Tag Archive | papillion-la vista

Everyday America

Omaha, Nebraska.

This isn’t just where I work, it’s the area where I grew up. I’m officially a Papillion girl.. I rode my bike to Papio Pool, sled on the ‘big hill’ at 72nd and Hwy 370 before the apartments went up, and I graduated from PLHS back when there was only one high school.. #Old.  The first home I remember was near Central Park in La Vista. I played softball as a little girl in Glenwood.  I’ve spent countless family road trips heading west to Seward and east to Atlantic.  This area is all I know–it’s HOME. (And I think these were the original lyrics to Sugarland’s Everyday America.. #TheMoreYouKnow)

North Platte, Nebraska is synonymous with the Miss Nebraska Pageant.  For more than three decades, this city has crowned the women who have gone on to compete at Miss America.  So when North Platte is YOUR home, I suppose it’s destiny that someday YOU will be competing for the historic honor.

Courtney Pelland was been immersed in the Miss Nebraska Pageant for years, and one of the key descriptors of the accompanying Teen program, ‘Outstanding’, could be her middle name.  I think they call this fate.

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“My mom has taken me to every state pageant since I was 5,” Courtney told me recently.  “I’m involved in dancing at the Dance Factory with Becky Smith-Wagner, Miss Nebraska 1999. I was involved in the Little Sisters Program in 2008 to Brittany Jeffers, Miss Nebraska 2009.  We are Miss Heartland 2016 Tosha Skinner’s host family.  The girls in this program are welcoming and open to who any one girl is as a person.”

While it may have taken Courtney awhile to come out of her shell and compete on her own, there was never a question as to what her platform of service would be.. she wanted to share her personal story.

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“My platform is called ‘Knowing Your Body, Taking A Step Back’.  I decided on this platform after being hospitalized in January 2015,” said Courtney.  “My hemoglobin was at 6.6 (normal is 12) and I had no iron or iron storage left in my body; I was ghost white.”

Courtney received two blood transfusions and iron that day, and had to visit North Platte’s cancer center once a week for the next two months.  In October, doctors diagnosed Courtney with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune condition preventing the body from absorbing needed nutrients (like iron).  In addition, she underwent a hip labrum repair in June, an injury that had caused Courtney pain for at least two years.

“This whole experience has taught me to pay attention to your body and know when something is wrong,” said Courtney.  “That’s the message I want to get out and tell kids about.”

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So in November, when Courtney won her first title as Miss Sugar Valley’s Outstanding Teen, she set out on a mission to spread that message to as many people as possible.

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Multiple times every week, Courtney updates both her personal and Miss Western Nebraska Facebook pages with photos and recaps of schools she’s visiting, events she’s speaking at, and where she’s volunteering.  The North Platte High School newspaper, the Bulldogger, even featured Courtney in a recent article (click here to read more!)

“I have gone around volunteering for the Salvation Army this past Christmas, volunteering at my old elementary school, Osgood, at Fun Night, {in addition to Sutherland and Stapleton}, and served at the homeless shelter here in North Platte,” said Courtney.  “My favorite thing about holding a title this year has been going out to schools and talking to them about my platform.”

Courtney is also an All-State choir member, plays the tenor saxophone, is involved with National Honor Society and volunteers at her local hospital for the JV Ambassador’s Program.  Her home away from home is the Dance Factory, where she assists with pre-school and kindergarten classes at the Dance Factory, in addition to training in dance herself.

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Photo courtesy Irish Eye Photography

“My favorite part of the competition is talent because I get to show my skills, release and express my emotions and entertain the crowd,” said Courtney.  “Through this program I have become more confident in who I am as a person and more comfortable with my body.  I have learned to love myself for who I am.  I overcame my shyness and learned more about myself.  This organization is not based on beauty.  It is based on intelligence and builds confidence in girls and women.”

