Revive Omaha 2016 Salute to Excellence

Page 1


Spirit, Mind &Body

Celebrating and Accelerating Our Progress EDUCATION

Metropolitan Community College is where credits link to advancement. Where tuition meets affordability. Where 2-years connects to 4-years.

If a 4-year degree is in your future, the first 2-years at Metropolitan Community College is a great place to start. General Education classes are just $64 per credit hour and will transfer to most 4-year universities.

Get started today at






President & Publisher Willie D. Barney

Spirit, Mind &Body

Vice-President/Executive Editor Yolanda M. Barney Chief Financial Officer Greg A. Johnson Desktop Publishing & Design Kate M. Coates Research & Copy Editor Yvette Coppage

Celebrating and Accelerating Our Progress

Billing Manager Anita Johnson Contributing Writers: Dr. Richard Brown Michael Cich-Jones Dr. Viv Ewing Janice Gilmore Lynette Ingram Earl Johnson Bruce Norris Yvette Norris Derek Rayment Contributing Photographers: Nehemiah Barney Thomas Curry Jason Fisher Phillip Hodges Herb Thompson


Salute to Excellence Edition IN EVERY ISSUE:


Letter from the Publisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Salute to Excellence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Revive! Your Spirit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4


Renew! Your Mind. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Restore! Your Body. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Reclaim! Your Family. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Rediscover! Your Purpose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Together, We Can Accelerate Our Progress. . . . . . PROFILE: Omaha Public Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PROFILE: Bellevue University. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PROFILE: Urban League of Nebraska. . . . . . . . . . . . PROFILE: Metropolitan Community College . . . .

28 30 32 34 36

Reprioritize! Your Finances. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Revive! Omaha Magazine is a publication of SMBEnterprises, LLC and is distributed via mail and selected locations throughout the Greater Omaha area and beyond. ©2016 SMB Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the Publisher, is prohibited, excepting individually copyrighted articles or photographs. The views expressed herein, whether expressed as fact, fiction, opinion, advice or otherwise, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of SMB Enterprises or Revive! Omaha Magazine. Manuscripts and photographs submitted for publication are welcome and should be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope if their return is desired. We reserve the right to edit, use, or not use materials submitted. The publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited materials. The publication of any advertisement in this issue does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s products or services.

Rebuild! Your Community. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Omaha Rewind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


P.O. Box 540880 • Omaha, NE 68154 (402) 490-1542 • Email:

Join us at Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 1

From The Publisher It’s back! Welcome to our annual Revive! Omaha Magazine Salute to Excellence edition where we recognize African-American high school students in Omaha Public Schools who have earned a 3.5 GPA or higher. We’re excited to present these 2015-2016 scholars. One of the primary reasons we launched this magazine eight years ago was to highlight students doing great things in the classroom and beyond. In every edition, we profile successful students and organizations focused on youth development. Unfortunately, most of today’s consistent and frequent media coverage goes to the few students involved in negative activities. We choose to bring attention to the youth and young adults who are doing positive things and pushing themselves academically. We have received an overwhelming response from parents, students and others in support of the edition. Many students have told us that being featured in Revive! serves as a great incentive for them and their younger brothers and sisters. We love hearing from relatives as they point out their family members in the magazine. This year our Salute to Excellence student profile is the largest to date. The actual number of African-American high school students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher was well over 600. Within the following pages, you will see the photos and grade point averages for over 200 students who gave permission for their information to be shared. Congratulations to all of the students, their families, guardians, teachers and everyone connected with their success. We celebrate you and encourage you to keep pushing to even greater levels of achievement in school and life. Another goal of this edition is to make sure students and parents are aware of and connected to all of the amazing opportunities available to high school students. Please take a few minutes to learn about the honors, advanced placement, dual enrollment and career education classes offered by Omaha Public Schools. We have also included profiles from our other sponsors – Metropolitan Community College, Urban League of Nebraska, Empowerment Network and Bellevue University. A comprehensive list of community-based programs and services available to youth and young adults will be included in the upcoming 2nd edition of the North Omaha Community Guide. To learn more, go to We want to thank all of our sponsors, contributing writers, feature columnists, photographers, and partners. Your support allows us to provide Revive! Omaha Magazine to our community. We also want to thank our readers who have stayed with us throughout the years and provided such positive feedback on the magazine. We made a commitment over eight years ago to create and publish a first-class, high quality magazine. Get ready to grow with us as we expand to even greater horizons.

We are honored to serve this community and look forward with great expectations. Sincerely,

Willie D. Barney President/Publisher Revive! Omaha Magazine

2 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

SPONSOR PROFILE: Empowerment Network

5th Annual African-American Leadership Conference to be held on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 Soledad O’Brien to headline the list of National and Local African-American Business and Community Leaders

“There’s nothing like this anywhere in the country,” said George Fraser, an internationally known business leader and inductee into the Minority Business Hall of Fame. “I have traveled across the world and what is happening in Omaha is very rare. It is a leading example of connecting the dots and staying the course to rebuild the urban village.” In what promises to be one of its most dynamic events, The Empowerment Network and Revive! Omaha Magazine will present the 5th Annual African-American Leadership Conference on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at the Hilton Omaha Downtown. Four nationally-known speakers and dozens of local leaders and business executives from every sector will present at what has become one of the largest and highest quality conferences for African-Americans in the Midwest. The event attracts over 350 emerging and seasoned African-American leaders from all industries and occupations with powerful sessions focused on building thriving careers, businesses and communities. “We have another amazing line-up of national and local speakers,” said Willie Barney, President and Facilitator of the Empowerment Network. “We’re very thankful to our sponsors and partners who help make this possible. There’s a lot of energy and excitement around this conference.” The conference attracts African-American leaders from throughout the country. National speakers for 2016 include: Luncheon Keynote Speaker, Soledad O’Brien, journalist, author, creator and host of CNN’s “Black in America”; Pamela Jolly, national leader and patent holder in the area of creating generational wealth; Dr. Randal Pinkett, international business leader and corporate consultant; Simon T. Bailey, former Disney executive recently ranked as one of the top speakers in the world. All of the national presenters emphasize and integrate the message of building strong communities, careers and businesses. “This is a great way to mark our 10th year of collaboration,” said John Ewing, Douglas County Treasurer and Board Chair of the Empowerment Network. “The Network continues to grow locally and nationally. It’s fantastic to see the expansion of partners, and this conference sets the tone for the next year.” For more information on becoming a sponsor or to register, please call 402-502-5153 or visit Registration for the event closes on Monday, October 3, 2016.

