Wsf002 04 fall 2016 newsletter issuu

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A publication of the


Warriors in Tune

Left to right: Eli Young Band, Belles and Whistles, Remedy Drive

Through an enriching selection of elective courses, clubs, and groups, Westside has always helped launch talented young individuals into the world. Many of those have been called to be musicians and bring joy to ears across the globe. Everyone knows about 311, with three members who were once Warriors. Indie Rock fans will recognize The Faint, composed of four Westside graduates. Perhaps you were one of the millions watching Tim Halperin (‘06) make it to the final 10 males on American Idol in 2011. Or, maybe you’ve heard of the young Jack and Jack (‘14) duo who just recently became world famous after posting some videos on Vine. Other groups of recent graduates, Potash Twins and Clark and Company, are gaining momentum in the industry as well. We are proud of all of our stars and will highlight a few of the prolific musicians who once walked the halls of Westside High School. Jon Jones-Class of 1998-Eli Young Band “We really had a great music program at WHS and some very inspiring music teachers,” Jones remembers. At Westside Jon was involved in all the, “Cool kid stuff,” he jokes. He was in show choir, jazz band, band, and performed in musicals. Jon has a lot of fond memories from his time at Westside, where he made lifelong friends and grew as a musician.

His favorite class was show choir because it never felt like class, even though he had “two left feet” and struggled with the dancing part, as he puts it. “It was probably Mr. (David) Moore (choir) who helped me believe in myself enough to pursue music and Mr. (Roger) Groth (band) who set me on the correct path to University of North Texas to somehow make it all happen.” It was in college where Jon helped start the band and become the bass guitarist. The Eli Young Band is no stranger to the Billboard country charts and has had three singles reach number 1, including “Crazy Girl”, which was named the top country song of 2011. Ironically, “As a product of 90’s Rock music,” Jones explains, “…it seems odd that I helped start a country band that has been fortunate enough to tour the world over the past 16 years. That’s what I get for going to college in Texas!” Jon and his wife are expecting their second child and he looks forward to spending time with them while not on the road. Jon often misses Omaha and plans to attend his 20 year class reunion in 2018. Kelli Schilken-Class of 2014Belles and Whistles “Being a musician has been my dream since I was a little girl. I grew up watching my mom, (Jaymie) with my aunts, (Heather, Rachel and Allie Rizzuto) sing on stage

as Mulberry Lane. They are my biggest inspiration.” Kelli’s mom and aunts also graduated from Westside. Kelli entered District 66 in 7th grade and quickly started to blossom as a singer and musician. In high school, Kelli joined the Warrior Express and Simply Irresistible show choir groups. She also started performing in shows with Belles and Whistles. At Westside, Kelli was impacted by a handful of teachers. “My favorite teacher was Mr. (John) Brian. He is easily one of the most interesting and brilliant people I’ve ever met. He believed in me and my music.” Kelli’s favorite class was Dynamics of Global Intolerance with Mr. (Jon) Priester because of its impact on her life perspective. At the age of 16, she graduated Westside a year early to be able to travel to Nashville to launch her career. Today, Kelli performs and records music with her mother. The two spend a lot of their time traveling to Nashville to write and record songs, as well as touring around the Midwest to perform. The duo have opened for major shows including Lee Brice in Omaha on June 9, 2016. On September 23, Belles and Whistles, will have a CD release party at Bushwackers Saloon in Ralston, NE. “We’re super excited about this CD that we’ve put so much love into,” says Schilken. (Continued on page 2)


Fall 2016

It is pretty simple - I love being a Westside Warrior. I cannot imagine Courtney’s (’90) and my life without the foundation our Westside education provided. Our Warrior experience continues to thrive the second time around as we enjoy watching our children (‘15, ‘17, ‘18, ‘20) shape their own Warrior experiences. As education and society change, Westside remains a remarkable school district providing awesome opportunities for our students and community. We continue to celebrate “Warrior Pride” with our feature story. Alumni with professional music careers grace our cover. The toughest part is deciding which alumni to feature. Our Warrior music success is remarkable. I hope you enjoy learning more about our musicians. Our fall edition is full of celebrations. Congratulations to our Athletic Hall of Fame inductees, upcoming Alumni Association Hall of Fame Inductees, annual Alumni Scholarship winners, and our successful Westside Open alumni golf “tournament”. The Coaches night of Distinction and Athletic Hall of Fame Induction was a night to celebrate Warrior greatness. A day before the passing of beloved Coach Tom Hall, his 1980 State Championship basketball team was inducted. It was remarkable listening to All State alum Dean Thompson (’80) and Coach Hall’s youngest son, Steve (‘95) share their stories. It came as no surprise months later to read David Zach (’98), of Remedy Drive, mention Tom Hall’s British Literature class as “life changing”. When attending Westside parent teacher conferences, athletic games, or performing arts events I find myself wondering who is today’s “Coach Hall”? I know current teachers, staff, and administrators are shaping the lives of our Warriors.

