Winter 2017 newsletter

Page 1

A publication of the


2016 Hall of Fame & Lighthouse Leaders

Left to Right: Westside Alumni Association President Jason Hellman, Suzanne (Hutchinson) Verma, Mark Hasebroock, William Trowbridge, Mike Saklar, Dana Bradford, Pete Ricketts, and Westside Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Blane McCann

The Westside Hall of Fame and Lighthouse Leader Dinner on November 3, 2016, was truly a night to celebrate. Six prominent alumni were inducted into the Westside Hall of Fame and two couples were recognized as Westside Lighthouse Leaders; the most ever honored at this event. Westside’s Director of Communications Brandi Petersen was the emcee for the evening. She had the pleasure of introducing Dana Bradford, Mark Hasebroock, Suzanne (Hutchinson) Verma, Governor Pete Ricketts, Mike Saklar and William Trowbridge as the 2016 inductees into the Westside Hall of Fame. Chrisi and John Hughes and Jackie and Terry Kroeger were then announced as the well-deserving Lighthouse Leaders. Each honoree shared impassioned words about the honor and their connection to Westside.

Among all of the incredible achievements of the 2016 Westside Hall of Fame inductees, their highlights include: Dana Bradford (‘83) serves as Chairman and CEO of Waitt Brands, and he is a Governor of the Knights of Aksarben. Dana is a board member of Innovation Campus, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Omaha Community Foundation, and 75 North. Mark Hasebroock (‘78) is a visionary businessman who founded Omaha-based, one of the nation’s largest online retailers of home furnishings. Suzanne ‘Suzi’ (Hutchinson) Verma, MAMS, CCA (‘95) is a Certified Clinical Anaplastologist with the Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics in Dallas, who provides facial prosthetic reconstruction to patients with disfigurements due to cancer, trauma and birth defects.

Pete Ricketts (‘82) has risen to the top in both business and politics. He founded Drakon, LLC, served as President and Chief Operating Officer in his family’s business Ameritrade, served as a Director for the Chicago Cubs, and was elected as Nebraska’s 40th Governor. Stan ‘Mike’ Saklar (‘64) has become a respected ambassador for tens of thousands of homeless men, women and children in our city through four decades of service with the City of Omaha Planning Department and as the Executive Director of the Siena/Francis House. William Trowbridge (‘59) is a Poet Laureate whose 435 poems have been featured in more than 30 anthologies, textbooks and periodicals. His work has netted awards including an Academy of Poets Prize, a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from multiple institutions. Continue on page 2


Winter 2017

Happy New Year! When I sit down to write the President’s Letter for the “W”, I always wonder who reads this? Early graduates? Recent grads? Parents? Do they find it informative? Inspiring? I guess you could say my mind races. Then, I read Principal Opperman’s notes about current Warrior success. I read thank you notes mailed to the Alumni Association. I read about events like the cycling club winning back-to-back state championships (with the help of Alumni Association seed funds). I see photos from class reunions that the Alumni Association help coordinate. I re-read the bios of our newest Hall of Fame Inductees and Lighthouse Leaders. Could they really all be Westside graduates? I browse the long list of Inaugural “W Club” members. All these events, people and accomplishments remind me how lucky we are to be Warriors and to have graduated from Westside. Westside Community Schools is truly a remarkable place. Westside has been a leader since 1952 and remains a leader today. Our teachers, administrators and staff may retire, but our culture of excellence continues. Your Alumni Association, with the cooperation and support from the Westside Community Schools Foundation, helps keep Westside special. Speaking of special, I would like to recognize and thank Deb (Moss) McGrew (’88) for her long and dedicated service to the Alumni Association. Deb recently retired from the board where she served as president and vice president, chaired the Homecoming Tailgate and helped on the Golf Committee. Thank you, Deb. You are another example of what makes Westside great! I hope you enjoy our Winter 2017 edition of the “W”. GO Warriors! Jason B. Hellman (’90)

2016 Hall of Fame & Lighthouse Leaders (Continued from page 1)

Left to Right: Terry and Jackie Kroeger, Chrisi and John Hughes, and Westside Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Blane McCann

