Skip to main content


January 2023

George Ayoub

Class of 1968
Alumni Liaison

Volume 8 | Number 1

Welcome to Rise, the voice of Grand Island Senior High alumni and friends. We show up every other month in over 7,000 in-boxes bringing you news, views, and memories of GISH. Rise is a publication of the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation.

Welcome to our eighth year of publishing the only consistent connection for alumni and friends of Grand Island Senior High. That makes this iteration 43 of Rise. We are happy you’re a subscriber and hope you continue to read the comings and goings of Islander alums across the globe. 

Here’s some of what you will find inside this issue: “At the Top” marks one year since Rise was redesigned and gives you an update on our … well … update. Jackie Ruiz-Rodriguez’s “On the Island” reports on how current Senior High Key Club members give back to their community. Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Executive Director, Kari Hooker-Leep, gazes into 2023’s crystal ball while newly-minted Annual Giving Coordinator but longtime GIPSF staff member, Maggie McDermott, introduces herself to readers.

As usual we’ll remember alumni who have passed recently and keep up on the lives and times of Islanders everywhere in Class Notes. An (e)Mailbag correspondent responds to Mike Monk’s November piece on barbershops. Mike muses this issue on change, specifically that while it’s inevitable, it can be a delight. Bianca Ayala reports on the success of her classroom unit on Latin America and how it has energized her students to learn more about the rest of the world. Yours truly reminisces about sweaty gyms and squeaky sneakers when Senior High alums would challenge the Islander basketball team during scrimmages between Christmas and New Years.

Keep in touch, Islanders. And remember: Keep pushing on

  • At the Top

    “At the Top” marks one year since Rise was redesigned

  • (e) Mail Bag

    Distant Mirror brings back memories to alum

  • Milestones

    Islander Alumni Win FCS National Championship

  • Making Your Mark

    Kari Hooker-Leep gazes into 2023’s crystal ball

  • Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

    Newly-minted Annual Giving Coordinator, Maggie McDermott, introduces herself to readers

  • Shining Bright Since 2005

    Bianca Ayala reports on the success of her classroom unit on Latin America

  • I've Been Thinking

    George reminisces about sweaty gyms and squeaky sneakers

  • On the Island

    Jackie reports on how current Senior High Key Club members give back to their community

  • Distant Mirror

    Mike muses this issue on change, specifically that while it’s inevitable, it can be a delight

  • Class Reunion Updates

    Class gatherings in Islander Nation

  • In Memoriam

    Remembering Islanders who have recently passed

  • Class Notes

    The latest happenings in the lives of GIPS alums

At the Top

One Year into the Upgrade

One year ago this month we launched the new look, newly designed Rise. The changes were significant: new sections, two new columnists, a new video introduction, sponsorships, and Class Notes, a rundown of alumni births, anniversaries, promotions, college degrees, awards, and other newsworthy personal achievements from the last couple months. 

The response from Rise readers was heartening, with many saying the redesign and reordering made the newsletter easier to navigate. Credit Grand Island Public Schools Foundation staff members/design wizards Candi Wiemers and Maggie McDermott for the upgrade.

Now, a year into it and beginning our eighth volume of Rise, the newness has worn off, but we’re still hearing good things and happy with the newsletter’s look, future, and opportunities. Sponsorships for sections are still available if you’re looking to connect with a database of over 7,000 names, all of whom either graduated from Grand Island Senior High or have a direct connection to the school. Rise now reaches alums in graduating classes from nine different decades.

And, as we say in every issue’s Introduction, we’d love to hear from you, dear reader: Tell us what you think or offer your own reminisce, and we’ll put it in our (e)Mailbag. Send us news of a birth or anniversary or accomplishment, and we’ll put it in Class Notes or maybe make it into a Milestone. Or just drop us a note. We try to respond to everything.

Welcome to year eight of Rise. We’re glad you’re with us.

(e) Mail Bag

The barber shop article (Distant Mirror, November 2022 Rise) brought back great memories. I, too, got my  first haircut at the same shop on Fourth Street. My Dad always got his hair cut there, as he worked at Sorenson’s Body Shop around the corner on Walnut. I got my haircut there for many years, and probably can remember every character in the “Custer” painting print.

