as an adult: A friendly captain sailing a tight ship charting a course for excellence. 

Even though he graduated from Benedict, taught in Genoa and had administrative gigs at Stanton and Ord, Dr. Miller was an Islander through and through. Rare was the Senior High game or play or band concert that he and his wife, Phyllis, missed. They were there, sporting our colors and cheering for young Islanders doing their best. I have to believe Dr. Miller looked on with a hope that those students would look back 50 years later with gratitude and fondness on their lessons from high school and the person they called principal.

Finally, some full disclosure: I was never a member of the “Islander” and “Purple Gold” staffs, but I know Dr. Miller had really a nice office, spacious and well-appointed and far better than the “vice” principal.

Go ahead, connect those dots. It doesn’t matter. 

What matters is the process by which Dr. Miller sailed Senior High with his own personality, and those of us onboard who eventually realized we learned something.

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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 its monthly gathering. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Midtown Holiday Inn at 6:00 pm. 

Class of 1966

The Class of 1966 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at its monthly lunch gathering. Classmates from ‘66 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 will be 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.

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Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Awards Classroom Mini-Grants

Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Board members surprised teachers and students in the Grand Island Public Schools when they arrived at schools Tuesday, November 12, Wednesday, November 13, and Thursday November 14 to award 17 classroom mini-grants. 

This is the sixteenth annual mini-grant cycle for the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation.  Since the program’s inception, the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation has funded 282 mini-grants totaling $248,464. Grants have been awarded to every school in the district benefiting approximately 52,755 students. 

For the 2019-2020 school year, 17 grants totaling $19,322 were awarded through the mini-grant process. Grants range from $250 to $2,000. 

3,222 students will benefit from a classroom mini-grant this school year. 

You can read the article from the Grand Island Independent here:
Grand Island Public Schools Foundation mini-grant allows Lincoln School fifth-graders to take trip to University of Nebraska at Kearney

To see the rest of our awards and more pictures, visit our website: GIPS Foundation.

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On the Island

Kendall Bartling, Class of 2021

Hello! I figured that I would take a few short words to introduce myself: I’m Kendall Bartling. I walk the halls of Grand Island Senior High as a junior, as a band nerd, and most importantly, as an Islander. I’m looking forward to the opportunity that I’ve been given, to write the student view in one of the most dynamic schools in the nation — where things never stop growing, expanding, and changing.

This school year marks the full launch of the Academies of Grand Island Senior High. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors submitted their choice of pathway last November via a form sent over email, and a resounding majority were assigned their first choice. The school has 19 different pathways:

Counseling & Mental Health
Education
Law & Public Safety
Alternative Energy
Aviation
Engineering
Information Technology
Agribusiness
Entrepreneurship
Finance & Management
Multimedia Production
Architecture & Design
Automotive
Construction
Manufacturing
Welding
Emergency Services
Healthcare
Sports Medicine/Therapy

Students are allowed to put in a request to change pathways at the start of the second semester. These transfers will be approved case by case, and depending on the capacity of the pathways, transfers may not be possible. These “pathway courses” offer students a unique perspective into different careers, involving anything from working in alternative energy, aviation, all the way to a medical practice. I chose to take two pathways — one as my primary, and one as an elective. So, one afternoon I’ll be working on graphic design in a classroom, and the other morning, I’ll be flying a plane. This is an experience that you can’t find anywhere else, how many high school students can say that their morning class is at the airport? These classes, for all intents and purposes, are still electives. Students still get the regular classes, such as English, Math, and Science. The Academies serve as extra electives, essentially. 


The Islander Marching Band came back from the NSBA State Marching Contest with its fourth superior trophy, marking the end of a perfect season. Under the direction of Mr. John Jacobs, the band performed its field show entitled “Phantom of the Opera” in Lincoln twice, Grand Island once, and Kearney twice in competition. In Grand Island, the Islanders received two superior ratings at the Harvest of Harmony: One for the parade competition, and one for the field show.

Islander Football had a great season this year, with only one loss heading into state. The first playoff game, against Lincoln Southwest, was a victory for the Islanders, but the Islanders lost against Millard South on the 8th, marking the end of their season.

 

The GISH Center for Performing and Creative Arts recently presented “Elf the Musical,” over the weekend of November 1st. Elf followed an orphan, Buddy, on his adventure to meet his father. A hilarious chain of events ensued, and it all resulted in a true Christmas miracle. The musical, however, was not exactly the same as the movie by the same name, the main difference was  in how the father, Walter Hobbs, was portrayed. Rather than a greedy businessman focused on profit (of which he still was), Hobbs took on a more overworked, confused, and stressed role. The story itself has been modernized, with iPhones and tablets replacing paper “naughty and nice” lists. All three nights were full houses and the audiences’ receptions were very positive.

The class of 2020 recently voted on its class motto, flower, song, and more, and the results are in, with the Monkey Faced Orchid as its class flower, “Sweet Victory” as its class song, and “We have 20/20 vision” as it’s a memorable class motto.

