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Learning Empowers Individuals to Great Heights
  • Feature image-0

    How a School Co-op Can Be Successful: History of the Clarkson-Leigh Co-op

    At a time where school consolidation seems like the only answer for population shifts between counties, rising education costs, and constantly changing economic and educational expectations, there is another solution that is often overlooked. High school cooperative sharing is another viable solution for schools being forced to eliminate school sports and activities due to dwindling numbers.

    A multi-school co-op is often viewed in a negative light because it is wrongly associated with consolidation. The Clarkson-Leigh activity co-op is a successful example of how two schools of equal size can come together and resolve one of the biggest issues facing small schools today while still maintaining their own individual identities.

    The formation of the Clarkson-Leigh Patriots began in a small way 5 years ago.  The first year, the volleyball and track teams and junior high sports were the only activities to combine.   

    Since then, Leigh High School and Clarkson High School have joined forces to form Patriot football, boys’ and girls’ basketball, golf teams, and dance teams. Three years ago, Clarkson and Leigh also combined with Howells-Dodge to form the Highway 91 Cyclone softball team. The new sports addition this year is the Patriot wrestling team, marking the first time in decades either school has offered wrestling.  

    Leigh senior Daniel Arriaza said, “As a student athlete, I feel that the Clarkson Leigh co-op has benefited us in many ways. It made it possible for both towns to have enough players to compete in each sport. It helps improve our teams because have more players means more competition for varsity positions.  This makes everyone work harder.  The co-op has also afforded us many new opportunities that weren’t possible for past generations of students at either school. The co-op softball team and brand new Patriot wrestling team are great examples of this.  Many Leigh students have become very close friends with Clarkson students through sports.”

                The Clarkson-Leigh co-op has evolved to encompass more than just 7-12 sports over the years.  We now have combined athletic booster clubs and thriving youth athletic programs.  The FFA and FCCLA programs are both combined, and last year marked the first year that the band and choir programs teamed up.  

    But the connection goes further still.  The two schools even share teachers for band, choir, art, ag, industrial tech, family and consumer science, Spanish, and college English.  This is accomplished in a variety of ways depending on the situation.  Some classes meet via distance learning TVs, some teachers travel back and forth between schools, and for other classes, students are bused back and forth throughout the school day.    

                No co-op is perfect, especially in the beginning.  But every year we get a few more kinks worked out, and more processes become streamlined and routine.  This does not happen magically.  Administrations, faculty, parents, and staff at both schools have to work very hard at it, and it involves enormous amounts of communication, hard work, and compromise.  But the sometimes painstaking process is worth it when students at both schools benefit from increased opportunities that otherwise would not be available to them.  

                According to NSAA’s website, there are 96 consolidated schools in Nebraska and only about 10-15 co-ops depending on the activity.  Of these 10-15, Clarkson-Leigh is one of the few co-ops in the state between schools of equal size and power.  Many of the rest are instances of a large school simply absorbing a much smaller school into their already existent programs without much changing for the larger school.  

                So if co-operative sports and activity sharing is working so well for Clarkson and Leigh, why aren’t more schools doing it?

                For starters, many people do not understand that co-op does not mean consolidation.  Nor does it mean that it will eventually lead to consolidation.  With five years of a successful co-op program under our belt, there is no talk of consolidation between Leigh and Clarkson.  In Leigh’s case, elementary enrollment is the highest it has been in 15-20 years.  A pre-Kindergarten program was added this year, and plans are underway to build a three-room addition to the elementary building next year.  Adding on a new high school to the existing elementary building is also a real possibility in the next couple years.   

                Another reason communities fight co-ops is because many community members are unwilling to look past deep-seated school rivalries and their own high school nostalgia for the benefit of a current generation of students.  

    In our case, before our co-op with Clarkson, Leigh High School students were suffering.  Like many schools across the state, as our enrollment decreased, it become harder to even have enough kids to field teams.  It may have presented an opportunity for students to have more playing time, but it limited their window of success because of a lack of competition. We were fortunate enough that both of our communities were able to look past rivalries and tradition to realize how beneficial a co-op would be to students.   

    An additional obstacle on the path to a co-op is the fact that all communities are afraid of losing a part of their identity.  Small communities like Leigh and Clarkson take great pride in their schools.  The school is the hub of all activity, and it is what residents feel makes their hometown special.  

