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March 2021

Volume 6 | Number 2

Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the March, 2021, edition of Rise Grand Island the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. Rise is where we connect with thousands of Islanders across the globe, keeping you and them informed on what’s happening in Purple and Gold land, and reminiscing a little bit as well.

This is Volume 6, Number 2, as we begin our sixth year as the official publication for alums of Islander Nation. Thanks for reading us and for your comments and support.

We really enjoy hearing from those of you who find Rise in your inbox every other month. Give us a shout, especially if you or a GISH alum you know has done something new, newsy, or newsworthy. You can reach us at

Our At the Top lead story this issue checks in with the Academies of Grand Island Senior High after three years. Other school districts, including the Omaha Public Schools, are considering moving to academies and pathways, the “program” you find at GISH.

From the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation office, Executive Director, Traci Skalberg, details a new project to tell the stories of a group of Senior High veterans who lost their lives in war in her Shaking the World piece. She’ll also update you on May’s Go Big Give campaign, an important day for the Foundation every year, in Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Milestones spotlights 2003 grad, Steve Renter, and his work with fusion energy, the cutting edge of our future energy needs.

On the Island correspondent, Jackie Ruiz, introduces us to the Academy of Medical Sciences job shadowing programs and how they work in students’ lives.

Our Distant Mirror correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967, remembers E.A. Kral, legendary English teacher at Senior High. Mr. Kral passed away in February.

My I’ve Been Thinking column piggybacks on Mike’s column, concentrating on the enormous value of longtime teachers who continue to be positive influences in the lives of students.

Our Class Reunion Update lets you know who is going to party and when, in case your class is on deck or maybe you just want to crash another class’s soiree and see a few old friends.

As usual we’ll see what songs were popular on the radio, what movies were wooing us to the big screen, what novels we were reading, and what television shows entertained us from each decade during March.

Finally, as we do every issue, we honor those Islanders who passed away the last couple months in our In Memoriam section.

We hope you find this Rise to your liking.

Remember Islanders: Keep pushing on.

George Ayoub, Class of 1968
Editor, Rise Grand Island

At the Top

Academies in Their Third Year at Senior High

Perhaps critics of an Omaha Public School’s plan to create academies and pathways in their district high schools should read Jacqueline Ruiz-Rodriguez’s article in this issue of Rise. Her piece on how academies help students see their futures clearer may put their minds at ease.

This is year three of the Academies of Grand Island Senior, the six “program” areas in which Senior High students not only matriculate but — the hope is — find a career path. With the academies came block scheduling. Similarly, Omaha is planning to expand what is some block scheduling now to all block scheduling in all its high schools. A group of GISH teachers visited Omaha Benson High School to observe how block scheduling worked prior to its implementation at Senior High.

As Jacqueline points out, a capstone class in the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) can help students determine their level of interest in the career field of medicine or health care. Job shadowing is one tool used and not simply in the AMS. This “hands on,” real world experience moves thinking about a career from the abstract to concrete.

One of the criticisms of the academy system that was heard before GIPS adopted the program was that a high school student is not mature enough to make a determination about his or her future. While nothing is foolproof in the process of charting a course for one’s work life, getting kids into real world settings adds firsthand and reliable data for that decision.

The Academies at Grand Island Senior High have earned national recognition for their programming and innovation, moving education at Senior High into the new century. Too, the interest in what GIPS is doing at Senior High has drawn not simply the curious, but those districts wondering if academies are the answer for their high schools. Omaha is now one such place.

Still, the change — as Omaha is about to find out — was not an easy sell to many in the community. Throwing in the change to block scheduling from the traditional eight or nine period day left staff, students and parents wondering if it would work.

After just three years the data may be insufficient to see where the district is with its 10 measures of success ranging from an “Increased percentage of students graduating from high school in four years” to an “Increased percentage of students graduating with industry certification or college credit for at least one course.” 

You can find how GIPS will “define success” and plenty more about the Academies at Grand Island Senior High here.