The 2016 Lighthouse Leaders were recognized for their unmatched service throughout District 66: Chrisi and John Hughes have been instrumental volunteers by helping with classroom assistance, holiday parties, teacher luncheons, coaching, school improvement projects, VI VI, fundraising, and countless hours devoted to the Show Choir programs at Westside. The Hughes are also fervent supporters of the Westside Foundation. They co-chaired the successful Westside Bond Initiative campaign that is funding massive and much needed renovations to District facilities. Jackie and Terry Kroeger (‘80) are incomparable advocates and supporters of some of the most successful programs across Westside Community Schools, including years of service at Swanson Elementary, serving as Swim Team Parent Organization co-presidents, chairs, and poolside volunteers. They have held leadership roles with the Vocal Music Parents Association and Warrior Theatre, and revived the Rising Stars Show Choir camp. Through it all the Kroegers have made generous donations to numerous District projects including performing arts upgrades and Champions Plaza. Terry serves on the executive committee of the Westside Community Schools Foundation. Congratulations to these eight honorees. Their achievements reflect impressively on Westside, and we could not be more proud. Full bios and a video presentation featured at the dinner can be found at

Woody Bradford and Kathy (Carney) Encell (‘59)

Clark and Emily (Wahl) Lauritzen (‘98) with Paul Meyers (‘83)

Kolleen Thompson and Rick Berkshire (‘72)

Westside Homecoming Tailgate

The Annual Alumni Homecoming Tailgate on Friday, September 23rd, was held on the grassy field behind the John L. Hoich Alumni House. There were beverages, hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, and tables full of alumni from every decade of the Westside family—from 1950’s graduates to future graduates. Every table was packed with alumni, teachers, and district leaders who mingled and shared stories about their ties to Westside. Conversations included kids talking about their new elementary school class and teacher. All could shake hands and converse with well-known alumni in the community, or even crack jokes with longtime graduates who came out to relive fond memories of the past. Many alumni in attendance had fascinating ties to Westside. Among these graduates

was Bruce Moore (’67), who taught first and second grade at Loveland and Underwood Hills from 1971 until 2004. He also coached football and wrestling for Westside. Others included former Nebraska Congressman and State Senator Brad Ashford (’67), who is a 2004 Westside Hall of Fame inductee. Julie Gibson-Beier (’78) and Scott Beier (’78) were also in attendance, and are the parents of the 2016 homecoming king. This is what the tailgate was all about: sharing stories, learning about the community, and being a proud Warrior. A big thanks to our Official Sponsors for making the event possible: Tim and Linda Daugherty, Thomas Hood, Clark and Emily Lauritzen, Kimberly and Andrew Robinson, and Michael Staenberg. The alumni community is a web of connections to learn from, contribute to and build stronger

2016-17 Warriors Cycling Club Congratulations to the 2016-17 Warriors Cycling Club for winning the Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling Series overall team trophy for the third consecutive year! WHS’s JV and Varsity Girls teams both took 1st place as did Varsity Boys. JV Boys took second.

Many of the athletes placed well at individual races to accumulate enough points to win overall honors. They were: Ella Vraspir, 1st JV Girls; Ben Fischer, 1st JV Boys; Elise Choquette, 2nd Varsity Girls; Danielle Dircks, 3rd Varsity Girls. Many thanks to the Westside Alumni Association for providing the initial funds to start the Warriors Cycling Club.

for tomorrow. Look for more stories and company to enjoy at the next Homecoming Tailgate on September 15, 2017!

Homecoming Game The Alumni Homecoming Tailgate led right into the Homecoming Football Game against Omaha Central at Westside’s Phelps Field. At halftime the 2016 Homecoming Court took the field to celebrate their nominations. At Saturday’s Homecoming dance Carlee Guyette and Ethan Beier were crowned Homecoming Queen and King. The Warriors took home the win, 31-20. At the end of the game fireworks exploded above to mark the homecoming festivities for the weekend, celebrate an exciting win over Central, and to show pride for the Westside Warriors.

