Final version fall w 2017

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A publication of the


Celena Shepherd, Emily Torres and Bennett Hellman, and Milo Greder

2017 Westside Graduates Achieving Their Dreams Toe at the line, he leaned over, lifted his head, and waited for the signal to start the race. It all came down to this, the Class A state track final on May 20. Just four minutes and nine seconds later, Westside’s Milo Greder recorded the fastest mile in Nebraska high school history. The historic finish capped a career including two state championships in track and two state 1st runner up placements in cross country.

Student athletes often credit their coaches, determination, and their families for their success. Greder adds another element: Westside’s unique modular scheduling model. “Coming into Westside one of the things I was worried about was managing my time between sports and academics,” said Greder. “I am pretty proud that Westside helps out student athletes by using modular schedules. Modular scheduling will make my life at college more comfortable and easier because college schedules are very similar to what Westside provides.” Personalized learning has helped students of all backgrounds and interests find incredible success at Westside and beyond, proven in our Class of 2017. Darlondo Hill won a state title in wrestling, one of several athletic championships or 1st runner up honors earned by Warrior athletes. Preston Noll and Josh Militti both earned perfect ACT

scores and Westside High was recognized as an exemplary ACT high school last year. Bennett Hellman and Emily Torres were both accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point. Overall, our 2017 graduates accumulated an estimated $3 million dollars in college scholarships. Nathan Wallace made Westside history as the first Warrior selected for National Honor Choir, as ATSC won a record-setting five Grand Championships in competition. Celena Shepherd was part of the Westside journalism program named 4th in the nation at America’s High School Journalism Convention, and part of the Westside DECA team that sent an astounding 51 qualifying students to compete. “I’m proud of all of the unique opportunities that Westside offers,” said Shepherd. “It allows students to excel in whatever their passion may be. We have an abundance of extracurricular activities available to help students be as successful as possible.” Shephard also notes the importance of our community’s engagement within our schools. Dunkin’ Donuts, owned by Westside stakeholder and Bond Oversight Committee member Kris Brown, partnered with Westside High, allowing DECA students to take over marketing for the 90th & West Center location. Sales increased by 8%.

“This was a very valuable experience that only Westside could provide,” said Shepherd. “I want people to remember we truly are the lighthouse district. We light the way for others. Westside is a school that prepares you for your future.” And Westside is a district strengthened by the power and pride of an exceptional community and alumni base. Groups like the Alumni Association encourage all graduates to join together and look back on memories of winning the state championship, of listening to thunderous applause from the stage, of receiving that phone call about a scholarship or test score. This network also shares how the legacy continues, through updates about current students, reunions and programs in Westside Community Schools. We will be watching Milo Greder, Celena Shepherd, and all 2017 graduates with pride and anticipation as they begin this next chapter in their lives. We also hope they remember the light that guided them through their years at Westside, and return to help us ensure the lighthouse stays lit to guide future generations of learners no matter what path they choose. Good luck to the Class of 2017! We hope you accept our warm welcome to the Westside Alumni Association.


Fall 2017

Warriors – Over the past couple of years, your Alumni Association has worked diligently in an effort to enhance our “W” Newsletters. Our Board of Directors, the Westside Community Schools Foundation, and the Newsletter Committee are thrilled with our progress. We hope our alumni and stakeholders like the direction we have taken and appreciate our new graphics, more photos, and content. We are especially excited about our “Warrior Pride” feature stories. Our current “Warrior Pride” feature highlights some of our high achieving recent graduates and their input on how Westside helped shape their futures. We are excited to have the writing support of our newest author, Westside Community Schools’ Communications Director, Brandi Peterson. This past year, generous donations, sponsorships, and participation fees in the Westside Open golf outing allowed us to contribute to student programs at the high school, fund annual scholarships, as well as provide students and educators with equipment that cannot be obtained through the normal District budget process. Alumni Association Funds over $6,000 for Westside High School “Wish List”. $1,000

Inaugural “Red Event” honoring graduating seniors (Guidance Department)


2 pair of EnChroma Protanomly (color blind correcting) glasses (Science Department)

