As part of their science curriculum, Johnson Crossing Academic Center fifth-graders in Fremont have been studying owls. Fremont resident Sandi Brune, an owl enthusiast, gave a presentation about these birds of prey. Many of Brune’s photographs of owls in her neighborhood and around Fremont and sound bites of owls were included in her presentation. Owls eat their food whole and slowly digest their meal by separating soft materials from harder materials. The regurgitated materials make up owl pellets. Dissecting owl pellets with tweezers gave students the opportunity to find fur, feathers, skulls, ribs, jaws and other bones, which had to be classified on students’ worksheets. Some students asked for rubber gloves, but others did not give a hoot about touching the pellets with bare hands. Here fifth-grader Peri Palmer of Fremont looks for bones.


SAY IT WITH SONG: Omaha Westside is hosting today’s Show Choir Competition of Excellence. Westside’s Amazing Technicolor Show Choir and Show Band recently were named grand champions at Viterbo 101 at Viterbo University in Lacrosse, Wis. Besides placing first, Westside received caption awards for best vocals, best choreography, best male soloist Will Frei and best female soloist Sophie Goldberg. The show band also received the highest instrumental score of the day, and Josh Montanye placed first in the solo competition singing “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables. Westside had never won its first competition of the season. This also was Westside’s first win in Wisconsin.

KING TRIBUTE: Creative Writing students at Omaha North displayed their artwork, poetry, essays and informational boards at a Thursday evening event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lied Education Center for the Arts at Creighton University. The theme for the event was “The Time Is Now.” Each student chose something he or she believes needs to change or needs more attention. The projects reflected a desire to inform and inspire others to join them in building a stronger community.

SINGSATION WINNERS: The seventh annual Millard West Show Choir Competition was held Jan. 19. Winners, listed in descending order from first place, were Elkhorn South Black Out, Millard North Infinity and Firth Norris Gold. Unisex division award winners were Millard North Illumination, Millard South Stage One and Mercy High Treble Makers. Prep division award winners included Elkhorn High Exc!amation, Elkhorn South Power Surge and Augusta, Kan., Take 2. Middle school division winners were Andersen Middle School Vocal Diversity, Kiewit Middle School First Edition and Russell Middle School Leaders of the Pack. Other awards included best choreography, Elkhorn South Black Out; best vocals, Millard North Infinity; best female soloist, Sarah Ghannam, Elkhorn South Black Out; best male soloist, Colin Beach, Elkhorn South Power Surge; best costumes, Millard South South On Stage; best band, Millard North Intensity; spirit award, Omaha North Explosion!; and best roadies, Millard North Infinity.

COMPETITION: Elkhorn South is hosting a speech meet today.

MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC: High school vocal and instrumental music students from 115 Nebraska and Kansas schools will participate Monday in an Honor Band and Choral Clinic at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The three choirs and two bands will present a 6 p.m. Monday concert in the UNK Health and Sports Center. Admission is $3.

FELLOWSHIP GAMES: OPS and Special Olympics Nebraska will host another round of the A+ OPS Fellowship Games to offer special education students a chance to compete in athletic tournaments. Participants will take part in a day of basketball activities Wednesday at King Science and Technology Magnet Center and Beveridge Magnet Middle School. Nearly 120 students from 10 OPS middle schools and the Integrated Learning Program will participate. A medal ceremony will follow the competition. The district hosted a volleyball tournament in October and plans to hold a track and field competition in April.

CRAFT & CROP: Omaha Central’s VOICE (Volunteer Organization Investing in Choral Excellence) will host a Feb. 2 Craft & Crop event to raise funds for scholarships for music students. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Central’s cafeteria. The cost is $25, which includes a large table, snacks, beverages, lunch and on-site vendors. Parking will be available on the north side of the school. Central students will help carry supplies for participants.

SCHOLARSHIP: The Urban League of Nebraska Scholarship is awarded to assist graduating high school seniors in pursuit of postsecondary education. Applicants must be a Nebraska resident; submit high school transcripts or a copy of their GED certificate; have a 2.5 or higher cumulative GPA in current high school; submit two letters of recommendation (but none from relatives) attesting to the applicant’s qualifications and motivations for attending college; typed essay stating their goals, ambitions and the reason they should receive this scholarship (in 250 words minimum and 500 words maximum); and at least 10 hours of documented community involvement. Submit completed application to: Urban League of Nebraska Inc., Attn: Ricky Smith, 3040 Lake St., Omaha, NE 68111. The deadline is 5 p.m. March 4. For an application, visit and choose Scholarship Opportunities under the Education Resources tab.