Don Lykke
Class of 1967


Islander Alumni Win FCS National Championship

Islander alumni Caleb Francl (Class of 2020), left, and Kytan Fyfe (Class of 2022) were members of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits who won the FCS National Championship with a 45-21 victory over North Dakota in Frisco, Texas on Jan. 8. The Jackrabbits victory, in front of 18,023 fans at Toyota Stadium, moved their season record to 14-1.

back to top

Making Your Mark

New Year Great Time to Start the Legacy You Want to Leave

Kari Hooker-Leep

Executive Director
GIPS Foundation

January means planning. Planning for the year, planning for change, planning for the future, and planning on how you will make your mark on the world in 2023. When I sit down to make a plan, I look at what was accomplished the previous year and say to myself: “How can I make this year more impactful than last?” Isn’t that what we all want to do? Make each year count? I can tell you that is the goal of the GIPS Foundation.  

In 2022 the GIPS Foundation made an impact. We touched the lives of hundreds of students, teachers, and families. We invested in education, kindness, and innovative ideas. In the short time that I have been with the Foundation I am in awe of how such a small office can touch so many lives on a daily basis. It is not always about just the scholarships. Yes, that is a large part of what we do, but it is not the only thing. The Foundation is so honored when people reach out to ask, how can I leave a legacy? How can I help the students? What can I and my family do to continue the great things our parents did while working at GIPS? 

So many wonderful families have set up scholarships, kindness funds, or legacy funds. These monies help college bound students; they can help current students if they need shoes, clothes, maybe a birth certificate; they even fund special needs for the arts or further the education of teachers. The process for making these wonderful things happen is simple and easy, if you have a plan. 

Have you planned on how you can make a mark on the world that can’t be erased? Have you thought about how you want to impact students’ lives in 2023? Do you want to impact an amazing alumni by nominating them to the Hall of Honor or leave a legacy that will help whenever a “quiet kindness” is needed. 

This is what the GIPS Foundation is planning for every day. You can see by our Impact Report what we did in 2022. Get ready, too, as we are planning to make some outstanding impact in 2023.

I challenge you to think about how you can leave your mark upon the world in 2023. The Foundation would love to be part of your legacy and we would love you to be part of ours.

If you're going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can't be erased.  - Maya Angelou

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Cultivating Our Mission

Maggie McDermott

Annual Giving Coordinator
GIPS Foundation

Hello, Rise Readers. Let me introduce myself. I am the new Annual Giving Coordinator for the GIPS Foundation. Although this is a new role for me, the GIPS Foundation is not. I previously served several years as the Office Coordinator and Executive Assistant. After recently graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management, I left briefly to explore the HR field with a company outside of Nebraska. However, I found my heart was not fulfilled, so when the opportunity to return to the GIPS Foundation came knocking it was a quick decision for me.

A little about me: I am a proud product of Grand Island Public Schools, having attended kindergarten through 12th grade here. My husband, Luke (also a GIPS alum), and I reside in Grand Island with our two children, who attend school in the district. I am a current member of Leadership Tomorrow, Class 37. And the last 10 years of my career have been in education because my passion lies in aiding the youth of our community.

I am honored to serve with this small, but mighty, staff again. I have witnessed the Foundation accomplish insurmountable goals over the last several years. From navigating the overwhelming impact the pandemic had on our students, teachers, and staff to (finally) hosting the grand re-opening of the renovated Memorial Stadium. I have also observed how smaller, quieter grants influenced a single student by providing a medical checkup, new glasses, or mental health counseling. The reach of the Foundation spans far and wide.

My job description says I am responsible for fundraising efforts, grants, and special events, but I aim to make it more personal than that. I hope to make a connection with donors who have the same passion I do for our students, teachers, and staff. The mission of the GIPS Foundation states:

The GIPS Foundation builds strong partnerships with the district and community stakeholders, responsibly manages and grows charitable assets, and inspires the power of community to invest in access, equity and opportunity for all GIPS students.