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 3

REVIVE YOUR SPIRIT by Rev. Bruce Norris

Never in our lives have we met any child whose ambition in life is to stand on a street corner begging for enough cash to buy a meal. Yet, in every metropolitan area people like this exist. We see them and may offer them some type of assistance, but the greater question we ask is why they are there. What caused their spirits to give up on achieving their dreams? One major deterrent to success is an education that is adequate enough to allow us to achieve what we desire. Few will become CEOs of major corporations without the educational arsenal qualifying them to do so. We should heed to these words, “If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere, you’d better wake up and pay attention!” Education, however, is more than just a way to achieve material success. Education also satisfies the aspirations of the person inside of us that yearns to participate in the creative progression of life. The person inside of us that longs to contribute to society and make a difference by doing something that allows us to be a part of that progression. We know that we are here for a purpose, yet so many never pursue the answer. Too many settle for “existing” instead of “living.” Existing may allow us to pay the bills, but it does not satisfy the longing within us to live our lives to the magnitude our inner being wants to experience. We always feel like something is missing. Education can help us eradicate that feeling.


From the Inside Out 4 | REVIVE! Omaha

Education requires sacrifice, discipline, and dedication. It requires us to demolish the boundaries of our comfort zones and learn. More importantly, education does not come with an expiration date. News articles report people as old as 105 achieving their degrees. Life may delay us from acquiring knowledge, but it will never stop us from acquiring knowledge. We alone can do that. If the desire to know more, see more, or do more is still unsettled inside, perhaps returning to an institution for higher learning is in order. Knowledge is no respecter of persons and she welcomes all who seek her. She requires diligence, persistence and devotion. She promises in the process to unlock the shackles imprisoning our spirits from the lack of her presence in our lives.

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

50 Years. 50,000 Leaders. Here’s one of them. Meet Chet Fortune Earning his degree at Bellevue University has helped Chet Fortune become one of the hottest in his chosen field. Fortune, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Business in 2009, has been named one of Shape magazine’s 50 Hottest Male Trainers in America 2014. “I got out of school for a while and focused on management,” he said. “But other roles that I might have taken at the bank, I was at least going to need my degree. Bellevue University was known for its online courses and the business department was respected.” While taking classes at Bellevue and in the years following graduation, Fortune began to develop an entrepreneurial spirit. He craved the opportunity to call his own shots. “The first year I did a little bit of both, I ran the gym and managed the 89th and Dodge location of American National Bank,” he said. “I didn’t open this up to do both. I opened it up with the mindset that I wanted to be here full-time.” Fortune did just that. He opened Warrior Fitness Center in June 2012 and never looked back.

Learn more about how you can become one of the leaders of our community’s future at

(402) 293-2000 | F L E X I B L E . A F F O R D A B L E . A C C R E D I T E D . N O N P R O F I T. A non-profit university, Bellevue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission through the U.S. Department of Education ( • 800-621-7440 • Bellevue University does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability in the educational programs and activities it operates. Bellevue University, 1000 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, Nebraska 68005. 100488-0716

RENEW YOUR MIND by Janice Gilmore

by the Renewing of Your Mind Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.” As we travel through life, one of the goals for many of us is renewing and improving our lives. In order to do this, we have to have a mind-set that will definitely work towards that goal. Sometimes it is difficult to make needed changes that will improve the quality of our lives, but we can make small changes over a period of time. The following are a few ideas we can embrace in order to renew our minds and have the meaningful life that is in God’s will.


Pray ceaselessly. There is nothing that will help renew our minds like praying on a regular basis. When we commune with God on a regular basis we become the people that He wants us to be. Every good and worthy change in our lives begins with prayer. Focus your mind on the right things. In the world today, there are so many distractions that can lead us to do and think about things that are not Godly. Being willing to help and show compassion towards others is an example of focusing our minds on something worthy and Godly. Pay attention to the thoughts going through your mind. If we fill our minds with unpleasant thoughts, anger, revenge, and hate, our actions can very well follow. We can prepare to eliminate any thoughts from our minds that are not Godly and advance the goal of renewing our minds. Join a group that can help you reach your goal. The saying “birds of a feather flock together” is so true. As you renew your mind, being around people who have the same values that you are striving for can be a big support as you strive towards your goal. Renewing your mind is a lifelong process. But as you travel through this life, with prayer, God will continue to show you the path that is pleasing to Him. 6 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine


Being Transformed

RESTORE YOUR BODY by Dr. Richard Brown, Director of REACH

Crank up the music and get moving!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the African American community. It is a chronic disease, the risk of which can be reduced by participating in regular physical activity. If you participate in physical activity at least three times a week until you sweat, you can improve your health and live longer than you may expect. After working one, two or even three jobs to live comfortably and raise a family, more physical activity might be the last thing on one’s mind at the beginning or end of the day. But there is hope. One physical activity that everyone can participate in, no matter your age and without incurring monetary expense, is dancing. It is a universal activity like the language of music. When the sounds of music touches people, it makes them move, especially if there are drums playing and a banging base beat. The whole world can dance. You have seen it in children one-year-old and younger and in adults as old as one hundred. I’ve seen seniors and those with physical disabilities dancing in their wheel chairs. Even when you are tired, dancing can place a smile on your face and make you feel good. If you do it with enthusiasm, it will make you sweat. You can do it inside or outside the house. It can even be done while you are doing chores. So crank up the music and get moving! Have some fun each week. Get together with a friend or family member and dance. Get active, healthy, and happy. Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 7


Creating Memories Some of the best memories I have of my grandfather are the ones we spent talking together. My earliest memory is walking hand in hand around his house as he checked on his lawn – my 5 year old hand in his. My grandfather always took time to be with me – talking about life, dreams, and goals. Those times were always special to me. I loved my grandfather and I loved spending time with him.

Amidst the busyness, it can be difficult to find quality time together. However, family time doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. It can be fun and relaxing. Some ideas may include: MOVIE NIGHT Rent a movie or watch one on TV. Turn the lights off to get the full effect of being in a movie theater. Have snacks on hand to enjoy while watching the movie. STORY TELLING Whether it’s reading books together or making up your own stories. Take turns adding on to the story to make it original. This can be done at the dinner table while eating dinner. CAMPING This can be done indoors. Set up a couple of chairs a few feet apart and drape a blanket over the chairs. Voila! You have a tent. Serve camp snacks such as trail mix or s’mores made in the kitchen. Turn the lights off and use a flashlight instead. TALENT SHOW This is a fun way to show off each family member’s talent. GAME NIGHT Gather around and play board games, card games, or create a game that is unique to the family. Family time is not only time well spent with one another, it’s also about making memories. Memories that will be cherished and passed on to future generations.