Warriors in Tune (Continued from page 1) David Zach- Class of 1998- Remedy Drive An alumnus of Underwood Hills Elementary, David started his band (originally named Remedy) in Lincoln, NE in 1998 with his brothers Daniel, Philip, and Paul. The three other brothers left the band in 2010. The sole Zach remaining, David, is the lead vocalist and guitarist and lives in Nashville, Tennessee when he isn’t on tour. At the age tender age of 13, David knew he wanted to be a musician, but really fell in love with it in high school. When asked about something that shaped him at Westside, Zach said, “Mr. (Tom) Hall’s British Literature was life changing for me. His influence on my life and the way I think was significant.” David also confessed that he “…spent a lot of time not doing homework in the Social Studies IMC.” He dabbled in basketball freshmen year but enjoyed his time on the Amazing Technicolor Show Choir. For the past few years, David has been using his band as a platform to shine light on sex and labor trafficking issues. The Remedy Drive fan base helps fund their cause. “I spend a lot of my time overseas with an organization called The Exodus Road doing undercover operations in red-light districts.” After finding evidence of underage girls being sold by the hour, the group partners with local authorities to rescue the victims and arrest the oppressors. The band’s latest album, “Commodity”, is based on the issues of abolition, freedom, sex trafficking and child soldiers.

Speaking of our Administrators, we welcome our new Warrior Principal, Jay Opperman. Mr. Opperman is off and running. His is very active and engaged on the job. I even spotted Principal Opperman running the Chain Gang at our first home JV Football game. How could our boys and coaches not give their best effort and sportsmanship with their Principal on the sidelines? We welcome Mr. Opperman to our Warrior Family. The Alumni Association and Westside Community Schools Foundation would love to see you at one of our upcoming events. We will be busy this fall with our Homecoming Tailgate (FREE, Sept. 23), the Lighthouse Leader and Hall of Fame Dinner (Nov. 3) and our Basketball Tournament (Nov. 26).

UPCOMING EVENTS September 23, 2016

Alumni Homecoming Tailgate

November 3 , 2016

Lighthouse Leader/ Hall of Fame Dinner

November 26 , 2016

Alumni Basketball Tournament

June 26, 2017

The 2017 Westside Open

GO Warriors! Jason B. Hellman (’90)

The Westside Open Presented by The Hawkins Sisters Kathryn Hawkins Anderson, (‘00) and Patricia Hawkins Stillmock, (’05)

Annual Alumni Scholarships

The 2016 Westside Open held on June 27 was a success in every way! It was a golfing success. It was a camaraderie success. It was a financial success. Full of support and friendly banter, 213 golfers hit the links. Alumni, community members, elected officials, district employees and other professionals came out in full force to support Westside Community Schools. Rob Owen (’87) served as chairman. Kathy (Shaddy) Fridholm (‘72) played to “support the Alumni Association and the Foundation.” Kathy has fond memories of her time at Westside. She loved the open campus and modular schedule. Kathy said she enjoyed her days in high school and admitted, “I had fun, a little too much sometimes!” Memories continued to surface as people reconnected and were reunited through golf. Brian McQuire (’85) and Tucker Magid (’84) have remained friends since graduating from Westside and have frequently played in the event. In addition to the strong showing of support, the banter was alive and well. Golfers, ever so hopeful to win that Ford Escape or Liberty Jeep egged each other on, many only to slice or hook the ball. McMullen Ford and Baxter Auto Group Bellevue/LaVista were our hole-in-one sponsors. The golf outing ended with a prime rib dinner sponsored by Koley Jessen and The Doug Riley Foundation. Over 40 businesses and patrons generously donated door prizes. Please check out our Facebook Page for more sponsors and photos. The day is special because it brings so many people together to support Westside. Next year’s Westside Open will be held Monday, June 26, 2017 at The Players Club. Remember, “A bad day of golf always beats a good day of work!” Come be a part of the fun.