Keeping this objective at the forefront while working together with donors, I believe we can cultivate this mission for generations.

I encourage you to check out our website to view the many ways the GIPS Foundation can help you in your personal mission to invest in our students and our community.

Shining Bright Since 2005

Latin America Alive in the Classroom

Bianca Ayala

Class of 2005
GIPS Foundation Board

Grand Island Public Schools began using a new curriculum for social studies this year, and my students absolutely love it. The curriculum is the “Teacher’s Curriculum Institute” (TCI). One of the main reasons my English Learners (EL) students love it is that when going through the curriculum, they can read and listen in Spanish or English. As an educator, I like how the curriculum can be paced for individual students, partners, or groups. Also, games are already created online for all students to access. When teaching, I follow the 7th-grade TCI curriculum of “Geography Alive,” and during the months of November and December we learned about Latin America.

The students were very excited to not only learn about Latin America but also be able to share their experiences and knowledge on Latin America as all but two of the EL students are from a Latin American country. These are the moments I cherish as I can be the learner and the students can be the teachers. I currently have EL students from Cuba, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Uruguay, Honduras, and Africa. I love seeing them teach each other about their countries. 

When discussing Latin America, the TCI curriculum discussed the topic of migration to the United States. Every student was able to create their own presentation about how they migrated to the United States. Being able to hear the similarities and differences among their stories as well as learning more about them was amazing. The students also developed their own communication about citizenship. Using another way to learn about migration, I invited school board member, Carlos Barcenas, to share his story with my EL students. After the students heard about his success in life, they have all been more motivated to learn the English language and set goals of their own.

In the second half of the unit, we discussed landmarks in Latin America. Each student created their own poster of a landmark and wrote eight important facts about that landmark. Most students created their poster on Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Machu Picchu in Peru; and El Castillo, Chichén Itzá, Tinum in Yucatan, Mexico. There is nothing better than seeing students be creative in their own ways when designing their poster. 

The students are excited to now learn about Europe and Russia.

back to top

I've Been Thinking

Holiday Hoops Connected Past, Future

George Ayoub

Class of 1968
Alumni Liaison

January brings the return to the classroom for millions of students from pre-schoolers to doctoral candidates. Islanders at Senior High were no exceptions … unless you count the snow/ice/yuck storm that prolonged the holiday break for GIPS students by one day.

The educational hiatus into which we pack Christmas, New Year’s Day, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah reminds me of a week of basketball practice in the sweaty East Gym at GISH. That’s its current iteration. Those days (the mid-to-late 1960s), we called it the Boys Gym, as opposed to the Girls Gym across the hallway to the west. We’ve evolved -- in both language and political correctness -- so our gymnasium adjectives are now east, middle, and the spacious, still somewhat new west gym.

In December of 1965, my sophomore year in high school, Holiday basketball tournaments in this part of the state were a thing of the future, so we spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s perfecting pick and rolls, zone presses, and “blocking out,” which we called “boxing out” back in the day. With no classes competing for our time, we’d practice what seemed like all morning but was actually only about an hour at most. After that the fun really began and honestly sometimes run the balance of the morning.

That’s when a group of Senior High alums from college first years to grizzled “veterans” pushing 30 showed up to scrimmage the Islander basketball team. These squads ran the gamut from motley to not-so-motley, but they could aways “ball,” as the vernacular goes today. Games would run anywhere from four to six quarters, and while we were younger and generally in better shape than the alumni teams, they usually had enough guys show up to keep up. Plus they were older, sporting some man-muscles (and a few beer bellies) that we underclassmen were years from developing. 

Photo courtesy of George Ayoub

Almost to a man the alums had played basketball at GISH, sporting the purple and gold and repping their high school when they were younger. Most were good athletes, too. More than a few were heroes we had cheered and admired when they played for Senior High. On occasion during my three years of these holiday scrimmages as a student, a young, non-alum faculty member would join the former Islanders, too, usually some hot-shot shooter or lock-down defender hoping to make our mornings more difficult.

