September 2016

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Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the September 2016 edition of Rise Grand Island the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation...

At the Top

Staying Connected to Fellow Alums

September is a good time to begin again. It brings about the beginning of school and another class of future alums starting its last year at Senior High – the Class of 2017...

Pushing On


KEN ALDRIDGE, Class of 1960 is writing his sixth, novel...

The second class of the GRAND ISLAND SENIOR HIGH FOOTBALL HALL of FAME was honored at a September 9 halftime ceremony during the Islanders game with Omaha Northwest and at a luncheon the following day at Balz Reception Hall in downtown Grand Island...


Class of 1973 shares memories of their 40th class reunion
The 40th reunion of the Class of 1973 was two nights filled with friends and celebration...

I've Been Thinking

Summer good time for learning, too

Fifty-one years ago Labor Day my father waited patiently while I finished football practice at Memorial Stadium across the street from Senior High...

A Distant Mirror

Teach Your Children - Part 2

In the last Rise, our "Distant Mirror" peered back in time with my recollections of some of the wonderful teachers in the GIPS system from 1955-1967. A single column was not sufficient, however, to celebrate all the teachers I wanted to recall...

Locked Up

By Jack F. Harper, Class of 1951
Panic set in quickly when I discovered I was alone and the door was locked. I didn't quite know what to here to jump to article

Shaking the World

Under construction...the building of a legacy scholarship fund

I often get questions about how to set up a scholarship fund that will benefit students...

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Quilts, Reunions, and Scholarships!

What do you get when you combine an e-mail, eight quilts, and a class reunion? Why, a scholarship fund of course!...

On the Island

As summer passed by -- faster than any student or teacher could see -- the Grand Island Public Schools started the new school year with some changes...

In Memoriam

July and August memorial list of GISH Alumni...



Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the September 2016 edition of Rise Grand Island the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. Rise is where we connect with thousands of Islanders across the globe, keeping you and them up to date on what's happening in Purple and Gold land, and reminiscing a little bit as well.

We also really enjoy hearing from you, Islander alums who find Rise in their in-box every other month. Give us a shout, especially if you or a GISH alum you know has a done something newsy or noteworthy. You can reach us at

Senior High opened its doors for the 141st time last month. Our "At the Top" feature highlights some of the first month's big events. Also, be sure to check more Senior High news from Erick Estevez, our new correspondent from the halls of GISH. Erick, Class of 2017, is the student representative on the Grand Island Public Schools Board of Education.

Our "Distant Mirror" correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967, continues his remembrance of Grand Island teachers who have made an impact in his life.

The start of school has moved dangerously close to Independence Day – or so it seems. I weigh in on the loss of summer in my "I've Been Thinking" column.

We have a guest column from Jack Harper, a Milestone about a Senior High alum, Ken Aldridge, who has five novels under his belt and sixth in the hopper, a full report of the Class of 1973's great reunion weekend, and another Milestone on the second group of inductees into the Grand Island Senior High Football Hall of Fame.

Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg has a Legacy piece on the scholarship established by Class of 1973 and a second article in her Shaking the World section on how to create and design a scholarship fund.

In Memoriam includes those classmates to whom we said goodbye in July and August.

Enjoy this Rise, stay in touch, and keep pushing on.

George Ayoub, Class of 1968
Editor, Rise Grand Island


At the Top

Staying Connected to Fellow Alums

September is a good time to begin again.

It brings about the beginning of school and another class of future alums starting its last year at Senior High – the Class of 2017.

Staying connected to classmates and the news of GISH is important for many in Islander Nation.

For those already and long-time members of the GISH alumni league, September is also a good time to catch up on what's happening at our alma mater and its community.

That's what we hope to do each edition at Rise, but some classes choose to hold reunions in the fall or near the start of school as well. That's always a good place to catch up, exchange updates and yes, even maybe gossip a little.

I'm looking forward to speaking to the Class of 1961's 55th reunion next month. This will be the third class that has asked me to speak, and I can tell you my opening line in each: "Thank you for having me here tonight, it's great to be the youngest guy in the room." I'm not sure what I'll say if any of the nearly five decades of classes younger than me ask.

Technology can also help strengthen the connective tissue of our purple and gold commonality. With email (this publication's sole access) and the many forms of social media including Facebook, a practicing GISH alum can find friends and information simply a click away.

Facebook groups from "If You Grew Up in Grand Island" to "Grand Island Now and Then" to the GIPS Foundation's Facebook page (and website) to pages dedicated to specific graduating classes or even decades of classes are all there to tickle your reminiscing fancy.