Winter 2017


Valley View Junior High Reunion

1957: 60th Reunion | September 15-17 Committee : Dave Humphry, Chairman Julia Harvey, Rex & Carol Rehnquist, Joan (Wolfgram) Neubauer, Carolyn (Evans) Kalinski and Buzz Zschau. 1967: 50th Reunion | June 9 & 10 Friday, June 9, 6pm–11:30pm Regency Tennis Club, 606 Regency Parkway Featuring: Zemog’s Mexican Buffet & Cash Bar Saturday morning, June 10 Golf Outing hosted by Guy Ingles Time TBD Tour of the High School Saturday evening, June 10 Oak Hills Country Club, 12325 Golfing Green Drive Cocktails at 6pm, Dinner at 7pm, dancing to follow with Daybreak Rock & Roll Show To RSVP and pay: Or mail check to: Westside Class of “67” c/o Kris Goodman, 17206 Fairway Drive, Omaha NE 68137 More info on FACEBOOK: Omaha Westside Class of 1967 For any other questions: Kris Goodman,, 402-934-4844 Thom Neese,, 402-709-1222 1972: 45th Reunion | July 21 & 22 Presently it will be a one-night affair, unless someone volunteers to step up and plan a second event. Please contact Rick Berkshire for more information. 1977: 40th Reunion | July 28 & 29 Friday, July 28 DJ’s Dugout, 777 N 114th St, Omaha NE

In the spring of 1987, the last students walked the halls of our beloved Valley View Junior High. Now some of us will be coming together again to remember. This past year through Facebook, the alumni of Valley View Junior High School have “rallied the troops” for those District 66 students who attended Valley View. Eighth grade graduates from Oakdale are also invited. We have almost 500 members now, and are encouraging anyone who feels a tie to Valley View and the neighborhood to come and join us. We have rented the gymnasium at the old school for the night of September 9, 2017. The reunion will start at 6 pm, and will run until 10 pm. We will be at the old school decorating and getting ready after 4 pm. Included in the reunion will be dinner, guest speakers, and the opportunity to tour the building and see the beautiful recent remodeling project. The price of a ticket for your meal will be $25. If you would like to register or would like to help plan the reunion, you may send correspondence to:, or to Kent Steinke (‘92), Valley View Reunion Committee Organizer 2652 Marvin Circle, #1 Alliance, Nebraska 69301 Phone: 308-655-0694

2006 Reunion Recap Class of 2006 celebrated its 10-year reunion Columbus Day weekend. Eighty alumni plus significant others joined in the festivities. Emily Ludwig Shaffer and Jayme Fowler coordinated the reunion.

Saturday, July 29 Mammel Hall, 6708 Pine Street Omaha NE Committee Members: Robert Westphal, Mark Estey, Lisa Jo (Becker) Brunkhorst, Cheryl (Albright) Classen Atkisson, Barbara (Moore) Brand and Kelly (Spires) Williams Contact: Kelly (Spires) Williams, Left to Right: Tim Maides, Emily Ludwig Shaffer and Brian Warzak.

1976 Reunion Recap Forty years went by and the four-day weekend party still felt like another wonderful and exciting day at Westside High School. Nearly 300 alumni, spouses and guests attended to celebrate our successes as a group and as friends. Left to Right: Mark Donovan, Chris (Roach) Cable, Cyndi (Mitchell) Shelton, Mariann Padgett, Melanie (Snyder) Coon, Vicki (Palleck) DeBoer, Pam (Duis) Shields, and Cindy (Smith) Stowell

24th Annual Alumni Basketball Tournament On November 26, 2016, twenty-five basketball players from six different graduating classes gathered to play in the 24th Annual Basketball Tournament. There were 24 men and one lady Warrior who formed four teams representing 2007, 2009, 2015 and 2016 with players from 2005 and 2010 included as well. There was a wonderful moment in an early game in which Regan Johnson, the sole lady Warrior, hit a game winning shot for the Class of 2015. Way to go Regan! At the end of the day, the Class of 2007 was declared the winner for a fifth straight year. Commemorative t-shirts were distributed again to the winning team and to the Class of 2016, in recognition of its first year of participation. Thanks to Rick Berkshire (’72) who has hosted the event almost since its inception. Rob Laughlin (‘75) co-hosted and was joined by alumni board members Steve Achelpohl (‘68) and Curt Huston (’81) who provided pizza by Little Caesars. Proceeds from the players and donations help augment the Alumni Association’s funding of the annual Tom Hall Scholarship (for a current Boys Varsity Basketball player) and the Vic Porter Scholarship (for a current Girls Varsity Basketball player).

