Five Orchard students have been selected for the spring 2019 Academic All-State team by the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA).
Those honored were Blake Hoke and Ryan Wilhelm, boys golf; Avery Cheatum, music; Kaci Wickersham, music and girls track; and JoCee Johnston, girls track.
A maximum of two students are nominated by their schools per NSAA activity for their individual academic excellence, leadership and significant contributions.
To be eligible for the honor, students must be a varsity player or organizational leader who has played a significant role on the team or in the organizational activity and must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 93 percent or 3.7 on a 4.0-point scale or the equivalent. Any student, freshman through senior, is eligible for the honor.
Antelope County recipients by school:
Music - James Kester and Jacob Long
Boys Track & Field - Jacob Long and Eli Thiele
Boys Golf - Hunter Reestman and Allyson Wemhoff
Music - Grace Rittscher and Allyson Wemhoff
Boys Track & Field - Colton Wright
Boys Golf - Ben Wilcox and Josiah Wriedt
Music - Amber Miller and Mitchell Petersen
Boys Track & Field - Mitchell Petersen and Prestin Vondra
Girls Track & Field - Kimberly Frey and Amber Miller
Boys Golf - Hunter Charf and Austin Rice
Music - Austin Rice and Trey Svatos
Boys Track & Field - Cole Belitz and Ashton Higgins
Girls Track & Field - Emma Bixler and Claire Whitesel
Boys Golf - Blake Hoke and Ryan Wilhelm
Music - Avery Cheatum and Kaci Wickersham
Girls Track & Field - JoCee Johnston and Kaci Wickersham
Music - Breanna Bartak and Marissa Preister
Girls Track & Field - Lexi Bode and Faith Kinney
After facing similar challenges, area churches in Orchard, Ewing and Page have joined forces to create a thriving after school CCD program.
Five churches, including Orchard’s Cornerstone Bible Church, United Methodist Church and St. Peter Lutheran Church, the United Methodist Church in Page and St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Ewing, came together last fall to create one large CCD group.
“It’s neat how in small towns, you can come together - different denominations, whatever it may be,” Candice Hoke, CCD teacher, said. “We still socialized and did the music together and then we went to our own classrooms for the educational piece, so it’s just a win-win for everybody.”
The group is open for any preschooler through sixth grader, and meets every Wednesday after school for an hour and 15 minutes at the United Methodist Church in Orchard.
“All those kids go to school in Orchard,” Hoke said. “They just walk a block to the Methodist church. We have rotated someone different bringing snacks because they’re hungry after school, and then we have 15 minutes of music together and then we all go to our own classrooms to have the class,” Hoke said.
Hoke explained that the snack is “more than just milk and cookies.”
“It wasn’t really snacks, it was more like a meal,” Hoke said. “So, if they had a busy week, or for some, it was probably their supper.”
Hoke said that having snack and music before the class was a great way for the kids unwind after a school day before sitting through another class.
“It was just a good little meal and the music just seemed to be the perfect fit to make it the best use of our time and theirs,” she said. “They just participated better in class.”
Attendance for the program has been great, according to Hoke.
She said that for the Catholic church, only around six kids were in the CCD program. Now, the group always plans for around 40 kids every Wednesday.
“We just, all year, continued with as many as we started with, and maybe a few more,” Hoke said. “At the beginning, when things were new, fun and exciting, it’s good that people are involved, but I guess we took it as a positive that they kept coming and probably even had a few more in the end.”
She said that having the location only a block from the school helped attendance.
“It wasn’t easy for kids to say, ‘You know, I don’t want to go today.’ It was like, they got out of school and just started walking down the block,” Hoke said.
She said that not only was the location a plus for the group, but the facilities were also great.
“It’s got a great set up with the classrooms downstairs and the big lobby area up front, just very ideal to what we were doing,” Hoke said.
She also noted that the facility has a great speaker system with a big screen that was perfect for the 15 minutes of music.
Throughout the school year, moms and members of the various churches volunteered their time to bring snacks, lead activities or teach the classes.