At Rise we pull things together every couple of months for your perusal and, we hope, our edification.

Finally, the range of how an alum decides to participate can be vast: some establish scholarships or endow funds to help current GISH students; others stay connected via Rise or on their own including small get-togethers with classmates and friends; still others wait for reunions; and a few could care less.

Wherever you find yourself on the alumni continuum, remember: September is always a good time to begin again.


Pushing On

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


KEN ALDRIDGE, Class of 1960 is writing his sixth, novel. The former FBI agent bases his stories on cases he has worked, but changes names and places. A list of his books appears below. They are available on Amazon and Kindle.

After graduation from Senior High, Ken went to Kearney State, graduating in 1964 in Business and Math. He worked for the FBI as a Special Agent for 23 years before retiring in the Dallas area. He married Vicki Varvel (GISH Class of 1961) and they have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. He's written all six books since retiring.

Books by Ken Aldridge (in order of publication)

"Triage of Troubles"
"Enticing Evils"
"In Murder's Shadow"
"The Death of Lisbeth Ghika"
"My Baby, My Baby"

He is working on "The Janitor."

The second class of the GRAND ISLAND SENIOR HIGH FOOTBALL HALL of FAME was honored at a September 9 halftime ceremony during the Islanders game with Omaha Northwest and at a luncheon the following day at Balz Reception Hall in downtown Grand Island.

1953 Class A State Champions

Here are the newly inducted members:


Lawrence Ely, class of 1929
Bob Smith, class of 1951
Randy Butts, class of 1969
George Kyros, class of 1971
Jeff Finn, class of 1977
Phil Ellis, class of 1991




Jerry Lee


Doug VanBuskirk

 Click here to view GIPS Facebook Album - GISH Football Hall of Fame



Class of 1973 shares memories of their 40th class reunion

The 40th reunion of the Class of 1973 was two nights filled with friends and celebration. Actually for some of us, it was three nights, plus a blanket race at Fonner Park, that our class sponsored back in April.

We began on Thursday evening for anyone in town. With the help of George Bartenbach and local downtown businesses, we held a tour through downtown Grand Island. It began at the Bartenbach Gallery, then off to Sin City with specials for the class of 1973. A purple and gold butter cream cake awaited us at the Chocolate Bar. Our final stop was the Chicken Coop with drink specials and food for the weary among us.

We really wanted our classmates who never get back often to see how the downtown area is being developed. Many commented that they didn't think anything but the Coney Island was there any more. The next time we do this, if we can handle 3 nights, we would love to visit more places, like Nathan Detroit's, the former Candy Kitchen, the Martini Bar, and the new Irish Pub.

The Downtown Tour was a great kickoff to the reunion. Friday night, we gathered at Westside Lanes with Coney dogs, salmon from Alaska, pool, games, bowling, and music in the lounge.

Saturday, we sported purple and gold t-shirts designed by Russell Hansen as GISH principal Jeff Gilbertson gave us a tour of our alma mater. A second group played golf through-out the morning.

In the afternoon, we gathered at the Grand Theater for a tour of the historic site and watched "American Graffiti." We finished the day's festivities at the Saddle Club Saturday evening. We auctioned off beautiful Grand Island-themed wall hangings, made by Linda Syverson Guild, which became seed money for a scholarship from our class. (The Class of '73 was the first class from GISH to raise enough money to create a perpetuating $500 scholarship.)

Click here to see quilt photos

2016 Class of 1973 Scholarship winner Zachary Kneale
with Gail Jackson, George Bartenbach, and Kim Mettenbrink

We love that Grand Island downtown area is coming back to life. We all remember Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons downtown (we always said "uptown"). Our reunion was a way to show it off as well as celebrate Grand Island and of course ... the awesome Class of 1973.

Gail Fredrickson Jackson
Linda Syverson Guild


I've Been Thinking

Summer good time for learning, too

Fifty-one years ago Labor Day my father waited patiently while I finished football practice at Memorial Stadium across the street from Senior High.

He was there to give me a ride home, this 15-year old sophomore a couple months short of a driver's license.

He had nestled our light green Studebaker Commander against the College Street curb, so he could watch us block and tackle the holiday morning away. Islander Coach Herb Taylor ("Hells bells, men, ya can't block, ya can't tackle, hells bells!") was putting us through a scrimmage punctuated with fits of punishment for the aforementioned missed blocks and tackles. The sentence of running stadium stairs never fit the crime in my teenaged estimation.