$2,300 VIVE Virtual Reality System (Science Department) $1,400 Spot Welder (Engineering and Technology Department) $400 Kayaks (PE Department) $400

Team Building (Math Department)

$6,300 TOTAL We also awarded $5,500 in academic and athletic scholarships. Please take a moment to read about these students highlighted later in this newsletter. Thank you for your continued support. Go Warriors! Jason B. Hellman, (‘90)

DLR Group Invited Students To Design and Build Key Component Westside Community Schools is receiving widespread praise for a unique partnership between the CAPS program (Center for Advanced Professional Studies), DLR Group, and Project Advocates, allowing WHS students to design and build a key component of the new Oakdale Elementary School. Last Spring, DLR Group, the architectural firm contracted to design Oakdale, invited Westside High students to submit designs for a new Oakdale Media Center desk, using wood salvaged from the historic, original school. Spencer Arnold, Grace Becker, Jacob Bouc and Wyatt Gosnell’s plans were selected and announced in a public unveiling. “Our overall thought was to just use as much reclaimed wood as possible,” Arnold told 3 News Now’s Emily Szink. The students, who graduated from Westside High in May, have worked all summer making their vision reality. Using Westside’s renowned shop and welding facilities, they worked with WHS teachers and other experts to build the desk themselves.“ I really think it’s preparing us for college and it’s giving us a head start compared to a lot of people,” Arnold told the Omaha World Herald’s Erin Duffy. He, and his three project teammates, all plan to attend college in Nebraska. This is one of 597 partnerships between Westside Community Schools and local businesses, up from 45 partnerships in just three years. Project Advocates, the group overseeing Westside’s Major Facilities Plan, hopes to see similar student-involved projects during construction at Sunset Hills Elementary and Swanson Elementary.


As educators, we administer tests to determine proof of understanding and growth. The same is expected of us as a school district, to present numerical evidence showing our students are growing cognitively under our teaching. I am proud to do that as principal at Westside High School; to tell you how our ACT scores rose in 2016-2017, 2.3 points higher than the state average. To tell you about our state and national awards and accolades for both students and our teachers. To tell you about how our learners not only succeeded on the field or on the stage, but in the classroom. I can readily share all of those statistics, yet that is not what drives me as an educator. In this newsletter, you read about the achievements of a few recent graduates and how they say our school fueled their success. These are only A FEW of hundreds of stories. Some learners are naturally driven and talented, some need extra incentive or attention. Some breeze through our halls without breaking a sweat, some bring us to tears because they accomplished what once seemed

impossible to them. Their smiles, their success, and their potential, are what make me so excited about this time of year. This August, hundreds of students will walk into our school. They will become future engineers, teachers, soldiers, doctors, performers, CEO’s, and small-business owners… IF they are given the tools to succeed. It’s up to us to help them find their passion, and by us, I mean educators, neighbors and alumni that make up Westside Community Schools. We have the ability to empower each and every one of these students, and to send them off ready and willing to make the world a better place. When they do that, when students like Milo and Celena achieve greatness and tell the world ‘I did this thanks to Westside,’ THAT is the evidence that really matters. We want the great test scores. We work for the awards and accolades. Ultimately, we will remember our students’ stories, the legacy continuing the tradition of greatness renewed every fall at Westside High School. Thank you for supporting Westside! Jay Opperman Principal, Westside High School

REUNIONS 1957: 60th Reunion | September 15-17 Preliminary Agenda Friday, September 15 1:00 – 11:00 pm: Our Hospitality Suite, Marriott Hotel - Gather and chat (whenever one arrives); light food and drink available. 6:00 pm: Transportation to WHS stadium to watch football game and return to Marriott (option). After game, continue gathering and chatting. Saturday, September 16 Morning: Westside High School Tour (option). Our Hospitality Suite at the Marriott Hotel will be open all day for you to come and go as you please.

The class of 1967 held their 50 year reunion on June 9th and 10th. Saturday night they celebrated at the Oak Hills Country Club with the Day Break Rock and Roll band. It was a great weekend thanks to chairman Kris Walker Goodman and the reunion committee. Bruce Moore and Kris Walker Goodman.

