Press Releases

 Omaha Central High School Arts and Library Addition Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The Central High School Foundation (CHSF) is pleased to announce that it will hold a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony celebrating the completion of the Central High School Arts and Library Addition at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2019. The ceremony will be held in the Phillip G. Schrager Black Box Theater at Omaha Central High School (CHS). The ceremony will feature welcoming remarks by Matt Aden, CHSF President; Dr. Cheryl Logan, OPS Superintendent; Dr. Edward Bennett, CHS Principal; and Michele Roberts, CHSF Executive Director. Among the invited guests include elected officials,
community leaders, CHS Alumni, and staff.


The Arts and Library Addition houses a new digital library, a 300-seat black box theater, visual and performing arts, instrumental and vocal music and drama classrooms. The existing building space, where the arts and library were currently housed, will now be repurposed to meet the needs of a variety of educational programs including Special Education and English Language Learners.


In 2014 it was determined by the Omaha Central High School Foundation Board of Directors that a major building renovation and additional building space was needed for Central High School students to have access to high quality facilities allowing them to learn, think, interact and develop skill sets required for personal and professional success. This privately-funded $19.5 million campaign directed by the Central High School Foundation was co-chaired by alumni Michael Lebens, Class of 1970, and David Slosburg, Class of 1970.


In the spring of 2015, the Omaha Central High School Foundation created a partnership proposal with the Omaha Public Schools to build the 50,000 sq. ft. Arts and Library Addition. DLR Group was selected as the architect, Sampson Construction as the general contractor, and Project Advocates as the project manager. Construction began in June 2017 and took 21 months to complete with students and teachers beginning to utilize the space in March 2019.


"Central is a special place, and our alumni are proud of our school," said Michael Lebens, campaign co-chairman. "We want to make certain the next generation of Eagles have the resources they need to succeed. By giving them a 21st century learning environment, we are ensuring the Central Experience continues for generations to come. By creating this opportunity we are ensuring that Central doesn't forget its past, continues to live successfully in its present, and is planning for its future."


Central High School, established in 1859, is the oldest and largest high school in Nebraska. With over 2,700 students, its mission is to continue a tradition of excellence emphasizing academic achievement, responsible global citizenship, pride in diversity, and enduring scholarship.


The Central High School Foundation was established in 1996 to provide support for present and future CHS students to ensure that the tradition of excellence continues. Contributions of time, energy, and resources are essential to preserve and enhance the timeless values of a Central High School education. The CHSF supports the school through a variety of activities including alumni relations, fundraising, grant writing, student scholarships, capital projects, as well as teacher and classroom grants.


Central High School Foundation Partners and Central High School Adopt-A-School Partners include Coca-Cola, DLR Group, First National Bank of Omaha, Midland University and Nebraska Methodist College - The Josie Harper Campus.

For more information, interviews, or photos, please contact Sydney Davidson at events@chsfomaha.org or (O) 402.556.1996 or (M) 402.429.0199

Click here to view the PDF of this press release

 Omaha Central High School Arts and Library Addition Groundbreaking Ceremony 
The Central High School Foundation (CHSF) is pleased to announce that it will hold a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the start of the Arts and Library Addition at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 22, 2017, on the east porch of Omaha Central High School (CHS). The ceremony will feature welcoming remarks by Matt Aden, CHSF President, Mark Evans, OPS Superintendent, Dr. Edward Bennett, CHS Principal and Michele Roberts, CHSF Executive Director. Among the invited guests include elected officials, community leaders, CHS Alumni, and staff.

The addition will house a new digital library, a 300-seat black box theater, visual and performing arts, instrumental and vocal music and drama classes. The existing building space, where the arts and library are currently housed, will be freed up and repurposed to meet the needs of a variety of educational programs including Special Education and English Language Learners.

"It's a tremendous thing for our school," said Matthew Aden, president of the Central High School Foundation board of directors. "By creating this opportunity we are ensuring that Central doesn't forget its past, continues to live successfully in its present, and is planning for its future."

The Arts and Library Addition is set to finish by winter of 2018.

CHS, established in 1859, is the oldest, one of the largest, and one of the most diverse and competitive high schools in Omaha. Its mission is to continue a tradition of excellence emphasizing academic achievement, responsible global citizenship, pride in diversity, and enduring scholarship.

The Central High School Foundation was established in 1996 to provide support for present and future CHS students to ensure that the tradition of excellence continues. Contributions of time, energy, and resources are essential to preserve and enhance the timeless values of a Central High School education. The CHSF supports the school through a variety of activities including alumni relations, fundraising, grant writing, student scholarships, capital projects, as well as teacher and classroom grants.