Top Rated Television Shows

from many a March 15th ago
  • 1951

    “Texaco Star Theater” starring Milton Berle

  • 1961

    "Gunsmoke" starring James Arness

  • 1971

    “Marcus Welby, M.D.l” starring James Young

  • 1981

    "Dallas" starring Larry Hagman

  • 1991

    "Cheers" starring Ted Danson

  • 2001

    “Survivor” starring Jeff Probst

  • 2011

    “American Idol (Wednesday)” starring Ryan Seacrest

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Shaking the World

Remembering the Fallen. Stories from East Stadium.


Veteran Memorial Wall Rendering

One-hundred-seventy-three.  In all, Hall County has given up 173 brave souls to preserve our nation.  What started as research for the Memorial Stadium project became a sense of urgency to tell the stories, to remind our community, to remember the fallen. 

We knew that Memorial Stadium was built as a memorial to the 121 young men lost in World War II.  We knew that Grand Island had come together to honor these boys in a fitting memorial, which was appropriately a stadium. Many of these boys were young, strapping, athletes, with their whole lives ahead of them.

On the stately structure of East Stadium remains a plaque with the names of the fallen for World War I and World War II.  As we got deeper into the project and worked with our local veterans we determined that we would put together an interactive memorial wall display in the renovated East Stadium Concourse.  This memorial wall will include the names of all 173 Hall County soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, starting with World War I and ending in the present day. 

As we continued the research we found so many stories that needed to be told. We began the work to recruit volunteers to write them.  We are thrilled to announce that starting March 20, 2021, and each Saturday through May 29, 2021, the Grand Island Independent will print these stories in a series entitled “Remembering the Fallen, Stories from East Stadium.”  We hope that you will read these stories and help us honor our brave, our fallen.

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Go Big Give with the Purple and Gold Fund or Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium

It is almost time for Grand Island’s Day of Giving, Go Big Give! Again this year we have listed both the GIPS Foundation and the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign in the Go Big Give platform. There are so many great ways to give back to students!

It has been a lot of fun to see the alumni Purple and Gold Fund make its mark on this day too. We are going to run our Decade Challenge contest again. We will count your gift to the GIPS Foundation or the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign towards the Decade challenge. Last year it was a toss-up with both the 1940’s and the 1970’s sharing in the “Street Cred” by giving the largest amounts. 

In 2020, seven decades were represented. That is very impressive. In all, alumni gave nearly $11,000 that day. $1,625 was unrestricted and therefore designated to the Purple & Gold Fund which makes grants to Grand Island Senior High specifically.

In a year when things have been so extraordinary, we are asking our Alumni to band together and GIVE EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITIES to our Students!

LET’S SHOW GRAND ISLAND THE PURPLE AND GOLD PRIDE by participating in GO BIG Give on May 6, 2021.


Just to make sure that other decades get a crack at this “Street Cred” thing, we will offer the decade challenge again. We will record how many gifts and how much was raised for the Purple and Gold Fund by decade. So, if you are a member of the class of 1956 for example, your gift will be attributed to the 1950s decade.


If my decade has the most gifts or gives the highest amount, what do we get? The answer is street cred. We will highlight the decade winners in the May newsletter and give your decade the coverage it deserves.

How will you know who belongs to which decade? When you give to the GIPS Foundation through Go Big Give, we get a list of donors. We will match this list with our database and credit the proper decade. Please be sure to list your name as you give to Go Big Give. If you give anonymously, we don’t get your identifying information, and therefore would not be able to credit the gift to your decade.

Can I send a check instead? Yes, but to be credited to this challenge, your check needs to be made out to Go Big Give and sent to our office by April 28. Our office address is: GIPS Foundation; PO Box 4904; Grand Island, NE 68802.

The physical address is: 123 South Webb Road.