Mid-day: Lunch on your own, River City Star Missouri River cruise (option). The rest of the afternoon is open. Evening: Class Dinner Formal End of Reunion Sunday, September 17 Morning: Breakfast option, Marriott Hotel NOTE: Marriott Regency is the “preferred hotel.” A number of rooms have been “blocked out” for our usage, with a special 60th Reunion rate. Please make your own reservation: 1-800-228-9290.

Mike Abramson, George Proud and Steve Binder from the Class of 1977 40th Reunion. DJ’s Dugout was the venue for Friday, July 28 night and Saturday was at Mammel Hall.

Committee members: Julia Harvey, Rex & Carol Rehnquist, Dave Humphry (Chair), Joan (Wolfgram) Neubauer, Carolyn (Evans) Kalinski, Rita (Benesch) Glass, and Ed Zschau Please contact us at to plan your class reunion. 1987 30th Reunion was held June 23 and 24. Friday night was at Cedar Bar and Saturday at The Omaha Outward Bound School. Libby (Wax) Stiles, Lynn (Goldner) Cook, and Sheri (Wittamore) Diesing.

Fall 2017

Athletic Hall of Fame Jeff Seume-Class of 1972 Dr. Jeff Seume was a standout two sport athlete at Westside High School. A two year letter winner in basketball and a three- year letter winner in baseball, in 1971 he was selected to the All- Metro second team, State tournament All Star Team, and Metro Holiday All Star Team. In his senior year, he was selected first team to both the All- Metro and the All-State teams. He went on to play basketball at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. After graduating from college and seminary, Jeff served in Christian ministry for 37 years. He is still very proud of his roots and having graduating from Westside High School. “It was a privilege to attend such an outstanding school, truly one of the best in the state, if not the entire Midwest.” D. J. Rezac- Class of 1989 D.J. Rezac was a three sport athlete at Westside High School, and was a two year letter winner in basketball in 1988 and 1989, a three- year letter winner in football from 1987-1989, and a fouryear letter winner in baseball from 1986-1989. He was named an All-State linebacker by the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star in 1988 and 1989, and was also a member of the Omaha World-Herald Super 6 in 1989. He was also named the Mid-City Metro Football Player of the Year runner up in that same year. In baseball, he was named to the all-state team in 1988 and 1989. In 1989, he was named an American Legion Post Scholar Athlete and still holds the Westside High School American Legion batting average record at .492. After high school D.J. walked on at Indiana University. He played football there for one year and then transferred to UNL to pursue a business degree. married to Lisa Murante, a 1989 Westside grad and they have 5 children all of whom attend District 66 schools. D.J.’s father Dick Rezac was a teacher and coach at Westside High School from 1969 to 1985. Roger Hoffman (1967-1999) – Coach Longtime Westside High School math teacher and coach Roger Hoffman created a winning culture during his 33-year tenure as boys’ head golf coach. During those 33 years the WHS golf team won the state Class A championship three times. His golf teams were also state runner-ups six times, third place three times, and fourth place six times. His teams were metro champions nine times and metro runner-ups seven times, and district champions 10 times and runners-up 14 times. Westside’s dual record during those 33 years was 245 wins, 50 losses, and 2 ties. He coached one individual state champion (Joe Sloan) and 11 metro champions. Roger has been married to Linda for 55 years. Their sons, Brett and Scott, both had successful golf careers at Westside. Scott had a career average of 75 and won multiple individual metro, district, and invitational championships. Roger feels so honored to be named as a Hall of Fame Coach alongside the other great coaches in Westside history. Harley Schrager- Contributor Harley Schrager has made invaluable contributions to the Westside School District. Sixteen years ago, Harley and Beth Schrager started the Schrager Outstanding Coaching Award. The Schrager Award honors a head coach and a non-head coach and are presented this surprise award at our end of the year athletic banquet. Three years ago, Harley Schrager also established a Lifetime Achievement Award for coaches. Not only has Harley been a strong supporter of the coaches at WHS, he supported updates to the baseball field in 2006 and to the Champions’ Plaza in 2015. In 2004, former