Central High School Foundation Partners and Central High School Adopt-A-School Partners include Coca-Cola, DLR Group, First National Bank of Omaha, Midland University and Nebraska Methodist College - The Josie Harper Campus.

For more information, interviews, or photos, please contact Sydney Davidson at events@chsfomaha.org or (O) 402.556.1996 or (M) 402.429.0199

Click here to view the PDF of this press release

Central High School Alumni Association Presents:
On February 6, 2017 the CHS Alumni Association will host a “Tribute to Martin Luther King”. Highlights of this presentation will focus on Martin Luther King’s visit to Omaha in 1957 to preach at Salam Baptist Church in North Omaha. As part of this presentation, speaker Pat Brown, a 1955 CHS graduate, will share personal memories of this historic visit. While Martin Luther King is many times remembered for his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington DC his involvement began much earlier. In 1957 King and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in which King was to become its first president and remain in this position until his death. This group was created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct nonviolent protests in the service of civil rights. In 1957 King would for the first time address a national audience at the SCLS’s Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington DC. After 13 years of advancing the Civil Rights Movement and just one day after addressing a rally in Memphis, Tennessee and delivering his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech, Martin Luther King would be assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968. The Vision Statement of the Central High School Alumni Association is to cultivate a partnership of alumni, families, students, teachers, staff and supporters with a unified goal of perpetuating the tradition of excellence and the legacy of Omaha Central High School. Join us February 6, 2017 at 6:30 PM at Central High School, Room 145 to pay tribute to Martin Luther King. We also invite you to come and learn more about the CHS Alumni Association, ways you can join us or just ways to support CHS’s legacy! For any further information contact CHSAA President, Jeannette Johnson at johnsonjohnson@windstream.net

CHSAA and Central PEP to Hold Joint Meeting
Happy Halloween, Eagle Nation! The Central High School Alumni Association and CHS PEP will host a joint presentation on November 14, 2016. The history discussion about Omaha’s oldest high school will be led by two graduates, Jim Wigton, CHS 1966, and Barry Combs, CHS 1950. Wigton and Combs will review Central High School’s last 65 years – concentrating on physical changes in the campus and building. The audience will learn how the one time open courtyard became a sheltered and useful meeting and eating place. Viewers will acquire knowledge about the loss of wooden lockers, the disappearance of separate stairways for boys and girls and how the school blossomed from the addition of a stadium and other new structures housing a cafeteria and gyms. And why both of those functions are no longer under the ancient rooftop but are now conveniently on the first floor. Wigton and Combs will use a collection of historic photographs to lay out the changes. The program is open to the public at no cost in CHS Room 145. The discussion will begin after a short PEP meeting at 7:00pm. Contact Jeannene Mason if you would like more information. We hope to see you there!

3 LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS SET TO PLAY IN RIVAL SERIES
OMAHA, Neb. – Tickets for the Baxter Roundball Rivals Series featuring Omaha Creighton Prep/Omaha Central boys basketball and Omaha Marian/Omaha Central girls basketball are on sale now. The Baxter Roundball Rival Series is set for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 at Ralston Arena. Omaha Marian will play Omaha Central girls at 6 p.m. and Omaha Creighton Prep will play Omaha Central at 8 p.m. The mission of the Baxter Roundball Rival Series, sponsored by Baxter Auto Group, is to feature local high school programs with great basketball traditions and to honor the accomplishments of the past. Creighton Prep and Omaha Central boys have won a combined 21 state championships. Omaha Central and Marian girls have won a combined total six state titles. The 2015 event will honor Creighton Prep and Central boys’ classes of 1974-76 and the Marian and Central girls’ classes of 1983-85. Marian, Central and Prep won all six state championships during these years. “This is a great family and sporting event, featuring three premier local High schools. We are excited to have the Baxter Auto Group associated with these great high school programs and to be a part of honoring the legacies left by the great players and teams of the past.” said Mickey Anderson of Baxter Auto Group. Tickets for the event are currently available at Ralston Arena and at www.homepridetix.com. Ticket prices range from $6 to $22.
pdf  2014 Baxter Roundball Rivals Series

Omaha Central High School (124 N. 20th St) is set to join in the redevelopment along Dodge Street in downtown Omaha via its new Legacy Plaza effort.

The Legacy Plaza comprises a complex architectural design featuring multiple pillars, intricate latticework, and commemorative signage. The goal of the project is to honor alumni, staff, and supporters of the school (which dates back to 1859, making it the oldest high school in Nebraska) and also to provide a functional space for students and staff to utilize on a daily basis. Design elements—which were led by Urban Alchemy (Adrian Ferguson, CHS ’89) and Dahlin Studio (James Dahlin, CHS ’84), landscape architect Dropseed Studio, and civil engineering by Ehrhart Griffin and Associates - will be reflective of the modern-yet-keeping-in-historical-character atmosphere of recent projects along Dodge Street, including the Joslyn Art Museum's outdoor sculpture garden and the nearby Highline building. The project is set to be constructed near the southwest corner of the school property, just off of Dodge. Fundraising efforts for the project, led by the Central High School Foundation, are already underway. Donors will have the opportunity to purchase signs with names of notable Central students, faculty, staff, and supporters—both past and present.