How do I give? The Go Big Give online portal will open for pre-giving on April 26. The day of giving is May 6. To give, click on either of the following links:

GIPS Foundation Go Big Give Page

Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium Campaign Go Big Give Page

We will send a reminder email blast on April 28 and again on May 6 with these links.

Why are you asking alumni? We could really use YOUR help with this effort. Charities that participate in the Go Big Give campaign are eligible for prizes and matching gifts based on number of unique givers, total dollars raised, and number of gifts raised per hour. Talk about a way to broaden our impact! We know there is power in numbers. This Go Big Give Day maximizes the collective impact concept to generate real dollars that in our case, translate into opportunities for the 10,070 students who attend our schools. We are excited to participate in such an impactful fundraiser.

6,200: the number of alumni receiving this email newsletter. Just think about the results, if YOU and each of your fellow 6,199 alumni and friends gave $10 or more to the GIPS Foundation through the Go Big Give effort. The collective impact of your gift, not counting the matching gifts or prizes earned that day would add up to $62,000 for students! That is 100 more scholarships, or 50 more grants, or 200 more individual opportunities funded. It would be amazing to see this number. We want you. We need you. We hope that you will consider the power of your gift to students.

Top Rated Songs

from many a March 15th ago
  • 1941

    “Song of the Volga Boatmen” by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra

  • 1951

    “Be My Love” by Mario Lanza

  • 1961

    “Pony Time ” by Chubby Checker

  • 1971

    “One Bad Apple” by The Osmonds

  • 1981

    “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton

  • 1991

    “Someday” by Mariah Carey

  • 2001

    “Stutter” by Joe featuring Mystikal

  • 2011

    “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga


Pushing On | Milestones

Islander Grad Changes Renewable Energy Landscape

Steve Renter

Islander Steve Renter, Class of 2003, is changing the world for the better.

He and a fellow UNL graduate have helped create a compact fusion device with the potential for changing the renewal energy landscape at a time when countries, states, and municipalities grapple with energy needs and climate change. 

UNL’s College of Engineering highlighted the pair and their groundbreaking work in an article in January. Read it here.

Fiction Bestsellers

from many a March 15th ago
  • 1941

    “Random Harvest” by James Hilton

  • 1951

    “Joy Street” by Francis Parkinson Keyes

  • 1961

    “Hawaii” by James Michener

  • 1971

    “QB VII” by Leon Uris

  • 1981

    “The Covenant” by James Michener

  • 1991

    “Heartbeat” by Danielle Steel

  • 2001

    “A Painted House” by John Grisham

  • 2011

    “The Wise Man’s Fear” by Patrick Rothfuss


On the Island

Class Helps Students Choose Their Futures

Jacqueline Ruiz-Rodriguez, Class of 2023

Grand Island Senior High English teacher, Megan Stone, recommends that students take the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) capstone class if they are interested in having a profession in the medical field.

Stone has been an English teacher for five years now; teaching sophomores and seniors in four different sections, three sections for sophomores and one section for seniors.

The AMS capstone class is a blended course where seniors get the opportunity to shadow a professional in the medical field. This class gives students the opportunity to experience hands-on learning, to meet and make connections with professionals, and to decide whether or not the career they want to pursue is right for them.

“I have the first four weeks to prepare students and in that time we talk about HIPAA laws, job shadowing, their interests, career readiness and SMART goals. After those first few weeks, they get 10 to 12 weeks to shadow the job profession they choose and then come back for the last few weeks to review and learn some more,” said Stone. (SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, Timely goals.) 

The capstone class gives students the resources they need to create their own resumes and cover letters. It also teaches them the policies and procedures used in their future careers.

Stone added that students learn how to take initiative and gain communication skills that will help them be prepared for anything that life throws at them. 

Students are allowed to choose from a variety of hospitals and healthcare facilities for their job shadowing. Choices include include anything from St. Francis hospitals to chiropractic offices to the new GI Regional Hospital and more. In total, students will choose three occupations to job shadow where they will learn different procedures in each area.