DJ Rezac (‘89), Coach Lou Miloni (representing the wrestling team) Harley Schrager, Jeff Seume (‘72), Linda Schabloske Roh (‘91)

superintendent Ken Bird approached Harley to combine both the Westside Athletic Hall of Fame and Coaches Night of Distinction into one event. Held for the last 13 years its goal is to celebrate the outstanding tradition of Westside Athletics. His son Tony, WHS (‘95), an outstanding athlete at Westside, was a captain of both the varsity basketball team as well as the varsity baseball team; and was himself inducted into the WHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. Harley’s daughter Lois, WHS (‘99), was also an outstanding student, cheerleader, and yearbook editor. Harley Schrager served on the Westside Foundation Board of Directors for many years in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. 1976 and 1977 Wrestling Teams The 1976 and 1977 Westside High School wrestling teams were led by WHS Hall of Fame Coach Lou Miloni. The toughness he brought to the mat carried over to his wrestlers as they dominated Nebraska high school wrestling in both of those seasons. The 1976 WHS wrestling team won the state title for the first time in program history by 1.5 points over Columbus. That year, Westside would go undefeated in all tournament competition. Dave Walton and Kirby Clark were state champions, Roger Schwenke was a runner-up, and Dan Knight was the fourth- place finisher. The 1977 team won Westside’s second state title by 44 points and had the team title wrapped up before the semi-finals. Westside placed 8 wrestlers in the semi-finals out of 12 weight classes. The team won every tournament that year except for the Millard High Invite, and they won their fourth consecutive Metro conference tournament. At Districts, the Warriors had seven wrestlers in the finals out of twelve weight classes. That success carried over to the State Tournament as Westside finished with three state champions, Jeff Finley, Tom Boyer, and Bob Danenhauer, while Roger Schwenke was a runner up. There were three third place finishers, Keith Sortino, John Butler, and Mark Estey, and one fourth place finisher, Gary Niver.

Annual Alumni Scholarships $1000 Unlocking Answers Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to seniors who plan to pursue a career with emphasis on mathematics and sciences. Ava Bowman is the daughter of Donna Thomas and Gerry Bowman. Ava is attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. David Arti-Schuller is the son of Adina Schuller and Eduardo Arti. David is attending Drake University in Des Moines, IA.



Westside VI-VI 2017 is in your Future


6:00 pm Cocktails & Silent Auction 7:30 pm Dinner | 8:30 pm Live Auction Omaha Design Center 502 Cuming Street | Omaha, NE

$1000 Spirit of Service Scholarships: David Arti-Schuller also received the Spirit of Service Scholarship. Ashley Tyler daughter of Kristin and Chris Tyler is attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. David and Ashley each accumulated over 300 documented service hours while attending Westside High School.


Proceeds from Westside’s VI-VI 2017 will be used to invest in the f uture of our students by providing funds for the continuance of educational excellence and innovative learning opportunities.

$1000 Tom Hall Scholarship Bennett Hellman is the son of Courtney (Madson) and Jason Hellman (‘90). Bennett is attending The United States Military Academy at West Point. Bennett 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 Ravionne Pullum is the daughter of is Chameilia Kizzee and Robert Pullum. Ravionne is attending Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. Ravionne best exemplified former coach, Vic Porter’s approach to athletics and academics.

Saturday, November 25, 2017 12 p.m. | Westside High School Please contact Rob Laughlin: or Rick Berkshire: for more information.

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

Fall 2017

The Westside Open The 2017 Westside Open, Presented by the Hawkins Sisters, was held on Monday, June 26 at The Players Club. The morning round of golfers were greeted with lightning and rain showers. However the skies soon cleared, and after a cup of coffee and Dunkin Donuts all golfers were soon given the green light to begin play. Hundreds of familiar faces and plenty of newcomers turned out for a gorgeous day for golf. The Players Club staff did an excellent job of maintaining playing conditions despite the morning showers. Players took their shot at the popular Hole-in-One Challenge on holes three and sixteen, sponsored by H&H Automotive and McMullen Ford respectively. New additions to the tournament this year included the Putting Challenge which gave players a chance to win a split of the profits and a new golf bag donated by Ricky Anderson, (’05).