“Kerry Wickersham and I teach the Catholic students,” Hoke said. “Amanda Shabram was very involved in organizing things there at the church. Kate Watson was often in charge of music.”
Hoke said they had a sign up sheet for volunteers.
“The first semester was filled before I even got to see it, and second semester, we barely had to pass it around before it was filled,” she said.
Others who have been instrumental in keeping the program thriving in its first year were Pastor A.G. Turner, Amanda and Jeff Shabram, Rita Shabram and Kate Watson, as well as the different moms that volunteer.
“It was just a real collaborative effort because I know we’ve all kind of struggled to find teachers or to get kids to come,” Hoke said. “It just worked.”
Three Orchard students were selected for 2018-19 Winter NSAA Academic All-State honors.
Orchard student-athletes recognized were:
Boys Basketball - Mason Hoke
Girls Basketball - Avery Cheatum
Speech - Erin Schwager
The Nebraska School Activities Association and the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association recognize high school students, based on their individual academic excellence, leadership and significant contributions made to their NSAA activity.
A nominated student must be a varsity player or organizational leader who has played a significant role on the team or in the organizational activity during the seasons for which nominations are accepted. The student must have a minimum cumulative grade point average, in all curricular subjects, of 93 percent or 3.7 on a 4.0-point scale or the equivalent. NSAA high schools or their cooperative sponsorship may nominate a maximum of two students per NSAA activity program.
Two Orchard students have been selected for the 2019 Cornhusker Boys State event in Lincoln this summer.
Juniors Houston Marino and Eli Macke will represent Orchard.
The son of Denise Ramirez, Marino is active in football, wrestling, track and powerlifting.
Macke is the son of Candace Moser and Michael Nelson and Dan and Caitlyn Macke. He is involved in football and wrestling.
After creating a sports co-op with Clearwater and Ewing, one of main items of discussion at the Orchard Advisory Board meeting on Monday night was the purchase of new uniforms.
Stephanie Cleveland spoke about the uniform decision before the board, giving an example of the school her kids were a part of in New York that had a similar merger situation, explaining that what those schools did was use the uniforms from both schools, with one sport using one school’s uniforms and a different sport using the other schools, until the merger was set firmly in place. The kids then came up with and voted on a new mascot and colors.
“The kids didn’t care. They just wanted to play,” Cleveland said.
It was discussed to have the kids involved in making the decision regarding a new mascot and colors before purchasing the uniforms, possibly having the kids vote on the final decision before taking it to the boards for approval.
Various options on paying for the uniforms were also discussed, including each school paying for one-third of the uniforms. Principal Cathy Cooper was hesitant about one school paying for all the uniforms as well as using fundraising to purchase the uniforms because of the flood relief efforts happening across the state.
“I don’t think fundraising would be in good taste right now,” Cooper said.
After discussion on purchasing new uniforms, the motion made was for the administration to proceed with new mascot, colors and new uniforms. Deanna voted nay, all others were in favor of the motion.
Extra duty contract assignments were also presented to the board. Assignments are as follows:
OC & OCE Sports Extra-Duty Assignments 2019-20:
High School Coaches: Football, Jeff Shabram; Asst. Football, Dan Roeber; Asst. Football, Jared Nolze; Asst. Football Volunteer, Aaron Schleusener; Volleyball, Suz Funk; Asst. Volleyball, Sierra Summers; Asst. Volleyball, Kray Funk; Cross Country, Jaimie Turpin; Boys’ Basketball, Brett Kaczor; Asst. Boys’ Basketball, Jarrod Long; Asst. Boys’ Basketball, Scott Young; Girls’ Basketball, Greg Appleby; Asst. Girls’ Basketball, Scott Leisy; Asst. Girls’ Basketball, Jackson Median; Wrestling, Dan Roeber; Asst. Wrestling, Paul Kester; Asst. Wrestling, Anthony Kester; Asst. Wrestling, Mike Zeggers; Golf, Bill Tabbert; Asst. Golf (if needed), Scott Leisy; Girls’ Track, Shannon Schumacher; Asst. Girls’ Track, Jeff Shabram; Boys’ Track, Jackson Medina; Asst. Boys’ Track, Dan Miller.