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A Distant Mirror

The Magic of Sports Uniforms

As we peer into the distant mirror today, we travel back 65 years to Amherst, Nebraska, a town of maybe 500 people in 1954, just northwest of Kearney. We see the Amherst High School football team in a Friday night game against neighboring Riverdale. It was the first football game I ever saw. These big high school kids were tackling each other, throwing passes, and running with the football, and it was magic. I was five years old, and I was hooked. I particularly recall the red and silver uniforms the Amherst team wore, which I thought were beautiful. I remember getting a silver and red jacket that I prized. Later that year, we moved to the big city, Grand Island.

As I grew and my fascination with sports grew with me, I became enamored of all the sports uniforms I saw. Like many young fans, for me the uniforms were part of the glamor and attraction of sports. I mostly examined uniforms from the baseball and football cards I collected, since there was then only a single baseball game of the week on television on Saturday, and one game a week of pro football, on Sunday.  

Along with my buddies George Ayoub and Bob McFarland, and my cousin Randy Garroutte, I worshipped the New York Yankees and their classic pin stripe uniforms with the iconic hat with the N overlaying the Y. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. We all loved Mickey Mantle, and any kid in little league who got to have number 7 was truly blessed. Generally the coach’s son got number 7, and in my case it was my friend, Steve Burton. This was particularly great, since we both were on the “Yanks.” My favorite baseball card ever is the Tops 1957 card with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. Their hats were dark blue with the overlapping NY. The brim was virtually straight, not curved and bent into an arc, as later became the fad. For the rest of my life I have tried to make my baseball hats look the same way.

Football uniforms were cool too, with the helmets, colored piping, and numerals. I particularly liked the horseshoe on the helmet of the Colts. When I was first a fan, there were no face guards, and then they came out with a single bar across the face to protect the player and I thought that was pretty neat. I also loved the hockey uniforms. A big jersey with shoulder pads underneath, then these wonderful baggy shorts, and beneath them tights and other pads. Thank goodness they have not changed much.

It was, therefore, a magic day when I got my first Little League uniform and the matching hat. Later the same joy was there when I donned the Walnut, and later Senior High, football, basketball, and track uniforms.   

I have come to believe that the uniforms teams wore when I first started watching sports in the 1950’s are still the coolest and that any change is a radical departure from what uniforms should be. This, I think, is the square one from which many of us operate.

In the 1950’s, home baseball teams wore white with the nickname on the jersey (Red Sox, Pirates, Phillies, etc.) The visiting teams wore gray with the name of the city on the jersey, (Cleveland, Chicago, etc.). A couple teams had these gorgeous pictures, notably the Cardinals, with a Cardinal sitting on each end of a baseball bat. There was also the wonderful Tiger uniform with the classy Old English D on the front.  

Pants came down just below the knee, with the socks showing. There was a colored sock with high stirrups and beneath it a white “sanitary” sock. This was because in the early years of baseball, teams were often called by the color of their socks, i.e. the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox, and others.  But the dye of the colored socks had an ingredient such that if a player was spiked (Ty Cobb and other earlier players often tried to spike infielders), the dye would get in the open wound and cause infections. This led to the change where the colored sock would have stirrups, with a white “sanitary” under sock underneath. This look was the standard in the 1950’s when I first began to follow baseball, and I loved it. The longer the stirrups, the better.  

Over the years, I saw baseball uniforms slowly change.  I watched in the 1970’s as the Oakland A’s wore these gaudy bright yellow and green uniforms. I kind of liked them, but they seemed insufficiently dignified. Later I saw teams with crazy new approaches. The White Sox one year wore shorts instead of pants, leaving bare skin showing above the socks. An outrage!  This didn’t last long, since sliding was painful with the bare skin exposed. I also saw the teams begin to change from the classic white for the home team and gray for the visitors. Teams were wearing dark colored tops with white pants, sometimes dark tops and pants. The old Houston Astros had these psychedelic uniforms mixing shades of orange, yellow, and blue and looking frightful to my eye.  

And finally, about 20 or so years ago, came the abomination of baseball players wearing pants so long they looked like pajama bottoms that were too big. They completely covered the socks below, slumping down over the spikes, looking pathetic and ridiculous. This trend continues to this day, but I have good news. More and more, I see the players wearing a shorter pant that actually shows the socks, which I find much more aesthetically pleasing.

In football, the basic structure of the uniforms has not changed, but oh the bright and glossy colors! I remember the first Nebraska uniforms, with the scarlet jerseys and cream pants, and numerals with a curved, swirling look, not the block numbers of today. The rage today is the neon glow look to both uniforms and helmets. The Oregon Ducks started this, I think, with a variety of loud and glossy green and yellow uniforms.  Also, teams now will don a variety of uniforms both at home and on the road. I just about threw up when I saw the Huskers in all red uniforms for the first time. I have to admit, however, that in general the new football uniforms, glossy helmets and all, look pretty good to me.   

The major change in basketball uniforms has been the length of the shorts. Forever, basketball players wore a jersey with spaghetti straps to allow full movement, and shorts that were indeed  short. This changed with the Fab Five Michigan team of the 1990’s. They started wearing shorts that were much longer, just a few inches above the knee. The trend continued to where shorts became longer and longer. Eventually, some shorts fell beneath the knee. This seemed laughable to me, but, with time, a longer short has come to seem normal. As I now watch tapes of the old Magic Johnson/Larry Bird showdowns, the shorts look embarrassingly short, like “tighty whitie” underwear!  