8 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Photo by: Phillip Hodges


BACK ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Rigby, Wood, Chandler, Hall, McCants, Clark, Merritt, Thomas, Hairston, Broome, Lee, Murray, Broadway, Dailey, Ramsey, Valentine. FRONT ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Jay, Tate, Phillips, Henderson, Jackson, Phelps, Rose, Gamble, Azalekor, Baker, Rencher, Mr. Thomas H. Warren, Sr. (President/CEO of the Urban League of Nebraska)

2016 ULN Scholarship Recipients On May 11th, the Urban League of Nebraska awarded $1,000 scholarships to 33 students–a total of $33,000 in financial support. The ULN scholarship program is funded by Charles B. Washington and Stanley R. Osborn. Charles B. Washington was an Omaha civil rights activist and known to many in the community as the “Black Godfather.” Washington had an interest in helping young black athletes, and helped to stabilize relations between black and white players at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. In 1986, the public library north branch at 29th and Ames Streets was renamed in his honor. Stanley R. Osborn was a local philanthropist who saw fit to ensure that students were able to further their education. The Stanley R. Osborn Fund Testamentary Trust was created in 1948 and has been providing scholarships for African-American and underprivileged students to pursue secondary education ever since. Find out where our scholars are going to college and their majors:

Frederick Azalekor North High Magnet School

Perrielle Jackson North High Magnet School

Shaunessy Phillips South High Magnet School

Terinesha Baker* Bryan Senior High School

Myles Jay North High Magnet School

Kanesha Ramsey South High Magnet School

LaTeya J. Broadway*** Central High School

Cassandra Marie Jones Burke High School

Catera Kalynn Rencher Northwest High Magnet School

Joe A. Broome, Jr. Benson High Magnet School

Teadrana Knox North High Magnet School

Alonna Le’Nai Rose Rigby Benson High Magnet School

Tre’Vion Chandler** Burke High School

Arianah Lee Central High School

Iyana Raeshay Rose North High Magnet School

Brice G. Clark Creighton Preparatory School

Ricky McCants Jr. Burke High School

Shakuan Smith North High Magnet School

Monté McGary South High Magnet School

Jalen Tate South High Magnet School

Kenneth L. Merritt II Burke High School

Terry Thomas North High Magnet School

Najee’ K. Mitchell North High Magnet School

Nautika Valentine Benson High Magnet School

Imani Murray Central High School

Elizabeth A. Walker Burke High School

Kaia Rae-Simone Phelps North High Magnet School

Anthony Wood North High Magnet School

Charita Jolynn Dailey Central High School Mariah F. Gamble Central High School Camron Hairston Benson High Magnet School Chance Hall Central High School DeVenae Tylenn Nikole Henderson North High Magnet School

*Metropolitan Community College Scholarship **Metropolitan Community Scholarship Sponsored by philanthropist Michael B. Yanney ***Scholarship Sponsored by the Urban League of Nebraska Guild

Take Action!


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said … “People increasingly form alliances and come together to overcome common problems.” That is exactly the position that we should have today regarding improving the community. Each of us can and should participate in some way to make our community better. Community change does not happen unless we take some kind of action. You may ask yourself: how can I get involved? You may say: what can I do? I’m only one person. Here’s some food for thought: There are hundreds of charities, community organizations, youth centers, after school programs, faith based organizations, schools, and initiatives where you can volunteer to help. It’s easy to get started. Think about areas where you have an interest or areas where others have said, “You’re really good at that”. Chances are these areas may be a part of your purpose in life. Your challenge is to get involved with three steps. 1. Make up your mind to make a difference… today. 2. Identify the action you will take based on the purpose God has given you for your life. 3. Don’t just sit there, do something.

10 | REVIVE! Omaha

A three strand cord cannot be broken. In other words, when we come together for the greater good, we form a strong bond and there’s nothing that we cannot accomplish together. The community is better when we work together. You can help by volunteering. Here are a few ideas to get you started: (This is a partial list.)

100 Black Men Boys & Girls Club Bryant Center Election Commission Empowerment Network Girls Incorporated Habitat for Humanity Hope Center for Kids Humane Society Literacy Center of the Midlands Malcolm X Foundation Midlands Mentoring Partnership Omaha Food Bank Open Door Mission Salvation Army Do your part to make the community better. Remember, the community is better when we work together.

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

REPRIORITIZE YOUR FINANCES by Earl Johnson, CMFC – EverGreen Capital Management

Affordable College Education, a Roth IRA Reality. The value of a college education cannot be overstated in value to a successful graduate. According to the Federal Reserve Board, there is an $830,000 difference between getting a college education over just a high school diploma. These additional lifetime earnings can be spent, saved or reinvested to pay for college costs of the graduates own children. Currently, the most typical way to pay for the rising cost of college is the Qualified Tuition Programs, or Section 529 plans, Coverdell Educational Savings accounts and Education Savings Bonds, that is if you have done your part by saving for this major expense. The other quite popular way is through student loans. The repayment of these loans may be burdensome, but given that you see your way through college, a loan could be well worth it. Weighing the benefits of a college degree and the rising costs, it’s no surprise that people are looking for new and creative ways to save for these expenditures. One such alternative method involves the use of a Roth IRA. This may sound a little bizarre. After all, why would anyone use a retirement account to save for education? Here are some reasons why it may not be as crazy as you think.

Roth IRAs are not included as an asset on the FAFSA form.

Roth IRAs—along with other retirement accounts—are not considered assets when determining a family’s Expected

Read more online at

Family Contribution (EFC). There’s no cap to this amount either, so parents may actually be able to accumulate significant sums in Roth IRAs and still qualify for student aid for a child.

Roth IRA Flexibility

Roth IRA contributions can be distributed at any age, and at any time, 100% tax and penalty free. So, for instance, if you contribute $3,000 per year to a Roth IRA for the next 10 years before your child goes to college (and take no distributions in the interim), at the very worst, you would be able to take $30,000 tax and penalty free from your Roth IRA. Now of course some of these benefits do come with varied drawbacks, but with careful planning there are typically work-arounds. For instance, when you use Roth IRA distributions to pay for expenses, although they are not taxable, they are counted as income for the sake of filling out your FASFA form, which could affect your chances at financial aid. Another flexible solution, Roth distributions should not be taken immediately. Instead utilize student loans. Once college is completed, make Roth distributions to payoff the student debt. As parents, this is a great leveraging tool to incent your child to get good grades and in doing so, their loans will be paid off.

REVIVE! Omaha | 11


Step Up Omaha!