“My students go all over the community to find and explore their true passions,” Stone explained.

Senior Mariela Perez Senic believes that the class helped her take a big step into her future and showed her how different careers functioned.

Senic added that through the program, she learned that she likes to move around the different floors of the hospital and not stand still. Before job shadowing, she believed she wanted to be a nurse, but then she job shadowed the profession and switched to physical therapy or being a P.T. nurse.

“When I started I didn't know what I wanted to be. I shadowed nursing first and I really enjoyed being a P.T more because I saw everything and I learned that nursing was boring for me,” Senic said.

She later explained that she really enjoyed seeing the whole hospital and interacting with new people and seeing new things every day. 

Aubriana Sanchez-Burke, another Senior High student, believes that the AMS Capstone class taught her that setting goals was a really good way to achieve more in life.

“There are many opportunities to go out and get a feel for what you are looking forward to doing in the future. Being able to job shadow will allow students to see how their desired career really is,” she said.

Both students mentioned that in the medical field, they have been able to see really interesting situations during their job shadowing from mothers giving birth to injuries from sports.

“I was able to see IV’s being put into patient’s arms, patients being discharged, and patients going in and out of surgery,” said Sanchez-Burke.

According to Senic, she saw an ultrasound being performed on a patient's vein, and she thought it was interesting for people who were thinking of becoming a nurse. She met with patients who had a variety of physical therapy needs, some of them more serious than others.

“I really enjoy (physical therapy) now, and I liked how they worked with one another and talked to the residents. They made me ask questions and go into depth with the patients,” Senic said.

The AMS Capstone class was designed to help students who want to go into the healthcare field find their true passions, and be able to experience real-world situations where they learn procedures and make connections with real-world professionals.

A Distant Mirror

Elmer Kral, Icon

On January 21, 2021, former GIHS English teacher Elmer Kral passed away at age 83. He taught at GIHS for 26 years, beginning in the mid 1960’s. He was a true icon and legend in his own time. An extraordinary man and teacher, he left vivid memories with hundreds of GISH students. I have heard amazing stories about him from numerous classmates and others whom he taught. Both George Ayoub and I have mentioned him in our writings for Rise, but I wanted to more thoroughly express my thoughts about Mr. Kral now. While I had many outstanding teachers at GISH, Mr. Kral was unique.  

Mr. Kral was my English teacher my senior year, from 1966-1967. A thin, bespectacled man, whose shoulders slumped somewhat, he was physically distinct and very engaging. From the first day we walked into his classroom, we knew this would be a different experience. To start with, he referred to us by “Mr.” and “Miss,” with our last names. “Mr. Monk, Miss Harrington, Mr. Hickstein, Miss Dunham, Mr. Meedel.” This new formality suggested we were adults. Further, discipline, effort and organization were the orders of the day. He was demanding and fully prepared to call out a poor performer, either for lack of effort or poor attitude. He was not afraid to judge and rank students. This was not a class where every student got a trophy. Indeed, he seated his class by performance.

The best performers were in the far right row, facing the front of the classroom, the next best in the next row and so on, until the far left row had the least successful performers. Even within rows he ranked each student’s performance, with the best performer at the front of the row and so forth to the back of the row. And the seating could change with changes in performance.

He was probably best known for his focus and insistence on good grammar, good writing and the correct use of commas, semicolons and colons. My classmate, Terry Virus, recalled recently that Mr. Kral had 33 rules on commas and that these rules helped Terry get a top mark in English at the Naval Academy — even though he did not consider himself a great writer. We quickly learned that a sentence with two independent clauses needed a comma or semicolon to separate the clauses while a sentence with two verbs connected by “and” did not. He attacked dangling participles, passive voice and run on sentences with vigor. Mr. Kral, in short, taught us to write well.

His focus on good writing extended even to spelling. While I had not had a spelling test since Howard grade school, we had spelling tests in Mr. Kral’s senior English class. These tests not only sharpened our spelling, but also expanded our vocabulary.