I was always curious and maybe even a little intimidated by these men out there far away from the bells, homerooms, and dress codes of high school, making it in the world or at least in the world my mind had constructed. As any high school student might, I wondered often about my future. What would it hold? What would it look like? Who would I be? I loved the holiday hoops games because I was given a chance to catch a brief glimpse into what might lie before me.

Then I graduated and saw the holiday hoops games from the other side. And, ironically, my gaze to the future began to look to the past.

In November I wrote about former GISH singers returning to belt out the “Messiah” with us high school students. As I did with the “Hallelujah Chorus” when I came back from college to sing with Jack Learned’s musical charges, I also returned to play with the Islander basketball alumni team. I did that for a number of years until things such as a moratorium on practices and holiday tourneys interfered with what had been a wonderful holiday tradition at Senior High.

Today, Senior High students, mostly through the Academies, are connected to the world beyond 2124 North Lafayette like never before. That can only be a good thing, learning from those engaged in what could be a future for an Islander. Fifty plus years ago I caught brief moments of such experiences, sometimes atop risers on a stage and sometimes in a sweaty gym, my Converse All Star white high tops squeaking against the hardwood floor as Christmas and the holidays gave me the chance to connect with both a past and a future.

On the Island

Key Club Members Prove That Teens Can Give Back to the Community

Jacqueline Ruiz-Rodriguez

Class of 2023
Student Correspondent

Grand Island Senior High students work to give back to their community by volunteering and making plans to get involved.

Key Club officers, senior, Mariana Andazola, and sophomore, Olivia Madison, said they hope they get a chance to show the student body that Key Club is a great opportunity to make a difference in their community.

Key Club stands for Kiwanis Empowering Youth. It is an organization where students volunteer in their communities and learn leadership skills. Students help pick up trash, organize food drives, and help shelters in need. They also plan projects, hold meetings, and elect leadership positions.

Elected officers include a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer. Officers this year include Andazola, Hannah Madison, Olivia Madison, and Claire Gartner.

Andazola has been involved in the club for two years and is the vice president. “I help schedule events and meetings, and coordinate with our secretary and president. I also take over in the meetings if the president is gone,” she said.

Andazola added that students can help represent today’s youth in a positive way by joining Key Club. 

“A lot of people perceive our youth as not really caring, and I think it’s important to show that that's not true and go out and make a difference,” she said.

Andazola said that they are starting to move quicker now that many COVID restrictions have been lifted. 

“We are starting to schedule some volunteering activities and are working on getting more students involved in the community. Our officers are still trying to learn their roles, but were doing our best to continue to move forward,” she said.

Andazola said that she has already contacted the Salvation Army and Hope Harbor to start scheduling volunteering opportunities for the upcoming year.

Madison has been involved in Key Club since she was a freshman. She is the club's recruitment officer. Her job is to help promote the club by making posters and talking to students.

“Key Club is nice for people who don’t really want to interact with others but still want something to do. Students don’t have to talk to new people and they get the chance to volunteer at the same time,” she said.

Madison explained that earlier this year, they got to help with a pancake feed at Saint Mary’s Cathedral where students helped distribute water and raise money. Attendees each paid $8 to eat pancakes.

“One of our officers used to work at a nursing home so she is trying to see if we can volunteer there as well,” she said.

A Distant Mirror

Nothing Is Fixed In the Universe

Mike Monk

Class of 1967
Rise Contributor

When I was in college in 1969, a classmate told me his astronomy professor was lecturing about the ever expanding universe. The professor explained that all planets, stars, and other celestial objects are continually expanding and in motion. As the professor put it, "Nothing is fixed in the universe." Then some wag in the back of the classroom piped up and said, “What about the wrestling matches?”

In the 1950's and 1960's my late beloved grandmother, Doris, was a huge fan of wrestling. She would take us grandkids to Central Catholic High School to see the wrestling matches live. Jack Pesek and Ernie Dusek were among the good guys, and Otto Von Krupp was one of the villains. She never missed a match televised on KHAS TV, then Channel 5, in Hastings. She believed that all of the wrestling matches were legitimate. No matter how I tried to explain to her they were orchestrated and fixed, she was adamant. But that is a story for another day.

