Emily O’Kief, an Seward High Senior, was selected the November Youth Rotarian of the Month and recognized and honored at the recent Seward Rotary Club noon luncheon meeting on Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 at the Jones Bank Auditorium. Emily is the daughter of Stacey and John O’Kief. She was introduced by Rotarian Phil Bangert of the Seward Rotary Youth Rotarian Committee and she was presented a Rotary Club banner and information on Rotary and Rotary International.
While Emily is very involved with a host of extracurricular activities at Seward High, she is also a lead scholar at Seward High! She is always on the SHS Academic Honor Roll and a longtime leader in the SHS National Honor Society with a current 4.1 GPA.
She is the official student representative on the Seward School Board of Education, selected by the faculty and administration. She was also selected an Outdoor Education Counselor for many years. She is one of the lead Student Ambassadors for Seward High and has participated in the SHS Quiz Bowl program.
Music has a priority in Emily’s life and she is a leader and a longtime-four year member of the SHS Swing Choir, she is a member of the SHS Select Choir, she has been involved with the musical her entire high school career. Emily was a member and leader of the SHS Marching Bluejay Band-serving as the band’s Drum Major her senior year and the SHS Wind Ensemble for four years. She has participated in a host of special choirs and honor band programs over the years as well as the SHS Pep Band!
Emily was a member of the SHS Track Team and Cross Country and lettered in both activities. She also was a member of the SHS Soccer team.
She has been involved as a leader in the SHS One Act program all four years and a leader with the SHS Speech team, participating in Drama Team and Duet competitions-named a District Champion in Speech and a State Qualifier the last two years! Emily participated in the VFW Voice of Democracy Speech Contest. She has been involved over the years in a host of activities at the Nebraska State Fair in the Education Division.
Emily is also very involved in the SHS FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) program. She is a member of the SHS Key Club and involved in many of their service projects, such as the Multi-Cultural Day.
Emily is a member of the Bluejay Leadership Team (Student Government) and has been selected to be a member all four years of her high school career and currently serves as the Leadership Team’s Student Body President. She was selected one of the two RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) last year and represented the Seward Rotary and Seward High at the state RYLA week-end leadership seminar.
Emily has been employed as a child care provider, worked at Mustard’s Last Stand – a concession stand near Malcolm, and currently is employed at the Rivoli Theater in Seward at the concession stand and where needed.
In the area of “Service Above Self,” Emily has been a volunteer Seward Memorial Library Assistant and enjoys working with youth at the annual youth education outdoor program and the various youth activities hosted by the SHS Show Choir. She has been a longtime volunteer as well through her service club project with Key Club and FBLA at Seward High.
Emily is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and a voice of the youth in their congregation.
While she is still very much undecided on her college choice, she is “looking” at Boston University, with a major in Molecular Biology, but that is not a finalized, definite choice as of today-she is still deciding and looking at other options.
Emily was presented with a Book Scholarship from the Seward Rotary Club and will again be honored and thanked in May at the SHS Senior Honors Night at the SHS Theater. At that time, the Seward Rotary Club will announce the Seward Youth Rotarian of the Year and presented that student with the Youth Rotarian of the Year Scholarship. One Youth Rotarian is selected every month by the Seward Rotary Club to an SHS Senior, with the application available in the SHS Counselor’s office.
The annual GFWC Nebraska Federation of Women’s Club’s Inc. annual “Girl’s Only” Writing Workshop was held on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at the Seward Civic Center in Seward, NE. It was coordinated and sponsored by the GFWC/NFWC in an effort to promote writing for women of high school age and older. Approximately 60 participated in the annual writing workshop promoting both the writing of poetry and narrative writing.
Participating from Seward High were Emma Bales, Kylie Edgington, Dani Lopez, Jazmin Lopez, Kaylie Nelson, Liz Rongo, Abby Wignall and Kacia Wasser.
SHS instructor, Mellissa Pohl served as the sponsor for the girls at the all day workshop. The girls were sponsored by the School District of Seward High Ability Learner program, the GFWC Seward Woman’s Club and the GFWC Seward Junior Woman’s Club.
State Project Chair for the event was Jean Kolterman of the GFWC Seward Woman’s Club, who serves as the GFWC/NFWC Fine Arts Chair. The writing workshop coordinator was Dr. Lauren Gatti of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, assisted by students from her UNL university writing education class- including UNL students Meghan Straub, Sidney Parizek and Abbigail Mazour.
Following the opening session of welcome, introductions and a message on writing, the girls broke into groups to study writing of poetry and personal writing. Local, Lincoln author and writer, Lu Pitsch spoke to the participants and share her writing story and the various successes she has enjoyed as a writer, during the working lunch-speaking on what it is like to be an aspiring writer. The lunch was hosted and prepared by the GFWC Seward Woman’s Club members. The GFWC Seward Woman’s Club also hosted the morning coffee and afternoon break as well!