ROBOTICS: Omaha Benson is hosting a robotics competition today.

FESTIVAL: The Iowa State Show Choir Festival will be Monday in Atlantic. Participating schools will include Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln and Glenwood.

ALL DRESSED UP: New to Elkhorn South this year is the Winter Formal Dance, which will be tonight.

MUSIC FUNDRAISER: Music in Catholic Schools will hold a benefit dance, silent auction and dessert sale from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church Parish Center, 11802 Pacific St. The Swingtones will play. Free swing dance instruction will be given from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Tickets, $15 per person, are available at the door or in advance at the Music in Catholic Schools Office, 3212 N. 60th St.; Dietze Music, 13015 West Center Road in Omaha and 20th Street and Cornhusker Road in Bellevue; and at Schmitt Music, 7355 Dodge St. Proceeds will enable needy students to participate in band. Music in Catholic Schools is a parent-pay band program in 25 Catholic and four Lutheran elementary schools in the Omaha metro area.

JUST FOR PARENTS: Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP) is a parent-run statewide conference sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Education’s Office of Special Education. This free conference is for Nebraska families who are raising a child with a verified disability. The conference provides information about parenting and educating children with disabilities while encouraging parents to share their feelings and experiences. Another objective is to model how parents work with the professionals who are educating and supporting their children to create positive parent-school partnerships. This conference will be March 14-16 in Grand Island. For more information and the registration brochure, contact Megan Poell at or 402-658-3359.

DANCE, DANCE, DANCE: A number of Midlands high school dance teams will compete Monday in the Midwest Regional contest in South Sioux City.

WINNERS ALL: Gretna VFW Post 10725 announced the winners of the annual Patriot’s Pen essay for middle school and Voice of Democracy speech contest for high school. This year’s middle school topic was “What would you ask a founding father if you could talk face to face?” At Gretna Middle School, Mila Serefko won first place, Amanda Nelson placed second and Lindsay Livengood took third. The Voice of Democracy topic was “Is our Constitution still relevant?” Gretna’s Sean McAndrews won first, Austin Henry placed second and Anna Stratman took third. Essay and speech winners now go to the district competition.

RADON POSTERS: The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Radon Program recently announced winners of its annual Nebraska Radon Poster Contest for students ages 9 to 14. JoAnn Neel, a student at McCook Junior High, was awarded first place with her poster, “Get Your Home Tested.” Second place went to Sophie Stewart of Russell Middle School in Millard, and in third place was Karissa Dicke of Pope John Central Catholic in Elgin. The three were entered into the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Radon Poster Contest. JoAnn’s poster was awarded third place in the national contest, and she will get a $400 gift card and national recognition for her achievement. The poster contest is held yearly to highlight the risks posed by exposure to indoor radon, a radioactive gas that causes thousands of lung cancer deaths each year, and to send the message that radon testing can save lives. More than 550 students in Nebraska participated in this year’s contest.

MUSIC TIME: The University of Nebraska at Omaha will host the Boch Festival of music from Friday through Feb. 3.

SHARE YOUR LOVE: Council Bluffs St. Albert cheerleaders are selling valentines to be delivered Feb. 14 to elementary and junior-senior high students. Valentines are made and decorated by the cheerleaders and written with the special message the buyer requests.

ALL THAT JAZZ: Omaha Westside will host Jazz Band Invitational Festival Day on Tuesday.

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE: Omaha Gross will have its sixth annual Trivia Night, which supports the football, cheerleading and Academic Decathlon teams. The events will begin at 6 p.m. Feb. 16 with an indoor tailgate party, followed by trivia at 7:35 p.m. Donations, $35 a person, include trivia game, food, beer, pop and margaritas. Tables are $280. Guests must be 21 or older. To register, visit, click on the Giving tab, choose Special Events, then choose Trivia Night. After registering, make checks payable to Gross Catholic High School and send to: Gross Catholic Trivia Night, c/o Tim Johnk, 7700 S. 43rd St., Bellevue, NE 68147.

