College of Saint Mary has announced the exceptional achievements of students with the release of the Dean's List for the Fall 2018 Semester. In total, 352 students were named to the honorary list.
"This is a tremendous honor and a testament to the hard work and dedication these students put forth throughout the semester," said College of Saint Mary President Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM. "Each individual on this list has displayed excellence in the classroom, while growing in character and developing lifelong leadership skills."
To qualify for the College of Saint Mary Dean's List, students must earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher after completing at least 12 semester hours as a full-time student.
An Antelope County student who earn a spot on the Dean's List was:
Briana Stelling - Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies - Junior - Orchard
Future planning was the main discussion at Orchard’s Original Board meeting on Monday night.
Board member Nathan Schwager brought up the point that people may not want to sit through the potential multiple-hours-long meeting between the Clearwater, Orchard, Ewing and Verdigre school boards on Jan. 30, in which Dr. Bob Uhling and Dr. Craig Pease will present information on various school options.
Because of this, members of the Orchard Original Board decided to condense the findings presented at the Jan. 30 meeting, and present the condensed findings to the public on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
The main topic of discussion during Orchard’s Advisory Board meeting was the AQuESST ratings, in which the Orchard Elementary School received a great classification, the Orchard Middle School received a good classification and Orchard High School received the highest classification of excellent. The Nebraska Unified District 1 as a whole received a great classification.
The next board meeting will be held on Feb. 6.
Orchard turned the first day back after Christmas break upside down — and around and around — thanks to hands-on engineering activities.
Alex Sukup, a mechanical engineering major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, spent the day at Orchard Public School. After a TED-style talk on engineering topics, she then led hands-on activities, including building roller coasters with the first- through third-graders.
“This is a lot of fun,” Sukup said after the roller coaster activity. “I’m with college kids all of the time, so to see the reactions of elementary students has been a lot of fun.”
Sukup said the program uses STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to educate the students. Other topics during the day included earthquakes with fourth- through sixth-graders and wind energy with the junior high and physics students.
Sukup, who is a junior from Norfolk, was invited to Orchard after sixth-grade teacher Jana Wilhelm learned of the Engineering Ambassador’s Network program over the summer at a science teacher convention.
Wilhelm said it’s a great opportunity for students to learn about engineering, especially from a female since it previously was a male-dominated field.
Sukup said she enjoys the program because it introduces so many youth to the career field.
“I want kids to be interested in engineering,” she said. “I never knew about engineering as a kid, so as long as they get the idea that science is an option for them with college, that’s really important.”
Wilhelm also planned for Sukup to assist several of her students who are constructing a stand for grow lights. While she has one, Orchard received a grant for three more grow lights over the holiday break and will receive them soon. She said the students will use PVC pipes to support the lights after receiving advice from Sukup at the end of the STEM-filled day.
“It’s been an incredible first day back to school,” Wilhelm said. “It’s really very energizing for all of us.”
Nathan Schwager of Clifton Insurance LLC secured a $1,000 Allstate Foundation Helping Hands® Grant to benefit Orchard Young Men’s Club. The grant will support Orchard Young Men’s Club’s mission to make Orchard a better place.
The Orchard Young Men’s Club received the grant for Schwager’s volunteerism, including his efforts to bring a community center building to Orchard.
“I care deeply for my local community and am proud to dedicate my time to volunteer with Orchard Young Men’s Club,” said Schwager. “This support from The Allstate Foundation will continue to help Orchard Young Men’s Club make our community a stronger, safer place.”
Lisa Cook has been driving to work for so long, she knows exactly how long it takes to get to Orchard Public School.
“It takes me about 27 minutes. I have it down to the second,” said Cook, a math teacher who commutes from Verdigre.
Cook isn’t the only teacher who travels every day. Nine of Orchard’s 23 teachers travel from different directions, commuting more than 450 miles each day combined.
Katie Stepp, an English teacher from O’Neill, said she enjoys the drive.
“I love driving when it is getting light out. There have been so many really cool sunrises that I get to watch,” she said.
What may seem like a normal commute to both Stepp and Cook, may seem outrageous to others. Cook said she doesn’t mind the travel because she loves her job.
“Not to sound cliché, but (it’s because of) the kiddos. They’re all pretty great and the staff here is great. I have amazing friends. I enjoy my job,” she said proudly.
With nine teachers racking up nearly 85,000 miles per year, that’s enough miles to travel around the moon 12.5 times.