I can sum up my general feelings by saying that whenever teams now wear “throw back” jerseys, they look goofy and old, but I usually like them better than the current uniforms. My list of favorite classic uniforms, stylish, tasteful, and bold, includes:

              1. New York Yankee pinstripes with the overlapping NY on the jersey.

2. The Chicago Blackhawk hockey jersey with the beautiful drawing of a proud Native American.

3. The Green Bay Packer yellow and green uniform, with the iconic “G”, ensconced in a circle, on the helmet.

4. The Nebraska football away uniform with the white jerseys and red pants.

5. The Princeton University football uniform from the 1950’s with orange circular piping on sleeves of a black jersey.  

6. The St. Louis Cardinal uniform with the two red birds perched on the baseball bat.

7. The Detroit Red Wing snappy white hockey jerseys with the classic wing on the front.

I close with a quick comment about sporting crowds. With Leo, my sports crazy grandson, I go to lots of games. In the past two years, we have gone together to college and professional soccer, basketball, football, hockey, baseball and volleyball games. The trend that bothers me greatly is that at many contests, mostly soccer and football games, certain parts of the crowd have come to believe they must stand for most of the game. For those like me who prefer to sit, this is a major pain in the whatever. If we all sit, we all see.  

One can be a completely avid fan without standing for the whole game. I think this trend started with the maniacal Duke basketball students who feel compelled to jump up and down the entire freaking game. This standing phenomenon has also spread to concerts. I now desperately troll Stub Hub for seats in a front row of a section or balcony or other location where I can sit on my bottom and enjoy the game or concert.   

Mike Monk can be reached at .

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In Memoriam

September and November memorial list of GISH Alumni ...

RACHEL (REYNAGA) BURGER, Class of 1947, died November 11, 2018, in Austin, Texas. she was 90.

BETTY (MCKELLIPS) HOEFT, Class of 1955, died July 13, 2019, in Oklahoma City. She was 81.

DORIS (EHLERS) ROUSE, Class of 1945, died Sept. 3, 2019, in Grand Island. Doris lived in Doniphan. She was 91.

PAT (EWOLDT) GRELL, Class of 1954, died Sept. 3, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 83.

GENE SCARBOROUGH, Class of 1955, died Sept. 6, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 81.

MARY JAMESON, Class of 1979, died Sept. 7, 2019, in Clarks. She was 58.

MERT NIETFELD, Class of 1962, died Sept. 7, 2019, in Grand Island, He was 75.

VIRGIL EWOLDT, Class of 1946, died Sept. 14, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 92.

JUDITH GEER, Class of 1960, died Sept. 14, 2019, in Portland, Maine. She was 76.

TRAVIS THOMAS, Class of 2003, died Sept. 20, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 37.

LARRY ROGERS, Class of 1952, died Sept. 21, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 85.

PETRONELLA ‘NELLIE’ (BADER) MCMAHON, Class of 1943, died Sept. 21, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 93.

STACIA (TULLY) LARSON, Class of 1961, died Sept. 23, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 76.

AL RUBY, Class of 1959, died Sept. 23, 2019, in Vancouver, Wash. He was 77.

NINA (ALBEE) SKEEN, Class of 1961, died Sept. 24, 2019, in Wood River. She was 76.

WAYNE MEYER, Class of 1949, died Sept. 26, 2019, in Central City. He was 87.

LORRAINE (GULZOW) OCAMPO, Class of 1935, died Sept. 26, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 104.

RANDALL ROCKWELL , Class of 1945, died Sept. 26, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 92.

VICKY STEWART, Class of 1962, died Sept. 26, 2019, in Omaha. She was 75.

PERRY ULMER, Class of 1965, died Sept. 29, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 72.

MARETTA (STOGDILL) TROXEL, Class of 1950, died Sept. 30, 2019, in Sun City, Ariz. She was 87.

BLAINE MORROW, Class of 2015 and a teacher at GISH, died Oct. 7, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 23.

LOUISE (HOLDER) WOOD, Class of 1955, died Oct. 8, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 82.

AUDREY (STILES) DAVIS, Class of 1947, died Oct. 9, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 90. 

DR. GENE MILLER, Senior High principal from 1964 to 1982, died Oct. 9, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 90.

SUE (GAREY) FUERSTENAU, Class of 1969, died Oct. 15, 2019, in Ralston. She was 68.

HAROLYN (DIBBERN) MILLER, Class of 1957, died Oct. 18, 2019, in Central City. She was 80.

MABEL (HUFFMAN) RODOCKER, Class of 1944, died Oct. 18, 2019, in Broken Bow. She was 92.

ESTHER (SIEVERS) SKINNER, Class of 1950, died Oct. 21, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 86.

MARIETTA ‘ETTA’ HOFFERBER, Class of 1970, died Oct. 23, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 67. 

MARY (RAMSEY) TALBOT, Class of 1953, died Oct. 26, 2019, in San Angelo, Texas. She was 84.