JUST JAZZ: A number of Midlands high school bands will participate Thursday (Classes 2A and 4A) and Friday (Classes 1A and 3A) in the Jazz Festival at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.

FILTERS: Springfield Platteview Community Schools willl now filter the Internet content of the iPads of students in grades seven through 12 with the new Lightspeed filtering system. The student policy will apply to all content on the device, whether accessed through a Web browser or an app. Filtering will be in force regardless of which Wi-Fi network the device is using. Students will be able to access only appropriate sites, similar to what they are able to access at school. Parents and students should report any filtering problems to the principal.

NEVER FORGET: Bellevue West will have the photo exhibit “Remembering Our Fallen” on display Monday through Friday. The exhibit honors men and women in the military with ties to Nebraska who have been killed in Afghanistan or Iraq while serving in the war on terror. “Remembering Our Fallen” was created by Bill and Evonne Williams with help from The World-Herald.

JUST FOR PARENTS: Millard Public Schools will have four meetings this week for parents. Learn about:

» The Core Academy offered at Cather Elementary during a 6:30 p.m. Monday meeting at Cather.

» The Montessori program offered at Norris and Montclair Elementaries at a 6:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting at Norris.

» The International Baccalaureate program offered at Aldrich Elementary during a 6:30 p.m. Thursday meeting at Aldrich.

» The Montessori program offered at Central Middle School during a 7 p.m. Thursday meeting at Central.

MATCHING SKILLS: DECA students from throughout the Omaha metro area are competing in the District DECA Competition at Millard South today.

JROTC: Students in JROTC programs from across the region are gathering today for a competition at Papillion-La Vista South. Teams will vie in color guard competitions, armed and unarmed regulations, and armed and unarmed exhibitions. Individual drill down heats will occur throughout the day, with the finals happening just before the 4 p.m. awards ceremony.

NOW SHOWING: Omaha Brownell-Talbot students will stage “Into the Woods” at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 2 p.m. Feb. 2.

Northwest metro

ALL ABOUT GEOGRAPHY: Abbott Elementary in Millard celebrated Geography Awareness Week this week by hosting a National Geographic Giant Traveling Map of North America. Parents got to see the map during Friday’s PTO movie night. In addition, Abbott had its 19th annual Geography Bee on Thursday. Next Tuesday, kindergartners through third-graders will have math game night.

OWL PELLETS: As part of their science curriculum, Johnson Crossing Academic Center fifth-graders in Fremont have been studying owls. Fremont resident Sandi Brune, an owl enthusiast, gave a presentation about these birds of prey. Many of Brune’s photographs of owls in her neighborhood and around Fremont and sound bites of owls were included in her presentation. Owls eat their food whole and slowly digest their meal by separating soft materials from harder materials. The regurgitated materials make up owl pellets. Dissecting owl pellets with tweezers gave students the opportunity to find fur, feathers, skulls, ribs, jaws and other bones, which had to be classified on students’ worksheets. Some students asked for rubber gloves, but others did not give a hoot about touching the pellets with bare hands.

EYE ON RUSSIA: Teachers at Ezra Millard Elementary in Millard read “Luba and the Wren” by Patricia Polacco to students this week. The book is a Russian-style turn on the folktale “The Fisherman and His Wife.” Throughout the month, teachers provided other Russian folktales or books by Polacco to share with their classes. To culminate the month of activities, families gathered Thursday evening to celebrate the school’s study of Russia and Polacco.

LET’S TALK: The principal of Deerfield and West Primaries in Blair will have coffee with parents Friday at Deerfield.

Central metro

SPECIAL GUEST: Author Pete Hautman will be at King Science and Technology Magnet Center in OPS on Tuesday. He is the author of books for young adults including “The Obsidian Blade,” “Rash,” “Blank Confession,” “Godless,” “Invisible” and more. He also wrote “The Bloodwater Mysteries” for middle grades.

PUPPET LESSON: Third-graders at Hillside and Loveland Elementaries in Westside are participating in Blend of Friends puppet show, a program designed to heighten multicultural awareness and foster understanding. Loveland will have its program Tuesday. Hillside had its program Thursday.