Another writing session for the groups was held in the afternoon and the day concluded with a sharing of writing in an open mic session. Following the writing workshop, the girls and their sponsors were invited to the local Chapters Books and Gifts local book store.
At the conclusion of the day, materials and free GFWC/NFWC Anthologies were distributed to all the participants of in the writing workshop-along with information and addresses on various writing contests and opportunities in Nebraska. Another workshop is planned for 2020, with details to follow.
Students attending the event were from across Nebraska and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Schools represented at the annual GFWC NFWC “Girl’s Only” Writing Workshop included Gretna High, East Butler High, Seward High, Stanton High, Bennington, Dorchester and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Seward High Junior, J. J. Metschke was declared the winner in the recent American Legion District 12 Oratorical contest at the Nebraska National Guard Museum on Sunday, November 03, 2019 at 2:00 pm and was held in the museum’s Jones Bank Theater . He is the son of Jonathan and Amy Metschke of rural Seward. The contest required J. J. to present a ten minute, memorized speech on some aspect of the US Constitution and then draw one of four US Constitution Amendments and speak extemporaneously on that amendment for three to five minutes.
Area C American Legion Vice-Commander-Bonnie Brewer welcomed the group on behalf of the Legion and local Seward American Legion Post 33 Commander-Jim Ehlers welcomed the group to Seward and the Nebraska National Guard Museum. He saluted the youth involved in the contest and invited the group to visit the museum following the presentations. Ehlers also served as the speakers escort to and from the preparation room. Also present and welcoming the group was local American Legion Nebraska District 12 Commander David Glantz.
J. J.’s speech on the constitution was title “America’s Favorite Pastime” and he compared the US Constitution and Amendments to the game of baseball. He drew Amendment #24 on the elimination of the poll tax and other election required taxes and spoke on the history of the amendment, impact of the change and again used the analogy of baseball. The other amendments offered in the draw were Amendment 12, 20 and 27.
J. J., upon being named District 12 Oratorical Champion was awarded a $100 cash scholarship from American Legion Nebraska District 12 and a gold medal. He was also awarded the first, annual American Legion Ne District 12 Oratorical Champion - Thomas Bosmenial Memorial Trophy, designed by Tim Moravec of Awards Unlimited in Lincoln and sponsored by the Seward Arts Council. The engraved chrystal trophy was topped by a special blue glass star. The late Thomas Bosmenial was a long time champion of many American Legion Oratorical competitions representing District 12 and Seward American Legion Post 33. His memorial trophy was presented by Thomas’ mother-Anna Downing-awarded to the District 12 Champion –J.J. Metschke. Ironically, Metschke and Bosmenial both were on the same speech team at SHS when Bosmenial was a senior and Metschke was a freshman!
Judges for the oratorical contest included US Veteran Greg Holloway of Bee, NE, Concordia University Senior-Wyatt Woodman of Kenesaw, NE- a history and museum studies student and Anna Downing of Ulysses-speech judge and longtime promoter of the American Legion Oratorical program. Noah Fields served as the official timer for the contest. Gerry Meyer, Executive Director of the Nebraska National Guard Museum served as the location host for the speech contest. Refreshments followed the competition in the John Cattle Memorial Room at the museum
J.J. Metschke now advances to the Nebraska American Legion Area C oratorical contest to be held at the Seward Civic Center on Sunday evening, December 1, 2019 at 7:00 in the original building-in the Seward Woman’s Club room/the West Fireplace Room. The winner at the Area C contest will advance to the State American Legion Contest in January of 2020. The students are asked to do exactly the same activity- a ten minute, memorized speech on the US Constitution and then speak on one of four US Constitution Amendments 12, 20, 24 or 27.
The Seward Rotary Club donated dictionaries to the area Third Grade Students at Seward Elementary, Our Redeemer Lutheran in Staplehurst, St. Paul Lutheran School in Utica, Utica Centennial Schools, and St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School. Each student in the Third Grade received a student dictionary and encouraged to save it and use it in future years as well. The Rotarians spoke on the many benefits of the dictionary and showed the students all the extra features of the dictionary that were given to the students to keep and take home at the end of the school year. Extra dictionaries were also donated to give to new arrivals in each classroom. Note: St. John Lutheran 3rd Grade received their dictionaries from a memorial from Esther and Truman Prange Memorial from the Prange family.
Classrooms receiving the dictionaries include the classrooms of Michelle Smith, Amanda Clouse, Suzi Paseka, Jamie Moore, and DeAnn Warren –all at Seward Elementary, Alissa Hoxmeier at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School and the Third Grade class at Our Redeemer in Staplehurst taught by Keely Vought. Also dictionaries were given to Grade Three at St. Paul Lutheran in Utica taught by Roberta Luce and the Utica Centennial Third Graders in classes taught by Chrystal Jorgensen and Jared Zysset.