THANK YOU We would like to express our most heartfelt thanks to the Westside family for the support given to us after the passing of Nick Combs (‘02). Many of Nick’s friends, classmates, football and basketball teammates stopped by to visit and share memories. We saw so many faces from Westside, it’s hard to thank everybody. The insurmountable grief we had was lightened by YOUR support and we cannot thank the Westside Family enough. With heartfelt thanks to all, Jack and Shirley Combs Shane (‘95), Jonathan (‘04), and Tammy (‘92)

I am in the process of writing my memoirs for my kids and grand-kids. Looking back on my life, it became obvious that District 66, and especially Westside, prepared me extremely well academically, and I would like to extend my wholehearted THANK YOU. I would especially like to thank the English department. I hated writing when I was in school, and they taught me what I needed anyway. After Westside, I earned two degrees from Dartmouth, an M.D. from Harvard, Board Certification in Plastic Surgery, and have had a successful Plastic Surgery career. But more than that, I now love to write, and have published 40 papers in International Plastic Surgery Journals, written and recorded dozens of medical tapes, etc. But more than that, I have written over 1,400 four line poems for my wife, and children’s books for my kids and grandkids, and now my memoirs. Left to Right: Paul Fewell, Trae Meeks (‘16), and Colt Anderson (‘07) in air with ball


I would hope that my English teachers would be pleased, and also all the other teachers and staff at Westside. I have also had a very enjoyable avocation in music, and would like to thank Darwyn Snyder for his encouragement in band. Thank you very much,

May 21

Westside High School Graduation Baxter Arena

May 24

Omaha Gives

June 26

The Westside Open Presented by The Hawkins Sisters

Sept. 15

Annual Alumni Homecoming Tailgate

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

Oct. 6

VI VI 2017

Ron Tegtmeier (’61)

Winter 2017

new year h a p py

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best for the New Year. As an alumna of Westside High School, your involvement and contributions make an invaluable impact in our District. In 2016, the Westside Foundation has contributed over $100,000 to Westside Community Schools. Our grants reach a large number of students in a variety of educational disciplines. A hallmark of our efforts is the ability to continue to fund Outdoor Education—a program that builds community, serves as a real-life connection to science and creates lifelong memories for every 6th grade student in every elementary school. In addition, we have funded musical instruments for our esteemed band program, enhanced microscopes for the science program at Westside High School and granted funds for additional sewing machines for the Family and Consumer Science program at Westside Middle School. We are so grateful to you for helping to support the continuance of educational, artistic and athletic excellence for our students and community. We are successful due to the continued dedication and loyalty of our alumni. Go Warriors! Laura Iliff President Westside Community Schools Foundation



Westside alumni provide constant examples of the endless opportunities awaiting our students. We want you to know, as ambassadors for our school, that the tradition of excellence you helped create within these walls continues. We never know what our young people will accomplish once they leave, but we recognize and celebrate every milestone they achieve while they are Westside Warriors:

raey wen

Thank You to our Inaugural W Club Members! WARRIOR:

Tim & Linda Daugherty Thomas Hood Clark & Emily Lauritzen Kimberly & Andrew Robinson Michael Staenberg SQUIRE:

