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  • Feature image-0

    Elementary Holds End-of-the-Year Celebrations

    Leigh Elementary School was abuzz with a multitude of fun end-of-the-year activities on May 16, including track and field events, science fair, and FFA petting zoo. The elementary was the place to be!



    Graduation ceremonies were held for the Pre-Kindergarten class as well as the 6th grade class.  The Pre-K students sang four songs, Mrs. Cash gave a speech, and they received certificates.

    The 6th grade graduation, led by 6th grade teacher Mrs. Melissa Brabec, was very similar.  But instead of singing songs, students walked up and received their certificates.


    Track and Field Day:  

    Kids participated in a hill run, planks, broad jump, softball throw and zig zag running. It was hard work, but all the students received medals in the end.  

    “Field Day was a lot of run, PE Teacher Mr. Seth Cash said.  “Without the help from the teachers and the high school students, it wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did.”


    Science Fair:

    Whizz! Pop! Kablooey! Zap!

    The 5th and 6th graders hosted a science fair, performing many experiments.  

    Brianne Kuhr found out what fruit or vegetable can conduct electricity the best.  Jared Olson determined how much air a basketball needs to bounce, and Brynn Settje conducted an experiment to show the effect of sugar on the carbonation of a pop.   

    At the end of the day Ella Urban said, “I liked doing the experiments because it was fun and I learned new things."

    The 6th graders also had a variety of experiments. James Grotelueschen found the outcomes of varied amounts of baking soda mixed with vinegar, and Cassi Rayback found out what happens when you mix Sweet Tarts with a variety of liquids.

    5th grade teacher Mrs. Briana Wietfeld said, “I love being able to put on the science fair. The students really take pride in their projects and they came up with great ways to test their hypothesis on a question they had. I love being able to provide them with an opportunity to self-discover and learn. This year we had some amazing experiments and presentations.”


    FFA Petting Zoo:

    Also on this day, the Leigh-Clarkson FFA Chapter brought various types of animals to the Leigh Elementary for a small petting zoo. This was set up during the Elementary’s Track and Field Day.

    The chapter’s officers and other volunteers participated in the petting zoo.

    The petting zoo allows FFA members to interact with younger students along with other people in the community.

    “We were excited to help with the Elementary Track and Field Day by providing the petting zoo,” FFA Advisory Mrs. Brandy Held said.  It was great seeing members talk to the younger kids about their animals.”


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  • Feature image-1

    Records Broken in High School Reading Challenge

    The students at Leigh High School have once again taken the schoolwide reading challenge to new heights this year.  


    For the second year in a row, 3 classes have beaten the team challenge this year, with each student in the class reading an average of 3400 pages.  This is the equivalent of 15 pages a day for the entire school year.


    The 8th grade, freshmen, and seniors beat the reading challenge this year.  This is only the second time three classes have beaten it in the same year.  To celebrate, contributing members in those classes took the morning off school to go bowling and eat at Perkins in Norfolk.  


    In the individual challenge, the Top 10 Readers in the school are as follows: 1.  Michaela Hall 2. Alicia Holmberg 3. Aiden Miller 4. Cassidy Hoffman 5. Cameron Miller    6. Justine Thompson 7. Natalie Brabec 8. Audie Tejkl 9. Makenna Held 10. Emily Loseke


    Michaela Hall also set an individual record of accumulating the most AR points in one year at 912.6.  This is more than any high school student in reading challenge history, beating her previous record she set last year.


    This year also saw the most students surpassing 10,000 pages mark than any other year in the history of the reading challenge.  Hall, Holmberg, Aiden Miller, Hoffman, Thompson, and Brabec all surpassed 10,000 pages. The previous record was 4 students in one year.  


    High School librarian Justine Fischer believes there is much to celebrate.  


    “I am so proud of all of our students who put time and energy into the reading challenge,” Fischer said.  “Reading builds background knowledge and vocabulary, which are both essential to our students’ success. I hope all our students discover a passion for books that makes them lifelong readers.”


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  • Feature image-2

    Athletes Compete at State Track

    Hector Mendoza and Sara McEvoy Medal

    The Nebraska High School Track and Field Championships wrapped up on May 19 and 20 at Omaha’s Burke High School Stadium.


    Clarkson-Leigh had 2 boys’ athletes competing and numerous girls’ athletes competing after the girls’ team won their district.  


    “Our state athletes worked very hard this season, and it paid off,” Head Girls’ Track Coach Briana Wietfeld said.  “They should be proud of themselves and what they accomplished.”


    On the boys’ side, senior Hector Mendoza medaled in both the long jump and the triple jump!  He placed 7th in the long jump with a jump of 20’1” and he placed 8th in the triple jump with a jump of 41’5.”  


    Freshman Tommy McEvoy also competed in the long jump with a jump of 18’4”.


    For the girls’ team, junior Sara McEvoy earned a medal, placing 7th in the Discus with a throw of 108’3”.


    The girls’ 4x100 Meter Relay team of Halee Steffensmeier, Emily Loseke, Kaegan Held, and Cassie Brabec was one spot away from medalling, finishing 9th with a time of 53.4 seconds.


    Held also finished 9th in the 110 Meter Hurdles with a time of 16.46 seconds.


    Loseke finished in 12th place in the 100 Meter Dash with a time of 13.18 seconds.


    Freshmen Kelsey Moore and Morgan Brabec also competed in the Unified Sports, Long Jump Exhibition.  


    Along with her partner, Bailey Lemburg, Moore had a combined jump of 18’8.75” in the long jump.  Along with partner Kim Stodola, Brabec had a combined jump of 17’11.75”.


    Moore also competed in the Unified Sports 100M Dash Exhibition.  She and her partner Lemburg finished with a combined time of 37.05 seconds.  


    Head Boys’ Coach Lee Schneider is extremely proud of all that the Patriot track program has accomplished this year.  


    “It was another interesting track season in regards to weather,” Schneider said, “but we were still able to get all our meets in and get kids qualified for the State meet.  Plenty of Patriot records were broken with the boys 4x800 Meter Relay resetting their record from last year with a time of 9:22, Hector Mendoza breaking the Triple Jump record with a jump of 43’4” and Tommy McEvoy breaking the Long Jump with 21’.05”. Congratulations to both of these boys also for qualifying for state and Hector for medaling in both events!  We are all so proud of the work the kids have put in and their willingness to compete and represent our program with class.”


    Coach Wietfeld echoes Schneider’s sentiments, noting that on the girls side, 6 Patriot records were broken this year.  Sophomore Ashlynn Novotny breaking the 800M Run record with a time of 2:39.5. Junior Kaegan Held broke the 100M Hurdles record at 16.23 and the 300M Hurdles record at 50.46.  Freshman Emily Loseke broke the 100M Dash record with a time of 13.2 and the 200M Dash record with a time of 28.1. Junior Sara McEvoy broke the Discus record at 114’1”.


    “I can’t begin to say how special it is to be part of such a great team,” Wietfeld said.  “The Patriot Track Team is truly a kind of its own. These athletes worked hard and made me proud.  We have had many successes this year from getting over 20 personal records broken to having several Patriot Track and Field Records broken.  We have had rewarding meets where the girls have been runners’ up, such as the Humphrey Invite and the Patriot Invite, and we also ended the season as District Champions!  


    “Good work to all track athletes.  Your hard work will show in the summer training and in your next season’s sport!  I hope future Patriots see all the benefits there are to being a track athlete.”


    Congratulations again to all Clarkson-Leigh Patriot Track athletes on a successful season!


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  • Feature image-3

    Vicki Brabec Retires after Teaching

    As the school year comes to an end, Leigh Elementary will have to say goodbye to Mrs. Vicki Brabec. After 42 and a half years of being the Title 1 teacher, she has decided to retire.


    After graduating high school from Clarkson, Mrs. Brabec earned a dual degree from UNL in Human Development and Elementary Teaching.  She graduated in December and was hired at Leigh in January.


    Her first year was her half-year, and after that she continued to teach for 42 years!


    She later earned a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  


    Although she began as a full time teacher, she switched to part-time after she had children.  


    Her roles have varied throughout her career.  She worked at the elementary and the high school during her first years.  She also worked at Zion school when they were still open.


    She also recalls going back to the high school again in the 90s to teach ReCare, a reading comprehension and research program, with Terri Wietfeld and various other English teachers.


    Most recently, she spends her whole day at the elementary school with Title students providing reading and math assistance and reteaching for struggling students.  


    “My favorite memories come from my students.  Helping them and watching them grow has truly enriched my life, and I will miss them,” Mrs. Brabec said.  


    Over the years, she relates, she has seen some of her students turn into great successes, such as business owners, bankers, pilots, and nurses.


    “Seeing the kids I’ve taught turn into wonderful adults, and keeping in contact with them has been the most rewarding aspect of my career.”


    Mrs. Robin Urban, kindergarten teacher, has had the privilege of working with Mrs. Brabec for multiple years.


    “Mrs. Brabec knows a tremendous amount of reading and math strategies and she has used them to help a great number of students throughout her whole career.  She has encouraged many students as she has given them strategies for success.  I wish her the best as she moves on, and I hope she enjoys her retirement!”               


    As she looks back on her career, Mrs. Brabec said she most wants to thank the parents of the students she has had over the years.  She also says that her best advice to younger teachers is “Always be honest. Teachers, students, and parents should always be honest.  And always cheer for the underdog. With encouragement, kids can do anything.”


    When asked what she plans to do during her retirement, Mrs. Brabec said, “Instead of living at work, I’m going to work at living.”  


    “And I’m still going to sew!” she quickly added.  “But now I’ll be able to sew during the day instead of at night.”


    Mrs. Brabec also has her first grandchild on the way, so she said she plans on spending time with her new grandchild in Minneapolis as well.


    As I was interviewing Mrs. Brabec for this article, I realized what a personable, caring person she is.  It was my pleasure to interview her. I know the students and staff at the elementary will surely miss a great teacher!


    From everybody at Leigh Community Schools, we thank Mrs. Brabec for all the time, effort, and hard work she has put in throughout her years as a teacher, not only for the elementary, but in the community as well. We congratulate her on a successful career and wish her the best of luck in retirement!


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  • Feature image-4

    Kevin Welsch Retires after 41 Years

    41 years ago, a new, young, fresh-faced music teacher and band director entered the Leigh Community Schools system, Mr. Kevin Welsch.


    Little did he know this new teaching job would be the beginning of a long, extremely successful career in the district.  


    Mr. Welsch began his teaching career in Elwood, Nebraska, where he taught for two years.  


    Following that, he left teaching and worked at the Co-op in Cozad for two years.  


    When he got back into teaching, he taught in Orleans, NE for two years.  


    “I liked Orleans,” Mr. Welsch said, “but they were getting really small, to the point that they were going to start playing 6-man football.  I knew it was time to look for something else, so I interviewed at Leigh and at Laurel. As it turned out, my principal at Orleans was a former college classmate of Cecil Fields, so I think he must have put in a good word for me because Cecil wanted to hire me on the spot, and the rest is history.


    “Leigh has been a great fit for me and my family,” Welsch continued.


    For much of his career, Mr. Welsch has taught elementary music and junior high and high school band and choir.


    Last year, Leigh and Clarkson co-oped junior high and high school band and choir, with Mr. Ryan Dusso from Clarkson leading choir, and Mr. Welsch focusing on band for both schools.  


    Mr. Welsch relates that he has directed bands at Leigh that have been as small as 21 students to as large as 78.  


    Mr. Welsch has taken his groups of students to the NSAA District Music Contest held in Columbus, Nebraska for many years.  Over his career, his concert band has received 11 number 1 ratings, the highest honor a band can achieve. The most recent 1 was won last year in 2017.


    Despite his success with the concert band, throughout his career, his favorite memories come from directing the pep band.  


    “The highlights of my teaching career involve putting out a good pep band.  I’m very proud of that. Like the year we won the championship in girls state basketball in the 90s, getting to play the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ before the championship game was really neat.  All the state trip experiences were fun. And the trips we took were fun too.”


    Some more of his favorite memories are taking the band on trips to the Nebraska Land Parade in Okoboji, Iowa; the Blue Water Festival; and Music in the Park Festival held in Shakopee, Minnesota.


    Mr. Welsch said it has been rewarding to teach multiple generations of families, and that he remembers each and every student.


    And he has certainly had an impact on his students through the years.  


    Ron Schroeder, graduate of 1990 said, “He was one of the best teachers in the school. He took pride in what he did and he motivated students to do better and to be involved in band.. He will be greatly missed in the school system!”


    Current Leigh junior Cameron Miller said, “Mr. Welsch has been a huge inspiration to me. He pushed me to do great things and go out for band. He taught me to go to my full potential, and to give all I got. He is the best band teacher ever, and it will be tough to replace him.”


    Junior Holly Kuhr said, “We are so lucky to have such a great band teacher. Mr. Welsch always made sure our performances were the best they could be; he really knows what he's doing when it comes to band and music. Mr. Welsch is just a really good, down-to-Earth guy who wants students to do their best. He has created a lasting legacy here at Leigh, and all of us students now and who have graduated appreciate the hard work he has done.”


    Freshman Emily Loseke said, “As long as I can remember, Mr. Welsch has been passionate about what he does. He's been passionate about the music, the community, and especially the kids. He's taught me how to never give up on something I'm passionate about, and that practice will eventually make perfect (or close enough!) And even though I'll never play the trumpet as well as he does, he's somehow made me a good player nonetheless. I know it won't be the same without him, but he certainly deserves a happy retirement. Thanks for all the laughs and lessons, Mr. Welsch.  You will be missed!"


    Mr. Welsch said he has worked with some great administrators and great colleagues over the years.  He also greatly appreciates the community support he has received and said he plans to stay in Leigh during his retirement.  


    “I’ve lived here over half my life,” he said.  “Leigh is home.”


    When asked how he plans to spend his retirement, Mr. Welsch said he looks forward to doing more things with his wife, Lori, and his kids and grandkids.  He looks forward to watching his grandkids grow up and doing some traveling.


    Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Welsch!


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  • Volleyball Open Gym

    Who: Youth girls grades 3rd-8th

    What: Open gym to work on volleyball skills

    When: The following Wednesdays: June 20, June 27, July 11, July 18, 

    Time: 2:30pm

    Where: Clarkson High School (New Gym)

    Why: To give future Pats extra experience and develop the basic skills of volleyball

    NOTE: This opportunity is completely optional and free of charge.  The open gym will be put on by the Patriot Volleyball Coaches and players.  We will open the gym for an hour before the high school girls leave for summer league.  Follow us on Facebook: Clarkson-Leigh Patriot Volleyball and on Twitter: @CLPatriotsVB for any updates.  We will start Wednesday, June 20th.  H0pe to see you there!

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