This is an annual national project of many of the Rotary Clubs across the USA, to promote literacy in our schools-both private and public. Local Rotarians presenting dictionaries included Mark Suhr, Clark Kolterman, Ken Schmieding, Chuck Matzke and Jan Matzke, Jonathan Metschke, Greg Zabka, Matt Dominy, Michael Meyer, Greg Butcher, Jane Rehmer, Shelly Nitz and Ron and Bea Niemoth.
PHOTO: Rotarians Greg Zabka and Greg Butcher presents the dictionaries to Michelle Smith and her third grade class at the Seward Elementary School.
Named Top Nebraska High School at the 2019 Ne State Fair-First Place Winners Honored at PRIDE Rally
At the recent Seward High PRIDE Rally, Seward High was named the recipient of the annual State Fair Education Division’s Top Award-The Sweepstake Championship Award Trophy for their student’s outstanding participation and success at the recent education competitions at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island-named Champion High School in the Education Division of the Nebraska State Fair! The students from SHS competed in a variety of performance and static contests, with students competing in education contests on August 24 and 25 at the State Fair. The awards were presented by Melissa Pohl, SHS State Fair Education sponsor.
The contest was sponsored by the Nebraska State Fair, their Education Division and the NEBRASKAland Foundation. Over 5000+ entries created a record number of entries for the Education Division of the Nebraska State Fair. The award was based on points from number of entries by the school and results/awards by the students. First went to Seward High, Second was awarded to East High and Third Place went to York. Seward won a large, first place trophy. This is the sixth consecutive year Seward has won the first place Sweepstakes Trophy-named Top High School in the Nebraska State Fair Education Division!
Two individual Sweepstakes Awards for 6th Place was awarded to Freshman Noah Fields and Senior Bailey Mooney. Both won a large, sixth place trophy from the State Fair Education Division.
There were 17 First Place Awards by Seward High Students in the 2019 State Fair Education Division Contest. First Place Awards were presented to Poetry-First Place-Noah Fields, Poetry-First Place-Ethan Galusha, First Place-Bailey Mooney, Poetry Recitation/Poetry Out Loud-First Place-Nolan Whitney, The Freshman Quiz Bowl Team-First Place- Noah Fields, Elianah Wunderlich and Eli Adams, High School Quiz Bowl Team-First Place-Jarod Harris, Isaiah VanBeek, Ashton Conner, Sam Schroeder, Jacob Miller, Community Service Individual-First Place-Quilts For the Homeless”-Tatum Criner, Community Service-Group Project-First Place-SHS FCCLA Suicide Awareness and Prevention Project-Hannah Kolterman Wagner and Miriam Voehl-Co Chairman. Short Story-First Pace-Emily Manley and Andrew Alley-First Place-Impromptu Speaking.
The SHS First Place winning students were all called to the stage and honored.
The Seward High “Jays” Quiz Bowl Middle School and High School teams were named the Champions in the recent State Fair Quiz Bowl contest at the State Fair in Grand Island on Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25, 2019 with teams from across Nebraska-featuring general knowledge questions. The Champion SHS Freshman Team included Noah Fields, Elianah Wunderlich and Eli Adams. The strong-first place champion SHS Quiz Bowl Team members included Jarod Harris-Captain, Isaiah VanBeek, Ashton Conner, Sam Schroeder and Jacob Miller. First place winners each won $100 scholarship to the college of their choice, a plaque, and rosette for each event. All participating contestants were given a free pass to the fair and a tee shirt.
Seven Seward High Seniors were recognized by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for an essay on Americanism that was rated Superior and the students were each recognized with the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge’s George Washington Honor Medal and special George Washington Honor Certificate. The essays were originally part of a class assignment in their Speech Class at SHS, as each was asked to write on “My Concept of Freedom” and present the essay in a manuscript speech format.
The essays were then entered into the national essay competition, with the judges selecting the top essays for George Washington Honor Medals.
The SHS students honored included Ariana Anderson, David Clark, Emma Kerkman, Antonio Lopez, Gemma Seevers, Matthew Sherman, and Taylor Meese. These Seniors were surprised with the awards, as the essays were written during their Sophomore year at SHS, with Clark Kolterman as their teacher.
The awards were presented by Clark Kolterman and Jill Johnson at the recent PRIDE Rally on Thursday, Oct. 17th, 2019 in the Seward High Theater before the entire student body.
The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge was conceived by the late Don Belding, a founder of the national advertising firm of Foote, Cone and Belding. Belding, along with E.F. Hutton and Kenneth Wells, founded the institution in November 1949. Shortly thereafter, they enlisted the active support of General Dwight D. Eisenhower to draw up a summary of basic freedoms – The American Credo – which became the heart of the new organization’s message and the philosophic basis of its programs.
Two decisions made in the early 1950’s would shape the Foundation’s public image: