Author-illustrator Michelle Nelson-Schmidt recently visited Gilder Elementary to spread her message of perseverance and hope. Nelson-Schmidt, is the author and illustrator of the popular children's books “Cats, Cats!” and “Dogs, Dogs!” Her latest book is “Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster.” It's about a boy who doubts himself yet overcomes his fears with the realization that by taking risks he can succeed. Here Nelson-Schmidt shows Gilder students one of the first paintings she created when she was in high school.


TIME TO TALK: Ralston's Principal's Coffee will begin at 7:15 a.m. Friday.

SHOW CHOIR: Gretna is hosting a show choir competition today. In related news, after being rescheduled three times due to weather, the Gretna Show Choir's annual Cookie Walk fundraiser managed to reach its goal of $2,000, said organizer Wendi Ernst. She said the funds will be used to help cover expenses such as travel and costumes.

SINGSATION: Millard West's show choirs are hosting today's Singsation, a high school and middle school show choir competition. Twenty-five groups involving more than 1,000 performers will compete in five divisions. This daylong event begins at 7:20 a.m. The field narrows to six finalists, which will compete starting at 6:30 p.m. Show choir groups each will perform for 20 to 25 minutes. Each show includes high-energy bands, dance choreography, props, sets and soloists. Admission is $10 for the entire day or $7 to attend only the preliminary session or $7 to attend only the finals. Admission for high school-aged students and younger is $5. Children 4 and under are free. Concessions will be available.

TEAMING UP: The University of Nebraska at Omaha and its Student-Community Leadership and Service office began a partnership early this month with Crete Elementary School. The project finished Friday. SCLS and the school organized a food drive and the making of about 200 fleece blankets to be donated to families in need. Third-graders from the Crete 21st Century Learning Community, an after-school learning enhancement program, coordinated donations with the Blue Valley Community Action Center.

HONOR BAND: The Nebraska State Bandmasters Association is hosting the eighth-grade honor band today at Kearney.

ROBOTICS: Omaha North is hosting today's VEX Robotics Tournament. About 90 teams from more than 30 schools and groups are participating. Each of the teams will be paired into alliances with other robotics teams for the competition. The competition will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

GO, TEAM: Omaha Skutt is hosting today's River Cities Conference Cheer Classic.

FESTIVAL: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is hosting this weekend's Winter Festival for winds and percussion.

ALL THAT JAZZ: The Nebraska Jazz Orchestra has selected musicians for the 2013 Young Lions All-Star Band. The students, selected by audition, perform with some of the best jazz musicians in Nebraska. The students will perform in concert with the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra and guest artist Jackie Allen at the “Simmering Vocals” concert at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. To buy tickets, contact the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra business office at 402-477-8446 or Nebraska Jazz Orchestra Music Director Ed Love coaches and directs the Young Lions All-Star Band. These students make up the 2013 Young Lions All-Star Band:

Saxophones — Nick Morse of Lincoln Southeast, Peter Fucinaro of Creighton Prep, Eli Hershiser of Westside, Nate Crawford of Bellevue East and Matt Andersen of Lincoln Southwest.

Trumpets — Brendan Coughlin of Millard North, Ben Bird of Lincoln Southeast, Garett Easley of Beatrice and Colton Whetstone of Lincoln North Star.

Trombones — Cal Switzer of Gretna, Adam Fitzgibbon of Lincoln Southeast and Chris Morse of Lincoln's Irving Middle School.

Rhythm — Matt Stedronsky of Lincoln Southwest on piano, Jacob Phillips of Benson on guitar, Josh Bargar of Lincoln Southeast on base and Chris Beasley of Lincoln Southwest on drums.

LEARNING TO MOVE: Millard South will host a cheer and dance clinic from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Feb. 2 for ages 4 to 14. Participants will learn several chants and a dance that they will perform during halftime of the Feb. 2 varsity boys basketball game. Registration is $25. To register, contact Shari Burrus at 402-616-6458 or

OUR FALLEN: Plattsmouth 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.

ROAD TRIP: DECA students at Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln will participate in the District 3 Competition in Des Moines on Wednesday.

LEARN THE ROUTINES: Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson will host a cheer and dance clinic for youths Monday evening at the Fieldhouse.

MENTORING: Council Bluffs Lewis Central Middle and High Schools recently formed a TeamMates chapter and will be making mentor-mentee matches.

AUTHOR: Danielle Airola, a former Papillion-La Vista South student and author of “Empress' Outlaw,” recently spoke to students at her alma mater. She addressed students in a creative writing class about life as a student and being a new author. Airola also spoke with other students after school.

SHE'S ON THE RUN: Callie Jane Vickers, a 16-year-old junior at Millard North, is one of three national “Wondergirl” award winners for an essay she wrote about how Girls on the Run influenced her as a teenager. The contest was presented by Girls on the Run International, the parent organization of 200 nonprofit Girls on the Run councils across the U.S. and Canada. The contest was open to alumnae now in high school or college. Vickers participated in several Girls on the Run of Nebraska programs from 2004 to 2008 when she was in third through eighth grades. It was new to Nebraska when Vickers joined the inaugural team at Millard's Montclair Elementary in 2004. Vickers enjoyed just about everything offered by the first Girls on the Run experience — the coaches, the running games and the cheers. She re-enrolled in the program, season after season. She “graduated” from Girls on the Run at the end of fifth grade, but she still wanted more. She became Nebraska's first “junior coach,” helping with GOTR teams at Cottonwood Elementary in Millard and at St. Stephen the Martyr School. She volunteered at the GOTR 5Ks when she got to high school. Girls on the Run and the camaraderie it fostered gave her the confidence and the desire to help others succeed. Vickers won an all-expenses-paid trip to the organization's annual conference in New Orleans for her and a parent, which they took Monday through Wednesday. She participated in a panel discussion with Girls on the Run founder Molly Barker and the two other “Wondergirl” recipients. Learn more about Girls on the Run of Nebraska at

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Omaha Brownell-Talbot juniors Christina Fossum, Bradley Hutchings and David Karimi have been selected as members of the Nebraska Attorney General's Youth Advisory Council. Members of the council are nominated by state senators and educators.

BIGGER GARDEN: Indian Creek Nursery donated flower bulbs to the arboretum at Omaha Gross. Another 1,500 bulbs were put into the garden in the fall.

SHARK FINS: U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., recently visited students at the Papillion-La Vista School District Zoo Academy. He talked about government and the process of making a bill become a law. Zoo Academy students have been researching and learning about the ocean environment as part of their yearlong project focusing on sharks. Recently, there has been an increase in the market for shark fins. Individuals catch sharks, de-fin them and throw the sharks back into the ocean. Zoo Academy students have been reaching out to Nebraska lobbyists and state representatives to ban any and all shark fin products in Nebraska. Terry talked about the next steps the students need to take.

HALFTIME JAM: The dance teams at Omaha Gross will present their 16th annual Halftime Jam on Friday. The dance clinic and performance will include girls in first through eighth grade.

WE THE PEOPLE: More than 155 students from seven Nebraska schools participated earlier this month in the 2013 We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution state finals at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. The 22-member team from Lincoln East won and will represent Nebraska at the April 26 to 29 national contest in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Southeast Gold Team placed second. Honorable mentions went to Lincoln Southwest, Holdrege and Wilcox-Hildreth.

Northwest metro

CAREER DAY: Elkhorn Valley View Middle School in Elkhorn will have career day Monday. The school also will have bowling-arcade night Friday.

KEEPING WARM: Joslyn Elementary's Student Council hosted a mitten, glove and hat drive through Friday. Donations will be given to Together Inc. Joslyn is in OPS.

INTERNET SAFETY: Elkhorn Ridge Middle School carried this information in a recent newsletter. Is your family practicing safe and secure uses of technology? Desktops, iPods, smartphones and social media leave a digital footprint. What does your digital footprint say about you? Twin Rivers YMCA and Ryan Sothan from the Nebraska Attorney General's Office will sponsor “Digital Citizenship: Safe, Responsible and Respectable Uses of Technology.” Elkhorn Ridge students will receive the presentation Tuesday. Information for parents will be presented from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Twin Rivers YMCA. Free child care for those 12 and younger will be available. It is important to respect the dangers of the Internet and understand our responsibility to educate our families to protect them from the potential dangers that lurk on the Internet.

SAVING UP: Arlington will have a post prom fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the Blue Gym.

MATH NIGHT: Friday will bring Math Game Night to Deerfield Primary in Blair.

Central metro

NO KIDS ALLOWED: The Community Club at Loveland Elementary in Westside will have Adult Night Out on Friday at the Market Basket. Proceeds from the evening will support Loveland Community Club activities such as Art Smart, teacher grants, classroom supplies and school improvement projects.

MIND YOUR TOES: Seventh- and eighth-graders at Omaha Brownell-Talbot will have their required Proper Dance on Friday evening. Students in grades four through eight will have a spelling bee Thursday. First- and second-place winners will go to the Feb. 9 Midwest Spelling Bee.

REMEMBERING KING: Kellom Elementary in OPS had a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Thursday.

WALKING FIELD TRIP: Kindergartners at Liberty Elementary in OPS will have lessons at the Omaha Children's Museum from Wednesday through Friday.

West metro

PASS THE POPCORN: The Community Club at Prairie Lane Elementary in Westside will sponsor family movie night Friday at Westside Middle School.

SIT TEAM: Norris Elementary in Millard seeks members for its School Improvement Team. The next meeting will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the school lounge. The team parents and staff discuss district and building matters that support Norris' building site plan and district strategic plan. Meetings are held at least six times a year and are open to nonteam staff and parents.

TIPS FOR 2013: Team 6B at Andersen Middle School in Millard offered these tips to help students be successful in the new year:

» Make contact with someone you don't know; make it your goal to meet a new friend.

» Carry out a Random Act of Kindness.

» Replenish and replace any necessary supplies.

» Clean out your binder regularly.

» Participate in a new hobby or activity by joining a club.

» Share with your parents something new you learned today.

» Use your planner regularly.

» Read a new book.

» Set a goal for 2013.

» Remember the importance of good manners.

TIME TO SWAP: Millard North Middle School will have a book exchange Wednesday through Friday.

South central metro

FIELD TRIP: Ralston kindergartners will visit the Omaha Children's Museum on Tuesday.

DONATION: Our Lady of Lourdes School students recently brought in several hundred soap and personal care items to donate to the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

STILL AVAILABLE: Did you miss the holiday program at Castelar Elementary in OPS? No worries. The school website, has a link to view the video of the program.

FIELD TRIP: Kindergartners and first-graders at All Saints School will visit Fontenelle Forest Nature Center on Friday.

South metro

PASS THE SYRUP: The PTO at Thomas Elementary in Gretna will sponsor the Waffleman on Friday.

TOPPING 500: The Gretna Elementary Care Club surpassed its goal of 500 items for its Giving Tree donations, collecting 521 winter items to share with those in need.

WINTER GEAR: The Palisades Elementary Community Service Club is accepting coats, hats and mittens of all sizes in good condition through Jan. 31. All donations can be dropped off in the designated containers in the commons.

READING: Students at Westmont Elementary in the Springfield Platteview district had a kickoff Friday for the Storm Chasers Hit the Books program.

Compiled by Sue Story Truax with World-Herald News Service

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