    But our co-op has allowed both schools to maintain their identity without being forced into consolidation.  We both operate completely separate elementary schools.  Though much sharing exists between the two high schools, we are still two separate schools in two separate towns.  

    The only activities we do not co-op are speech team and the One-Act play.  We are each supportive of each other in these areas, but it has been nice to retain these two activities on our own.  The success of our One-Act team the past three years has been a source of school and community pride.  

    On the whole, I really feel that if more schools understood what it took to make a co-op successful, more schools across the state would co-op some activities. The school districts and communities of Clarkson and Leigh have developed a special bond over the past few years. The co-op has built relationships between not only students, but also administrations and faculties from both schools.  

    Clarkson Superintendent Rich Lemburg has been a part of the Clarkson-Leigh co-op from the start.

    “I would say there have been three major reasons why the coop has been successful,” Lemburg said.  “One is that there was a commitment from everyone involved, especially the coaches and the players right off the bat to make it work.  I thought the coaches did a lot of good bonding exercises early to get kids from both schools to come together and get used to working together.  

    “Second, I think playing to both schools’ and facilities’ strengths have made a difference too, making sure the coop works for both schools and communities.

    “Third, the continued work by the school districts to re-examine and analyze to see if there is anything that can be done to improve what we are doing for our students in the coop has played a huge role in our success.”

    Not only has the relationship between students and faculty been solidified between both schools, but the communal support from both towns has initiated a positive reaction in both schools. Our close-knit communities are very involved in all school activities. The small town support has resonated throughout our schools by encouraging students to work their hardest and represent Leigh and Clarkson the best they can.

    Leigh High School principal Troy Holmberg, in his first year with the district, said, “The co-op between Clarkson and Leigh is beneficial for our districts, truly the best of both worlds.  With our combined student bodies we have consistent numbers for activities that otherwise may suffer or not exist.  We can share staff to be coaches and sponsors. This allows them to offer their insight and experience to a greater number of students. The same is true with academic staff that we share.

    “Through the co-op, we are able to maintain an identity that mirrors what is important in our community.  As Leigh, we are a strong district in what we can do for our students.  As Clarkson-Leigh, we become even stronger.”


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  • Sports Banquet to be held May 4th

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  • Feature image-2

    Senior Spotlight: Megan Anne Bahns

    Megan Anne Bahns was born in West Point, Nebraska on August 8, 1999, to Laura and Darrell Bahns. She was joined six years later by her brother Nathan, who is now 11. Megan also has two cats but says she absolutely hates them.

    It is her family who Megan says she admires the most.  “They push me to do my best and they want me to succeed in life,” she says. 

    Megan has been extremely active throughout her high school career.  She has been involved in FCCLA for six years; softball, band, yearbook, and FFA for four years; basketball, journalism, and One-Act Play for three years; National Honor Society for two years, and track for one year.

    She has also been a part of St. Mary’s Youth Group and the Leigh Youth Advisory Committee. Honors that Megan has earned throughout her high school career include EHC Conference Honor Band, FCCLA Chapter Officer, Softball Varsity Letter, Journalism and One Act Letter, FFA and FCCLA competition awards, One-Act State Participant, Softball All-State Honorable Mention, and Softball All-Conference First Team,

    She was also named as an Academic All-State selection for softball and One-Act play.

    Megan says her proudest high school accomplishment was being a part of the One-Act teams that made it to state over the past three years.

    Outside of school, Megan’s favorite hobbies include watching ESPN, watching and playing sports, and, of course, being a good person.

    Her favorite movies are The Sandlot, The Office, and Spongebob. Her favorite food is Macaroni and Cheese. She does not have an embarrassing moment that she wants to say because there are way too many.

    When asked which three words best describe her, Megan said, “super nice, delightful, and sarcastic.”  Those who know who her best, know this is definitely true. 

    When asked where she sees herself in 10-15 years, this sarcasm came out when she responded, “in a mirror.”

    If Megan ever won the lottery, she would save most of it in the bank, but give part of it to people in need. 

    She would also use part of it to travel the world.  If she could travel any place in the whole world, she would go back to Italy, where she visited with the Travel Club two years ago.  “I’d like to spend more time there than what I had,” she said.

    Megan says her biggest pet peeve is when people don’t help themselves first and when people use your and you’re incorrectly.

    After graduating, Megan plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Kearney.  She hopes to eventually earn a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology.