BEING GREEN: These 10 ways to go green are from the newsletter of King Science and Technology Magnet Center in OPS.

» Make nontoxic, affordable cleaning supplies out of everyday items such as vinegar and baking soda.

» Install carbon monoxide alarms near all sleeping areas, on each level of the house and 15 to 20 feet from the furnace.

» Use only lead-free, nontoxic paint throughout your home, especially in children’s rooms.

» Your local health department can provide information about the purity and safety of your drinking water. If your tap water fails a lead test, buy a filter or use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

» Turn off the water when you’re not using it and put a low-flow cap on your sink faucet.

» Prevent mold growth with good ventilation and use low-VOC paints and furnishings. Check that appliances and any fireplace or wood stove are properly vented to the outside.

» Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use less energy, generate less heat and last longer than other light bulbs.

» Find creative new ways to reuse old glass jars, bottles and grocery bags. Recycle as much as possible.

» Save electricity and reduce environmental impact by turning off lights when you leave a room.

» Avoid mercury ingested through fish if you are pregnant or are a child because it can be a health risk. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends these groups not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish.

KINDNESS: This information is from a recent daily bulletin at Monroe Middle School in OPS. What does it mean to be kind? Kind can mean being friendly, generous or warm-hearted in nature. Being kind can be demonstrated by showing sympathy, understanding or charity. A random act of kindness is a selfless act that is performed with the sole purpose to assist or cheer up another person. After the tragic events in Connecticut and the loss of life in Omaha during 2012, let’s start off 2013 being kind to others. Help Monroe join the national movement to complete 26 random acts of kindness in memory of the 26 victims of Sandy Hook Elementary. When you complete an act of kindness, add your act to the bulletin board in the library. Help Monroe complete the board by Feb. 11, the beginning of National Random Acts of Kindness week.

West metro

FREE FAMILY FUN: Students and families from Black Elk Elementary in Millard will get in free at tonight’s Millard West girls and boys basketball games, which begin at 5:30 p.m. Millard West is sponsoring Black Elk Students and Families Night.

ON THE RUN: This information is from the newsletter of Black Elk Elementary in Millard:

Girls on the Run is an innovative after-school program that combines exercise, education, mentoring and “Girl Power!” to promote healthy habits and self-esteem in third- through sixth-grade girls. The program incorporates lessons on goal setting, health, teamwork and communication with physical activity so participants can build character along with endurance. Girls on the Run at Black Elk will begin March 4. The team will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

PASS THE PARMESAN: The PTO at Disney Elementary in Millard will have a fundraising spaghetti dinner from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. The meal is open to the public. Earlier Friday, fifth-graders at Disney will have a field trip to the Holland Performing Arts Center.

AT THE ROSE: Fifth-graders at Harvey Oaks Elementary in Millard visited the Rose Theater on Friday.

POETRY SLAM: Montclair Elementary’s sixth annual poetry slam will be Thursday evening. Students can perform original or published works of poetry in a coffee house-style setting. The slam is noncompetitive. Add to the evening by joining the PTO and the Pancake Man for a pancake meal in the gym. The Montclair Wildcat Choir, which began meeting Wednesday, will meet each Wednesday before school. All fifth-graders can participate. No audition is required.

FAMILY DINNER: Morton Elementary in Millard will have its Family Winter Dinner on Thursday evening. Friday will bring a hat day.

South central metro

THEY HAVE TALENT: Oakdale Elementary in Westside will have a talent show Thursday.

TAKE CARE: Paddock Road Elementary in Westside had this message in a recent newsletter. The information is valid no matter where your child attends school. The school has security set up to control the technology that students access. Mobile phones also are restricted to emergency use and cannot be used without permission. Texting is not allowed. As parents, it is important to monitor your children’s technology use outside of school. The school tries to remind students that any pictures, text or anything sent out electronically can remain “out there” in the cyberworld for anyone to access. Information posted on Facebook or other social sites also can be seen by many and can make kids vulnerable. Make sure that you as parents are aware of your children’s technology use.

STAR-GAZING: Second- and third-graders at Seymour Elementary in Ralston will visit the University of Nebraska at Omaha Planetarium on Tuesday morning.