Just as nothing in the universe is fixed, not all things in our lives are fixed either. When younger, we tend to think that our lives will continue unchanged. We assume our friends and relatives, the stores and restaurants we frequent, entertainment venues and local landmarks will be there forever. As time passes, we see that is not the case. Some friends and relatives move away or pass away. Magical restaurants like Dreisbach’s, which you think will last forever, go out of business. The Island movie theatre on Fourth Street will shut down. The small Dilla's market on 12th Street will no longer exist. Time marches on.

When we moved to Los Angeles in 1976, a college friend who grew up in Los Angeles recommended some excellent restaurants: Chasens, with its famous chili, a Scandinavian restaurant called Scandia, Lawry‘s Prime Rib, and an Italian place called Peppone. We enjoyed these restaurants for years. Scandia was a terrific restaurant where James Garner used to have lunch when filming the Rockford Files. Chasens was frequented by many Hollywood stars. A friend of mine once bumped into Natalie Wood as he was entering Chasens. Then, in 1989, Scandia closed, and in 1995, Chasens closed. These cultural icons were lost forever.

For 40 years, I also enjoyed the Yorkshire Grille near my law office in downtown Los Angeles. A classic New York style delicatessen, it had my favorite club sandwich. One day in 2015, I walked over for lunch and it was shut up, never to reopen. I was crushed. "Revolution," the spin studio near our Santa Monica house, was our workout venue for over 20 years. During COVID, it also shut down. Not everything is fixed.

But there are notable exceptions. There are places that can be beacons of joy throughout your lifetime. One example is Coney Island Lunch Room in Grand Island. Thank you, George! The Grand Theatre on Third Street, home of the summer shows in the 1950's and 1960's, is renovated and beautiful. My favorite Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, El Cholo, over 100 years old, not only still exists, but has new locations. Lawry's Prime Rib continues to thrive. Fenway Park in Boston lives on since its founding in 1912. Indeed, Fenway opened on April 20, 1912, eight days after the Titanic sank. My first game at Fenway was September 12, 1967. My most recent Fenway game was this past May 31, 55 years later.

My "go to" Italian place, Peppone, in Brentwood, California, lives on. There are servers at Peppone who over the years watched my children grow up. Indeed, my wife, children and grandchildren had dinner at Peppone on Christmas Eve three weeks ago, 46 years after the first time we dined there.  

Equally pleasing, as some aspects of our life disappear, new experiences arise. We meet new friends, we discover new restaurants and entertainment entities. New opportunities continually pop up. Our favorite sushi place in Santa Monica, NOMA, did not exist ten years ago. The Broad Theatre, a small Santa Monica venue with first class plays and concerts, opened in 2008, and it is a joy. About 10 years ago, a small French restaurant opened in Santa Monica called Le Petit Café. It had the best French Onion Soup and we were regulars. But, alas, during COVID Le Petit Café went out of business. But new places will be created.

Even more reassuring, upon very rare occasion, we can recapture moments from our past that seem lost forever. I have two examples. The first is my 1957 set of Topps baseball cards. When I was eight years old, I had collected virtually the entire set. They were my pride and joy. One evening, I took them to Grace Abbott Park to see a little league baseball game. I left them on my bike, and they were stolen. I rode my bike home crying. By the time they were stolen, the 1957 cards were no longer for sale. But in 1983, I visited a baseball card shop in Beverly Hills, California. I found a nice complete set of the 1957 cards. I purchased the set for about $800. To this day I have that complete 1957 set. The set is now estimated on line to be worth somewhere around $10,000. I have recaptured that part of my youth.

Just this past year I was able to bring back another joy from yesteryear. Several months back, I wrote a “Distant Mirror” article about pinball machines. In that article I noted that in the early 1960's, there was a wonderful pinball machine called Tropic Isle at Rockwell Alleys on Second Street. I loved the machine. I would play it while my mother Ramona bowled in her league. It had three monkeys that progressively climbed a palm tree when certain targets were hit. When each monkey reached the top of the tree, "Knock!" You had a replay. Those vintage pinball machines are now few and far between.