    Before she leaves the halls of Leigh High School in a few months, Megan has this advice for underclassmen: “Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.  Procrastination can be a good thing!”

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  • Feature image-3

    Student Opinion Column: How to Deal with Ex-Boyfriends

    Dating in high school can be a wonderful thing. It opens you to the idea of loving someone for the rest of your life, if that’s what you really want. But not all relationships are going to end in that long-lasting love. Trust me, I would know.

    I’ve had some pretty rough experiences with ex’s, so I consider myself to be a true ex-boyfriend guru. I’ve developed a list of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to ex’s.

                The first and most important piece of advice: DO NOT TRY TO BE FRIENDS. Whatever you do, this is never a good idea. It’s going to cause many problems to arise in the near future. If you still have feelings for them, trying to be their friend is just going to open new wounds, so honey, move on.

    Another thing is, do not talk trash about them…unless they deserve it. Some of my ex’s should pay attention to this one. Relationships aren’t always going to work out, and if your ex left you because they were unhappy or you two were simply incompatible, then they did the right thing. However, it’s a different story if you found out you had been cheated on or anything else bad.  Then by all means, yap away.

    Finally, the third piece of advice is don’t dwell. Don’t sit and think about whether you made the right decision, or whether they still had feelings for you. Chances are, if you had been unhappy for a long time, you had probably made the right decision. So don’t second guess yourself.

    Love is a tricky thing when you’re young. But I often tell myself to think of it as a test drive. You won’t know what kind of car you want until you’ve taken it out on the road, so try and get yourself out there. 

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  • Feature image-4

    Senior Spotlight: Luiz David Mayorga

    July 3rd, 1998, was the day that made one family in Phoenix, Arizona feel truly blessed. That was the day that Luiz David Mayorga was born.

    Luiz has led a very interesting life and moved around a lot as a kid before coming to Leigh his freshman year of high school.  He says he is happy that Leigh is tied with the longest he has ever been in one school. 

    In addition to Phoenix, Luiz also lived in Cleveland, Utah; Gaffney, South Carolina; Spartan, South Carolina; Tacoma, Washington; Titusville, Pennsylvania; and Centerville, Pennsylvania all before coming to Leigh.

    Luiz also has two sisters, Kristina, who is 17 years old, and Sharline, 15.  He has one brother, Kevin, 12.  Luiz also gained 10 foster siblings when he came under the guardianship of Jeff and Tresha Zimmerman of Clarkson.  is currently under the guardianship of Jeff and Tresha Zimmerman of Clarkson. In addition to this already full house, Luiz has three dogs and one cat.

    Out of this very large family, Luiz says he admires and respects his grandpa, Dave Sorrells, more than anyone else in his life because “he was a father figure to me when I was growing up.”

                Luiz has been very active in high school.  He has been involved in track and One-Act Play for three years; FFA, FCCLA, journalism, basketball, and football for two years; and choir for half a year.

    Luiz says his favorite subjects in school are PE and history.  He says he is most proud of “finally making it on the honor roll my senior year.”

                After high school, Luiz plans to attend Central Community College and later transfer to Wayne State College to become a PE teacher.  

                His plans for the future is to graduate college, and buy his very own home. Luiz also sees himself being married and having two kids in the next 10 to 15 years. Some other goals on his bucket list that he hopes to accomplish sometime in life are bear hunting with a bow, driving a racecar, and going elk hunting.

                When asked which three words best describe him, Luiz said, “likeable, charming, and funny.” A testament to Luiz’s funny side, when asked for a quote to sum up his high school experience, Luiz said this: “I came here to drink milk and kick butt. And I just finished my milk.”

    Everyone at Leigh High School wishes Luiz the best in the future!

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  • 3rd Quarter Honor Roll - Way to go Patriots!






    Kanyon Held

    Natalie Brabec

    Makenna Held

    Zelede Wolford

    Kennedy Settje


    Justine Thompson




    Cassidy Hoffman

    Riana Grotelueschen

    Emily Loseke

    Alicia Holmberg

    Kayden Schumacher

    Alissa Kasik




    Emma Labenz

    Abbigail Brabec

    Natalie Reeves


    Reagan Settje




    Logan Becher

    Meranda Kudrna

    Kaegan Held


    Hannah Kasik


    Holly Kuhr




    Micahela Hall

    Sydney Folken


    Hector Mendoza




    Megan Bahns

    Luiz Mayorga

    Karmen Hake

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  • “On Your Marks, Get Set, Start Track Season!”