But Mr. Kral’s most impressive achievement was that he not only taught the mechanics and rules of good writing, but he also conveyed and spurred a love of literature. We tackled some of the most challenging works in English Literature, including Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels.” We learned to appreciate and enjoy great literature.  

“Hamlet” is considered by many to be the Bard’s best and most complex play. We grew to appreciate some of the wonderful poetry:

“The time is out of joint - O cursed spite
That ever I was born to set it right!” and,

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them:…”

“Paradise Lost,” published first in 1667 and revised in 1674, is also not an easy read. Milton’s poem tells the story of Satan being ejected from Heaven and relegated to Hell. Written in blank verse (iambic pentameter), it is erudite, complex and long. One critic said while it is a fascinating and wonderful poem, no one ever wished it to be longer. Mr. Kral examined the religious, political and poetic aspects of this great work. He also emphasized the true irony of “Paradise Lost,” which is that the most compelling, interesting character in the poem is Satan himself.    

Mr. Kral was certainly demanding and at times quite stern. His stern behavior was never gratuitous, however, but always designed and meant to create better students and more successful human beings. I can still recall him saying to my classmate, the late and very bright Sue Ann Harrington, something to the effect of “Miss Harrington, organization! How do you expect to be a success with such poor work habits?” To be late on an assignment or fail to study for a test would provoke a strong response.

But he also had a charming, playful side, and he would at times crack a painful joke. Even then, though, he consistently displayed a love of language and literature. One day Mr. Kral announced that Johnny Carson, then host of the “Tonight Show,” had declared that all limericks were dirty. Mr. Kral begged to differ, so he assigned us the task of writing clean limericks. He then sent the best ones on to the “Tonight Show,” but I don’t recall that they were ever mentioned on the show. By the way, the wittiest limerick, in my view, was written by none other than Sue Ann Harrington.     

Hotel Wilber

One day in class, my late classmate Mike George decided to try to stall the day’s lesson. He asked Mr. Kral, in a very sincere voice, “Who do you think are the 10 greatest writers in all of literature?” Mr. Kral immediately took the bait. He started to review which writers should be on this list, “Well, let’s see, I think Shakespeare would have to be number one. And “Paradise Lost” alone would put John Milton in the top ten.” He went on to run through a dozen or so other likely top ten authors. Mike George just sat there, quietly grinning.

When I examined Mr. Kral’s obituary, I was struck by how much he accomplished apart from teaching. He wrote student term paper manuals and was a skeptical investigator of paranormal claims. He researched and wrote about distinguished Nebraskans, including the 2010 book, “Profiles of Nationally Distinguished Nebraskans,” the 2012 work, “Distinguished Nebraskans; A Bio-Bibliography of More than 900 Individuals From 1854 to 2012,” and an Internet document entitled “900 Famous Nebraskans.” He also published five internet documents about Nebraskans of unusual longevity on the Nebraska Health Care Association website.  

Mr. Kral was also very engaged with his home town of Wilber, sponsoring a “Kral Room” at the Hotel Wilber, with historical photos. He also donated more than 900 photos of the history of Wilbur to the Nebraska State Historical Society. Beginning in 1995 he also established several scholarships and endowments, including the Robert Taylor Scholarship. Robert Taylor was a Nebraskan and famous Hollywood star about whom Mr. Kral did significant research.   

Kral Room

I was greatly influenced and inspired by many GIHS teachers, including Judith Barth, John Heeckt, Lillian Willman, William Smith, Roger Harms, Gayle Randle and others. But Mr. Kral clearly had the most profound impact. I majored in English Literature in college and became a lifelong fan of Dickens, Shakespeare, Jane Austin, George Elliot, the Romantic poets and scores of other English writers. I eventually wrote a play in blank verse, in the style of Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Orenthal, Prince of Brentwood.” The writing skills I learned from Mr. Kral have been invaluable in my 47 year career as a lawyer.  