NO TV: Sunset Elementary in Westside on Friday finished Turn off the Screen Week. On Tuesday, the school had “Fit & Fun Night.” Family Night came Wednesday and families were urged to stay home. “Wildlife Encounters” were offered Thursday night with exotic animals and conservation lessons. Friday night brought pizza and bingo for families.

South metro

LANGUAGE FAIR: Seventh-graders at Lewis & Clark Middle School in Bellevue had a World Language Fair on Thursday afternoon at the Lied Activity Center in Bellevue.

STORY TIME: Portal Elementary in La Vista will host Preschool Story Time at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

B-THERE: The PTO at Westmont Elementary in the Springfield Platteview district will sponsor bingo night Thursday.

LEARN THE FACTS: Plattsmouth Elementary will have math night Tuesday.

NO BULLIES: Nationally recognized youth speaker Mark Brown will address Gretna Middle School students Tuesday. He will talk about bullying and decision making.

ONE SCHOOL, ONE BOOK: Through next Friday, students of Parkview Heights Elementary in Papillion are participating in the One School, One Book Program. Each Parkview Heights family was given a copy of Andrew Clement’s “Frindle.” Families were encouraged to follow a schoolwide reading schedule, generally 15 minutes a night. At school, students are invited to answer trivia questions that encourage attentive listening and reading. In class, students also will complete activities in which they discuss and explore the book.


ON THE MOVE: Sixth-graders in Riverside Community Schools will have an ice skating and bowling trip Friday.

SING IT: Iowa Western Community College will host Thursday’s southwest Iowa honor choir.

HONOR BAND: The Iowa State University Cyclone Honor Band event will be Friday in Ames.

TALENT SHOW: Wilson Middle School in Council Bluffs will have an X Factor Talent Show on Wednesday.

SPARE FRIDGE? The Riverside Road House, sponsored by the Riverside family and consumer science department, needs another refrigerator. If you have a used refrigerator that is clean and working but you have no where to take it, contact Susan Bentley at Riverside at 712-482-6464.

BLOOD DRIVE: The National Honor Society at Walnut will sponsor a blood drive Wednesday afternoon.

TOSS-UP QUESTION: Sioux City Bishop Heelan will host a Junior High Quiz Bowl today.

CHILI FEED: Carroll Kuemper will host the Brandon Bruggeman Scholarship Fund Chili Feed from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at St. Lawrence School cafeteria. Donations will be accepted.

EXTENDING THE LEARNING: Parents of first-graders at Kreft Primary in the Lewis Central district are invited to meet with Principal Barb Grell and Instructional Strategist Rosie Spangenberg at 9 a.m. Friday to learn about the curriculum and get ideas of things to do at home to enhance learning.


WINTER THEME: The Snowball Dance — put on by the Waverly FFA and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America — is tonight.

SPEAK CLEARLY: Lincoln Lutheran is hosting a speech competition today.

SPECIAL TEACHER: In honor of Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day, which is March 5 — Lincoln Public Schools and KFOR/KFRX Radio again are collaborating on the annual Thank You Teacher contest. Children, teenagers and grownups can pay tribute to a teacher who has made a difference in their lives by nominating that teacher for recognition from the contest. Five teachers will be chosen and honored at a March 5 breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion, where the five students who submitted the winning nominations also will be invited to attend and read their winning letters. Anyone who lives in Lincoln or Lancaster County can nominate a teacher in any of five categories: preschool through grade two, grades three through five, middle school, high school and retired. In addition to a written description explaining why a teacher made a difference in your life, entries should include the teacher’s name, grade level and school (or contact information), as well as the nominator’s name, address and phone number. Nominations should be postmarked or sent by 5 p.m. Feb. 22 and mailed to: Thank You Teacher, Communications, LPS District Offices, 3801 S. 14th St., Lincoln, NE 68502. You can print out an entry form from or submit nominations at

WELLNESS: Eastridge Elementary School in Lincoln will host its third-annual Family Wellness Night on Tuesday. There will be more than 25 booths offering community resources, free food samples and healthy lifestyle ideas. A free light meal will be provided. Eastridge students will be leading attendees in numerous physical activities throughout the evening.

Compiled by Sue Story Truax with World-Herald News Service

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