To report an alumni death since October 31, 2019, please send an email with the first name, last name, class year, and maiden name if applicable to alumni@gips.org

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Media Inquiries
Jack Sheard, Marketing & Communications
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Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the November 2019 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

November is a special month to remember our Veterans and to give thanks for our many blessings. As progress is being made on the historic East Stadium, we want to share with you some facts

At the Top

New Locker Room at Memorial Stadium To be Named After Hall of Fame Coach Ken Fischer

The Coach Ken Fischer Locker Room will part of the new Memorial Stadium. The Grand Island Board of Education voted at its regularly scheduled meeting on November 14 to accept the naming rights for the locker room, named in honor of the legendary Islander football coach

Pushing On

Milestones

This month we highlight the newest class inducted into the Grand Island Senior High Football Hall of Fame this fall. We’ll also highlight “A Certain Mercy,” the new book from Wayne Anson, Class of 1968.

I've Been Thinking

Remembering Dr. Miller's Office

Dr. Miller was always Dr. Miller. Never Gene nor Dr. Gene nor Dr. E. Eugene but rather Dr. Miller. That was his name. It still is. He was my high school principal, and, as imprinting goes...

Alumni Reunions

Current Reunion Information

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Classroom Mini-Grants

On Tuesday, November 12, Wednesday, November 13, and Thursday, November 14 members of the staff for the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation and Grand Island Senior High Cheerleaders surprised...

On the Island

Kendall Bartling, Class of 2021

Hello! I figured that I would take a few short words to introduce myself: I’m Kendall Bartling. I walk the halls of Grand Island Senior High as a junior, as a band nerd, and most importantly, as an Islander. I’m looking forward to the opportunity...

A Distant Mirror

The Magic of Sports Uniforms

As we peer into the distant mirror today, we travel back 65 years to Amherst, Nebraska, a town of maybe 500 people in 1954, just northwest of Kearney. We see the Amherst High School football team in a Friday night game against neighboring Riverdale. It was the first football game...

In Memoriam

September and November memorial list of GISH Alumni ...


Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the November 2019 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 4, Number 6, the last edition of Rise this calendar year, our fourth year as the official publication for alums 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 done something new, newsy, or newsworthy. You can reach us at the email addresses on the front page.

Before we begin, a shout out for Giving Tuesday, the nationwide movement marked this and every holiday season in an effort to give thanks and then to give. See the Giving Tuesday ad in this issue.

Our “At the Top” lead story this issue is about the new Coach Ken Fischer Locker Room at the new Memorial Stadium. Read about the team effort used to raise the funds for the naming rights.

Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg, writes about this years round of classroom mini-grants that were handed out by the foundation.

Leigh Lillibridge’s Grand Legacy Update will explain the spectacular Veterans Memorial Wall, part of the new Memorial Stadium.

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 highlights the newest class inducted into the Grand Island Senior High Football Hall of Fame this fall. We’ll also highlight “A Certain Mercy,” the new book from Wayne Anson, Class of 1968.

We’re welcoming a new From the Island correspondent this issue. Junior Kendall Bartling will be our intrepid man about the halls of Senior High, keeping all of us informed as to what’s happening at our alma mater. Glad to have you on the Rise team, Kendall.

Our “Distant Mirror” correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967,  discusses sports uniforms and how they have changed through the years.

My “I’ve Been Thinking” column remembers Dr. Miller, my high school principal, focusing on how our perspectives of those in charge changes over the years.

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 November.

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

November is a special month to remember our Veterans and to give thanks for our many blessings. As progress is being made on the historic East Stadium, we want to share with you some facts about its rich history. Memorial Stadium was first built in 1947 as a lasting tribute to then Hall County’s Fallen Soldiers of World War I and World War II. From 1945 to 1947 the entire Grand Island community rallied behind the fundraising effort to raise the funds to build the stadium.

Our current mission in addition to renovating and preserving this historical facility, is to remember all of Hall County’s Fallen Soldiers from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and the War on Terror on a new Memorial Wall. With that in mind, you may have a family member who gave the ultimate sacrifice during these wars and if so, we would like to hear from you. We want to be certain and keep you up to date on the progress of this heartfelt project. To share your loved ones story, please contact Leigh Lillibridge, Campaign Coordinator at 308-385-5900 Ext. 1246 or email

To make a donation in Honor of a Veteran or in Memory of a Fallen Soldier, please visit: Ways to Give

Your gift can also be mailed to:  GIPS Foundation
                                                         Attn: Memorial Stadium
                                                         P.O. Box 4904
                                                         Grand Island, NE  68802-4904


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At the Top

New Locker Room at Memorial Stadium To be Named After Hall of Fame Coach Ken Fischer.


The Coach Ken Fischer Locker Room will part of the new Memorial Stadium. The Grand Island Board of Education voted at its regularly scheduled meeting on November 14 to accept the naming rights for the locker room, named in honor of the legendary Islander football coach.

Mary Pat Fischer spearheaded a group of former players, colleagues, and friends of Coach Fischer and his family who raised the money for the naming rights to the new locker room, which will be underneath the new west stadium. Former Islander Coach Greg Uhrmacher, who coached along side Fischer for 16 years, was also instrumental in the campaign to make the Coach Ken Fischer Locker Room a reality.

The fundraising team also included dozens of former Islanders who played for Coach Fischer during his 18 years (1973-1991) at the helm of the Senior High football program. Fischer’s teams qualified for the state playoffs 14 times, winning it all in 1978 and making the finals twice, in 1987 and 1990.