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Now, with the support of her mother (who Courtney calls her role model and best friend), and the rest of her family (“I don’t know what I would do without them”), Courtney wants to become one of the women she learned from and admired all these years in North Platte, and continue the sisterhood of role models crowned in this great city and sent out across the state.

‘That’s how it goes in everyday America, A little town and a great big life.’ — Sugarland

“My parents always tease me about being the social one,” said Courtney.  “I enjoy being with people and talking to children.  I should be the next Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen because I have a passion to share my experience with others.”

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CLICK HERE to follow Miss Sugar Valley’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Courtney Pelland

ON FACEBOOK and ON INSTAGRAM.  You can also follow Courtney on the Miss Western Nebraska Pageant Facebook page.

For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Kyla Ansley by phone at 308-631-0938 or by email at kyla_ansley@hotmail.com.

For more information on becoming a Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestant, contact Director Heather Edwards at heatheraloseke@gmail.com or Director Kali Tripp at kalinicoletv@gmail.com.

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The 2016 Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place June 10 in North Platte, Nebraska.  Learn more on THEIR WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER and ON INSTAGRAM.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Harvest Moon Festival 2016 Kara Kriha!

NEXT.. Miss Chadron 2016 Tyler Rambali!

To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2015 & 2014, click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!

Father Knows Best

It’s no small thing to be a collegiate athlete.  It takes hard work, focus, and to a certain extent, some degree of innate physical ability and talent.  One of my favorite quotes from my Superstar Co-Anchor Rob McCartney: ‘You can’t coach tall!’

(Side note.. Rob is a HUGE basketball fan and actually tried out for the Nebraska Cornhuskers as a walk-on ‘back in the day’.  Additional side note.. I missed the part of his story where he said he didn’t make the team and for awhile, just told people Rob played basketball for Nebraska.  Small mistake.)

A La Vista dad recognized early on in two of his children that his boys were gifted.  He knows what athleticism looks like.. because he saw it in his own reflection in the locker room at Memorial Stadium.

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Curtis Cotton, now a father and Papillion Police officer, is also a proud member of the Class of 1991 with the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team.

“I get that a lot,” Cotton said, when I asked him recently about being recognized as a Husker.  “‘I remember you!’ That’s the first thing they say as soon as I tell them, ‘hi, I’m Officer Cotton.'”

CLICK HERE TO WATCH KETV’S THROWBACK THURSDAY HUSKER FEATURE ON #9 CURTIS COTTON!

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It’s hard to see in this blurry image, but when Nebraska played Oklahoma in 1991, it was downright MISERABLE.  Fans throughout the stadium wore ponchos and rain gear, rain pooled all over the turf and every players’ breath was visible in the cold, fall air.  Still, THIS, was Cotton’s favorite game as a Husker.

“[It was] my senior year when we won a share of the Big Eight title,” said Cotton.  “It was at home against Oklahoma.  It was so cold and wet that day, but I don’t remember it after we sealed that win.  It was a great time.”

Check out this video of the game thanks to ArenaTeam on YouTube.  Players lifted Coach Tom Osborne onto their shoulders and carried him into the sea of fans rushing the field.  ABC broadcasters kept the final score graphic up over a shot of Husker fans climbing and shaking the goal posts, trying to bring it down.

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What a cool thing to watch, even via a grainy YouTube video.  Kick up the volume, and it’s enough to give any Husker fan chills.

While those days are no doubt special to Cotton, his adrenaline rushes these days stem from a different vantage point.

“I think I get more nervous when I’m about to watch my kids perform,” said Cotton.  “I get the butterflies in my stomach, my heart rate rises!”

Kenzo Cotton and KJ Cotton have both become something of high school legends in the Papillion-La Vista area.  Kenzo became an 8-time state track and field champion, claiming the 200M title all four years he competed.

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He chose the University of Arkansas, and just months ago, earned a national championship as part of the 4X100M relay team.  Kenzo’s ultimate goal is to make the US Olympic team.  (Click here to follow Kenzo Cotton’s athletic career on Twitter!)

