LINCOLN, Neb. -- Students, past and present, along with staff and other local dignitaries gathered on the front lawn of Lincoln Northeast High School at 8:00 a.m. under the glistening new black and silver rocket sculpture.
Replacing what was lost 26 years ago, principal Kurt Glathar said when people think of Northeast they think of rockets.
“I hope you will remember this day that we have created...When you come back in ten years, in 20 years and 30 years from now, I fully believe this rocket will be standing proud - welcoming new students and alumni alike,” said Glathar. “Today take pride in being a rocket, it’s a symbol that will live on for a long time and we’ll be very proud of it and I appreciate all of you being here today to help us dedicate it.”
Jim Campbell, retired teacher and LNE alumni spoke to the crowd about what being a rocket was all about.
“Rocket starts with the letter R, and the R in rocket stands for respect...The second letter is O, opportunity...C is a letter that becomes community...K, I think for us as we talk about it is kinship...E is for education...T is for the teachers and teamwork...S is the most important thing, students. It’s the students who make this school,” said Campbell.
Nebraska state senator Matt Hansen read legislative resolution 620 which officially recognized Northeast High School for celebrating their 75 years.
Other dignitaries who spoke talked about the symbol of the rocket and what it means to Northeast:
-Don Mayhew, school board president: “Today, this high school stands tall and strong, and how fitting for it’s symbol to be a rocket. Named after the famous local train the Rock Island Rocket. You think of the power of those engines, of the modern technology behind those engines, and you think of the power of public education in our lives.”
-John Neal, LNE alumni and assistant to the superintendent: “As an alumnus, the rocket symbolizes the role the rocket played for me and will play for you - as the launching pad for your future. It will provide a stable foundation as you go off to college and a career.”
-Jason Lemon, alumnus and raise the rocket committee chair: “The last time I got goosebumps this big, Marian Price was handing me my diploma back in 1990. Kurt, when we started this project, you were Principal Glathar to me. 216 emails, 113 phone calls, 6 text messages and 23 visits to your office later I’m now proud to call you my friend. Thank you. To every person who has worn the black and white before me, and those who will do so after...once a rocket, always a rocket!”
Glathar also wanted thanked the many community volunteers that made the project possible.
“We have many people to thank for this unselfish contribution. The planning and design committee Jason Lemon, Clayton Heath and his wife Wendy, Reed Stephenson and Doug Weatherholt. Ayars & Ayars, Inc. donated the labor in laying the pad, the arch and placing the rocket. Dan Leosing donated the labor and the paint. Rivers Metal Products, Inc. hand built the rocket. Mike Eisenbarth, engineer, donated his time designing the base and the supporting structures. U.S. Bank and LPS Foundation helped with donations to help kick off the project.”