The average American only drives about 12,000 miles per year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Stepp said there are many reasons she continues to commute, including the freedom that comes with teaching at a smaller district.
“I get a say in what I want to teach and how I want to teach
it. I have more support for the things I would like to try,” she said. “If I want to try a new book or teaching a different way, I have support as far as willingness to get the supplies I need as well as willingness for professional development.”
The travel time allows the teachers an opportunity to unwind. Kristen Johnston, who teaches Spanish and business, commutes from O’Neill with her two children, who enjoy pointing out each animal as they drive along. Emily Heithoff, a music teacher from Elgin, said she listens to audiobooks and takes the time to debrief from the constant noise of her classes of music.
Bob Evans, an industrial arts teacher from Crofton, called hitting a deer with his Honda Civic an “epic event.” Even with his car being totaled he still was able to find another vehicle and head to school.
Some teachers have been in accidents while others witnessed them. Tami Doerr, a special education teacher from Plainview, has been traveling to Orchard the longest. She actually witnessed a student drive off the road after sliding on black ice.
Cook not only witnessed an accident, but she also called emergency responders. Luckily the victim involved in accident survived, bit when Lisa made it to school she couldn’t help, but feel grateful for everything she had.
“First period I got into school and saw my students and, I just kind of like a delayed reaction,” she said.
Obstacle after obstacle, the teachers said they make the daily commute to ensure their students can learn and grow.
Even with the commute, the teachers said the drive is worth it.
“I can’t imagine leaving OPS,” said Heithoff.
The American Red Cross encourages people to help meet the urgent need for blood by resolving to give blood this January – National Blood Donor Month.
An upcoming blood donation opportunity will be available in Orchard on Friday, January 11. The blood drive will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 202 Cherry St.
It was an evening full of traditions at the 30th Annual Women’s Holiday Tea.
Originally scheduled for the Sunday before, the event was postponed, for the first time in thirty years, due to weather. However, the new date did not deter women of all ages from attending.
From two-month-old Konnor Finch to her great grandmother, 96-year-old Helen Wanz, more than 85 women attended the event, causing the group to add another table last-minute as more women filled the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall in Orchard.
“Our main goal is to kick off the holiday season with Christmas cheer and reminding everyone that Jesus is the reason of the season, while giving back to the community,” said Ashley Hauf, one of the members of Eve’s Girls.
“Every year, the event continues to grow. So many women from our community look forward to this night. We hope that women leave the tea with raised spirits ready to take on the holiday season,” Hauf said.
This year marked the fifth year that the Eve’s Girls group took over the Holiday Tea from the Daughters of Eve group who started the tea 30 years ago.
An Evening of Tradition
“The tea has become a tradition for some of those who attended 25-30 years ago, and now they are sharing it with their granddaughters and even great-granddaughters,” said Lynae Stelling, a member of the Daughters of Eve group.
The evening started with prayer and a meal, which included the Chinese chili that the Daughters of Eve group are known for.
“We wanted to serve that same recipe to our guests,” Hauf said.
Another tradition that was present during the evening was musical selections from the Heiss girls, Janice Mosel, Shari Ickes, Connie Mitteis and Lynae Stelling.
Eve’s Girls also brought the living Christmas card back the event, in which Hauf’s niece Desirae was behind a curtain acting as Hauf’s hands.
Among the decorations at the event was a pallet tree displaying each years’ homemade ornaments.
“I hope these ornaments spark some memories from the past teas for you,” Kalee Michaelson, a member of Eve’s Girls, said at the event.
“Every year when I see or hang past ornaments, it reminds me of past teas and all the beauty that comes with each night,” Hauf said.
“I think a lot of women were overwhelmed with past memories of joy from the teas that they have attended.” said Hauf.
This year’s ornament featured traditional Christmas colors or red and green and a pearl - the traditional 30th anniversary gift.
Eve’s Girls are also bringing back the tradition of printing a cookbook.
“The Daughters of Eve printed a cookbook many years ago that included recipes from women of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church,” Hauf said. “Eve’s Girls are in the process of collecting recipes from all community members of any gender or age.”
It has also been a tradition to end the event by singing “Silent Night”, which is Eve’s Girls member Desirae Schwager’s favorite tradition.
“We all have traditions in our families that we hold dear to our hearts, and it gives me warm fuzzies to see them get passed down from generation to generation, like this holiday tea was passed down to us,” Hauf said during the event. “Hopefully someday, we can pass it down to our daughters.”