It was a brutal three hours. Creeping heat and exacting humidity dogged our every step.

Finally, the long whistle: After a few rears were chewed and a few attaboys thrown our way, we trudged toward the showers. We had to get ready because the next day, Tuesday, was going to be big.

It was the first day of school.

That was Sept. 7, 1965.

By Sept. 7, 2016 Senior High students had nearly three weeks in the books ... or with the books to be more exact.

I may be in line for the Get-Off-My-Lawn-Old-Fogey-of-the-Month Award, but for me Labor Day remains the demarcation line between summer vacation and the start of school. For the record Memorial Day is summer's front door, too.

So when the start of school edges closer and closer to the beginning of August, I wonder what has happened to summer.

Don't get me wrong: As a former Grand Island Senior High journalism and English teacher and unabashed supporter of public education, I understand the need for increased instructional hours, in-service for staff and breaks throughout the school year.

All are important for student success.

But let's not discount the demands of today's curriculum, state standards and political cries for accountability, a trio of requirements that have conspired to change the "Wonder Years" calendar of my youth.

Still, let's not underestimate the lessons a kid learns during long, lazy stretches of summer.

That said, I hear many parents bemoan that despite camps and summer school and enrichment classes and reading programs out the wazoo, summer vacation means more time for their progeny to sit glued to some sort of screen.

Not to worry, mom and dad ... surely there's an app for problem solving, the kind we learned when we had uneven sides for a sandlot game or lost the only baseball we had among us.

Surely, there's a computer game to simulate conflict resolution, the kind we learned over a disputed tag at third base or a whether to let one of the "big" kids play in our game.

Surely, there's a program that can enhance math skills, the kind we learned calculating the batting averages, earned run averages and on-base percentages of our favorite major leaguers -- and then arguing over the meaning of our analyses. We often bolstered our point of view with evidence we found reading the newspaper's sports pages, which we did everyday,

We had to adjust to and follow the rules or risk expulsion at the Municipal Swimming Pool, where we also honed our financial skills trying to make 50 cents stretch an entire day.

We sharpened our storytelling expertise (especially the fiction genre) drinking Bubble Up and spitting sunflower seeds sitting on the curb outside Dilla's grocery store.

And, perhaps most important, we figured out what to do when there was nothing to do, some of which included lying on our backs, watching the clouds drift by and imagining worlds found only deep within the well of our creativity.

Then Labor Day arrived, school started and ....

Let's give our students every chance and enough time to soar during the school year.

And let's give every chance and enough time to do the same during the summer.


A Distant Mirror

Teach Your Children - Part 2

In the last Rise, our "Distant Mirror" peered back in time with my recollections of some of the wonderful teachers in the GIPS system from 1955-1967. A single column was not sufficient, however, to celebrate all the teachers I wanted to recall. At that time, I promised (or threatened, depending on your perspective) to do a part 2 of my teacher recollections in the next Rise, to recall some other terrific teachers. So here goes.

Mrs. Judith Barth (10th grade English and 11th Grade Islander Staff): Mrs. Barth was another of the kindly teachers who supported her students both intellectually and emotionally. She was a very popular teacher who supervised the publication of the "Islander," GISH's school newspaper. She was beloved and known to the Islander staff as "Mama Barth." I was the sports editor both junior and senior years, which was a delight. To have the weekly deadline was a great exercise in discipline and meeting a commitment. I would write my stories, and review the stories written by other staff, edit them and send them downtown to the printer. Then on Thursday afternoon (I think?), the four editors would go downtown to review and do the final edits on the paper and finalize the layout. Then, Friday, the Islander was issued. To see your words in print was, is, and always will be a total joy.

One incident I will never forget was when classmate Mike Gearhart, another student of Mrs. Barth's, was talking to me, knowing the Mrs. Barth was just behind the door and could hear us. He then said, pretending he didn't know she was there, "Gee Mike, I don't know why you don't like Mrs. Barth, I think she is great." Mrs. Barth was not fooled, however, and emerged smiling, making clear she did get the joke.

Miss Lillian Willman (12th grade History): Miss Willman was a stern, knowledgeable and very intellectual teacher who made history come alive. She was the first teacher I knew who each day would recommend reading outside sources, in addition to our textbook, to see different approaches to the same history, and get a greater sense of the events we studied. Many of us would go to the library before first period to bone up just a bit.