$1000 Unlocking Answers Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to seniors who plan to pursue a career with emphasis on mathematics and sciences. Patrick Nieto, Jr. is the son of Nancy and Patrick Nieto, Sr. He is attending the University of Kansas. Jace Wieseler is the daughter of Kristi Nichols and Jeff Wieseler. Jace is attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

$1000 Spirit of Service Scholarships: Abigail Lippincott is the daughter of Donna Walsh and Grant Lippincott. Abigail is attending the University of Pennsylvania. Isabella Saklar is the daughter of Amy Saklar-Behrens and Michael Saklar. She is attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Abigail and Isabella each accumulated over 300 documented service hours while attending Westside High School.

$1000 Tom Hall Scholarship Sam Frankel is the son of Drs. Jan and Harris Frankel. He is attending the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Sam was chosen to receive this scholarship for demonstrating the academic and athletic work ethic of former Boys Varsity Basketball Coach and English and Humanities teacher, Tom Hall.

$500 Vic Porter Scholarship Lynsey Curran is the daughter of Todd and Robyn Curran. She is attending the College of Saint Mary. Lynsey best exemplified former coach, Vic Porter’s approach to athletics and academics. Americal sponsored the putting green, a hole and angel golfers. Chad Pick (’97) Dan Torczon, Bill Wheeler, Melinda and John Peterson, Burke Harr, Joe Gzehoviak (’80) and Mert Cota (’89)

Fall 2016

Athletic Hall of Fame The Coaches Night of Distinction and Athletic Hall of Fame Induction was held at Legacy Hall on May 6, 2016. Ross Jernstrom, ‘74 was the master of ceremonies.

2016 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees Bill Hanley (’83) Bill lettered in football three times while he attended Westside. He was an Omaha World Herald All State Football lineman in 1981 and 1982. He was also selected as the OWH Defensive Player of the Year in 1982. Bill received high school All-American recognition by the National High School Association and the Bally Prep High School Association in 1982. Bill and his wife, Kelly, live in Fort Worth, TX. They have three children. Kim Lorenz (’99) Kim was a standout tennis player and a three-time state tennis champion. She was the # 1 singles player from 1997 to 1999. Kim has recently moved back to Omaha from Denver, CO to open Orange Theory Fitness. Ross Jernstrom. Contributor (’74) Ross lettered three years in cross-country. He set the school course record at Elmwood Park in 1973. Ross also lettered three years in track, where he competed in the 880, mile and two mile run. He received the “2003 Outstanding Service Award” by the Nebraska High Athletics Directors Association for his contribution to high school sports. Ross also received the Nebraska School Activities Association “ Distinguished Service Award” in 2006. Ross has emceed the annual Westside Scholar-Athlete Banquet since 1995. He helped create the Westside Athlete Hall of Fame in 2004 and has emceed the banquet. He helped create the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Ross and his wife, Julie, have two children.

1980 Boys Basketball Team The 1980 State Championship Boys Basketball team finished the season 24-2 under Coach Tom Hall. The Omaha WorldHerald and the Lincoln Journal Star named Coach Hall the Nebraska High School Coach of the Year. Not only were the Warriors State Champions, they were Holiday and Metro Champions. They defeated Creighton Prep 56-50 in the Holiday Tournament final. In the Metro Championship, the Warriors defeated Omaha Northwest 62-55. After defeating Omaha North, the Warriors headed to the State Tournament. In the first game, Westside defeated Omaha South 62-45. In the semi-final game they defeated Papillion 65-58. In the finals, the Warriors defeated a talented Lincoln East squad 63-55. Coach Hall described the team as very close knit both on and off the floor. They were a very unselfish team that loved to play the game and it was not hard to get them to practice. The Warrior World was sadden by Coach Hall’s passing on May 7, 2016. He left us a legacy of excellence in teaching and coaching. Rick McKeever , head coach of boys track and field and Reed Weber, assistant varsity wrestling coach received The Harley Schrager Coaching awards.

Alumni Hall of Fame 2016 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees Dana Bradford (’83) Mark Hasebroock (’78) Pete Ricketts (’82) Mike Saklar (’64) William Trowbridge (’59) Suzanne Hutchinson Verma (’95)

These outstanding alumni will be honored at the Westside Hall of Fame/Lighthouse Leader Dinner on Thursday, November 3, at Happy Hollow Club; 6:00 p.m. social, 6:45 p.m. dinner and program. To make a reservation, mail a $40 check payable to Westside Community Schools to Cristina Drelicharz, Westside Community Schools, 909 South 76 Street, Omaha, NE 68114. Reservations are due Monday, October 24. Inductees are selected by representatives from the Westside Alumni Association and the Westside Community Schools Foundation. Congratulations to this year’s inductees!