Click here to watch Andy Kendeigh’s story with Kenzo and Curtis Cotton in May 2012!

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Photo courtesy JPC Photography

Kurtis ‘KJ’ Cotton is now a junior at Papillion-La Vista High School, also competing in track and field and playing on the varsity football team.  #9 (yes, wearing his dad’s number), has already made several highlight reels for the Monarchs this season with his speed and athleticism.  No word yet where he’s looking at for college, or if he intends to play college football like his dad.

Click here to watch KJ Cotton’s touchdown run during Papio-LV’s FIRST game of the season!

Kenzo told us back in 2012 he wanted to be just like his dad.  Curtis shared his parenting advice with us back then.

“I told him to try to stay humble,” he told KETV’s Andy Kendeigh.  “Big dreams, that is what being young is all about.  I remember those times when I dreamt the same way.  Hopefully they can come true for him.”

Three years later, Curtis Cotton is not only thinking of the sons following in his footsteps, but of today’s Huskers in the midst of a 2-3 season.

“Keep fighting,” Cotton said.  “[They] are going through a system change.  They’re all trying to perform for their new coaches, if they are new coaches.  They’re all trying to show they are worthy of being on the field.  It’s difficult to watch when you know that they’re struggling and they’re giving the best that they can give out there on the field, but at the same time, you want to see them keep fighting through it.  Man up, fight through it, get through it and don’t give up.”

Advice for anyone facing challenges, on or off the field.  I guess what they say is true; father does know best.

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WEEK FIVE.. CLASS OF 1970 JERRY MURTAUGH!

NEXT WEEK.. CLASS OF 2003 DR. JUDD DAVIES!

Thank You, Kung Fu

Everything happens for a reason.

A relationship falls apart, and your heart breaks.  Then you find that one person you are truly meant to be with.

You don’t get that job you worked so hard for and had your heart set on.  Then an opportunity develops you hadn’t even envisioned as a possibility.

While trying to make people laugh at an event, you perform your best kung fu move, hit your head, go to the hospital, and learn you have inoperable cancer.

Wait.. WHAT?

That is just the BEGINNING of the story for my friend, David Wenzel.  THAT moment, a kung fu kick, led to his diagnosis.. and a roller coaster of life changing events including divorce, unplanned pregnancy, and love by accident (is there any better kind?).  His story is the stuff Hollywood is made of, and I’m so very honored he’s letting me share some of it here.

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David and I both went to high school at Papillion-La Vista (go Monarchs!).  He was one of those rare Jack-Of-All-Trades, involved in drama, speech, mock trial and band.. but also ran cross country, played golf and baseball, and was friends with EVERYBODY.  We didn’t have a ‘class clown’ award for our senior class, but David was THAT guy who was forever the center of attention and could always make people laugh.

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Our junior year, David’s ‘status’ skyrocketed, when he was cast in Alexander Payne’s film Election, shot at our high school in 1997.  David got his own trailer, made the final cut that hit theaters and I think still gets royalty checks for like $10 from time to time.  (His ‘thumbs up’ scene with Reese Witherspoon still cracks me up!)

While many of us chose Creighton, UNO or UNL for college, David chose Cedarville University in Ohio, a school known as a top Midwest Christian school.  Faith was always important to David (he grew up in Omaha’s Christ Community Church.)  We’d all hang out together from time to time when he came back to Nebraska, but as you often do, many of us lost touch.  He got married, moved to Michigan, and life went on.

Years later, I was working with another Papio alum (and friend!) John Campbell here at KETV.  John asked, ‘have you heard about David?  He has a brain tumor.’

SHOCK.  I was engaged to my husband at the time, planning our wedding and life together, and the idea of being faced with cancer, faced with DEATH, was mind-boggling to me and terrifying.

That was NOTHING compared to what David was going through six years ago, especially, how his diagnosis came about.