She graded daily performance by use of a note card for each student. She would go through them in turn, calling on maybe 5-10 students each class. She would grade you immediately on the quality of your answer to the question she posed. Since you never knew when your card would be up, you pretty much had to be prepared every day. If she ever dropped or shuffled the cards, panic would ensue, since you didn't know now when you would get called on. I think she even purposefully shuffled them from time to time. Once again, classmate Mike Gearhart comes to mind. His card came up and she asked him if a particular person had been a United States Attorney General. Mike hesitated and then boldly declared, "Well, this person WAS...." clearly leading to an affirmative response. At that point Miss Willman gave a disapproving glance letting Mike know he was wrong, after which Mike quickly changed direction, saying with great emphasis, "...NOT an attorney general." Miss Willman was neither fooled,nor amused by Mike's quick turnabout.

Mr. Gale Randall – (11th Grade Trigonometry): In addition to being the varsity basketball coach, Mr. Randall taught 11th grade trigonometry. He was good natured, bright and an extraordinary teacher. For those who have taken trigonometry, you will recall that much of the homework would involve long, complicated and involved proofs and problems, where one could make a mistake at any point that would doom the final result. I was then, and am now, astounded that Mr. Randall, when coming across a mistake, would not simply mark the problem incorrect and call it a day. Rather, he would proceed with the analysis to see if student made the proper steps after the mistake. He then could give a more representative grade. But it was grueling work. It must have taken him hours every night to correct these papers, all this in addition to high profile coaching duties as varsity basketball coach.

He was amazingly even tempered. I will never forget his response to my very bright classmate, Mike George. At the end of each class, after presenting a new concept, Mr. Randall would then proceed to write the next day's assignment on the blackboard (which was actually a "green" board). As the assignment grew longer, Mike would audibly moan, and say "oh, no," then "Oh Geez" at each new dagger of an assignment. But Mr. Randall did not respond with a disciplinary power move. Rather, he said something to the effect of "Now Mike, this won't be that much, I think it is very doable." Another less benign encounter between the two occurred when Mike, at the beginning of a basketball practice, decided to stand on a flimsy card table he had pulled near a basket, to jump off and dunk the ball. This went badly awry, however, since as he began his leap, his weight caused his foot to break through the top of the table, ending the dunk attempt, leaving him captive with one leg inside the table, and causing some major cuts on Mike's leg. Both Mike and Mr. Randall were less then pleased with this event.

In 12th grade, I made the varsity basketball team, as a spunky guard with limited skills. I think my selection for varsity was in part a protective measure, since I was the sports editor of the Islander. You don't want to offend the wrong people. But my classmate Bob Peterson and I were clearly the 11th and 12th men on a 12-man squad. We rarely played, which was simply a good utilization of talent. I finished the season with one point. Yup. uno. A singleton. I was 1-2 at the line in a game at Columbus. I will never forget Mr. Randall's actions when a group of our buddies put up a sign saying, "Let Pete and Muck Play." Willing to brook no open rebellion, Mr. Randall himself fired over and made them take down the sign. Even then, I realized he was right.

But my most lasting and endearing thought of Gale Randall, who often had coughing spells, was to see him exit the classroom, do some major audible coughing out there, and then come back in completely composed and professional. I totally loved the guy.

Mr. Elmer Kral - (12th grade English Teacher): Mr. Kral was, and is, a legend at GISH. He is truly an "icon." Many of you have your own stories, but I will share a few of mine.

He was a fascinating and complicated fellow, a bit quirky for the times in 1967, and thought of as an odd duck. He was a tall, thin, intense and slightly hunched. He actually ran distances for exercise, as long as a mile, which was revolutionary in 1966. He gave assiduous attention to grammar, composition, rhetoric, and even spelling (that's right, spelling as a senior.). Yet at the same time, more than any teacher at GISH, he treated students like adults. He addressed me as "Mr. Monk," no longer "Mike." He expected organization and work ethic. He was a disciplinarian and a taskmaster.

He was not afraid to rank and judge performance. His was not a class in which every child got a trophy. He actually assigned the seating at the desks in his classroom by performance. On the right side of the room facing Mr. Kral, was what we students called the "smart row." Each row that proceeded to the left was less "smart," if you will, ending with the "dumb" row on the far left. Even more precise, the students in each row were ranked best to worst, front to back. And if your performance merited a change, he would make it. You could move up or down on the scale, and the result was obvious by glancing about the classroom. Without getting too precise, I will abandon false modesty and admit that I was in the "smart" row.