    After a long five-day spring break for Leigh and a four-day spring break for Clarkson, the high school students from both schools came back ready to start the 2017 track season.

    Track practice started on March 7, with 31 students showing up to fill the gym completely—17 from Clarkson and 15 from Leigh.

    Seniors on this year’s team include Bradley Bunner, Luiz Mayorga, Jeremy Pacas, and Shelby Paprocki.

    The junior track class consists of Jacob Gall, Hector Mendoza, Jason Ober, Anthony Bruhn, Alex Machmueller, and Sydney Folken.

    This year’s sophomores consist of Kaegan Held, Cort Pokorney, Hannah Kasik, Beth Wiese, Sara McEvoy, Halee Steffensmeier, Shyla Shaw, Cheyenne Brabec, Kiara Brabec, and John Langhorst.

    Rounding out the team are freshmen Dillan Knapp, Colby Harney, Emma Labenz, Taya Gross, Reagan Settje, Ashlynn Novotny, Kim Stodola, Brittney Urbanek, Cassie Brabec, Taylor Larson, Abbi Brabec, and Sawyer Kappel.

    Along with the students, there are also six coaches helping out this year. Lee Schneider and Jeff Bachman are the throwing coaches. Adam Van Buren and Jim Clarkson are the sprint coaches, along with Jim Clarkson also being the weight trainer. Briana Wietfeld is the long distance coach, and Kim Heimann is in charge of the hurdles.

     “I am beyond excited for this year!” Coach Adam Van Buren said.  “We have already gotten a week of practice under our belts and we are showing a lot of promise. We just have to stay focused and be ready to work day in and day out. Hopefully we can have some returners to the state meet in May!“

    The Clarkson-Leigh track team competes for the first time on March 28 in Stanton.

    As sophomore Halee Steffensmeier from Clarkson trains for her first track meet, she says, “I think this year is going to be really fun. I’m glad I’m not a newbie anymore and I’m excited to get better! My goal is to make it down to Burke again, because last year was a really cool experience! Everyone seems really pumped up and we’re all ready to have a great year!”

    Good luck to the Patriot Track athletes this season!

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  • Feature image-7

    Senior Spotlight: Ried Krutz

    September 30th, 1999 was an extraordinary day for proud parents Kory and Wendy Krutz, who brought Ried William Paul Krutz into the world in Norfolk, Nebraska at Faith Regional Hospital.

    The second of three children, Ried has his older sister Ashlyn, aged 20, and younger brother Layne, aged 14. The Krutz family also includes an adorable chihuahua-pug mix named Oreo.

    Before joining Leigh Community Schools his sophomore year, Ried attended Stanton High School in his hometown of Stanton, Nebraska.

    Throughout high school, Ried has been involved in choir for three and a half years; FFA for two years; One Act for two years; and FBLA for one year.

    Ried has earned honors in many activities. He has been a part of the State Champion and State Runner-Up One Act team the past two years. Ried has also had the opportunity to earn his Greenhand and Chapter Degree in FFA, and be a part of the Gospel Honor Choir. Though Ried has accomplished so much throughout his high school career, his proudest high school accomplishment is simply “getting this far.”

    After high school, Ried intends on majoring in Building Construction at Northeast Community College.

    Breathing. Dateable. Single. According to Ried Krutz, these are the three words that best describe himself.

                Ried’s biggest pet peeve would be getting assigned long papers in class. Coincidentally, Ried also has a bad habit of procrastinating on these papers.

                When asked where he sees himself in 10-15 years, Ried literally did the math (17+10=27 and 17+15=32.) In 10-15 years, he plans on being retired after winning the lottery. If he’s fortunate enough to win the lottery, he intends to buy a lifetime supply of lemonade and Peachie O’s.

                The three goals on Ried’s bucket list are to first have a bucket list, then fill it out, and finally do it. Once he accomplishes that, he wants to graduate from building construction at Northeast, build Leigh a better high school that is always the right temperature, and become president so he can “Make America Great Again Again.” Someday, Ried also hopes to travel to California and visit the beautiful beaches.

    According to Ried, his favorite high school memories all happen to be “classified” because all of the best  memories he’s had have to do with breaking a few school rules. If Ried had to pick a favorite class, he’d choose Mr. Tyser’s shop class. Ried also says he doesn’t have any embarrassing moments because “everything he does is embarrassing” and he’s “gotten used to it.”

    Some of Ried’s favorite things include the TV show, The Walking Dead, and his favorite song, “Dirt on My Boots by Jon Pardi. His favorite food would have to be the birthday meal he shares with his family every year.

    Outside of school, Ried can be found cheering on his favorite sports team, the Nebraska Huskers, or collecting coins, which is his favorite hobby.

                When asked who he admires most in the world, Ried says he admires Paul Walker for “going out with a bang” and Gandhi for being so peaceful, he most admires Steve Jobs for his intellect and intuition.

    As the number of days Ried has left in high school begin to dwindle down, Ried wanted to leave one last bit of his inspirational wisdom to share with the underclassmen: “When life gives you lemons, freeze them. Throw them as hard as you can at the people and things who are making your life difficult.”



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  • Feature image-8

    Student Opinion Column: Parent/Child Bond Continues in High School

    As a senior in high school, it is easy for me to look forward to heading off to college and leaving home. While looking at colleges, I began to think more about leaving home and how far away I wanted to be from home. I ended up choosing the college closest to home. Unlike some high school students, I have a very close relationship with my parents. I strongly believe that building and keeping a relationship with your parents in high school is a must. High school is a busy time for students, and the time spent at home is limited with all of the activities that many students are involved in. High school students’ home time often consists of little more than homework and sleeping. It is hard for students to obtain close relationships if they are never with their parents. This is when some students begin to lose touch with their family. I strongly believe it is important to spend time together as a family, even if it is watching television as a family one night a week.

    I also believe it is important for parents to become more lenient the older their children get. I think parents should be strict with students in their early high school years; however, as the students reach their junior and senior years, parents need to begin loosening the ropes and giving their children more freedom in preparation for when they will be on their own. Parents will not be able to control their child’s life forever, and too much control will break apart the relationship a parent has with their child. As a high school student, I am appreciative of the great relationship that I have with my parents, and I believe all high school students deserve to have this same connection.


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    Senior Spotlight: Nickolaus Ober

    A little baby boy named Nickolaus Ray Ober was welcomed into the world on May 20th, 1999, in Columbus, Nebraska. Nickolaus’s proud parents are Alex Ober and Chris Brown.

    Nick is the oldest of his two siblings. His brothers are Jason Ober, now 16, and Darian Ober Brown, now 13.

    Nick is the proud owner of three dogs, named Max, Muddy, and Toby; five cats, named Serena, Tasha, Annabelle, Juju, and Smoke; and many rabbits (although his favorite is named Peanut Butter). Someday, he also hopes to add a lizard to his collection of beloved pets.

    Nick just joined Leigh High School during the first quarter this year.  He previously attended Columbus Public High School.

    Nickolaus’s proudest high school accomplishment was helping the State Runner-Up One Act team this past year. Nick is also proud of increasing his involvement in extracurricular activities in high school.

    Nick has many dreams for the future. He wants to someday either become a highly skilled tattoo artist, a chef that serves the most exquisite sandwiches, or a professional drag racer. In 10-15 years, Nickolaus sees himself with a bunch of tattoos and living the high life in Florida with his wife and two kids.

    If Nick ever won a fortune in the lottery, he intends to buy a house in Florida as well as a 1964 Dodge Charger. If given the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, Nick would travel to Australia to ride kangaroos. His bucket list also includes learning how to speak Japanese and travelling to not only Australia, but Tokyo as well.

    Meeting Mrs. Sherry Hathaway and everyone at Leigh High are Nick’s favorite high school memories. He also fondly recalls a time where he earned an A+ on his artwork and a nightstand he made. Nick also loves going to a new school and meeting all the nice people that greet him as he passes through the hallways. His most embarrassing moment would have to be when he tripped and fell in front of the whole school!

    Nick’s favorite subject in school is Culinary Arts with Mrs. Hillen, and his favorite TV show is “The Flash.” In his spare time, he can also be found cheering on his favorite sports team, the Denver Broncos, and eating some of his favorite foods, brats and lasagna.

    Nick loves hanging out with his friends, but the person he admires most in his life is his grandpa. He said that his grandpa “has always been there for him.”

    To sum up this unique senior, the three words that best describe Nickolaus Ober would be “fun,” “kind,” and “loyal.” As Nick’s senior year is coming to a close, he leaves a bit of advice for the underclassmen, “Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”

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