About nine years ago my class of 1967 was having its 45th reunion. When we gathered the thoughts of classmates about teachers they had at GISH, Mr. Kral was by far the most prominent recollection. My buddy, and our class Vice President, Jeff Greenberger, wrote Mr. Kral to invite him to our reunion. He wrote back a thankful letter, but said his health would not permit him to attend. I think he signed his letter “E. A. Kral,” noting that he had never liked the name Elmer but continued to use it until his parents died. But now he was “E. A. Kral.”

Also roughly eight or nine years ago, I realized I had never properly thanked Mr. Kral for all he did for me. I then wrote him a letter thanking him and emphasizing the profound impact he had on my education. I enclosed a copy of my play. He wrote me a touching letter in return, thanking me for my kind words and the recognition I gave him. He also praised my play and sent me in return a copy of his book on famous Nebraskans.  

As I grow older, I attach great importance to recognizing and thanking those who did wonderful things for me. Mr. Kral is one of those people, and I treasure his work and memory.

I can be reached at

Top Rated Movies

from many a March 15th ago
  • 1941

    “Santa Fe Trail” starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland

  • 1951

    “At War with the Army” starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

  • 1961

    “The Absent-Minded Professor” starring Fred MacMurray

  • 1971

    “Get Carter” starring Michael Caine and Britt Ekland

  • 1981

    “The Funhouse” starring Elizabeth Berridge and Sylvia Miles

  • 1991

    “The Silence of the Lambs” starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster

  • 2001

    “Exit Wounds” starring Steven Segal and DMX

  • 2011

    “Limitless” starring Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro


I've Been Thinking

Long Time Teachers Bring Value to Generations

If you haven’t read Mike Monk’s column in this issue of Rise, I recommend you do. His subject is E.A. Kral, Senior High’s legendary English teacher who passed away in February.

Mr. Kral was an accomplished professional educator who went on to have success outside teaching after his retirement. He established and maintained a roster of “Famous Nebraskans.” He spent years researching how the mind works. He was always tackling a project in Nebraska history. Add to those endeavors his study of the paranormal earlier in his career and the full picture emerges of a lifelong academic devoted to serious scholarship.

First and foremost, however, he was a teacher.

I suppose every school has a teacher they would call “legendary.” One of the elements of gaining such status is that a teacher stays in one school for many years. Mr. Kral taught at Senior High for 26 years, meaning in any number of Grand Island households, both parents and children knew his rules of proper usage, the power of a well-written declarative sentence and when and where to place a comma.

E. A. Kral

What’s important about such staying power is the perspective about a teacher one gains years after the experience in his or her class. As Mike points out in his column, Mr. Kral’s class was neither a walk in the park nor at times for the faint of heart. He was demanding. He was was exacting. He was consistent. And (he’d question me beginning this sentence with a conjunction) because he was all three, he also was especially caring. As I’m guessing hundreds of his students did, I learned that part of it long after he held sway in the 300 wing of GISH.

Simple math tells us that teachers with the longevity, moxie, skill and smarts make a positive difference in the lives the hundreds of students. Each generation of students have their favorites, too. For long timers like Mr. Kral the influence can span two or perhaps even three generations.

For me, Mr. Kral was among a group of teachers who shaped me as a person, a thinker, a writer and a teacher. Miss Lillian Willman, Mrs. Judy Barth, Mr. Bob Hanson, and Mr. Jack Learned were among my finest influences. Other GISH teachers served that role for other GISH alumni. Still other teachers are making positive influences today.

Photo courtesy of Carol Bryant, '79

Years after Mr. Kral consistently demanded of me to be exacting, we reconnected. He was a resource for story ideas when I was a journalist … as well as a critic although gentler than when I was a smart aleck high school senior. Nor did he ever end a phone call or a single-spaced, typewritten (on a typewriter) letter without letting me know in his own way that he was proud of me. I suppose that made up for the A- he gave me on my senior paper. 