Hawkins Sisters - Kathryn Anderson (’02) and Patricia Stillmock (’05)

After the morning round, golfers went back to the clubhouse for a hearty lunch provided by First National Bank and refreshing beer provided by Brickway Brewery. Morning and afternoon groups had time to mingle with fellow Westside grads and friends of District 66 while practicing their putting and signing up for the evening’s raffle drawing. Americal returned again this year as our Putting Green Sponsor and RBC Wealth Management as our First Tee Sponsor. One Source The Background Check Company sponsored the golf carts for this year’s event. The Margarita Hole furnished by Julio’s and a hard lemonade stand by Patriarch Distillers each provided drinks between the morning and the afternoon shot gun starts. Each golfer also received a gift of two Grizzly Can Coolers decorated with the Westside shield. Access 66 Catering provided water for everyone and University Pub gave all participants commemorative koozies. Morning and afternoon golfers were invited to attend a delicious prime-rib dinner sponsored by Koley Jessen and the Doug Riley Family Foundation. After dinner Rob Owen (’87), Chairman announced the prize winners. This year’s flight prizes were sponsored by Jimi D’s Food & Spirits, Heartland Refrigeration and Wilson & Washburn. The tournament champions received a plaque created by Regal Awards. The Door Prize drawing was sponsored by Security National Bank. All Makes Office Equipment, American National Bank, N.P. Dodge, Terry Heskett Pro Shop and The Players Club all donated great raffle prizes including a flat screen television, a $500 dollar Visa card, and a round of golf for four at The Players Club with a Scotty Cameron Putter and an office chair.

First National Bank - Chris Hawkins (’99), David Cota (‘92) and Clark Laurtizen

Golf tournament volunteers sported red Under Armour golf shirts provided by Dundee Mortgage Services and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that this was a great day of golf for all. Please take a moment to review all the businesses and individuals who made this event possible at, We sincerely thank them all for their generous donations. We are looking foward to welcoming everyone back to The Players Club for The 2018 Westside Open on Monday, June 25th.

Koley Jessen – Nick Lesaik, Nate Burkman, Adam Cockerill and Margaret Hershiser.

Ricky Anderson (’05), Doug Riley (’67), Adam Froendt (’13) and Brett Froendt.

Dundee Mortgage - Pat Salerno and Chase Smith (‘03)

McMullen Ford - Meagan (Davis) VanGelder (’88) WAA Vice President

AmeriCal - Melissa and John Peterson

H & H Automotive - Reggie Pifer Hole In One Witness

RBC Wealth Management - Mike Rogers, Dick Kelley, Nate Eckloff and Blane McCann


Sept 15, 2017

Alumni Homecoming Tailgate Oct 6, 2017


Nov 25, 2017

Alumni Basketball


W CLUB MEMBER All Proceeds go to Benefiting Students at Westside Community Schools Join today at

BE ONE OF 100 to wear your pride.


April 1, 2018

Hall of Fame Nominations due June 25, 2018

The 2018 Westside Open

First 100 Warriors to donate $50 or more will receive an exclusive t-shirt.

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


ALUMNI SUPPORT 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



TAILGATE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 5-7 p.m. 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 Northwest at 7:05 pm. Please contact for more information.

Please make checks payable to: “Westside Alumni Association”

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

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

THE “W” NEWSLETTER WESTSIDE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION 909 South 76th Street Omaha, NE 68114-4599 402.390.2183 (Voicemail) | 402.390.2177 (Fax)

2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President: Jason Hellman (’90) Vice-President: Meagan (Davis) Van Gelder (‘88) Treasurer: Marc Lowe (’76) Secretary: Phyllis (Donaldson) Choat (’65) 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) Rob Owen (’87) Mark Sempek (’80) Denise (Haber) Swanson (’80) Tom Thompson (’83)