Youth Employment and Career Exploration Program Over 4,000 youth and young adults connected since 2008. The Empowerment Network’s Step-Up Omaha program is nearing the completion of its 9th year. 2016 will prove to be the largest and most successful year with the creation of over 500 career exploration and job experience opportunities by the end of the year. Launched by the Empowerment Network and North Omaha community in 2008 as the Great Summer Jobs program, Step-Up Omaha has expanded city-wide and worked with partners to connect over 4,000 youth and young adults, ages 14-21, with career exploration, job training and internships. Hundreds of Step-Up Omaha alumni have graduated from high school, entered and completed college and gained part-time and full time work. With valuable financial support from the City of Omaha, United Way, businesses, foundations and community residents, Step-Up Omaha has expanded in measurable ways this year. 12 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Participants ages 14-15 in the Step-Up Omaha Explore program participated in amazing career immersion experiences including: • Financial Management & Banking Careers Urban Financial Services Coalition • Arts, Culture and History – Love’s Jazz and Arts Center and El Museo Latino • Health Careers- University of Nebraska Medical Center • IT/STEM Careers – Interface Web School & Metropolitan Community College Fab Lab • Government – Mayor’s Office, City Council, County Commissioners, County Treasurer • Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice and Fire Safety – Omaha Police Department, Douglas County Jail and Douglas County Attorney’s Office, City Attorney and Fire Department • Sports, Events and Hospitality – TD Ameritrade, CenturyLink and MECA • Agriculture and Food Production • Entrepreneurship – Omaha Small Business Network, Nebraska Enterprise Fund • Business and Corporate Executive Leadership – WoodmenLife • Construction, Culinary, Automotive, TV/Digital Media – OPS Career Center

Participants ages 16-18 in the Step-Up Omaha Jobs, Careers and Intern program, gained valuable work experience at over 80 work sites, including:

American National Bank, First Data, UNMC, Omaha Public Schools, Omaha Police Department, Jimmy Johns and others. Interns worked in jobs and internship positions ranging from banking, information technology and healthcare to landscaping, construction and child development.

Participants ages 19-21 in the Step-Up Omaha Connect program worked full time and part time in opportunities with the potential of long-term employment. Some participants made as much as $11

per hour for the summer and earned opportunities to stay on with their employer as they proved themselves to be valuable assets.

Businesses and organizations interested in becoming a sponsor, work-site or to learn more about the program can go to Step-Up Omaha! is an initiative of the Empowerment Network in collaboration with the City of Omaha. Community partners include: Banister’s Leadership Academy, Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands, Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership, Heartland Workforce Solutions, Hope Center for Kids, Girls Inc., Latino Center of the Midlands, Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Economic Development Corporation, Omaha Housing Authority, Omaha Public Schools District, Salvation Army KROC Center, South Omaha Business Alliance, and the Urban League of Nebraska.

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 13

Omaha Rewind









14 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine






Read more online at



REVIVE! Omaha | 15


Salute TO


Empowerment Network’s 4 Year Anniversary Conference and Luncheon – May 2011

One of the primary reasons we launched Revive! Omaha Magazine eight years ago was to highlight African-American students who are excelling in the classroom and beyond. We are incredibly excited to bring back our annual Salute to Excellence edition where we recognize African-American students who attend Omaha Public Schools and have attained a 3.5 or higher grade point average. Far too often, we hear all of the negative statistics and stories about what our African-American students are not doing in school. We don’t hear enough about the positive things and we certainly don’t celebrate them enough. We have African-American students who are doing amazing work and showing leadership in every academic area. Over 600 students attained a 3.5 GPA or higher, with a number of them reaching 4.0 or better. In this edition, over 200 students and their families gave approval for their photos and grade points to be highlighted. Revive! Omaha Magazine celebrates these students, their families, teachers and all who have helped them reach this level of success. We encourage you to maximize every opportunity available and keep reaching for your full potential! We also want to thank our sponsors and the partners who helped to make this edition possible. You allow us to shine a positive light on some of our best and brightest.

16 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Will Abboud Burke 3.5

JaKiera Adams Central 3.6

Chelsea Akyeampong Central 4.2

Ashari Allen Central 4.5

Jeremiah Amaya Central 3.6

Brian Anderson Northwest 4.3

Alexandria Anding Northwest 4.6

Rosendo Armas Jr. Bryan Sr. 4.2

Ra’Daniel Arvie Central 3.9

Terry Arvie Central 4.0

Kaleb Askew Benson 3.9

Kelsey Askew Northwest 3.5

Iyanu Awomolo Burke 4.4

Breyah Badgett Central 3.6

Amaya Ballard-Traylor Central 3.5

Joey Beverly Northwest 4.3

Nyayop Bichok Bryan Sr. 3.8

Portia Birdine Burke 3.6

Zanobia Bivins Northwest 3.8

Tyra Blue Central 4.0

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 17

Mia Bonam North 4.1

Anthony Bonner Jr. Central 3.8

Khila Bowling North 3.9

Mack’Kya Broadway Benson 3.6

Tamario Brooks Burke 3.9

Destiny Brown North 3.6

Devotion Brown North 3.5

Jayden Brown Burke 4.0

Jazlyn Brown North 3.9

Karah Brown Bryan Sr. 3.8

Jaydon Bruett Burke 4.0

Jadai Burns Northwest 4.0

Koby Bursh Burke 3.6

Isaiah Butler North 4.1

Kaelynn Caldwell Central 4.5

Ghawayne Calvin Northwest 4.7

Jazzmine Carr Central 3.6

Mya Carter Central 4.2

Taylor Casey Northwest 4.5

18 | REVIVE! Omaha

Julius Buchanan-Goodsell Central 3.8

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Jayla Cawthon Benson 3.7

Hillary Chaisson Northwest 4.6

Chantal Charlton Central 4.1

Sharieff Clark Northwest 3.6

Bria Coleman Central 4.3

Tevin Conley South 3.5

Tiana Conyers Benson 3.8

Tierra Conyers Benson 3.8

Diamond Cook North 3.8

Orestes Cooper III Central 3.6

Rayven Culliver Benson 3.6

Shayla Cullum Northwest 4.0

Olivia Curbeam Burke 4.5

Antione Curtis Bryan Sr. 3.8

Charita Dailey Central 4.4

Leonna Dalton-Phillip Burke 3.9

JazLynn Davis Northwest 3.9

Julius Davis Jr. Central 3.5

KaLecia Davis Burke 4.3

Elaidy D’Blanco North 3.5

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 19

Brian Demby North 3.9

DeShawn Dial North 3.9

Deja’nae Donaldson Young Central 3.5

Tanajah Everett North 3.6

Noah Fant South 3.5

Alexis Faulkner-King Burke 3.7

Alejah Fisher North 4.6

Jordan Flowers Central 4.4

Erykah Foster Central 3.8

Jalen Foster Northwest 3.9

Kahlil Foster Burke 4.3

Anye’ Francisco Burke 3.9

Trinity Freeman Hogan Central 3.8

RoseCarmie Froiland Northwest 4.1

Niyonkuru Fulgence South 3.9

Dax Galloway Central 4.5

Mariah Gamble Central 4.3

Maurice Garrett Central 4.2

Fabio Gbetanou Northwest 3.6

Christina Gilmore Central 4.5

20 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Lloyd Goodwin Central 3.8