This past summer at Lake Okoboji in Iowa, I attended a fundraising event for Arnolds Park, an amusement park across the lake from our house. They had a live auction with many interesting items, including a vintage pinball machine. When I went over to check out the machine, I was stunned. It was a vintage Tropic Isle pinball machine, just like the one I had played as a 13-year-old in Grand Island. I was mesmerized. I made the highest bid, and it is now in my basement man cave at Lake Okoboji. I play the pinball machine almost every day, sometimes for half an hour. What a joy! There are some memories that you can reproduce. 

The moral to the story, I suppose, is to realize that many people and things in your life will change. So embrace, enjoy, and love them while you have them. But be comforted that new things in life will appear and create new delights. And, upon rare occasion, you can recapture some wonderful moments from the past that you had assumed were gone forever.

back to top

Alumni Reunions

Kari Price

Alumni Coordinator

Planning a class reunion?

We can help get you started! 
Contact us for your class list and send us information about your reunion.
We will post it to our website.

NOTE: Reunion information in this newsletter is current as of the publication date. To see Reunion updates and additions go to our Alumni Reunions page.




  • 1956

    The Class of 1956 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at their monthly gathering. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Ramada Midtown at 6:00 pm.

  • Decades of the 60's
    Decades of the 60's

    The Decades of the 60’s breakfast continues to be held the second Saturday of each month at Tommy’s, 8:30 a.m. This is a great opportunity to reconnect over a cup of coffee and/or breakfast. We would love to have you join us!

  • 1960

    The Class of 1960 has resumed their gathering at Tommy’s Restaurant the first Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m. Local suggested COVID safety measures will be assessed on a monthly basis. Send your email address to Donna Weaver Smith for monthly communications at:

  • 1966

    The class of ‘66 meets for lunch the third Wednesday of each month at the Platt Duetsche, 12 noon. Please join us!

  • 1968

    The Class of 1968 will celebrate its 55th reunion July 28-29, 2023 at Riverside Golf Club. Save the date, watch for mailings, and see more at the Facebook page: “GISH Class of 1968.”

  • 1973

    We will be celebrating 50 years since graduating from Grand Island Senior High School on May 26 and May 27, 2023. We have a great group of classmates working on details. Thursday Night: Celebrate Railside! Downtown GI! for those arriving on Thursday. Friday Night: Celebrate Old Friendships at Tommy Gunz. ( Vicky Briseno Hruby, Bonnie Reiff Brown and Jenny Painter McDermott, Pam Morris Stump). Saturday Activities: tours of GIHS and/or new athletic facilities, renovated buildings downtown (Kim Mettenbrink and Pam Morris Stump), golf (George Bartenbach) and possibly a movie on the cranes (Doug Fry). Saturday Night: Celebrate Us! We made it 50 years! Saddle Club (Rita Luebbe Hand). Details will be mailed, emailed and posted on our class Facebook site. If you have any suggestion or want to help, please let us know! Questions contact Linda Syverson Guild at or Gail Jackson at You can contact us on messenger/Facebook.

  • 1983

    The Class of 1983 is planning its 40th reunion on July 8, 2023. They are asking classmates to "Save the Date" and watch for updates. See more at the Facebook page: "GISH Class of 1983"

In Memoriam

November and December memorial list of GISH Alumni

LINDA (CLARK-STOUT) THOMPSON, Class of 1977, died November 2, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. She was 63.

JERRY BRAND, Former GIPS teacher, died November 3, 2022.

DONALD RAYNO, Class of 1965, died November 4, 2022.

JACKIE (WHITT) SPATH, Class of 1948, died November 5, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. She was 91.

JENNIFER BAKER, Class of 1990, died November 6, 2022 in Omaha, NE. She was 50.

TIM BIGGS, Class of 1982, died November 6, 2022 in Amarillo, TX. He was 59.

DEANNE (DAHLKE) KLINTWORTH, Class of 1955, died November 6, 2022 in Kearney, NE. She was 84.

KENT HOLLEY, Class of 1979, died November 12, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. He was 62.

PATTY (RALSTON) WILSON, Class of 1969, died November 14, 2022 in Nampa, ID. She was 71.

JOSHUA MEYER, Class of 2002, died November 16, 2022 in Omaha, NE. He was 38.

MARY (FLOREZ) WASKOWIAK, Class of 1979, died November 17, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. She was 61.

JAMES WILLEY, Class of 1962, died November 17, 2022 in Gothenburg, NE. He was 78.

JIM FINDLEY, Class of 1960, died November 26, 2022 in Carson, IA. He was 61.

MICHAEL MEDJO, Class of 1992, died November 27, 2022 in Castle Rock, CO. He was 48.

NINA JEAN METH, Class of 1946, died November 28, 2022 in Omaha, NE. She was 94.

GOLDA (HELZER) BOCKBRADER, Class of 1952, died November 29, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. She was 88.

CHRISTINE JULIAN, Class of 1983, died November 30, 2022 in Omaha, NE. She was 57.

NANCY (SAMWAY) JOHNSON, Class of 1967, died November 30, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. She was 73.

CARI (LYONS) COBLER, GIPS staff member, died December 1, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. She was 48.

JENNIFER (PULLINS) ULDRICH, Class of 2008, died December 3, 2022 in Sioux Falls, SD. She was 33.

WILLIAM SHUNKWILER, Class of 1994, died December 3, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. He was 47.

BARRY BAMESBERGER, Class of 1976, died December 3, 2022 in North Platte, NE. He was 64.

TOM SHAVER, Class of 1963, died December 10, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. He was 77.

NORMA (ADEN) CUNNINGHAM, Class of 1943, died December 10, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. She was 96.

DONALD CORDES, Former GIPS teacher, died December 10, 2022 in Prosser, NE. He was 79.

LINDA (SHRINER) TOBIN, Class of 1956, died December 14, 2022 in Lincoln, NE. She was 84.

LINDA (WARNER) GLINES, Class of 1965, died December 16, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. She was 75.

DONALD METCALF, Class of 1964, died December 17, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. He was 77.

CHARLES AGUILAR, Class of 1963, died December 17, 2022 in Grand Island, NE. He was 77.

KAREN (HONGSMEIER) ANDERSEN, Class of 1963, died December 19, 2022 in Marquette, NE. She was 78.

TIMOTHY BARTLING, Class of 1990, died December 23, 2022 in Norman, OK. He was 51.

RUBY (BECK) CHARRON, Class of 1957, died December 31, 2022 in Central City, NE. She was 83.


To report an alumni death since December 2022, please send an email with the first name, last name, class year and maiden name if applicable to

Class Notes

Rise wants to help you celebrate your successes with other Grand Island Senior High alumni and friends. “Class Notes” is the place to highlight a birth, an anniversary, a promotion, a college degree, an award, or other notable personal accomplishments and triumphs. Tell us about that new business. That perfect baby … or grandbaby. That Masters degree you earned after years of hard work. That recognition from your company, your cohorts, your community.


  • 1968

    Ruth (Conger) Krumbach, class of 1968, and her husband, Roger, celebrated 50 years of marriage on October 6.

  • 1983

    Matthew Placzek, Class of 1983 and Hall of Honor member, created the beautiful sculpture "Densel's Dream" installed along Highway 281 in Grand Island.

  • 1989

    GIPS Foundation welcomes a GISH alum to our Board. Paul Hoos was born and raised in Grand Island, graduating from GISH in 1989. Paul went on to play four years of football at UNK and graduated in 1993. Paul joined Hoos Insurance Agency in May of 1993 taking over full ownership in 2005. Paul’s wife Sally of 29 years is a teacher at Aurora Public Schools. The couple have 5 daughters. The board elected Kelly Enck, Diana Kellogg and Shane Wissmann as new board members as well.

  • 2020 & 2022
    2020 & 2022

    Islander alumni Caleb Francl (Class of 2020), and Kytan Fyfe (Class of 2022) were members of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits who won the FCS National Championship with a 45-21 victory over North Dakota in Frisco, Texas on Jan. 8. (See Milestones for more)

back to top
© 2024 Grand Island Public Schools Foundation

Powered by Firespring