What escapes us about legendary teachers is how to measure their influence. While our instincts and memory can inform us, I know of no definitive research on the subject. How do we truly quantify the ability to tackle challenges, face criticism and setbacks, and meet deadlines? What is the metric that calculates a skill set that includes reason and logic? How do we determine the weight of inspiration?

For answers, start by stepping into the classroom of a longtime professional teacher…preferably one who is a legend.

Alumni Reunions

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.

Kari Price, Alumni Coordinator
308.385.5900 ext. 201148

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 or check with the contact person for more details.


Grand Island Senior High Reunions/Gatherings


Class of 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 Midtown Holiday Inn at 6:00 pm. 


Class of 1960

UPDATE: Class of 1960 Reunion Cancelled
The class of 1960 is not meeting at Tommy’s the first Wednesday of each month for coffee at this time. Our class reunion remains cancelled until future notice.


Class of 1965

UPDATE: Class of 1965 Reunion Postponed
The Class of 1965’s 55th  Reunion has been called off until further notice. For more information email Loretta Catlett at


Class of 1966

The Class of 1966 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at their monthly lunch gathering. They meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Platt Duetsche at 1:00 pm.


Class of 1970

UPDATE: Class of 1970 Reunion Postponed
The GISH Class of 1970 Reunion Committee had a meeting of the minds and we have decided to postpone our 50th High School Reunion until next year 2022. We want everyone to be able to come and enjoy themselves and be able to interact with their classmates. We want the most members of the Class of 1970 to attend as possible and we just don’t think that will happen this year. The Reunion Committee will get together early in 2022 and make any decisions then. Please share this with as many of our classmates as you can. I will also email each of our classmates that we have a current email for. Those of you that haven’t contacted us with your current information, please do so now. DO NOT just post it on Facebook, email your Name, Maiden Name, Mailing Address, and Phone# to - Craig Paro.


Class of 1971

UPDATE: Class of 1971 will Host a Re"Zoom"ion!
The "local committee" has wisely decided that trying to plan an "in person" event in the middle of a pandemic is not a good idea. So, we are postponing that for now -- maybe figure out a "Class of '71 Homecoming" event when it's safe to meet in GI. However, don't despair! We are going to add a virtual component to the reunion. We're making plans for several virtual events (probably via Zoom). 

Please watch for and respond to emails and we look forward to getting in touch with each other! 


Class of 1990

UPDATE: Class of 1990 Reunion Postponed
The 30th Class Reunion for the Class of 1990 has been postponed until 2021. Join the facebook group at GISH Class of 1990, 30 year reunion for updates and to connect with classmates.


Class of 2000

UPDATE: Class of 2000 Reunion Postponed
The 20th Class Reunion for the Class of 2000 has been postponed until June 5, 2021. Join the facebook group at Class of 2000 GISH. For more information please contact Elizabeth Patterson, or Erica Wilkinson at

In Memoriam

January and February memorial list of GISH Alumni

GARY DAYNE GILPIN, Class of 1957, died Oct. 14, 2020, in Hooker, OK. He was 81.

JANET BLAIR, Class of 1962, died Oct. 16, 2020, in Lincoln, NE. She was 76.

RUTH (SCHEFFEL) HEMMING, Class of 1961, died Dec. 22, 2020, in Houston, TX. She was 77.

DIANNE (WILLMAN) GAMMONS, Class of 1963, died Dec. 24, 2020, in Grand Island. She was 75.

GARY VOGT, Class of 1956, died Dec. 25, 2020, in Norfolk. Gary lived in Randolph. He was 83.

DANA KRUEGER, Class of 1981, died Dec. 31, 2020, in Valentine. He was 57.

SCOTT KELSEY, Class of 1985, died Jan. 2, 2021. He was 54.

BARBARA (WEGNER) OGDEN, Class of 1953, died Jan. 2, 2021, in Grand Island. Barbara lived in Wood River. She was 85.