“I attended an Experts Conference in San Francisco,” David told me recently.  “The conference instructed us to start every conversation with ‘what are you an expert in?’  Since I was actually an expert in training and working with other experts, my answer was quite confusing.  I gave up and started telling people I was a Kung Fu expert.  Late one night after hearing my response, a guy wanted to start a fake kung fu battle with me in the hotel lobby.  Never one to turn down an opportunity for a good laugh, I took him up on it.  He delivered a fake roundhouse kick to the head.  I quickly turned as though he hit me and struck my head on a concrete pillar.  I turned back around to laugh it off but realized I couldn’t speak.  It was my first seizure.”

David tried to shrug off what had happened, but the next morning on the final day of the conference, he suffered another seizure, much worse than the first.

“I fell to the ground shaking, then passed out,” describes David.  “I woke up as I was being loaded into the ambulance; I remember joking with the nurses and hospital staff, even tweeting about this entire crazy scenario!  After three to four scans, a doctor came into my room and told me I was diagnosed with a Grade II Oligoastrocytoma, a terminal and inoperable brain tumor.  I stopped breathing.  I remember thinking they had delivered this news to the wrong person.  I was in remarkable shape, never broke a bone, never even had a cavity.  And this (somewhat horrible) thought crossed my mind: this doesn’t happen to people like me.”

The doctor left.  A nurse sat down with David and held his hand as he cried.  For hours, he was alone, trying to process what was happening.

“I remember trying to truly ‘understand’ the idea that everything, forever, would be different,” said David.  “Knowing from that moment on, the future would forever be changed.  A few hours later I started making calls to my wife and family.  It was rough.  Just tears after tears after tears.”

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John and I, and many of David’s old friends back in Nebraska, followed what happened next on his blog, Jump David Jump.  I don’t know if it was from his amazing PLHS English teacher Mary Birky or from countless hours listening to the Dave Matthews Band on repeat, but David has always had a way with words, and sharing his own story was no different.  Clearly we weren’t alone in following his journey; David soon started receiving invitations to speak at universities, churches and conferences.  People wanted to hear about his treatment, taking an all-natural approach to beat cancer rather than trying conventional measures (read more here.)  They wanted to hear the crazy story about his diagnosis. Simply, as I’ve written before, people want to be inspired.

“This was the first moment in my life when I was positive that I had a unique story to tell, was given opportunities to tell it, and was receiving messages that people’s lives were being changed because of it.  At this point, I was in full appreciation for the life that I had been given,” said David.  “Everyone was so supportive, but over time my (at that time) wife had issues with me continually sharing [my story].”

The couple tried a new church, a place where David grew uncomfortable after a few months.  He wanted to leave, she wanted to stay.  Eventually, the two divorced.

Everything happens for a reason.  Try telling that to a young man with cancer, recently divorced, who just years earlier was healthy, happy and had the world at his fingertips.  Adding to it, David didn’t know anyone else who’d been through a divorce.. until he met Lori.

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Photo courtesy The Awesome Mitten

The Chicago native moved to Grand Rapids for college, then opened The Sparrows coffee shop, which became one of David’s favorite spots for coffee.  The two met when Lori asked for writing help for her non-profit group, and their friendship blossomed after-hours, comparing stories about issues in their respective relationships.  Doctors had told Lori she couldn’t have children.

David proved that theory wrong.

“My first and only one-night stand,” said David.  “One night, one baby.”

Lori became pregnant; the two friends had only known each other for about a year.

“I was in shock.  Like, actual shock.  I couldn’t believe it,” said David.  “I was so afraid that the goodwill I’d built up around me would all come crashing down.  But I experienced so much love from my friends and family.  I couldn’t believe how well everyone handled it.”

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May 15, 2014, Marian Wenzel entered the world.

“Marian has two meanings: ‘bitter’ and ‘long-awaited child’,” explains David.  “So to each of us, she was that.  She was a complete surprise, and in many ways, a bitter one.  But in the end, she was the best surprise possible, our long-awaited child.  I suppose we just had to live some life and make a few mistakes before she could join us as the miracle of all miracles.”

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A MIRACLE, not a mistake, as David says God proved just a few months later.  Lori, who thought she was incapable of having children, became pregnant again.

“Lori and I had determined that God knows what is going on.  If I was on death’s door, he wouldn’t get Lori pregnant again,” said David.  “She walked onto the front porch where I was enjoying a beer and grinned as she showed me the positive pregnancy test.  My response this time was quite different from the first.  We were so happy.  Apparently, Lori and I are quite fertile people.”

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May 15, 2015, one year later TO THE DAY, Lori delivered Viola Wenzel at the couple’s home.  Irish twins.

Note what I wrote there.. the couple.  Between baby girls, David and Lori made a big decision.

“I realized that Lori had become my best friend,” said David.  “It took a few months of complete shock before I dug myself out of my past to realize that I honestly loved her.  And since then, she has become my beautiful constant.  She’s my center pole in my tetherball version of life.”

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The two married, at The Sparrows, just before Christmas.

I wish I could just type HAPPILY EVER AFTER, and leave David’s story at that.  But thinking back to when he married Lori jars another memory.. David being rushed to the hospital in the weeks before his wedding.  In the midst of such an incredible story, remember, David has terminal cancer.  He had made it six years, keeping a high quality of life through alternative treatments.. but also suffered seizures so bad that by December, he became unable to drive.

In September, when Marian was just four months old, David’s doctor told him his brain tumor was still growing, and without conventional treatments, he had possibly two years to live.  If he pursued chemotherapy and radiation through the Proton Therapy being advised, there was a 50% chance he’d have ten more years.

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David began treatment in March.  He lost a lot of weight, his hair, and at times, even memories embedded in his heart like his daughter’s name. Hopefully, he gained TIME.  Time to post the CUTEST pictures of his sweet girls together, all three of them.  Time to share that witty sense of humor with the world, as he always has. Time to continue to pursue his passion to write, contributing to and ghostwriting several books, and now… his own.  David is currently raising money through Kickstarter to fund his own book: Thank You Kung-Fu.  

“I have learned, first hand, that in all the messiness and disorder and pain and anger and hopelessness, there is a God.  And what God originates, He orchestrates,” said David.  “I know I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can share my story of how three miserable things happened in my life and through each of them, God has been quietly leading me towards where I am right now.  And I can honestly say, my life has never been better.”

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Photo courtesy Jon Melton

As of today, David’s supporters have donated about $34,000; a recent event through Failure Lab raised $8,000 in one night alone.

CANCER SUCKS, guys, it just does.  This terrible, horrific disease steals away fathers, friends, mothers, wives.. it is cruel and mean and blind to who it attacks.. people that the world NEEDS, people who are innocent and undeserving of this terrible fight they’ve been dealt.  I wish I could Kung-Fu cancer.

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Photo of David & Lori courtesy Jill Devries Photography

David Wenzel is trying, directly and indirectly.  He’s fighting his own battle for himself, his wife, and his beautiful, baby girls.  He’s also sharing his story to help others fight.. maybe against cancer, maybe against other demons.  I will NEVER justify cancer, but David Wenzel is living proof everything happens for a reason.

Note.. LIVING proof.

With that, I leave you with two final messages.  From me, maybe you don’t believe in fate.  Maybe you don’t believe in God.  Whatever you believe in, find HOPE in something.  Search for whatever makes you happy and gives you strength, and JUST DO IT.  In the end, who knows how much time any of us has?

David certainly doesn’t know.  But he’s still making people laugh, still the center of attention, and very much so, living life to the fullest.  He leaves you with this.

“I have no idea what you are going through, but I am positive there is a God who knows.  He has not forgotten you.  He knows you and loves you and wants you to know you are not alone.”

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Photo courtesy Gorilla

To learn more about David Wenzel and his memoir, Thank you Kung-Fu, click here to visit his Kickstarter fundraising site, active through July 25.  As of this post, David was approximately $6,000 from his fundraising goal.

David invites you to click here and visit his blog, Jump David Jump, to follow his journey.  You can also click here to learn more about his work with Robin Hood Ink.

Most Likely To Shine

When you look back at your years in high school, do you remember who won the senior superlatives in your class?  Most outgoing, best personality, most likely to succeed, most school spirit.

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In my class, one of the ‘superlative’ winners was my good friend Jake Ozanne, named Most Outgoing.  He could have also been coined ‘Most Popular’, ‘Most Inclusive’, ‘Most Welcoming’, or just “Mr. All American Monarch.”  Jake was a starting varsity football player, who also has a sensational voice and was one of the star’s of PLHS’s sold-out presentation of Grease.  He did it all and was friends with EVERYONE along the way, no matter what clique, group, or friendship circle you were part of.  PAPIO LOVED JAKE, and we still do.

Lincoln Southwest High arguably has SEVERAL contenders for the title.. THREE Silver Hawks will be competing this summer for the title of Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.  One of these young ladies is the Queen of Superlatives.. because after my reporter research, I question if there is anything this beauty CAN’T do.

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MISS GERING’S OUTSTANDING TEEN 2015 EMMA KEIFER

(Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography)

Emma is an actress, a singer, a competitive speaker, and a dancer.  She not only takes part in all of these activities at Lincoln Southwest High, she’s an award winner in many of them..

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The sophomore is a member of the top ranked Ambience competitive show choir, of which Emma posted on Facebook: “What a year with so many amazing people including these inspiring girls that I am blessed to call my best friends.”

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Emma is also an active member of Lincoln Southwest High’s theater program, named Freshman of the Year and cast in this year’s production of White Christmas, chosen to be part of the 2015 International Thespian Festival Showcase.

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Emma’s also a national speech qualifier and a member of the Lincoln Southwest Emeralds Dance team.

In case you had any doubts, I looked up ‘does it all’ with Merriam Webster and Emma’s picture accompanies the definition.  HOLY COW!  Still, she added to her resume this year, competing for and winning the title of Miss Gering’s Outstanding Teen.

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Emma, alongside Miss Western Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Allison Baird.  Emma posted on Facebook: “What a great way to start fall break!  A big congratulations to every girl who competed in teen and miss for achieving so much by getting on the stage and sharing God’s talents to the judges.”

Emma was crowned in early October, and despite her incredibly demanding activity schedule at school, Emma gave of her time as Miss Gering’s OT at least once every month, often times more.

In October..

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“Trick or Treat so Kids Can Eat! Had a great time collecting food cans with my school theatre troupe as Cruella De Vil! We collected over 2,100 pounds of food for the Lincoln Food Bank!”

In November..

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“I was able to meet with the president of the Lincoln Animal Ambassadors to donate to their Pet Food Bank.  I am so thankful to all my friends who helped me collect over 50 bags of cat and dog food during our Post Halloween Movie Night!”

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“I spent time with other volunteers wrapping over 600 presents for the non-profit Boxes of Love.  These presents have been presented to many different organizations and families throughout the holiday season and I was very happy to help!”

In December..

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“I was able to meet with over 50 girls at Scott Middle School in Lincoln to promote my platform, Girl Talk.  Each girl showed interest in growing in the three pillars of the organization, building self-esteem, learning leadership skills and the importance of community involvement!  Every Thursday I get to talk and mentor a group of the most talented, sweetest, inspiring and beautiful girls I have ever met at Girl Talk!  Everyone knows how hard Middle School can be so I am so happy to be the Girl Talk girls guide through life and their shoulder to lean on! Not only am I teaching them leadership skills, community involvement, and to be drama free, but they are teaching me and making me a better person!”

On to January..

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“Spent my night volunteering at the Alzheirmer’s Association Gala! I even got to model a prom dress for the Black Swan during the live auction.  I had such a fun time for such a great cause.”

Ending February..

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“I bet you can guess who is ecstatic for June!”