Reunion Recap: Class of ‘66 50-Year Reunion (Committee Members: Ken Bird, Dave DeBuse, Ken Hermsen, Dorothy Howard Goldfaden, John McCollister, Don Nelsen, and Bob Urosevich)

On July 22 and July 23, 2016, the alums of the Class of 1966, held their 50-Year class reunion. There was great attendance from all over the United States, which really solidified the camaraderie among this class and also gave time to catch up on 50 years of life experiences. Both Friday and Saturday evening were fabulous, and alums even managed a tour Saturday morning of the high school. Saturday evening turned out to be so special at the newly opened Zoo Grasslands Exhibit. The exotic elephants as well as Omaha Zoo CEO, Dennis Pate, were special guests to appreciate. Alums were even treated to a short tram tour to and from the front gate.

REUNIONS 2006: 10th Reunion | October 7 -8, 2016 Friday, October 7, 7 pm, Phelps Field Join us for a home football game against Lincoln North! (families welcome) Saturday, October 8, 10 am, Westside High School Walk-through of the high school, brunch and screening of senior video (families welcome). Saturday Evening, Reunion Party, location & time TBA (21+) FACEBOOK: Westside Class of 2006 CONTACT: Emily Ludwig Schaffer, Jayme Fowler,

1976: 40th Reunion | October 14-15, 2016 All classmates and friends of our class, are invited! Friday, October 14 7 pm–midnight Casual Meet and Greet with cash bar Omaha Design Center 1502 Cuming Street Minimal admission charge for the evening Following are a few comments from guests: “The WHS 50th was fabulous - - great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and get acquainted with new - - a shout out to the 50-Year Reunion Committee - - Thank you so much!” Jim Killerlain, Karl Kehm, Jim Estey and Don Albon.

Saturday, October 15 6 pm Cocktail hour 7 pm Dinner 8 pm Program Embassy Suites, $76 for the weekend event TO RSVP AND PAY: Or mail check to: Westside Class of ‘76 1027 N 184th St Elkhorn, NE 68022 FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNTED RATE AT EMBASSY SUITE: Call 1-800-EMBASSY and ask for the Westside Class of ‘76 Group Rate. There are a limited number of rooms at the Embassy Suites available October 13, 14 and 15 at a special discount rate of $129/night. Deadline for special discounted rate is September 13.

It was wonderful to see so many friends at the reunion! Thanks to the committee for a great job!” Ruth and Jim Woodland, Nancy Wood Kracke and Al Kracke

Saturday, October 15 Elementary School Mini-Reunion Lunches are being planned. If you would like to attend, or interested in coordinating an elementary luncheon, please let us know. Loveland – Lisa Skoog Oakdale – Julie Tuerk Rudeen & Jan Tuerk Dalton Paddock Road – John Hoich Rockbrook – David Morar Westgate – Amy Nelson Kowalski Please keep us updated with your mailing and email addresses. FACEBOOK: Omaha Westside Class of 1976 CONTACT: Hope to see you there!!

Fall 2016

Reunited: 1975 4x440 Relay State Championship Team The 1975 State 4x440 Relay State Championship Team Reunites With Coaches.

Westside Alumni Association

EXPENSE SUMMARY September 2015 – August 2016

In 1975, Westside High School won the State Track Meet. The four man team of Ron Hagman , Dan Overton, Steve Byrne, and Steve Galloway won the gold medal and set a school record that stands to this day. Alumni Events $1,449 / 7.79% WHS Activities $1,500 / 8.06%

Office Expenses $2,853 / 15.34%

Support of WHS $12,800 / 68.81%

CONNECT WITH US Follow and “Like” us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to see photos, reunion news, and current information on relevant events. WestsideAlumni @WestsideAlumni Keep up-to-date by updating your contact information online:

WHATCHA DOIN’? Ron, Dan, Steve and Steve met with their coaches Bob Klein, Rob Johns and Tom Mallisee on Friday, July 29 for the first time in 41 years, with the same baton they carried at the State Track Meet in 1975.