DENNIS DOUGLASS, Class of 1966, died Jan. 5, 2021, in Grand Island. He was 73.

ROBERT DERR, Class of 1954, died Jan. 6, 2021, in Grand Island. Robert lived in Wood River. He was 84.

DENNIS TAGGE, Class of 1983, died Jan. 6, 2021, in Port Charlotte, FL. He was 55.

BECKY DONOVAN, longtime teacher at Starr Elementary, died Jan. 7, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 91.

ANNETTE “ANNIE” SMITH, Class of 1972, died Jan. 8, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 66.

STU KUCERA, Class of 1979, died Jan. 11, 2021, in Grand Island. He was 60.

TOM BAXTER, Class of 1956, died Jan. 12, 2021, in Grand Island. He was 82.

BILL GERBIG, Class of 1983, died Jan. 13, 2021, in Grand Island. He was 55.

RONALD MCHUGH, Class of 1966, died Jan. 18, 2021, in Grand Island. He was 73.

BOB GALVAN, Class of 1958, died Jan. 19, 2021, in Grand Island. He was 81.

BERNIE COSGRIFF, Class of 1945, died Jan. 19, 2021, in Grand Island. Bernie lived in Doniphan. He was 92.

BUDDY PETZOLDT, Class of 1990, died Jan. 20, 2021, in Axtell. He was 48.

CAROLE (SASS) RAUERT, Class of 1951, died Jan. 21, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 87.

MARGARET (HUSTON) PLACZEK, Class of 1946, died Jan. 22, 2021, in Omaha. She was 91.

CHRISTINA (O’NEILL) POWELL, Class of 1937, died Jan. 25, 2021, in St. Paul. She was 103.

TINA WAGNER, Class of 1989, died Jan. 25, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 49.

MARY (STOPPKOTTE) GARRIS, Class of 1958, died Jan. 26, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 80.

LARRY WILLIS, Class of 1960, died Jan. 26, 2021, in Bennington. He was 79.

JO (WELTON) MUDLOFF, Class of 1950, died Jan. 27, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 87.

NANCY WELLS, Class of 1961, died Jan. 27, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 77.

LINDA (LEWIS) WEIGERT, Class of 1963, died Jan. 28, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 76.

SHIRLEY (ITA) EBELER, Class of 1964, died Jan. 29, 2021, in Lincoln. She was 75.

GLENDA TUCKER, Class of 1957, died Feb. 5, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 82.

ROJEAN (LEE) DOUTY, Class of 1963, died Feb. 6, 2021, in Grandview, MO. She was 76.

BARBARA (PETERSON) KREIDER, Class of 1966, died Feb. 12, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 72.

LUCILLE (REHDER) HAND, Class of 1942, died Feb. 13, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 97.

ZACHARY HILL, Class of 1999, died Feb. 14, 2021, in Omaha. Zachary lived in Grand Island. He was 40.

LINDA (KING) ALBERTS, Class of 1961, died Feb. 17, 2021, in Volin, SD. She was 77.

VICTOR CHMELKA, Class of 1969, died Feb. 18, 2021, in Grand Island. He was 69.

BERNICE (SCHLAMAN) SEYMOUR, Class of 1953, died Feb. 18, 2021, in Houston, TX. She was 86.

TERRANCE SMITH, Class of 1976, died Feb. 18, 2021, in Grand Island. He was 62.

JULIE BRUHN, Class of 1985, died Feb. 22, in Grand Island. She was 53.

HENRY THOMPSON, Class of 1975, died Feb. 23, 2021, in Phillips. He was 63. 

FREDDA BARTENBACH, longtime Grand Island Board of Education member, died Feb. 24, 2021, in Grand Island. She was 90.

DAVID PEGG, Class of 1960, died Feb. 26, 2021, in Santa Clara, CA. He was 78.


To report an alumni death since February 28, 2021, please send an email with the first name, last name, class year and maiden name if applicable to

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