Fred & Sally Bekins Foundation Lynn Krelle-Gaither Kayla & Chris Hawkins Cindy Heider Randy Horn Doug & Kari Krenzer Wendi & Scott Kroeger Lippincott Family Foundation Dean & Jessie Rasmussen D.J. & Lisa Rezac Dana & Andrew Schmillen Sue & Steve Seline SHIELD:

yp p a h

Cathy Clark David & Bethany Clark Dodie Douglas Gary D. Epstein Ed & Lynn Fleming Friedel Family Foundation Chuck Garlock Lynne Friedel Gellman James & Lori Gigantelli John & Jennifer Glazer David & Whitney Goldner William & Deborah Guild Molly Hallett Amy & Terry Hanna Greg Havelka Roger & Sharon Herring Eric Hofschire Shari Hofschire Chris & Cathy Hoyme Laura & John Iliff Sherry Kaiman Rick & Nicole Kelley Kevin Kerr Nancy Landen Kerr Sarah Konigsberg Richard J. Kutilek Robert A. Laughlin Cynthia Madden Leigner Sue & Peter Maier David Martin John & Deb McCollister Todd & Barb McQueen Lance Meyerson Laura Havelka Miller Susie Kutilek Moore Larry & Mary Morrissey Jason Parker Andrew Parker Doug & Connie Paskach Dennis & Jessica Pate Michelle Patterson Dennis Peterson Linda (Leisch) Peterson Maryanne Ricketts Lisa Johnson Ringer Teresa & David Rogers Terri Schrager Dan Severa Chip Spielhagen Robert E. Taren Joyce & Daniel Templeton Athene Tenney Bill & Angie Thorell Del & Phyllis Toebben Todd Urosevich Timothy & Mary Wahl Kathy Waters Mike Williams Kristin Williams Woodward Family Foundation Rob & Jennifer Zatechka

Dave Carl John Clifton Kimberly & Carl Falk Mary Fieber Jeffrey Glass Walter Graham Pendery Haines Jason & Courtney Hellman Scott Hinckley Mary & Jim Jansen Eileen (Finn) Kroeger William Lake Lauren Ledger Sonja Barton Loar Jenny & Scott Meyerson Gunner Mossblad Ann Galloway Olipnant Diana Price Paul Pupkes Julie Roffman Sandi Sawyer Jay Shukert Joan Smith The Tangdall Family William Trowbridge Erik & Susie Wagner Francia (Fran) Witt Rosie Zweiback

• Two CAPS students were awarded $5000 scholarships, a first as part of this unique partnership created between local businesses and our Center for Advanced Professional Studies.

• Since Spring 2016, Westside has had two students achieve perfect ACT scores, Josh Millitti and Preston Noll. These two students are also National Merit siht Semi-Finalists. ekat ot ekil dluow I

na sA .raeY weN eht rof tseb yrev eht uoy hsiw ot ytinutroppo elbaulavni na ekam snoitubirtnoc dna tnemevlovni ruoy ,loohcS hgiH edistseW fo anmula • Elizabeth Berry, a freshman at WHS, was .selected tcirtsiDfor ruothenielite tcaCodeCrush pmi conference

Laura Alley Rick Berkshire Casey & Ed Fehringer Mike & Katie Grier Lloyd Kilmer Jim & Diny Landen

at UNO this fall. Only 40 students from

ytinummoC edistseW ot 000,001$ revo detubirtnoc sah noitadnuoF eacross distsethe W Midwest eht ,610are 2 nchosen I to take part A .senilpicsid lanoitacude fo yteirav a ni stneduts fo rebmun egral a hcaeinr the stnall-female arg ruO .event sloohencouraging cS STEM taht margorp a—noitacudE roodtuO dnuf ot eunitnoc ot ytiliba eht si slessons troffe rfor uoyoung fo krawomen. mllah seiromem gnolefil setaerc dna ecRED neic&sBLACK: ot noitcennoc efil-laer a sa se• vrBridget es ,ytinMizener, ummoca s2016 dliugraduate, b was LANCE: Nancy Ayoub selected ashone of only two Nebraska l a c i s u m d e d n u f e v a h e w , n o i t i d d a n I . l o o h c s y r a t n e m e l e y r e v e n i t n e d u t s e d a r g t 6 y r e v e r o f Deb & Sam Brower Dennis Belitz margorp ecneics eht rof sepocsoSteven rcim Carter decnahne ,margorp dnab demeetstudents se ruo ronamed f stneAP muScholars. rtsni Only 108 Paul Brown students nationwide received the recognition. Scott Carlson Charlotte Cummings-Honeycutt dna ylimaF eht rof senihcam gniwRachel es lanDaneff oitidda rof sdnuf detnarg dna loohcS hgiH edistseW ta Phyllis & Norm Choat Bill Cutler loohDeSordi cS elddiM edistseW ta mar• goThe rp eWarrior cneicSMarching remusnBand oC was one of Jim & .Jodie Mark & Jill Dietrich Mark & Kristi Frei Jill Gettman Bill Hanley Jason & Liz Hartman C.L. & Patty Landen Rick & Cathy MacInnes Debbie Hillmer Mersfelder Thomas & Kelley Maxwell Melissa & Pat Regan John Rood Katherine Rue Sheri & Bob Shonka Bob & Maureen Toy Ron & Linda Wax Josh Weiss Steven M. Williams, M.D. Walter & Lareeni Wood