Kiana Goynes Central 4.1

Japrice Green South 3.9

William Grixby III Bryan Sr. 4.0

Jordan Gulley Central 3.5

Antonio Gullie Bryan Sr. 4.2

Rianna Gunter North 4.4

Taylor Gunter Central 4.2

Tyson Gunter Burke 4.0

Gaye Gwion North 4.4

Dwand Hall South 3.6

Katerra Hamilton North 3.5

Destiny Harbour Benson 3.9

Amyia Harris Burke 4.4

Kristian Harris Central 4.5

Kira Hawkins Central 3.8

DaQuan Hill Northwest 4.0

Fatuma Hilowle South 3.7

Alicia Hogan South 4.7

Taylor Hogan Central 4.1

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 21

DaNya Horne North 3.9

DaKeisha Hymond North 3.5

Korey James Central 3.8

Nathaniel James South 3.9

Courtni Johnson Burke 3.6

Dae Johnson Central 3.5

Deja Johnson Central 3.8

DeShauna Johnson North 4.0

Hunter Johnson Central 3.9

Marshaye Johnson-Rollins Northwest 4.1

Cassandra Jones Burke 3.8

Samuel Jones Burke 3.5

Destiny Jordan Burke 4.5

Ram Kabore Northwest 3.7

Joy Kayode Burke 4.6

Skye Kerst North 4.1

Maya Kindle Burke 4.3

Alexandra King North 3.7

Alex Kiplinger-Watson Northwest 3.8

Audrey Kokouvi Comlan South 4.0

22 | REVIVE! Omaha

Š2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Jelani Ladd North 4.3

LaNeise Latimer Northwest 3.8

Alyssa Lawrence Central 4.5

Sierra Leeper Northwest 4.3

Dallon Lemon Burke 4.3

Ilana Lewis Central 4.1

Ian Love Northwest 3.5

Zachary Love Burke 3.9

James Lowe Central 4.3

Kayla Lucas South 3.6

Brooklynne Mack Central 3.8

Chloe Madigan Central 3.7

Alakiir Agany Mapior Northwest 3.8

Dusabimana Marie-Louise South 3.9

Amanda Marion North 4.4

Kai-Bryana Marshall South 3.8

Colanda McCray South 4.1

Alexxis McDade Bryan Sr. 4.3

Taylor McDonald Hamilton Central 4.3

Nevaeh McKinney Northwest 4.5

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 23

Rebecca McMahon Benson 3.5

Elias Mendyk North 3.9

Lawren Miller Northwest 3.5

Jabari Mitchell Burke 3.6

Najee’ Mitchell North 3.6

Shereef Mitchell Burke 3.5

Jabin Moore North 3.8

Jade Moses Central 3.5

Darian Murcek-Ellis North 4.3

Jordan Nash North 4.1

Elaundra Nichols North 4.4

Patrick Niyoyavyanditse Central 3.9

Kanisha Oates Bryan Sr. 3.5

Emmanuel Okamkpa Northwest 4.0

Malachi O’Neal North 3.6

Fawaze Ouro-Koura Burke 3.5

Gary Owen Northwest 3.7

Simone Owens Central 3.7

Eben Parker Central 3.6

Elijahiana Parker Central 3.5

24 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Kendyl Parks North 4.3

Angelic Patterson Northwest 3.6

Adrianny Peralta Rojas Northwest 3.5

Marisa Perez-Durham Central 3.8

Shaunessy Phillips South 3.8

Syriuz Pittman North 3.6

Soleil Ramsey Burke 3.7

Amou Riing Northwest 4.4

Darmonte Robinson North 4.0

Sierra Roseby Northwest 4.4

Sydney Roseby Northwest 4.6

Truth Ross North 3.5

KeVonna Samuels North 3.6

Jacob Sanders Burke 3.6

Dae’Kwon Seavers North 3.7

Alexis Shade Central 3.5

Shaundra Shepherd Central 3.5

Christina Short North 4.7

Tristen Sims Burke 4.1

Lelanie Singleton-Sealy Burke 3.9

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 25

Darrick Smith South 3.5

Ma’Lisa Smith Northwest 3.8

Micheal Smith Northwest 4.0

Shakuan Smith North 4.6

Nadia Spurlock North 3.9

Imani Stafford North 3.5

Christopher Stallworth II Benson 4.0

Justis Starks Burke 4.8

Nia Station Burke 4.1

Dontrice Stevenson Central 4.0

Ebone’ Stingley North 3.9

Londell Stubblefield,Jr North 3.7

LaShawn Sweet South 3.9

Bianca Swift Burke 4.1

Eva Taylor Central 4.0

Kayliana Taylor Central 4.1

Essence Temple South 3.7

Trenton Thompson Northwest 3.5

Isaiah Tolbert North 4.3

Alexys Townsend Central 3.7

26 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Jaedyn Tryon Burke 3.8

Kaylynn Tucker Northwest 3.5

Javier Turner Benson 3.6

Raymon Tyree Burke 4.1

Siyan Valentine Central 3.5

Jaydon Value Central 4.0

Samantha Vogel Central 3.6

Dre’Ya Walker-Williams Central 3.6

Jerome Wallace Benson 3.8

Parnell Walton, Jr. South 3.9

JaSia Ward North 3.9

Lena Ward Northwest 3.5


MaRaya White North 3.8

Marissa Williams Northwest 4.0


Read more online at

Frederick Azalekor North 4.9

Ammar Norain Burke 4.1

Ashgan Dahia Northwest 3.8

Osama Norain Burke 3.7

Ehsan Khogali Dahia Northwest 4.4

Desiree’ Redick Central 3.9

Makenna Danner Burke 4.0

Mohamed Siyad Ganeys Bryan Sr. 3.6

Dominek Hancock Burke 3.6

Jerome Thomas-Glass North 4.0

Lance Landrum-Copeland Central 3.7

Jo Nise Toney Northwest 4.1

Malaz Mohamed Central 3.9

Gratia Uwizeye Central 4.0

REVIVE! Omaha | 27

Together, We Can Accelerate Our Progress Photo: Award Winning Broadcast Production Team Provided by OPS When compared to other large urban districts across the country, the Omaha Public Schools District is a strong and improving system. OPS has been recognized by national organizations for innovation and overall performance. While the district and students in attendance face similar struggles and challenges as other urban districts, measurable and incremental academic progress has been made during the past seven to ten years. OPS is responsible for educating over 51,000 students, with an overall 74% poverty rate and over 100 languages spoken. The good news is that gaps between students are closing and overall performance continues to improve. A comprehensive review of data from the Nebraska Department of Education shows OPS performing at the same level or better than other schools districts when poverty rates are considered. Challenges still remain. Gaps still exist, but OPS and community partners are collaborating, aligning efforts and targeted strategic reforms and investments to accelerate the pace of growth and improvements. Omaha Public Schools (OPS) has implemented numerous programs, initiatives and efforts to improve academic performance and outcomes throughout the years. Community-based organizations, churches and faith-based groups, mentoring agencies, foundations, businesses and most importantly, parents and community members, have worked along-side the district to move things forward. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals are working to ensure more students are achieving success. OPS has created and implemented the following: an action plan for instruction; expanded investments in early childhood including all day kindergarten; approved a strategic plan with specific goals and benchmarks; gained support for the largest school improvement bond in history; hired four executive directors to partner with principals; developed a principal leadership institute; extended time available for teaching;

