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The time is now to level the playing field PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 19:25

By Diane Stamm

The Wauneta Breeze


Growing up in Cambridge in the 90’s was fun.

In the 1993-1994 school year Cambridge won state titles in volleyball, football, girls’ basketball and boys’ track. Golf was runner-up.

The football team played in six-of-seven state championship games, winning five while going 83-1.

The girls basketball team won 81-straight games and three straight state championships. (How many of you were at the 1994 game between Cambridge and Wauneta-Palisade? The game still sits fifth in the NSAA record books for total points scored with 165 points scored in the 95-70 Cambridge win.)

We had a lot of fun.

The rest of Class C2, not so much.

Other schools have had runs of such domination. When I think of schools with tradition I think of Grant in football, Sandy Creek and South Sioux City in girls’ basketball and Republican Valley in volleyball.

State Senator Russ Karpisek from Wilber is now looking to get legislation passed to move schools up a class when they dominate the class they are in.

Modeled off an Indiana rule, schools would earn a point for district titles, state tournament games, semifinal appearances and championships in team sports. Get 12 points or more points in one sport over a four-year period and you get bumped up in that sport.

I couldn’t agree more. What do kids learn by blowing other teams out of the water. It’s hard to learn humility and experience good sportsmanship with little competition.

If you really want to see me get excited, bring up private and parochial schools. After you peel me off the ceiling we can talk about how it’s hard these days to see a state tournament schedule not littered with the names of private and parochial schools. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the bill is aimed at those teams.

Karpisek was quoted as saying “private and parochial schools are able to recruit players and, more important, control their student enrollment.”

By my count there are 38 private and parochial schools out of 309 schools that are members in the NSAA.

Using football, volleyball and basketball as my guidelines I did a little research.

Over this past fall’s football and volleyball seasons and last spring’s basketball seasons, 10 of the 38 schools did make an appearance in the football playoffs or state tournament.

Thirteen schools made one of these events, nine made two events, five made three appearances and two schools qualified for all four sports.

In volleyball, four out of the six state championships went to a parochial school, Class A Omaha Marian, Class C1 Kearney Catholic, Class C2 Hastings St. Cecilia and Class D1 St. Mary’s.

In other sports, Omaha Skutt won in football and was fourth in volleyball.

In Class C1, six of the eight schools qualified for the 47- team state playoffs. Besides volleyball, Kearney Catholic was second in girls’ basketball, fourth in boys’ basketball, plus participated in the football playoffs and girls’ state basketball. Lincoln Christian went in football and in both girls’ and boys’ basketball.

In Class C2 all 10 private and parochial schools made the 48-team playoffs. Four of the 10 schools qualified for state in at least three events. Hastings St. Cecilia also was second in girls’ basketball.

Hastings St. Cecilia’s girls’ basketball team is currently 13-1 in Class C2 and Hastings Public Schools’ team is 7-7 in Class B. For the boys’ St. Cecilia is 12-3 and Hastings High is 5-8.

While St. Marys was winning a volleyball championship, it’s counterpart, C1 O’Neill, went 4-22 in volleyball. St. Mary’s was third in boys’ basketball and was second in girls’ basketball. St. Mary’s is currently 13-1 in girls’ basketball while O’Neill is 1-15. On the boys’ side St. Mary’s is 10-3 and O’Neill is 10-5.

Falls City Sacred Heart plays in Class D2. It won in football and was third in both girls’ basketball (playing Lindsay Holy Family in the consolation game) and boys’ basketball (Spalding/Spalding Academy was second) plus made it to state volleyball.

While looking up results I looked at FCSH’s playoff history. I noticed that in 2012, FCSH made it to the state championship game with wins over Parkview Christian and Lindsay Holy Family before losing to Humphrey St. Francis in the finals.

While both C1 Falls City Public and FCSH are doing well in boys’ basketball, the Fall City Public girls’ team is 7-10 while FCSH is 15-1.

Cambridge moved up to Class C1 for volleyball and basketball in 1993-94. The Trojans would never have won a volleyball championship in Class C2 where the school was dominated by eventual C2 champion Republican Valley.

The move to C1 also resulted in, by far, the best basketball game of the three state titles, a 64-61 overtime win over Crofton.

There was a lot of good girls’ basketball being played in southwest Nebraska during this time, Wauneta-Palisade included. With Cambridge out of the way there’s a good chance another team from the area would have done well at state.

The NSAA says that the member schools should decide who moves up a class, but this is a ridiculous response. The NSAA has never made any effort to make any change like the one being suggested and instead continues to let schools run roughshod over the rest of its class.

The Lincoln Journal Star said NSAA executive director Rhonda Blanford-Green said the NSAA “understands there are concerns out there about parity and equity and championship success.”

Then do something!

From some rules the NSAA has passed recentlyit appears it is more worried about marketing itself than fair play.

The legislation takes on a glass half full approach. What school looks at as a penalty, the next will look at it as a challenge.

I believe kids will take on the attitudes of the adults leading them and I, for one, would like to see where that may be.

What goes in comes out PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 21:03

By Diane Stamm

The Wauneta Breeze


As I was driving home from church this weekend I heard a song on the radio that made me think back over the past year and realize it wasn’t the best year for music.

This song, “How We Do,” had me diving for the tuner before my kids could hear the chorus which is basically “Party and bull**** and party and bull**** and party and bull***”. I’ve omitted more of the last word than the censors have. If you remove the vowel sound but leave the “sh” and “t” sounds, even five and eight-year olds can fill in the rest (their experiences with that word are another editorial). “Thrift Shop” by Mackelmore isn’t any better. Different four-letter word, but if you leave the first and last sounds it’s still very clear.

Another pop song, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” has been one of the most talked about songs of the year for all the wrong reasons. Imagine Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” but with “rape imagery” and “creepy lyrics” according to critics. It’s also extremely catchy and has flown up the charts and onto local radio stations for young and old to hear.

Country music is no better. Try finding a country song that doesn’t include the words “damn” or “hell” and doesn’t insist that beer won’t make everything better.

I was less than impressed when my son came home saying “Chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit!” Thanks Blake Shelton for setting my son on the path to oral cancer as a four-year old.

My least favorite song of the year was “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert. It’s opening line “I cut my veins with some rusty kitchen scissors” is another one that causes me to quickly switch stations. I know that’s wrong, you know that’s wrong, but my kids don’t have a clue what she means and I’m not prepared to have that conversation with them. There are a lot of people out there that don’t need to hear that cutting yourself is acceptable, but when she sings it the practice sounds cool.

The other part of the song that bugs me is when she sings that her mother came from a “softer generation, where you get a grip and bite your lip just to save a little face.” There’s nothing “soft” about self-control. “Soft” is throwing a temper tantrum and plotting your revenge because a relationship goes south.

So many songs these days seem to encourage people that partying and “getting away from it all” is acceptable. Our society these days doesn’t need that kind of encouragement, but songs about making your house payment, eating meals with your family and helping your kids with their homework just aren’t as fun.

As for our house we will stick with VeggieTales CDs. If you ever see me in public singing “If it doesn’t have a tale it’s not a monkey, even if it has a monkey kind of shape. If it’s a nickel or a pillow or a salad, if it doesn’t have a tale it’s not a monkey it’s an ape” don’t feel like you need to cross over to the other side of the street. Just know that we’ve had a road trip and for us that included songs that we can all sing together.

Stamm family’s greatest hits PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 18:42

By Diane Stamm

The Wauneta Breeze


It’s been crazy lately at our house. My kids’ birthdays were this week. I look back over the years and I’m a little amazed they have survived to eight and five-years old.

As I’ve said before, I had a preconceived notion of what parenting would be and I’ve been forced to throw it all out the window.

Words that don’t belong together come flying out of your mouth before you have time to think. Things like “Don’t screw your brother!” True story: My son had been on this earth about two weeks and I found my daughter standing over him with a screwdriver and a gleam in her eyes.

That gleam is there regularly. The wheels are constantly turning in their heads.

Parenting books and your imagination can’t prepare you for what kids can come up with.

So, in honor of my kids’ birthdays, I give you the Stamm Family’s Greatest Hits:

Winnie the Poop

Sit down in my stinkin’ chair and stink, stink, stink.-Blue’s Clues

Does poop whistle?

Phoney bologna’s getting me, Mom, phoney bologna!—4:00 a.m.

Mom, my talent is up in the sky and your’s is down in the dirt.

I smell like dog lick.

Me: Why don’t you have on any underwear? Her: Because Her Majesty’s don’t.

Only girls are geniuses. Boys are just handsome.

This is frustrating me. It’s making me think a bad word.

Her: I want a piano, but Dad said no. Me: I’ll work on him. Her: OK, but don’t hit him!

Cookies make you the wrong kind of big.

She’s old. I’m newer, so I’m better.

That’s not a unicorn, that’s a horse with a party hat.

I can’t keep my feet off. They’re so contempted.

I can’t use the cup by the sink, that’s the one I get water out of the potty with.

I’m tougher than roasted pecker lips. (wood pecker lips)

Can we get a hang glider? No. Can we get a sled that dogs pull? No. This is the worst day of my life!

I can’t stand for sitting anymore!

I’m not doing my chores anymore. Never is where I draw the line.

After seeing a little boy with Downs Syndrome my son said “He doesn’t talk very well” and my daughter said “Yeah, he’s been downloaded.”

I’m too pretty to go to school.

That fly is up high. I need a caboosed.

I did a good job, I’m compressed (impressed).

Why don’t cows wear underwear?

Were there giants when Jesus was alive?

Whoa, Mom, something stinks! Did I poop my pants?

Grandma, let me see your arm, I want to see what old looks like.

Grandma, go sit down, you don’t have enough energy to dance with me.

I have smarticles in my brain and they won’t let me remember anything.

When told not to run in Walmart: But Mom, what if there’s squirrels? I hate squirrels.

My nachos (nostril) is giving me fits. This nacho is plugged more than this nacho.

I want a peanut butter and pickle sandwich for breakfast with sweet pickles because “Sweet” is my middle name.

Nobody liked the burritos at dinner today, except Katya, but she’s a little more Mexican than the rest of us.

I told him, “Look at that rabbit!” and then I just took it.

My son: I’m not going to live here anymore. I’m going to be a fairy.

You can change your clothes, I won’t laugh.

Mommy, I feel bad saying this, but whatever I’m might not survive.

He should pick on someone his own size, but I am his size so I can’t tell him that!

Last, but not least...My daughter has a toothpaste fetish. Imagine a fireman letting go of a hose with full pressure and you can picture our bathroom after she’s done brushing her teeth. I told her, “When you put toothpaste on your toothbrush it should only be the size of a pea, can you do that?” She replied, very seriously, “Yes, Mom. An uppercase P or a lowercase P?”

To my Sweat Pea and Goopy: Keep the wheels turning. Happy birthdays. I love you. Mom

Questionable school board decisions, open to debate? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 29 August 2013 17:36

By Diane Stamm

The Wauneta Breeze

Over the past 20 months I’ve enjoyed visiting with members of the Wauneta-Palisade school board and getting to know them. They’ve been welcoming and friendly. But while I’ve enjoyed them individually, I’ve been disappointed with two decisions they’ve made as a group.

The most recent is the handling of the Ag teacher position. After 35 years of service Dan Andrews was informed that his hours were to be cut in half. Thanks to a decrease in student interest and the boards interest in streamlining the school’s budget after remodeling the weightroom, buying two new coach buses and adding much needed heating and cooling units to the Wauneta and Palisade Attendence Centers the board decided the position did not merit full time hours.

Not ready for retirement, Andrews was forced to find a new position. At the same meeting the school board accepted Andrews’ resignation from the half-time Ag teacher postition it hired a full-time Ag teacher. What changed over the course of the summer is unclear to me.

The other board decision that bothered me was dismissal of Roger Lauhead. Another long time member of the W-P staff, Lauhead accepted the school district’s early retirement incentive program in the spring of 2011. Though the school looked for another basketball coach, Lauhead was back on the court that winter leading the girls’ team.

I visited with Lauhead at a Dundy County-Stratton track meet in late April 2012. At that time he told me that he planned on keeping up his end of the handshake contract he had with the school for two or three more years. Needless to say, I was surprised to hear the school board decided at their May 2012 meeting to replace Lauhead with Betsy Johanson, his assistant coach of one year.

Lauhead, as well as I, was caught off guard by the decision and we were disappointed by how it was handled.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Johanson did a very good job with the team this past season. She seems to have great chemistry with the girls and while at the State Tournament I had a photographer from a big city say how impressed he was with her coaching ability.

I’ve talked with several members of the community, some with kids in school, others without, who agree that it was time for the school to make a change in both programs. They all felt the programs had become stale and needed a breath of fresh air.

It’s not the decisions that I disagree with, it’s how the changes were managed. For all I know these moves had been in the works for months, discussed during the board’s executive sessions. Though both moves may be great in the long term, two men with many, many years of service to the community, school and students were unexpectedly left without jobs. That I cannot agree with.

Trip with kids PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 20:16

By Diane Stamm

The Wauneta Breeze


It amazes me that every year I buy into the idea that life will slow down after we get past t-ball and move into July. July is just a blur and BOOM it’s August and school will start in two weeks.

In the past couple weeks we’ve crossed showing calves at the Dundy County Fair off our list of things to-do. We managed to survive swimming lessons and with time running out on our summer we moved on to one of the most important items on our list.

A visit to the Stuckwisch family in Odell.

My daughter and Preston were in the same grade at Chase County. They “dated” as kindergarteners and, as the day for their move came, we made a date to come visit.

So Tuesday after we finished up swimming lessons the kids and I loaded up and started the five hour drive to Odell.

The general rule at our house is that the car’s DVD players don’t get hooked up for any trip less than an hour and a half (the time it takes to drive to my parents). We were all very excited about the distraction of a movie or three. The trip was blissfully quite and argument free.

We stopped to fuel up at Araphoe and made it all the way to Fairbury before we stopped to eat. Realistically we made very good time. Unfortunately, we made it to Odell at bedtime.

Our biggest problem as we got nearer to our destination was the lack of cell service. While Odell is smaller than Wauneta, we didn’t have any idea where the Lutheran parsonage was. My best guess was to swing by the post office and try to find a phone book. Luckily the woman who walked into the post office ahead of me was a Lutheran.

Pastor Greg had said the area had a large Lutheran population, but it was still a surprise when she said head up the street to the stop sign and “our church” is two blocks over and “our parsonage” is across the street from the church.

Her instructions were dead on and the parsonage was easy to identify thanks to the Stuckwisch children strung out along both sides of the street. Everyone was out checking on the progress of the basement for the new parsonage and visiting with the neighbors.

After a very warm welcome, a little bit of a tour and a lot of herding we started the process of getting six kids settled down and ready for bed in the two bedroom house.

It took a while, but one-by-one the fidgeting, the giggling, the crying stopped and quiet settled over the house.

We spent the next morning playing and then spent most of the afternoon at the very nice pool in Wymore with the help of two high school girls who are members of the church.

After the previous long night, Preston, my kids and I loaded up and headed to Lincoln to a hotel room. The kids swam at the hotel both evening and morning, before we met Greg and Janet and headed to the Strategic Air and Space Museum.

My goal for the trip was to line up all the kids next to an airplane with a copy of the Breeze for the annual vacation issue.

Have you ever tried to get six kids under seven to all stand in one place and smile at the same time? First my son didn’t want to have his picture taken. Then we couldn’t get the girls to turn the paper the right way. By the time we got the paper fixed, five heads were turned in five directions.

Overall we had a great time. SASM is one of my favorite places in Nebraska. If the kids didn’t like looking at the planes there were the escalators to ride.

From there we said our goodbyes and made promises for another trip next year. The Stuckwisches headed home while we spent one more night in Lincoln to do some school shopping before traveling back west. There wasn’t any talking when the lights went off that night. They were tired kids.

It was a fun trip.

My son came home with a hunters orange shirt that says “I may be cute, but this girl can hunt.”

My daughter came home with a hot pink show stick for next year’s fair.

I’m happy to see our friends happy and settled in a new place.

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