Junior High Coaches: Football, Mike Odell, Darin Wickersham and Matt Maxwell; Volleyball, yet to fill, KristinVandenberg and Rachael Cheatum (volunteer); Boys’ Basketball, Austin Twibell and Tyson Schutt; Girls’ Basketball, Lila Wondercheck and Morgan Buckendahl; Track, Karley Jackson, Karri Hickey, yet to fill and Kari Heiss (part-time volunteer).
OC Activity Extra-Duty Assignments:
Activity Sponsors: One-Act, Sarah Kesting and Mackenzie McClellan; Head Speech, Katie Schneider; Asst. Speech, Kristin Johnston; Yearbook, Katie Stepp; Close-Up, Dan Roeber; FFA, Jessy Hilkemeier.
Orchard Extra-Duty Assignments:
Activity Sponsors: Student Council, Shannon Schumacher (assisted by Denise Meyer when needed); National Honor Society, Denise Meyer; Vocal/Instrumental Music, Emily Heithoff; HS Quiz Bowl, Jim Schutt; JH Quiz Bowl, Jim Schutt.
Class Sponsors: Senior, Jim Schutt; Junior/Prom, Kalee Michaelson; Sophomore, Carrie Williamson; Freshmen, Jeff Shabram; Junior High, Lisa Cook.
Other: Activities Director, Jim Schutt; SAT, Cheryl Schwager, Cathy Cooper, Angela Tagel and Denise Meyer; 504, Cheryl Schwager; Skills USA, Carrie Williamson; Orchard Concessions, Joan Maple; Elementary Coordinator, Angela Tagel.
Clearwater Extra-Duty Assignments:
Activity Sponsors: Student Council, Shannon Schumacher; OC One-Act, Sarah Kesting; OC Head Speech, Katie Schneider; OC Asst. Speech, Kristin Johnston; National Honor Society, Kendra Shrader; Vocal/Instrumental Music, Sarah Kesting; HS Quiz Bowl, Connie Cronin; JH Quiz Bowl, Connie Cronin; OC Yearbook, Katie Stepp; OC Close-Up, Dan Roeber.
Class Sponsors: Senior, Dan Roeber; Junior/Prom, Bonnie Mitchell; Sophomore, Mike Odell; Freshmen, Laurel Miller; Junior High, yet to fill.
Other: Activities Director, Shelly Mlnarik; SAT, Shelly Mlnarik, Bonnie Mitchell, Deb Neumann, Kendra Shrader and Mike Sanne; 504, yet to fill; Skills USA, Mike Odell; Clearwater Concessions, Carla Jacob; Elementary Coordinator, Deb Neumann.
Cleveland was also present at the meeting to present a check to the board from Dusty’s Valentine’s Day flower sale. Dusty’s donated a total of $800 to Orchard’s Beef in Schools program.
“That should be a thank you to the community, too, because they’re the ones buying the flowers, so a lot of that came from the community,” Cleveland said. “This is the fourth year we’ve done it and that’s where we decided to put it this year.”
Another item of discussion was allowing the Nebraska Lawdawgs to rent out Orchard’s football field for home games this summer.
“I’d only worry about the summer work that’s going on because a lot of the time, everything in here is out of commission,” Cooper said.
Cooper also explained that the Orchard Advisory Board can’t make the decision alone because the field is shared with the town. The board decided to take the discussion to the city board.
Other discussion at the meeting included state testing days, Boy’s State representatives and make-up days. The next advisory board meeting will be May 6 at 5 p.m.
Orchard will have two new faces in the building for the 2019-2020 school year and one staffing change.
Mackenzie McClellan will be the new kindergarten teacher and Angela Tagel, the current kindergarten teacher, will be moving to the 5th and 6th grade position. Jessy Hilkemeier will be the new vocational ag instructor.
McClellan currently teaches at Elgin Public School. Hilkemeier currently works at the Antelope County News and previously taught at Madison Public School.
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