28 | REVIVE! Omaha

created the office of equity and diversity; designed a new approach to family and community engagement; funded an office of economic inclusion; and enhanced professional development opportunities for teachers and other staff. New polices have been created and adopted in response to a comprehensive needs assessment. As a result of these significant efforts, important initiatives have been launched to specifically focus on the success of all students. Working collectively with many partners, the district is moving forward on a number of fronts. The most recent reports show measurable progress is being made in key areas. Over the past 10 years, graduation rates have improved, reading and math scores have increased, college entrance and graduation numbers have increased, and attendance rates have improved. Gaps among racial and ethnic groups are closing. Yet, the district, teachers, parents, students and community are far from satisfied. The goal moving forward is to accelerate progress in all of these areas with an even greater sense of urgency. Our students are incredibly brilliant, gifted and talented. Collectively, we must do everything possible to help them reach their full potential. Together, we can make this happen. With this in mind, OPS and community partners are focused on increasing learning supports and academic rigor in Middle and High School. In addition, the district is consistently working to increase the number of students engaged in Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, Magnet Schools and Career Education classes. Through the years, OPS has created a wide array of opportunities for students and parents to maximize their high school years. Please see page 30 for the OPS Sponsorship Profile.

Š2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Omaha Public Schools 51,885 120 2,826 students served in the largest Nebraska school district

Benson High Magnet School

1,350 students*

Focus Areas: Freshman Academy, Construction & Design Academy, Health Professions Academy and Business & Entrepreneurship Academy • $2 million in scholarships awarded to class of 2016. • African American History Challenge Winner from 100 Black Men of Omaha, Inc. • 4th place finish at National DECA Competition.

Burke High School

2,000 students*

Focus Areas: Advanced Placement (AP)/Dual Enrollment (DE) Program, Air and Space Academy and FOCUS Program2 • $13.2 million in scholarships awarded to class of 2016. • National Commission on Excellence in Education Blue Ribbon School. • Boys Golf Class A District Champions.

North High Magnet School

1,640 students*

Focus Areas: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) • $9 million in scholarships awarded to class of 2016. • Top 10 world robotic championship team. • Boys track placed 3rd in state championships and Girls track placed 4th in state championships.

South High Magnet School

languages spoken by students

graduates (2015)

Bryan High School

1,840 students*

Focus Areas: Urban Agriculture and Food Science Academy and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Academy • $3 million in scholarships awarded to class of 2016. • Urban Agriculture Academy featured in Education Week. • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Academy students run a First Book1 distribution center out of the school.

Central High School

2,450 students*

Focus Areas: International Baccalaureate • $17.7 million in scholarships awarded to class of 2016. • 40 students earned 30 or higher on ACT. • Team District Championships in Boys Soccer and Boys Basketball.

Northwest High Magnet School

1,715 students*

Focus Areas: Law, Government and International Diplomacy • $3 million in scholarships to class of 2016. • Horticulture students designed a community garden for UNO Campus that will be built in 2017. • Finance Challenge Team placed 1st in Omaha.

2,400 students*

Focus Areas: Visual Performing Arts, Information Technology and Dual Language • $14.8 million in scholarships awarded to class of 2016. • State championships in girls power lifting, boys basketball and boys soccer. • Marching band represented state of Nebraska at 75th Memorial Day parade in Washington D.C. *estimated 2016-17 enrollment

Every Student. Every Day. Prepared for Success. @OmahaPubSchool



1 - First Book is a program that provides books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children of low-income families. 2 - FOCUS Program is an integration of extra-value standards: Leadership, communication and technology in to English, U.S. History and FACTS (freshman academic career and technical seminar) courses.

SPONSOR PROFILE: Omaha Public Schools

Opportunities for High School Students CAREER ACADEMIES

OPS high schools have implemented innovative Career Academies. Career Academies are small learning communities within the larger high school interested in a particular career theme. These student cohorts take academic and career education courses together centered on a career field. • Benson High Magnet School- Health and Wellness, Construction and Design, and Business • Bryan High School- Urban Agriculture, Transportation, Distribution and Logistics • Burke High School- Air and Space, Focus (Leadership, Information Technology and Communication) • North High Magnet School- Engineering • Northwest Magnet High School- Law, Public Safety and Security • South High Magnet School- Information Technology (Please see the Omaha Public Schools ad on page 29.)


Classroom teachers meet the needs of high ability learners on a daily basis through classroom differentiation. All OPS middle schools offer honors courses in English/language arts, mathematics and science. All OPS high schools offer an array of honors courses in both core content and elective courses. 30 | REVIVE! Omaha

These courses enhance and enrich learning experiences by accelerating the pace of instruction, by going deeper into the discipline’s knowledge and practice, and by using sophisticated levels of advanced thinking. Enrollment in honors and advanced courses is determined by standardized assessments, classroom performance, motivation, and other established criteria.


The Advanced Placement (AP) program in the Omaha Public Schools offers high school students the opportunity to take college level courses in a high school setting. For over fifty years, students in the school district have participated in the AP program, not only to gain higher-level academic skills, but also to earn college credit while still in high school. Omaha Public School high schools currently offer 30 different AP courses. The Advanced Placement program is a cooperative education endeavor between the secondary schools and colleges/ universities. AP classes have been developed and are taught by dedicated teachers whose expertise, experience, and enthusiasm for their subject area enhance the learning experience for students. Advanced Placement classes are approved by the CollegeBoard and through participation in the AP program, students broaden their intellectual horizons with challenging coursework requiring in depth study and commitment to academic excellence. Successful completion of AP Exams offers students the opportunity to earn advanced academic college credit. This can mean substantial savings for families on courses that would otherwise have to be taken in the freshman and sophomore years in college. ©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine


Why Dual Enrollment (DE)? Besides costing less than 1/4 of the actual tuition and fees for the same course, DE provides the opportunity to earn college credit with a grade, while still in high school. With college credits earned in high school, as a new college student, students have the opportunity to have more time to pursue college courses for a double major, graduate from college early, or slightly lessen their course-load. Dual Enrollment provides high school students the opportunity to take college credit bearing courses taught by collegeapproved high school teachers. Eligible courses allow students to earn high school credit and transcripted college credit at the time they pass the course. Omaha Public Schools partners with Metropolitan Community College (MCC), University of Nebraska (UNO), Creighton University (CU), Midland University (MU), and Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) to provide dual enrollment opportunities in Advanced Placement (AP), Career Education, and Magnet Program/Special Program courses. Dual Enrollment is a low-cost model where students realize reduced tuition rates, where credits earned may transfer to another college or university, and where students experience a smooth transition from high school to college. Each partner institution determines their own policies and guidelines regarding, tuition costs, application deadlines, acceptance, and transferability of credits. The state of Nebraska offers the Access College Early (ACE) scholarship for low-income high school students.


The Omaha Public Schools Career Center is a unique facility located at the Teacher Administrative Center (TAC) which offers career oriented courses for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Industry certification and college credit are offered in many of the different career programs. The UNMC High School Alliance is a partnership between the University Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and 19 high schools in 10 school districts including the Omaha Public Schools. It offers unique and innovative health science classes to high school juniors and seniors on the UNMC campus. The Zoo Partnership is a partnership between Henry Doorly Zoo, Papillion-LaVista Schools, and OPS to offer unique and innovative science classes to high school juniors and seniors at the Zoo campus.


OPS Career Education students have the opportunity to participate in work based learning opportunities for credit and compensation. Work based learning opportunities provide students with real world experience and opportunities in their Career Education Programs of Study. Students can explore career pathways, earn OPS credit, and network for potential careers.


Career student organizations provide essential opportunities for students to develop and refine the skills required in their Read more online at

chosen occupational area. Student conferences, competitions, workshops, community service, and other activities make education more enjoyable and effective. DECA an international association of high school and college students studying marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality/marketing sales and service. FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) brings business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. FEA (Future Educators of America) supports young people interested in education-related careers. FFA (The National FFA Organization, formerly Future Farmers of America) is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) is a career student organization for young students in Family and Consumer Sciences. HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) promotes career opportunities in health care to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people. SkillsUSA serves teachers and high school/college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations including health occupations. The VEX Robotics Program offers students an exciting platform for learning about areas rich with career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Beyond science and engineering principles, a VEX Robotics project encourages teamwork, leadership, and problem solving among groups.


International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs are offered at Central High School and Lewis and Clark Middle Schools within OPS. The IB Diploma Program is designed as an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepare students for success both at the university and life beyond. The curriculum is designed to ensure a cohesive, comprehensive education for students no matter where they live in the world. Students who complete this program are preparing, not only for success in college, but for success in life. The IB Diploma program allows for student and school flexibility in choosing areas of academic interest for student research. This is only a partial list of the opportunities available within OPS. In addition, many community organizations are offering innovative programs to assist students and families. Please go to or for a more complete listing of programs available. REVIVE! Omaha | 31


It’s No Accident Bellevue University Graduates The State’s Highest Number of African American Students By Lynette Ingram, Outreach Manager Bellevue University

When working in the community, I am often approached by individuals who have an abundance of credits looking to go back to school. Once we identify what their needs are in terms of a designated area of study, a plan is proposed to them by one of our Admissions Counselors. This plan includes the following: • A healthy discussion on short and long-term goals • Support system (Family, friends, mentor) • Financial counseling • Scholarship opportunities • Preliminary evaluation of credits • Realistic estimated date of completion for the degree selected Whether a traditional or non-traditional path is selected by a prospective student, we are committed to providing the options necessary to help them make an informed decision. It is extremely important that prospective students are aware of the level of commitment in the classroom and share any concerns with their counselor. We pride ourselves on the ability to connect

32 | REVIVE! Omaha

and provide one-on-one counseling through the enrollment process up to graduation. When someone decides to take the leap into higher education it is our responsibility to create a seamless process. We work tirelessly to deliver the best in class services to our students and the community. Where other institutions place significant entrance hurdles, we purposefully choose to remove most barriers to ensure higher education is accessible to all. It’s our mission and it has been in our DNA from day one. At our very foundation is a belief that our students’ will to succeed is the most important driver of success, not academic measures that generally apply to traditional students or high school seniors. Additionally, we believe the open access mission is the more difficult and more impactful mission in higher education. We must design our learning systems to adapt to a wide variability in student preparedness and student support. We must adapt our faculty and services to ensure all students are equally successful.

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Don’t miss out!

Be a part of a historic opportunity. Reserve your spot and advertise in the 2nd Annual Revive Omaha Community and Business Guide! The first Revive North Omaha Community and Business Guide received rave reviews. The response from readers and advertisers was overwhelmingly positive. This highly read edition has already become an indispensable resource for our community. The second edition will be even bigger and better with additional special features, photos, profiles and listings.

The guide is a great place for your business, organization or church to reach thousands in North Omaha and beyond. Reserve your advertising space today by calling 402-490-1542 or emailing

SPONSOR PROFILE: Urban League of Nebraska by Michael Cich-Jones, Urban League of Nebraska

It takes a village.

Nicole Mitchell beamed as she watched her students accept scholarships from the Urban League of Nebraska. Mitchell is the program coordinator for the Whitney M. Young Jr. Academy at the Urban League of Nebraska. One week later, 100 percent of her program participants graduated from high school – the second year in a row and something that would have been impossible for many of them. “I know it truly takes a village to raise a child, because I’m a product of the village,” said Mitchell. “I want our youth to understand when it looks impossible to know it’s possible.” The Whitney M. Young Jr. Academy (WYA) prepares 9th through 12th grade students for graduation from high school, enrollment into an institution of higher education and employment. Mitchell’s students will be the next generation’s workforce. The program has a special emphasis on promoting careers in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math, or S.T.E.A.M. Each summer WYA hosts the Girls Summer S.T.E.A.M. Academy, a six-week program that introduces high school girls of color to S.T.E.A.M. careers through hands-on experiments, meeting women in S.T.E.A.M. industries and touring local companies and institutions. The program is named after prominent national civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. Young who was the executive director of ULN in the 1950s and eventually led the National Urban League. Marilyn Sims, ULN vice president, is fond of quoting Young when talking about the program’s namesake. “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have one and not be prepared,” quoted Sims. “It’s why

34 | REVIVE! Omaha

we are constantly innovating and inviting the community to share in our passion.” WYA is funded by a $110,000 grant from the United Way of the Midlands and $48,000 from the National Urban League. Local foundations and companies sponsor program components like the Girls Summer S.T.E.A.M. Academy, which recently received a $4,000 sponsorship from Omaha Public Power District. WYA utilizes the Project Ready curriculum, a signature program of the National Urban League, which prepares African-American and other youth for college, work and life. “Project Ready is a set of evidence-based standards and practical tools specially designed for and unique to the Urban League Movement,” said Thomas Warren, president/CEO of the affiliate. “Participants receive academic, social and cultural supports and opportunities designed to develop readiness.” WYA program specialists provide intensive case management and assist students with academic advisement; career exploration; college admissions, including essay writing, scholarship and financial aid applications; and leadership development. Students in the program have access to other ULN activities like scholarships, a college tour during spring break and a college fair every January. This past spring, the latter events were co-hosted with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, and are examples of strong partnerships the ULN has with other organizations in the community.