He focused on good writing, using what was essentially the Strunk and White approach. He was known for his obsession with the placement of commas. He advocated the use of the semi-colon with a conjunction following it, followed of course by the comma. He preached brevity and active voice.

But what made him superior in my view was that he exuded a strong love for literature. He conveyed both the satisfaction of reading great works, and the need to study and examine great literature closely, line by line. He made clear that some literature would not be immediately accessible. He taught Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Milton's "Paradise Lost," for example, with close attention to important passages, which we studied for lengthy periods. He wanted to show the wonder and joy of finally breaking through great literature and grasping its enormous truths.

But even he was again not immune to the witty wiles of the perspicacious GISH senior. At the outset of one class, the aforementioned Mike George decided to delay the day's lesson with an ingenious approach. At the beginning of class, he asked Mr. Kral, "Who would you say were the top ten authors of all time?" Mr. Kral immediately took the bate and swam with it, "Well that is a very interesting question. I would think Shakespeare first of course, and merely by "Paradise Lost," I think Milton has to be in the top ten. Then, well there is Tolstoy, and you would have to think about Dante ..." For a good 15 minutes Mr. Kral waxed on, eloquently expressing his views on the best authors in history. I then thought the joke was on Mr. Kral, but I now see the joke was on us, since he got us thinking about that very subject, which is not a bad thing. I will also never forget reading "Hamlet" on a basketball bus trip, which demonstrates his impact.

On April 15, 1967, I was sitting in his Mr. Kral's class, when a note came asking me to come immediately to the office. I couldn't imagine what trouble I must be in, but I dutifully walked to the office with no small apprehension. But what I found was my mother, beaming with pride and showing me the letter admitting me to Harvard College. I was equally proud that at the end of the year, Mr. Kral told me "I think you will be able to handle the work you will get next year." Thanks in no small part to Mr. Kral's teaching, I was able to handle my college work just fine. Many of the successes I have had are directly attributable not only to his technical instruction, but also to his ability to engender genuine love for good writing and great literature.

The education my generation got in the GIPS was extraordinary. The number of students who went on to achieve remarkable things bears this out. We were fortunate. When speaking with Mr. Kral decades after he taught me, he referred to the 1960s and 1970's as the "golden age." He noted the students were not only well-prepared for high school, but also had the family support and discipline to allow teachers to teach at the highest level.

As a final footnote to education in the Heartland, I enclose an item that was sent to me by email. I have no idea if it is genuine or totally fabricated. The sender labeled it as the 8th grade Final Exam in a school in Salina, Kansas in 1895. If legitimate, that school in Kansas was one heck of a school.

8th Grade Final Exam:
Salina , Kansas - 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph.
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,' 'play,' and 'run'.
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1 hour 15 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet Long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7percent per annum.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus .
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States .
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas .
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e. ' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America .
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco .
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.


Locked Up

By Jack F. Harper, Class of 1951

Panic set in quickly when I discovered I was alone and the door was locked. I didn't quite know what to do.

It happened in 1949 when I was a junior at Grand Island Senior High. I was working my first after-school job at JC Penny's Store and still learning how to do things in a retail environment.

I had landed the job one afternoon after school when I went downtown to the store. After entering, I walked toward a clerk standing behind a glass merchandise counter.

"Excuse me, can you direct me to the store manager?" I asked.

"Yes, go up the stairs, and it's the second door on the left," she replied.

I was there because Don Westphal, a classmate, suggested I talk to his father, who was manager of the JC Penny Store, when I told him I was looking for work. After the interview, I was hired as a stock boy. My duties were stacking basement shelves with blue jeans and other merchandise. Also, I was to wash the store display windows, and do janitorial work after the store closed.

At 16, I found it to be a great after-school job. The work wasn't difficult, and I soon made friends with other employees. The store was in an old brick building with offices located on a mezzanine. The sales clerk would put a sales ticket with the customer's money in a container, which was on wheels attached to a line from the mezzanine. When a handle was pulled, the container was sent for payment, up to the cashier. Any refund due on the transaction was returned together with a purchase receipt for the customer.

One day while working at the store, I saw a girlfriend's mother, Mrs. Linneman, who was working as a sales clerk.

"Jack, what are you doing here?" she asked.

"I'm a stock boy," I answered.

She was surprised to see me, but seemed pleased about my new job.

After working a week, I received an envelope containing cash for my time at work. I punched a time clock card in and out, and my hourly wage was $1.15 per hour. A few weeks later, Mr. Brown, the Assistant Manager, called me upstairs to his office.

"Jack," he said, "I would like you to come in this weekend, and help out selling shoes."

"Mr. Brown, I haven't done any selling," I said.

"It's easy," he said, "just watch the other clerk, and ask if you have a question."

That Saturday, I dressed in a shirt and tie and went to the store. It was a shopping day for farmers, and the store was busy. But I was feeling apprehension about my new job. I began watching how the other clerk handled the customers. He greeted each customer with, "May I help you?"

I quickly learned how to show and sell shoes. It was easy to sell to a farmer. He just wanted another pair of work shoes like he was wearing.

However, the wives were another matter. I soon learned women liked to try on many different styles of shoes. It took a lot of time taking shoes in and out of boxes and moving them to and from the stock room. Also, I decided, helping women put on shoes isn't always pleasant. Sometimes there is a sweaty stocking odor.

And many women were just looking at new styles and trying on shoes. It was time spent with no sale, only a "thank you."

However, I must have done a good job, because I was asked to work the following Saturday.

One day after school, I went into the store and began working in the basement placing blue jeans according to sizes on the shelves. Although, I hadn't finished by the time the store was closing, I went upstairs to sweep and mop the hardwood floors and empty trash. Employees were busy tallying up their sales, and getting ready to leave the store. After cleaning the floors, I went to the basement and returned to stacking clothes on shelves.

After the last pile of jeans was finished, I went upstairs preparing to go home. Opening the basement door into the store, I had a strange feeling about not seeing any lights on and not hearing any sounds.

"Mr. Brown," I called out.

My voice echoed with no answer. I thought, "Everyone has left the store!"

I went to the front door and tried to open it, but the door was locked, and I had no key. Mr. Brown, was in charge of closing and letting all the employees out of the store.

I began thinking, I will be spending all night in the store! Where will I sleep?

I quickly dismissed the thought and began thinking, "How I can get out of here?"

Inside the store, light was getting dimmer as the sun was setting. I made my way carefully up the stairs to find a telephone. I found a phone book and Mr. Brown's number and called. I was relieved to hear him answer.

"Hello," I said. "This is Jack Harper. I'm locked inside the store."

It wasn't very long before Mr. Brown arrived and unlocked the door.

"Jack, I'm sorry about leaving you in the store, I thought everyone had gone home when I locked up," he said.

I was happy to not be spending the night in the store; and besides, I didn't want to miss my dinner.


Shaking the World

Under construction...the building of a legacy scholarship fund

I often get questions about how to set up a scholarship fund that will benefit students. Here at the GIPS Foundation, we have made this process uncomplicated for the donor. As we sit down to build the fund, I will ask several questions. Is the fund a reflection of a family or business value system? Or, is the fund to recognize the legacy of a loved one? What is the essence of this loved one? What was important to him/her? We try to capture the essence of this person or goals of the donor with the scholarship fund guidelines.

The next questions revolve around the applicant. What kind of student do you want to help? We use the statistics captured in our online scholarship system to show donors what kinds of students are successful at acquiring scholarships and perhaps, what types of students are underrepresented.

Then we move into the mechanics of the fund. Is it the donor's desire that the fund make scholarships every year, forever? How much do you want to give in each scholarship award? When it is the donor's desire to make the fund an endowed fund that will generate a scholarship every year, we share the following investment strategy:

Endowed Funds - The GIPS Foundation generally allocates 4% of the endowed fund value to the annual scholarship award. So, if it is the donor's desire to create a scholarship that pays $1,000 each year, forever, the endowed fund value will need to be $25,000. A $500 scholarship would require a value of $12,500 for the fund.

Not all at once: Donors may start a fund and let it grow over time. The Foundation will invest the fund, beginning at any level, and let it grow to the desired endowment level. Donors can add to their funds over time as well. Remember, all gifts to the GIPS Foundation are tax-deductible.

The other option that the GIPS Foundation offers is called a pass-through scholarship. This is a fund that the donor gives each year for their scholarship award. The Foundation processes this award and passes it on to the college or university on behalf of the winning student. There is a nominal fee of $50 per scholarship for this service.

In both cases, the GIPS Foundation manages all of the details. We offer a comprehensive online application for students. For the review process, we gather approximately 80 volunteers who are assigned to one of 16 groups to review. These volunteers score scholarship applications independently online in a blind process (the fields identifying the student applicants are blocked from the reviewers). The scores are then calculated for each scholarship to reveal a list of ranked potential winners/alternates. This review culminates in an Equity Committee meeting where volunteers assign scholarships using these ranked lists while ensuring that one student doesn't win an overwhelming majority of the scholarships. At the end of the Equity Committee meeting, the students' identities are revealed.

At this point, the GIPS Foundation makes scholarship offers to the students and manages the acceptance process. Donors and students are invited to a scholarship reception to meet and get to know one another.

And finally, all scholarship winners must present proof of enrollment in a college, university, or trade school to the GIPS Foundation to have their scholarship released to their school.

At the GIPS Foundation we take pride in the quality of service we provide to donors who want to share their values with future generations through a scholarship fund. We make the process uncomplicated so that YOU can enjoy the satisfaction of investing in students.

For more information or to get started with your own legacy scholarship fund, call or e-mail Traci Skalberg, 308-385-5900 ext. 1170;


Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Quilts, Reunions, and Scholarships!

What do you get when you combine an e-mail, eight quilts, and a class reunion? Why, a scholarship fund of course! This combination of things is what triggered the Class of 1973 endowed scholarship fund at the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. During the spring of 2013, Linda Syverson Guild, Class of 1973 made contact with the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation asking about scholarships. She wanted to know if her and her classmates could set up an endowed scholarship fund to benefit Islanders for generations. Linda, a talented quilter, was planning to auction some of her Grand Island themed quilts at the 40th reunion of the Class of 1973 to initiate the fundraising for the scholarship fund.

That was just the beginning! With the jump start that the quilts provided, and many individual gifts from the classmates, they blew past their goal of the $12,500 needed to endow the scholarship. While many classes have gifted scholarships through the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation with proceeds from their reunions, the Class of 1973 is the first class ever to create an endowed scholarship fund that will make scholarships to deserving Islanders every year, in perpetuity. We think that is pretty exceptional!

The Class of 1973 Scholarship is awarded annually in the amount of $500 or more to a GISH student who plans to enroll in a 4-year college or university, has a 3.0 grade point average or higher, is involved in activities at GISH or the community, and is passionate about attaining his/her educational goals. The student must also be the child of a GISH alum.

2016 Class of 1973 Scholarship winner Zachary Kneale
with Gail Jackson, George Bartenbach, and Kim Mettenbrink

To the Class of 1973 and Linda Syverson Guild, we thank you for your ideas, your talent, and your tenacity to collectively invest in our Islanders! Your legacy IS their opportunity!

Click to view quilts by Linda Syverson Guild

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


On the Island

As summer passed by -- faster than any student or teacher could see -- the Grand Island Public Schools started the new school year with some changes.

  • Dr. Rob Winter retired and left as superintendent with smiles and great memories on June 30. Dr. Tawana Grover enthusiastically started her first day as the new superintendent on July 1, attending schools, activities, and different events taking place in the district. Dr. Grover is full of ideas and ready to make this school year a great one. We are happy to have her.
  • As Senior High started, everyone brought smiles back to school, where they found new policies. The new tardy policy is designed for student success. A 1-minute bell is now ringing for students. Staff will be checking the hallways and collecting data on those students who are tardy. Students who are continuously tardy will receive interventions and support to change their behaviors.
  • As we walk down the 100 wing hallway, we can see construction and changes: new classroom space for English Language Learners, Special Education, and Robotics classes will better the learning environment for our students.
  • School starts, and so do fall sports. The GISH Fall Pep Rally is a tradition every year to pump students up for their sports. Pizza was provided before the rally to student athletes and band members.

Girls Golf
Cross Country

  • Finally, the iPad's are gone, and Chromebooks now ready to improve our learning. This is the first year for Chromebooks for all students to help with taking notes and completing assignments.

Look for more GISH News in November. Go Islanders.


In Memoriam

US MARINE CORPS PVT. DALE GEDDES, Class of 1940, died Nov 20, 1943, in Betio on the Tarawa Atoll. He was 21. **

ELLEN RAY, Class of 1957, died June 11, 2015 in New York. She was 75.

MAUREEN BUXTON, Class of 1953, died March 12, 2016 in Arlington, VA. She was 81.

HOWARD "LYNN" AUGUSTINE, died May 12, 2016 in Saratoga, Calif. He was 91. 

DAVID E. (DAVE) DUFF, class of 1985, died May 26, 2016 in Omaha. He was 49.

ANN (MARGARET) (MILNE) IRVINE, Class of 1955, died June 8, 2016 in Fort Collins, Colo. She was 79.

LARRY WILLIAMS, Class of 1961, June 18, 2016 in Bella Vista, Ark. He was 73.