Be a fan of the Westside Alumni Association Facebook page and post on our timeline. We'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, November 26, 2016, 4 pm Westside High School Proceeds from this event benefit the Tom Hall and Vic Porter Scholarship funds. For our alumni, it is a time to hang out with many WHS friends and promote a good cause while having fun watching old former players still try and run the floor. The cost is only $10. We will begin Registration by 4 pm in the activity gym on Saturday, November 26. Anyone not registered by 4:30 pm will not be included. Games will start at 5 pm after the conclusion of high school basketball activities. The tournament concludes with pizza around 7 pm. To register: 1. S end an email to Rob Laughlin: or Rick Berkshire:, indicating you and/or your team (mention class yr) will be playing. Team captains can send an email indicating their class year and that they will be participating so we know the number of teams in advance is key. 2. B ring a cash or a check for $10 payable to the WHS Alumni Association with you on 11/26/16. 3. Call Rob at (402) 657-2293 or (402) 334-0900 to register. Play is limited to WHS alumni, guys or gals, and you need not have played on any basketball team in high school. But some ability to pass the ball is suggested, unless you are you know who. Any former WHS graduate is welcome, and you can sign up individually or as a class. Registering in advance, particularly by team with a tentative roster, allows brackets to be set up in advance. If you are unable to participate in the tournament, consider making a donation toward the Tom Hall and Vic Porter scholarships.

IN REMEMBRANCE The Westside Alumni Association honors and recognizes all deceased alumni. Visit:


Westside Alumni, My first few weeks have been focused on becoming more familiar with many of the staff members, the building, and the processes of the district. One of my beliefs for success hinges on relationships and I have enjoyed the ability to already sit down with close to half of the teaching staff individually. I realize this will not be possible with all of you, but hopefully over time I will meet many of you and learn more about the history, traditions, and stories of Westside. I would like to take this opportunity to begin sharing some of my background. My path to Nebraska involved miles traveled for me. I grew up in Fargo, ND, graduating from Fargo North High School in 1983. Sports occupied a great deal of my time. Baseball, ice hockey and soccer filled the four seasons and for the most part kept me out of mischief. I attended the University of Minnesota for too many years according to my father, graduating in 1989. It was my involvement in residence hall life that made me realize working with people was my passion. With a degree in Physical Science Education, I answered an ad for a teaching job in Hastings, NE. My professional career has consisted of 11 years of teaching physics and physical science, two years focused on technology and curriculum, two years as an assistant principal, and 12 years as a building principal. Twenty-five years of my career have been in Hastings with a two year mid-career loop to McCook, NE and Lincoln, NE. Originally, I planned to work in Nebraska two years and then go back to Minnesota and the 10,000 lakes. As I said earlier, relationships are important. I met my wife Tiffany in Hastings which led to a significant course adjustment. We have been married 24 years and have four children. Tiffany has taught English for most of her career, but she also served as an assistant principal in McCook. Our children’s ages range from 22 to 12. Patrick, our oldest, will attend graduate school this fall. Elizabeth, age 20, is a third year nursing student. The two younger children will attend Westside Community Schools. Daniel will be a sophomore and Katherine a 7th grader. I am excited to be a part of Westside. Visibility and communication provide the foundation for strong relationships and continued excellence. I look forward to meeting many of you over the coming years. Sincerely, Jay Opperman

WESTSIDE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION 909 South 76th Street Omaha, NE 68114-4599



Ginger Steinhausen for her donation in remembrance of Dr. Glenn Steinhausen (‘70) ANNUAL WESTSIDE ALUMNI

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 5-7 PM New Venue: John L. Hoich Westside Alumni House 1101 South 90 Street

Enjoy burgers, drinks and tailgate fare before heading to the stadium to watch the Warriors take on Omaha Central at 7:05 pm. Hosted by the Westside Alumni Association and the Westside Foundation

909 South 76th Street Omaha, NE 68114-4599 402.390.2183 (Voicemail) | 402.390.2177 (Fax)

2016 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President: Jason Hellman (’90) Vice-President: Meagan (Davis) Van Gelder (‘88) Treasurer: Marc Lowe (’76) Secretary: Phyllis (Donaldson) Choat (’65)




If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Alumni Association, please mail your gift to: WESTSIDE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION 909 South 76th Street Omaha, NE 68114-4599 Please make checks payable to: “Westside Alumni Association”

Directors: Steve Achelpohl (‘68) Ricky Anderson (‘05) Rick Berkshire (’72) Mark Dudley (’73) Mike Guinane (’74) John Hoich (‘76) Curt Huston (’81) Rob Laughlin (’75) Beth (Williams) Leach (’98) Kristin Lynch (’89) Debbie (Moss) McGrew (’88) Rob Owen (’87) Mark Sempek (’80) Denise (Haber) Swanson (’80) Tom Thompson (’83)

If you are a parent receiving this newsletter rather than the alumnus, please ask them to update their address with us.

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