And just recently, in April..

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“I judged a prelim for the Cinderella Pageant. (I have never seen so many talented and adorable girls! It was so tough being on the other side.)  I packaged/prepared meals for Kids Against Hunger with Youth Leadership Lincoln.  I met with the wonderful Teresa Scanlan and discussed the future and importance of my platform.”

And in May, Emma turned 17.  Yea, Emma Keifer IS A SOPHOMORE; SHE JUST TURNED 17 YEARS OLD.

I am exhausted just reading all of this!  I’m also checking to see if Lincoln Southwest is sharing their secrets to success in teaching and training such outstanding young women. Each of the groups Emma belongs to, whether they be drama, choir, speech, or dance, may have a different superlative for Emma.  Who knows what title she could end up with in her senior yearbook.

Emma Keifer may capture a title long before that.  She’ll take the stage in North Platte in just two weeks, ready to compete for the title of Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

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(Photo courtesy Julie Carter Photography)

Follow Miss Gering’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Emma Keifer and contact her for appearances and events on the Miss Western Nebraska/Miss Gering Pageant on Facebook.

Click here to follow Emma’s platform, Girl Talk!, on Facebook.

Click here for a special profile on Emma posted on the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Facebook page!

For more information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Kyla Ansley by phone at 308-631-0938 or by email at kyla_ansley@hotmail.com.

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The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will take place June 5, 2015 in North Platte.  Click here to visit the organization’s website or the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant on Facebook and on Twitter.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Chadron 2015 Tosha Skinner

NEXT.. Miss Omaha’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Chelsea Arnold

To read more about the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.

Good Enough

Anyone else watch Goonies this weekend?  What a classic..

Goonies

And afterwards, I had Cyndi Lauper’s Good Enough stuck in my head for hours.  AWESOME song 🙂

Quick question… are you good enough?  It’s something I ask myself ALL. THE. TIME.  Then guilt.. thinking I could be doing more as a mom, as a coworker, as a friend.

One thing I am trying to do that I truly think makes a difference, even a small one, is to highlight the positive things happening around me.  One of my favorite educators, Papillion-La Vista Schools legend Chuck Johnston, gave me the idea for an A-Z compliment mission… go through your address book and tell 26 friends, A to Z, something great about them.  Remind them of how important they are to you and how awesome they are.

I’d like to take it one step further on this blog and highlight great people doing great things in our community.  Do you know someone?  Maybe it’s a woman like Lucy O’Hanlon, a newly retired NICU nurse who cared for THOUSANDS of babies at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center over the course of 40+ years.  When we shared Lucy’s story, we were inundated with posts and messages about experiences with Lucy.  Parents shared how Lucy sat with them and just let them cry.  Nurses who watched Lucy spend every moment of her shift rocking or cooing sick, tiny babies.  I imagine the NICU can be a lonely, scary place if you are a parent or a sweet newborn.. Lucy helped make it warm, welcoming, and safe.  Imagine what the world would be like if we had more ‘Lucy’s?

I am asking all of you who read this blog (and again, THANK YOU for reading!) to tell me who is the ‘Lucy’ in your life?  Who always goes out of their way to make your day brighter?  Who gives of themselves selflessly to make life better for someone else?  Who deserves to be recognized for making the world a better place?

In honor of Major League Baseball’s announcement of this year’s All Star Team yesterday, I’ll kick things off with two local All Stars…

jack

Millard North’s Jack Wilson

Joe

and Millard West’s Joe Charvat 

Jack and Joe are recent graduates of their respective schools and varsity baseball players.  They are also outstanding kids who extend kindness to anyone they encounter, including my little boy, Easton.  I can see in his eyes how cool it is to be friends with the ‘big boys’, and both Jack and Joe always go out of their way to yell ‘hi, Easton!!’ when they see him.

Thanks, guys, for making my kiddo feel so special.  And best of luck to you in college this fall!! (Jack, we’ll be cheering for you at UNO!!)

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