LARRY COOK, Class of 1956, died June 27, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 78.

KENNY PERKINS, Class of 1958, died June 27, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 75.

KAILA VANICEK, Class of 2008, died June 29, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 27.

JACK RICHARDS, died June 29, 2016 in Grand Island. Jack taught at Senior High for 35 years. He was 84.

BARBARA (TJADEN) SUCK, Class of 1964, died July 1, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 70.

DEVON HAMNER, died July 4, 2016 in Grand Island. She was a teacher at West Lawn Elementary for 38 years. She was 65.

RON SPENCE, class of 1971, died July 7, 2016 in Aurora. He was 63.

WILMA ANN (HENNE) SLEMONS, Class of 1946, died July 8, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 88.

DONNA ELLIS, died July 9, 2016 in Grand Island. She was a teacher with Grand Island Public Schools for 22 years. She was 69.

ADELINE (BOLTZ) STELK, Class of 1944, died July 9, 2016 in Grand Island. She was 89.

HUCK JOHNSON, Class of 1942, died July 9, 2016 in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90.

LEROY PIEPER, Class of 1953, died July 10 in Radford, VA. He was 80.

DALE HONGSERMEIER, Class of 1944, died July 12, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 90.

ROBERT 'BOB' BURMOOD, Class of 1964, died July 15, 2016, in Kalispell, Mont. He was 70.

VIRGIL EDWARDS, Class of 1961, died July 16, 2016, in Montrose, Colo. He was 73.

RUSSELL GUNN, Class of 1971, died July 16, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 63.

MAXINE (SPIEHS) ROBERTS, Class of 1939, died July 18, 2016, inn Grand Island. She made her home in Cairo. She was 94.

CLARE (WADDINGTON) LEVENE, Class of 1943, died July 21, 2016, in Minneapolis, Minn. She lived in Grand Island.

DAVID WINSLOW, Class of 1967, died July 22, 2016, in Osceola. He was 66.

SAM FOLTZ, Class of 2012, died July 23, 2016, in Merton, Wisc. Sam's hometown was Greeley. He was 22.

KAY NUTZMAN, Class of 1977, died July 25, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 57.

GENE SEIER, Class of 1941, died July 25, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 93.

AGNES AYOUB, died July 26, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 95. She was a Grand Island Public Schools Secretary for 38 years. She was 95.

EDWIN MEIER, Class of 1949, died July 26, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 84.

DOROTHY GREENE, Class of 1963, died July 27, 2016, in Ames, IA. She was 70.

SHERIDAN ANDERSON, Class of 1956, died July 29, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 77.

SHERRY (SALAK) ANDERSON, Class of 1965, died August 2, 2016, in Omaha. She was 68.

MICHELLE (BRETHOUR) LORIMER, Class of 1988, died August, 1, 2016, in Kearney. She was 46.

CRYSTAL (HUNT) BECHTEL, Class of 1996, died August 4 in Grand Island. She was 39.

LINDA (SPIEHS) PERRELET, Class of 1974, died August 5, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 60.

JAMES RUNGE, Class of 1957, died August 6, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 76.

MARVIN RAFAEL, Class of 2009, died August 7, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 25.

JAMES 'JIM' DEUEL, Class of 1953, died August 9, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 81.

PAMELA (SHEPHERD) CAPOUCH, Class of 1967, died August 10, 2016, in Blaine, Minn. She was 66.

DEBORAH ROCK, Class of 1977, died August 11, 2016 in Grand Island. She was 56.

ALICE (GROSSNICKLAUS) ERION, Class of 1948, died August 19, 2016, in Grand Island. She was 85.

GREGORY STONER, Class of 1975, died August 19, in Kansas City. He was 59.

HERBERT HEIDER, Class of 1944, died August 24, 2016, in Grand Island. He was 90.

DONNA MASON, died August 22, in Grand Island. She was known as "Grandma Honey" to the First Graders at Howard Elementary.

DOROTHY (SHIPMAN) HELMBRECHT, Class of 1942, died August 26, 2016. She was 93.

** US MARINE CORPS PVT. DALE GEDDES was killed in action Nov. 20, 1943, on the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll during World War II's Battle of Tarawa. He was buried on Betio and later classified as Missing in Action. The burial site was discovered in March 2015. His remains were then positively identified using DNA analysis and his dental records. More than 72 years after his death, he was laid to rest in the Grand Island Cemetery.

To report an alumni death since August 31, 2016, please send an email with first name, last name, class year, and maiden name if applicable to