A once in a lifetime opportunity. In July, the Urban League of Nebraska sent ten students to the National Urban League Youth Summit at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD. Students met youth from all

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

across the country, attended workshops and toured colleges, museums and historic sites. Two places in particular made a deep impression on the students: the city’s old slave market and the site Freddie Gray was killed. Afterward, they met with representatives from the White House and provided them feedback about issues facing our country. They lived a college student’s life for a week, eating in the cafeteria and enjoying dorm life. For many of the students, it was their first time to step foot on a college campus. Tyrone Marshall, ULN director of education and youth development, and his staff attended the summit with the youth. “The Youth Summit is an opportunity for kids across the country to come together for the same mission and purpose,” said Tyrone Marshall, ULN director of education and youth development. “It’s an amazing feeling to provide our students with opportunities of a lifetime.”

Closing the achievement gap.

While the overall graduation rate for African Americans in Omaha Public Schools has improved from 55.6 percent in 2003 to 80.8 percent in 2014, a disparity remains between AfricanAmericans and white students.The Urban League of Nebraska isn’t just closing the achievement gap—it’s exceeding it. African-American students enrolled in ULN programs graduated at a higher rate than those in OPS. The rate is even higher for those enrolled in the Whitney Young Academy. For the past two years, 100 percent of WYA participants have graduated high school.

Graduate Rate by Race in Omaha Public Schools 84.8% 85.00% _______________________________________________________ 83.8%

82.25% _______________________________________________________ 80.8%

79.50% _______________________________________________________ 76.75% _______________________________________________________ 75.2%

74.00% _______________________________________________________ African American




Graduate Rate for African Americans

Omaha Public Schools vs. Urban League of Nebraska 100.0% _______________________________________________________ 95.0% 90.0% 80.8%

75.2% 75.0% _______________________________________________________

50.0% _______________________________________________________

Last year, 90 percent of WYA participants enrolled into postsecondary education. Many of them are choosing to attend post-secondary educational institutions, like the University of Nebraska at Omaha where ULN is a valued community partner in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. “The Community Engagement Center has been a great way to promote the mission of the Urban League of Nebraska and Project Ready,” said Jeffrey Williams, ULN program specialist. “We leverage the many services of other partners in the center to help young people engage in educational pursuits.” Today, UNO enrolls more black undergraduates than any other four-year school in the state. In 2014, UNO awarded bachelor’s degrees to more than 100 black students a year – up from just 65 during the early 2000s.

A comprehensive approach.

Students needing assistance don’t need to wait until high school to get the help they need. The ULN education and youth development department provides services to students from elementary school through college: • Afterschool Programs - ULN facilitates afterschool programs at King and Franklin elementary schools and a nationallyrecognized program at Monroe Middle School. •T ruancy Reduction - ULN reengages middle and high school students who have been identified as having chronic and excessive absenteeism. The Truancy Reduction Program is a court recognized diversion program aimed at offering students a chance to stay out of court if they stay in school. The program assists students with removing the barriers that cause chronic absenteeism. •V iolence Prevention and Intervention - The ULN Community Coaches are recognized by Juvenile Court as a diversion program that works with youth who are, or could potentially be under the supervision of the Office of Probation. The program utilizes effective intervention strategies to ensure youth successfully complete the provisions and terms of their supervision, do not re-offend and/or become the victim of a crime. Urban League of Nebraska staff are already busy preparing to serve hundreds of students this school year, like planning for the annual Striving for Success Summit, a day of empowerment for African-American males entering the 9th grade.

“It wouldn’t be right for me to not pay it forward,” said Mitchell. “It’s what my village taught me.”

25.0% _______________________________________________________ 0.0% _______________________________________________________ 2012-2013 2013-2014 Omaha Public Schools Urban League of Nebraska Program Participants

Read more online at

Learn more at or call (402) 453-9730. REVIVE! Omaha | 35

SPONSOR PROFILE: Metropolitan Community College by Derek Rayment

Education can open up doors to a lifetime of happiness and success. Sometimes, scholarships are the key that helps open up those doors. Every day at Metropolitan Community College, students are utilizing scholarships to help them discover talents and interests that lead them to a passionate career. MCC is training and educating students for meaningful jobs in technology, culinary arts, business, health and public services and workplace skills that will serve them well in their careers. One of those MCC students is Destiney Carodine, a culinary arts and management student who used scholarships to follow her dream of becoming a culinary artist. Carodine was the recipient of three scholarships —the Gilbert C. Swanson Foundation Scholarship, the Jordan Lee Whitney Memorial Scholarship and the Jack Kawa Culinary Arts and Hospitality Scholarship. “I began searching for college options at the end of my high school career. After discovering some of the costs associated with earning a college degree, I explored different scholarships,” said Carodine, who was encouraged by family and church members to pursue a postsecondary education. “The staff at MCC is very

36 | REVIVE! Omaha

helpful and are always willing to help me with my coursework. After college, I want to work in the restaurant field and decide if I want to open up my own restaurant. My education means a lot to me because it gives me great opportunities.” Scholarships extend to other areas of study as well. Liberal Arts student Christian Boose was awarded the Walt Allen Memorial Scholarship and it helped her realize her dream of earning a four-year degree before pursuing a graduate degree in the future. “My education is like a gateway to me for what you’re going to do once you are out of school. In five years I see myself at a university finishing my degree and preparing for graduate school,” said Boose, a graduate of Omaha’s Benson High School Magnet. “I chose a Liberal Arts twoyear degree because it is flexible. I might want to teach someday and give back to the community. This degree can help me down that path.”

Foundation scholarships are available through online application during application windows each spring and fall quarter. Students can manage their own information, apply for multiple scholarships and check award statuses from any computer. Scholarships awarded can be used to cover the costs of tuition, books, fees or other supplemental expenses, such as equipment or tools. Other forms of financial aid are also available through FAFSA. Through the MCC Foundation, the College offers dozens of scholarships in many different areas. Generous individuals and organizations have created scholarships benefiting students in areas like nursing, culinary arts, natural science, general studies and much more. For more information about the MCC Foundation and scholarships available, visit or call 402-457-2346.

With the rising cost of education, the words “college” and “scholarship” should go hand in hand. During the 2015 calendar year, MCC students submitted 2,383 scholarship applications. MCC

©2016 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Styles of Evolution

Join us on the 4th Friday of Every Month for the

Clothing for Men, Women & Students

For more information, visit

(402) 455-2426

Revive Business Network Luncheon or call 402-490-1542

2522 N. 24th Street • Omaha

Answer the Call

African-American boys and young men are asking for you. Become a Greeter, Reader, Role Model and Mentor. Hundreds of African-American men and others have answered the call. Please join us. We can match the opportunity to your schedule. One immediate opportunity is the

7th Annual

Striving for Success: IN PARTNERSHIP WITH:

Black Male Summit September 13, 2016

For more information or to get involved, please call 402-502-5153 or email us at

Register Now!



Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.