dna citsitra ,lanoitacude fo ecnaunitnoc deunitnoc eht ot eud lufsseccus era eW

VICTORY: Carl Adrian Suzie Falk Ahlstrand Sandra & Hesham Ali Steven R. Anderson Brett & Stacey Atlas Greg & Melissa Betts Brent Bierman Molly & Rick Brady Ann & Dennis Christiansen

LOYALTY: Shelly & Arnie Ban David Beavers David Boyer

the first programs highlighted by WOWT eht troppus ot gnipleh rof uoy during ot lufaetlive argbroadcast os era ethis W fall; they achieved multiple top honors at marching .ytinummoc dna stneduts ruo rof ecnellecxe citelhta band competitions throughout this season.

The Dworak Family: Gus ’75, Alex ’07, Lisa ’08 & Philip ‘14 Alison Roach Fox Janet Golden Sharon Marvin Griffin Randall Hallett Kenton & Anna Hargis Kelly Hastings Kathryn Hawkins Anderson Ian Holmes David J. Humphry William King Wendy Kirkle Rick & Ann Kutilek Linda Jackson McPhail Bruce Moore Dr. Jeremy Passer Gary & Kim Petersen Cathi Reida Kay McKibben Rubendall Ellen Scott Craig Smith Sally Stalnaker Patricia Hawkins Stillmock Linda Stroud Rob Tegtmeier Christine Waldmann Tucker Christine Frink Voracek Mark Wheeler John & Sara Young Debra E. Young

.inmula ruo fo ytlayol dna noitacided

• The Westside Competition Spirit Squad (Dance and wasoG selected to perform !srCheer) oirraW at a Kansas City Chiefs preseason game, and at a national fficheer/dance lI aruaL showcase at Walt Disney World tnedinisOrlando erP this December.

noitadnuoF sloohThis cS ylist tinuofmachievements moC edistsegrows W daily at

Westside High School. We humble ourselves that perhaps we as educators played a role in mentoring and guiding these incredible students, but we have no doubt that they have been inspired by the leaders who walked the same hallways they did, not so long ago. We are grateful for the inspiration, leadership and guidance you as alumni continue to provide for our school and our learners. Jay Opperman Principal, Westside High School

YTINUMMOC / NOITAROBALLOC / YCACOVDA We apologize for any omissions due to printing deadlines.

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

the 2017 westside open presented by the hawkins sisters

M O NDAY, J UNE 2 6 , 2 0 1 7 4-Person Texas Scramble SHOTGUN START: 7:30AM OR 1:00P M Awards Banquet begins at 5:30pm


ALUMNI SUPPORT THE “W” NEWSLETTER 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

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

Please make checks payable to: “Westside Alumni Association”

2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President: Jason Hellman (’90) Vice-President: Meagan (Davis) Van Gelder (‘88) Treasurer: Marc Lowe (’76) Secretary: Phyllis (Donaldson) Choat (’65)

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

The Players Club

12101 DEER CREEK DRIVE OMAHA, NEBRASKA sponsorship and registration available online



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

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)