The Daughters of Eve
Thirty years ago, Janice Mosel started the Daughters of Eve group, a group of young women from St. Peter Lutheran Church. The DOE started hosting the Holiday Tea every year on the first Monday in December.
Although Mosel moved away from the area in 1997, the group continued the Holiday Tea tradition.
“The first year, we invited every lady in the community through a phone call and asked them to bring a Christmas ornament for an ornament exchange,” Lynae Stelling, DOE member, said.
“After that, we started the tradition of making an ornament for the women to take home. I know they have become a collection for some women who have attended a lot of the teas,” Stelling continued.
In about 2011, the DOE started considering the tea coming to an end and decided to end the annual tradition after the 25th event.
“We put the word out that the DOE would love to ‘pass it on’ to another group or church in the community, as we hated to see it end,” Stelling said. “The next year, the younger generation of St. Peter ladies took it on and now have done it for five years. Us older ladies were and are very, very pleased to see it continue.”
“When they (the Daughters of Eve) decided to stop putting it on, Ashley and I decided we didn’t want it to end, so we asked from help from some friends and made it happen,” Schwager said. “The same eight of us have been meeting and putting it on for the last few years. This is the first year we’ve given ourselves a name.”
Eve’s Girls were pleased to have event founder, Mosel, attend the event this year.
“She lives out of state now, so it’s difficult for her to make it,” Hauf said. “She not only attended, but also performed with her sisters, which is one of our favorite musical acts.”
Preparing for the Event
From the theme and decorations to the meal and entertainment, a lot goes into preparing for the Holiday Tea.
“We always had to come up with a theme and color scheme,” Stelling explained. “Some years that was easier than others...Then there was the question of what soup to have, what color the tablecloths should be and what we should use for table decorations.”
Stelling explained that oftentimes, the DOE group would get together before the event to make over one hundred ornaments.
This year, Hauf explained that since it was all about traditions, “there wasn’t a lot of prep to do.”
“We actually picked this theme while meeting and planning last year’s holiday tea,” Schwager said. “Then, we keep our eyes open for ideas all year on Pinterest or in stores of wherever. We had a meeting as a whole group around the end of October or beginning of November to get plans nailed down - who’s cooking what, who’s purchasing or bringing what for decor, etc. The of course, we make the ornaments, prepare the food and get together to decorate.”
“It’s very easy to get caught up in the shopping and presents and all of the running around and stress of the holiday season that we tend to forget to sit back and remember it’s about celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus Christ,” Schwager said. “The holiday tea is just a beautiful way to let us all come together and take the time to reflect on this.”
Hauf considers the event a success. “Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with food, fellowship and friends is always a success in my book.”
Longevity was recognized Monday during the annual Orchard Fire Department awards banquet. Held at L Bar B in Clearwater, Orchard Fire president Josh Stelling and assistant chief Pat Bergman presented the awards.
Among those recognized were Duane Risinger for 40 years with the department. Risinger served as the assistant fire chief for one year and has been the chief for the last 38 years. He’s been an EMT for 37 years.
“The man, the myth, the legend,” Stelling said with a laugh. “He’s put quite a lot of time and non-paid effort into this.
Also honored for longevity were Jordan Volden, five years; Barb Schwager, 10 years; Dale Allar, 10 years; Dr. Troy Dawson, 15 years; Dennis Cooper, 20 years; Steve Dempster, 20 years; Todd Stelling, 20 years; Sylvia Cleveland, 35 years; and Todd Erb, 35 years.
Some exciting things are continuing to happen with the Orchard Public Schools Beef in Schools Program.
OPS will be hosting a beef raffle beginning Saturday, Dec. 8, and continuing through Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. Nine boxes containing a variety of prime cuts of beef ranging from prime ribs, filets, ribeyes, t-bones, and sirloins will be included in the drawings for this raffle.
Money raised will go back into the program. Those who wish to purchase tickets can do so at the gate when they enter Orchard site O-C basketball games or can do so by stopping by the Orchard Public School office.
Ticket prices are one ticket for $5 or six tickets for $25. Please help Orchard Public School fund its Beef in Schools Program while taking advantage of this opportunity to win prime cuts of home-raised Nebraska beef.
Furthermore, a second beef has been donated to the program. Joey Hausmann has donated a beef to be slaughtered and processed for our school in December. Members of the school are excited and appreciative that he has so willingly agreed to continue to assist their program so that their students can enjoy more locally-raised Nebraska beef.
All of those at Orchard Public School appreciate the support for their school and the Beef in Schools program.
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