Fischer was also a standout player at six-man St. Edward where he was All State before heading to Lincoln — like brothers Pat, Rex, and Cletus — to play for the Huskers. After graduation from UNL, Fischer coached the Oakland Vikings to an undefeated Class C State Championship in 1951. His overall record as a high school coach was 214-69-9. 

Fischer, one of Nebraska’s greatest high school coaches, was a member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, Grand Island Football Hall of Fame, and the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

The varsity football team and the boys varsity track team will use the new locker room.

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Pushing On

Milestones

Anson honored for "A Certain Mercy"

Wayne Anson, Class of 1968 was honored recently by the Author Academy Awards for his novel, “A Certain Mercy.” Anson, writing under the pen name, William Silvaneus, was a Top Ten finalist in the 2019 Author Academy Awards annual awards gala at the Igniting Souls Conference in Columbus, Ohio in late October. 

According to its website, the Author Academy Award is bestowed for literary merit and publishing excellence in the writing and publishing industry. It's given annually by Author Academy Elite (AAE). 

“A Certain Mercy” is a mystery set in Grand Island. From Amazon, where Anson’s book is available, is this synopsis: “When his business card turns up on the bodies of two dead homeless men, Stephen Brown, the Director of Social Services at the Salvation Army in Grand Island, Nebraska, falls under suspicion of the Chief Investigator, Laqueta Ellison. The fact that each card contains a message to the deceased raises the stakes. Soon more bodies are found. Is it suicide? Accident? Murder? Some questions must be answered before Stephen Brown and Laqueta Ellison can identify the killer, if there is only one, and prevent further deaths: An unidentified boy with a torn anus, an eighteen-year-old female incest/prostitution victim, a quadriplegic living in the trees despite being wheelchair bound, a developmentally disabled Native American, and a Mexican family fleeing La Linea. Why are Grand Island’s most vulnerable dying violently?”

According to Anson, aside from Amazon, “A Certain Mercy” is available for order at bookstores through IngramSpark (Lightning Source)

In Grand Island, the book is available at the Stuhr Museum Gift Shop (no entry fee required to shop at the Gift Shop) and in Kearney at Sequel Bookstore. Signed books can be purchased at williamsilvaneus.com. (postage is paid) or email Wayne directly at to arrange a personal delivery in the Grand Island area.

Books are also available at Francie and Finch in Lincoln and Chapters Books and Gifts in Seward. Out-of-state, there are copies in several bookstores in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Books ship internationally for free through  https://www.bookdepository.com/.


New Class Inducted Into Football Hall of Fame

The Islander Football Hall of Fame inducted its fifth class the weekend of September 20-22 in Grand Island.

Six players, Bill Callahan, Stan Farrer, Jake Gdowski, Kevin Trosper, Matt Vrzal, and John Wemhoff; one coach, Einer Toft; one team, the undefeated 1958 Islanders; and one contributor, longtime statistician, Dick Stalker, comprise this year’s class. They or a family member were introduced at halftime of the Islander football game against Lincoln North Star on September 20. Each was formally inducted into the hall the next day at a luncheon in their honor. Their images, along with other Islander football memorabilia and honorees, are displayed in the Football Hall of Fame area adjacent to the East Gym at Grand Island Senior High.

For full bios and photos of this year’s class go to https://www.gishfootball.com/hall-of-fame

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I've Been Thinking

Remembering Dr. Miller's Office

 

Dr. Miller was always Dr. Miller. 

Never Gene nor Dr. Gene nor Dr. E. Eugene but rather Dr. Miller. That was his name. 

It still is.

He was my high school principal, and, as imprinting goes for my generation and I suspect others, has stayed Dr. Miller in my mind — and on my tongue and in my pen — for the 51 years since I graduated from Grand Island Senior High. 

He died last month at the age of 90. 

Whatever one thinks of his or her high school principal — I came to admire and respect Dr. Miller — the “boss” at school during those years when teens begin to stake out their claim on independence … or simply rebel … no one can deny the impact a principal can have on a high school.

High schools often take on the persona of the man or woman whose office is the last place most students want to find themselves. That’s the stereotypical image we carry around: Being sent to the principal’s office for some offense, more than likely a rather serious one given the chain of command I found at GISH from 1965 to 1968. Most “discipline” matters went to an assistant principal. (Some schools called the second whips vice principals, a title I still smile at, since the vice principal often dealt with knuckleheads who are into some sort of high school “vice.”)

But sometimes you might find yourself in Dr. Miller’s office for something as innocuous as gathering quotes for a story in the “Islander" or a photo for the “Purple and Gold.”

Still, the default setting for any time one spends in the principal’s office is rarely listed on résumés.

Dr. Miller moved into Senior High’s corner office in 1964 and stayed there for 18 years, lending his considerable leadership skills and his personality to Senior High. What I saw as 17-year old was a ship too tight, an unreasonable expectation of manners, and an unreachable focus on academics. That skewed view changed dramatically once I left high school and grew up, which I’m happy to report happened just a couple years ago. 

When I moved back to Grand Island in 1989 after a decade in Lincoln and a decade in Los Angeles — a 20-year span during which time I logged a couple stints in schools — I began running into Dr. Miller, mostly at Islander activities and ball games. And so began a friendly relationship and my after-the-fact-wish-I would-have-known-then-what-I-know-now realization that a tight ship, some manners, and a focus on academics were just what high schools — and yours truly — needed. 

And to whatever extent the education osmosis was successful in penetrating my teenaged brain, I’m grateful every day for whatever I took from my three years at Senior High, whose personality then was a blend of Dr. Miller as I knew him while I was in high school and then as an adult: A friendly captain sailing a tight ship charting a course for excellence. 

Even though he graduated from Benedict, taught in Genoa and had administrative gigs at Stanton and Ord, Dr. Miller was an Islander through and through. Rare was the Senior High game or play or band concert that he and his wife, Phyllis, missed. They were there, sporting our colors and cheering for young Islanders doing their best. I have to believe Dr. Miller looked on with a hope that those students would look back 50 years later with gratitude and fondness on their lessons from high school and the person they called principal.

Finally, some full disclosure: I was never a member of the “Islander” and “Purple Gold” staffs, but I know Dr. Miller had really a nice office, spacious and well-appointed and far better than the “vice” principal.

Go ahead, connect those dots. It doesn’t matter. 

What matters is the process by which Dr. Miller sailed Senior High with his own personality, and those of us onboard who eventually realized we learned something.

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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 its monthly gathering. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Midtown Holiday Inn at 6:00 pm. 

Class of 1966

The Class of 1966 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at its monthly lunch gathering. Classmates from ‘66 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 will be 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.

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Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Awards Classroom Mini-Grants

Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Board members surprised teachers and students in the Grand Island Public Schools when they arrived at schools Tuesday, November 12, Wednesday, November 13, and Thursday November 14 to award 17 classroom mini-grants. 

This is the sixteenth annual mini-grant cycle for the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation.  Since the program’s inception, the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation has funded 282 mini-grants totaling $248,464. Grants have been awarded to every school in the district benefiting approximately 52,755 students. 

For the 2019-2020 school year, 17 grants totaling $19,322 were awarded through the mini-grant process. Grants range from $250 to $2,000. 

3,222 students will benefit from a classroom mini-grant this school year. 

You can read the article from the Grand Island Independent here:
Grand Island Public Schools Foundation mini-grant allows Lincoln School fifth-graders to take trip to University of Nebraska at Kearney

To see the rest of our awards and more pictures, visit our website: GIPS Foundation.

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On the Island

Kendall Bartling, Class of 2021

Hello! I figured that I would take a few short words to introduce myself: I’m Kendall Bartling. I walk the halls of Grand Island Senior High as a junior, as a band nerd, and most importantly, as an Islander. I’m looking forward to the opportunity that I’ve been given, to write the student view in one of the most dynamic schools in the nation — where things never stop growing, expanding, and changing.

This school year marks the full launch of the Academies of Grand Island Senior High. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors submitted their choice of pathway last November via a form sent over email, and a resounding majority were assigned their first choice. The school has 19 different pathways:

Counseling & Mental Health
Education
Law & Public Safety
Alternative Energy
Aviation
Engineering
Information Technology
Agribusiness
Entrepreneurship
Finance & Management
Multimedia Production
Architecture & Design
Automotive
Construction
Manufacturing
Welding
Emergency Services
Healthcare
Sports Medicine/Therapy

Students are allowed to put in a request to change pathways at the start of the second semester. These transfers will be approved case by case, and depending on the capacity of the pathways, transfers may not be possible. These “pathway courses” offer students a unique perspective into different careers, involving anything from working in alternative energy, aviation, all the way to a medical practice. I chose to take two pathways — one as my primary, and one as an elective. So, one afternoon I’ll be working on graphic design in a classroom, and the other morning, I’ll be flying a plane. This is an experience that you can’t find anywhere else, how many high school students can say that their morning class is at the airport? These classes, for all intents and purposes, are still electives. Students still get the regular classes, such as English, Math, and Science. The Academies serve as extra electives, essentially. 


The Islander Marching Band came back from the NSBA State Marching Contest with its fourth superior trophy, marking the end of a perfect season. Under the direction of Mr. John Jacobs, the band performed its field show entitled “Phantom of the Opera” in Lincoln twice, Grand Island once, and Kearney twice in competition. In Grand Island, the Islanders received two superior ratings at the Harvest of Harmony: One for the parade competition, and one for the field show.

Islander Football had a great season this year, with only one loss heading into state. The first playoff game, against Lincoln Southwest, was a victory for the Islanders, but the Islanders lost against Millard South on the 8th, marking the end of their season.

 

The GISH Center for Performing and Creative Arts recently presented “Elf the Musical,” over the weekend of November 1st. Elf followed an orphan, Buddy, on his adventure to meet his father. A hilarious chain of events ensued, and it all resulted in a true Christmas miracle. The musical, however, was not exactly the same as the movie by the same name, the main difference was  in how the father, Walter Hobbs, was portrayed. Rather than a greedy businessman focused on profit (of which he still was), Hobbs took on a more overworked, confused, and stressed role. The story itself has been modernized, with iPhones and tablets replacing paper “naughty and nice” lists. All three nights were full houses and the audiences’ receptions were very positive.

The class of 2020 recently voted on its class motto, flower, song, and more, and the results are in, with the Monkey Faced Orchid as its class flower, “Sweet Victory” as its class song, and “We have 20/20 vision” as it’s a memorable class motto.

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A Distant Mirror

The Magic of Sports Uniforms

As we peer into the distant mirror today, we travel back 65 years to Amherst, Nebraska, a town of maybe 500 people in 1954, just northwest of Kearney. We see the Amherst High School football team in a Friday night game against neighboring Riverdale. It was the first football game I ever saw. These big high school kids were tackling each other, throwing passes, and running with the football, and it was magic. I was five years old, and I was hooked. I particularly recall the red and silver uniforms the Amherst team wore, which I thought were beautiful. I remember getting a silver and red jacket that I prized. Later that year, we moved to the big city, Grand Island.

As I grew and my fascination with sports grew with me, I became enamored of all the sports uniforms I saw. Like many young fans, for me the uniforms were part of the glamor and attraction of sports. I mostly examined uniforms from the baseball and football cards I collected, since there was then only a single baseball game of the week on television on Saturday, and one game a week of pro football, on Sunday.  

Along with my buddies George Ayoub and Bob McFarland, and my cousin Randy Garroutte, I worshipped the New York Yankees and their classic pin stripe uniforms with the iconic hat with the N overlaying the Y. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. We all loved Mickey Mantle, and any kid in little league who got to have number 7 was truly blessed. Generally the coach’s son got number 7, and in my case it was my friend, Steve Burton. This was particularly great, since we both were on the “Yanks.” My favorite baseball card ever is the Tops 1957 card with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. Their hats were dark blue with the overlapping NY. The brim was virtually straight, not curved and bent into an arc, as later became the fad. For the rest of my life I have tried to make my baseball hats look the same way.

Football uniforms were cool too, with the helmets, colored piping, and numerals. I particularly liked the horseshoe on the helmet of the Colts. When I was first a fan, there were no face guards, and then they came out with a single bar across the face to protect the player and I thought that was pretty neat. I also loved the hockey uniforms. A big jersey with shoulder pads underneath, then these wonderful baggy shorts, and beneath them tights and other pads. Thank goodness they have not changed much.

It was, therefore, a magic day when I got my first Little League uniform and the matching hat. Later the same joy was there when I donned the Walnut, and later Senior High, football, basketball, and track uniforms.   

I have come to believe that the uniforms teams wore when I first started watching sports in the 1950’s are still the coolest and that any change is a radical departure from what uniforms should be. This, I think, is the square one from which many of us operate.

In the 1950’s, home baseball teams wore white with the nickname on the jersey (Red Sox, Pirates, Phillies, etc.) The visiting teams wore gray with the name of the city on the jersey, (Cleveland, Chicago, etc.). A couple teams had these gorgeous pictures, notably the Cardinals, with a Cardinal sitting on each end of a baseball bat. There was also the wonderful Tiger uniform with the classy Old English D on the front.  

Pants came down just below the knee, with the socks showing. There was a colored sock with high stirrups and beneath it a white “sanitary” sock. This was because in the early years of baseball, teams were often called by the color of their socks, i.e. the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox, and others.  But the dye of the colored socks had an ingredient such that if a player was spiked (Ty Cobb and other earlier players often tried to spike infielders), the dye would get in the open wound and cause infections. This led to the change where the colored sock would have stirrups, with a white “sanitary” under sock underneath. This look was the standard in the 1950’s when I first began to follow baseball, and I loved it. The longer the stirrups, the better.  

Over the years, I saw baseball uniforms slowly change.  I watched in the 1970’s as the Oakland A’s wore these gaudy bright yellow and green uniforms. I kind of liked them, but they seemed insufficiently dignified. Later I saw teams with crazy new approaches. The White Sox one year wore shorts instead of pants, leaving bare skin showing above the socks. An outrage!  This didn’t last long, since sliding was painful with the bare skin exposed. I also saw the teams begin to change from the classic white for the home team and gray for the visitors. Teams were wearing dark colored tops with white pants, sometimes dark tops and pants. The old Houston Astros had these psychedelic uniforms mixing shades of orange, yellow, and blue and looking frightful to my eye.  

And finally, about 20 or so years ago, came the abomination of baseball players wearing pants so long they looked like pajama bottoms that were too big. They completely covered the socks below, slumping down over the spikes, looking pathetic and ridiculous. This trend continues to this day, but I have good news. More and more, I see the players wearing a shorter pant that actually shows the socks, which I find much more aesthetically pleasing.

In football, the basic structure of the uniforms has not changed, but oh the bright and glossy colors! I remember the first Nebraska uniforms, with the scarlet jerseys and cream pants, and numerals with a curved, swirling look, not the block numbers of today. The rage today is the neon glow look to both uniforms and helmets. The Oregon Ducks started this, I think, with a variety of loud and glossy green and yellow uniforms.  Also, teams now will don a variety of uniforms both at home and on the road. I just about threw up when I saw the Huskers in all red uniforms for the first time. I have to admit, however, that in general the new football uniforms, glossy helmets and all, look pretty good to me.   

The major change in basketball uniforms has been the length of the shorts. Forever, basketball players wore a jersey with spaghetti straps to allow full movement, and shorts that were indeed  short. This changed with the Fab Five Michigan team of the 1990’s. They started wearing shorts that were much longer, just a few inches above the knee. The trend continued to where shorts became longer and longer. Eventually, some shorts fell beneath the knee. This seemed laughable to me, but, with time, a longer short has come to seem normal. As I now watch tapes of the old Magic Johnson/Larry Bird showdowns, the shorts look embarrassingly short, like “tighty whitie” underwear!  

I can sum up my general feelings by saying that whenever teams now wear “throw back” jerseys, they look goofy and old, but I usually like them better than the current uniforms. My list of favorite classic uniforms, stylish, tasteful, and bold, includes:

              1. New York Yankee pinstripes with the overlapping NY on the jersey.

2. The Chicago Blackhawk hockey jersey with the beautiful drawing of a proud Native American.

3. The Green Bay Packer yellow and green uniform, with the iconic “G”, ensconced in a circle, on the helmet.

4. The Nebraska football away uniform with the white jerseys and red pants.

5. The Princeton University football uniform from the 1950’s with orange circular piping on sleeves of a black jersey.  

6. The St. Louis Cardinal uniform with the two red birds perched on the baseball bat.

7. The Detroit Red Wing snappy white hockey jerseys with the classic wing on the front.

I close with a quick comment about sporting crowds. With Leo, my sports crazy grandson, I go to lots of games. In the past two years, we have gone together to college and professional soccer, basketball, football, hockey, baseball and volleyball games. The trend that bothers me greatly is that at many contests, mostly soccer and football games, certain parts of the crowd have come to believe they must stand for most of the game. For those like me who prefer to sit, this is a major pain in the whatever. If we all sit, we all see.  

One can be a completely avid fan without standing for the whole game. I think this trend started with the maniacal Duke basketball students who feel compelled to jump up and down the entire freaking game. This standing phenomenon has also spread to concerts. I now desperately troll Stub Hub for seats in a front row of a section or balcony or other location where I can sit on my bottom and enjoy the game or concert.   

Mike Monk can be reached at .

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In Memoriam

September and November memorial list of GISH Alumni ...

RACHEL (REYNAGA) BURGER, Class of 1947, died November 11, 2018, in Austin, Texas. she was 90.

BETTY (MCKELLIPS) HOEFT, Class of 1955, died July 13, 2019, in Oklahoma City. She was 81.

DORIS (EHLERS) ROUSE, Class of 1945, died Sept. 3, 2019, in Grand Island. Doris lived in Doniphan. She was 91.

PAT (EWOLDT) GRELL, Class of 1954, died Sept. 3, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 83.

GENE SCARBOROUGH, Class of 1955, died Sept. 6, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 81.

MARY JAMESON, Class of 1979, died Sept. 7, 2019, in Clarks. She was 58.

MERT NIETFELD, Class of 1962, died Sept. 7, 2019, in Grand Island, He was 75.

VIRGIL EWOLDT, Class of 1946, died Sept. 14, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 92.

JUDITH GEER, Class of 1960, died Sept. 14, 2019, in Portland, Maine. She was 76.

TRAVIS THOMAS, Class of 2003, died Sept. 20, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 37.

LARRY ROGERS, Class of 1952, died Sept. 21, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 85.

PETRONELLA ‘NELLIE’ (BADER) MCMAHON, Class of 1943, died Sept. 21, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 93.

STACIA (TULLY) LARSON, Class of 1961, died Sept. 23, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 76.

AL RUBY, Class of 1959, died Sept. 23, 2019, in Vancouver, Wash. He was 77.

NINA (ALBEE) SKEEN, Class of 1961, died Sept. 24, 2019, in Wood River. She was 76.

WAYNE MEYER, Class of 1949, died Sept. 26, 2019, in Central City. He was 87.

LORRAINE (GULZOW) OCAMPO, Class of 1935, died Sept. 26, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 104.

RANDALL ROCKWELL , Class of 1945, died Sept. 26, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 92.

VICKY STEWART, Class of 1962, died Sept. 26, 2019, in Omaha. She was 75.

PERRY ULMER, Class of 1965, died Sept. 29, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 72.

MARETTA (STOGDILL) TROXEL, Class of 1950, died Sept. 30, 2019, in Sun City, Ariz. She was 87.

BLAINE MORROW, Class of 2015 and a teacher at GISH, died Oct. 7, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 23.

LOUISE (HOLDER) WOOD, Class of 1955, died Oct. 8, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 82.

AUDREY (STILES) DAVIS, Class of 1947, died Oct. 9, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 90. 

DR. GENE MILLER, Senior High principal from 1964 to 1982, died Oct. 9, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 90.

SUE (GAREY) FUERSTENAU, Class of 1969, died Oct. 15, 2019, in Ralston. She was 68.

HAROLYN (DIBBERN) MILLER, Class of 1957, died Oct. 18, 2019, in Central City. She was 80.

MABEL (HUFFMAN) RODOCKER, Class of 1944, died Oct. 18, 2019, in Broken Bow. She was 92.

ESTHER (SIEVERS) SKINNER, Class of 1950, died Oct. 21, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 86.

MARIETTA ‘ETTA’ HOFFERBER, Class of 1970, died Oct. 23, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 67. 

MARY (RAMSEY) TALBOT, Class of 1953, died Oct. 26, 2019, in San Angelo, Texas. She was 84.

To report an alumni death since October 31, 2019, please send an email with the first name, last name, class year, and maiden name if applicable to alumni@gips.org

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