When complete, the Plaza will be an exciting addition not just to Central High School, but to the entire downtown area, as well.
pdf Legacy Plaza Press Release > >

Alumni Auditions for 2013 100th Annual Road Show!
CHS Alumni Audition and Performance Info ...
pdf 100th Annual Road Show Audition Flyer > >

Central High School "Rocked the Nest" on April 28th!
The Central High School Foundation (CHSF) held its annual fundraiser Rock the Nest “Trivia Night” on Sunday, April 28th. Three hundred Central High School (CHS) parents, faculty, alumni, students and friends gathered on Sunday night at the Scoular Ballroom in Omaha to celebrate “Eagle Nation” and support past, present and future CHS students and staff. Guest enjoyed dinner, a raffle and a friendly trivia competition. The event raised over $35,000 for Central High School.

“It was so much fun attending this year's Rock the Nest. My husband Charles Kay '88 and I enjoyed seeing other alumni, parents, and staff,” said Laurie Kay ’90. “I have always been so proud to say that I graduated from Central High School because it is truly the best urban high school in the country. My grandmother, an alum of the Class of 1936, has the same pride in Central, too. Seeing this generational love of Central is so special and we have recently been able to rediscover the magic of being an Eagle through the eyes of our son who will be a freshman next year. Central's growth and excellence has continued beyond what I ever could have imagined. It is because of the incredible staff, diverse and talented students, supportive alumni, parents, and Foundation, and the community of downtown Omaha that we can proudly say Central is the best in the country and will only continue to grow.”

Trivia was one the of the evening’s activities that brought everyone together. After six rounds including “Wii would like to Play!”, “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader”, and “Number Frenzy!” the following teams were recognized:

  • First Place, Team #26: Liam Chleborad & Jen Stastny, Vicki Deniston-Reed, Gary and Paula Groff, Brooks Humphreys, Scott Wilson and Jean Whitten
  • Second Place, Team #17: Bob and Molly Atherton, Stephen and Lyn Bouma, Doug and Melissa Hegarty, and Chuck Reed & Anne McCormick
  • Third Place, Team #12: James Buckley & Linda Johnson, Henry Cordes & Susan Stiles, Mike and Cheryl Goodwillie, and Steve and Carol Kuzelka


The Grand Prize winner of a one week stay at the Surfside Resort in Destin, Florida and two round trip airline tickets, donated by Matt and Sheri Aden valued at $4,000, was Jennifer Prososki. The following individuals were raffle prize winners:

  • Tee It Up at ArborLinks! Nate Bullington
  • I am a Believer! Robyn Sitzman
  • All that Glitz! Ruth Farrington
  • A Night at the Theater Liz Cook
  • Team Spirit Kelly Means
  • iPad Mini Brent Bloom
  • Take me out to the Ballgame! Tom Wagner
  • License to Drive Michele Bigsby

CHS, established in 1859, is the oldest, largest, and one of the most diverse and competitive high schools in Omaha. Its mission is to continue a tradition of excellence emphasizing academic achievement, responsible global citizenship, pride in diversity, and enduring scholarship. Central High School Foundation Partners and Central High School Adopt-A-School Partners include Coca-Cola, First National Bank of Omaha, Midland University and Nebraska Methodist College - The Josie Harper Campus. For more information, interviews, or photos, please contact Michele Roberts at michele@chsfomaha.org or 402-556-1996.

pdf Read More > >

Central High School 21st Century Capitol Campaign Ribbon Cutting

The Central High School Foundation (CHSF) is pleased to announce that it will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the 21st Century Capital Campaign at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 9, 2012, at Omaha Central High School (CHS). The ceremony will feature welcoming remarks by Matt Aden, CHSF President, and Dr. Keith Bigsby, CHS Principal. Among the invited guests include elected officials, community leaders, and CHS staff.

In an effort to bring CHS into the 21st Century and bridge the digital divide, Omaha Public Schools, CHS, and the CHSF all expended effort and money in support of the Central High School Wireless Campaign, which made it a reality. Introduced in March of 2011, the CHSF raised $400,000, which was needed for the wireless infrastructure. The lead gift of the campaign was made by Pamela Bartling Buffett ’60 in memory of her late husband, Fred C. Buffett ’55. Pam Buffett said CHS gave her many gifts during her time there. Most of all, she learned to have respect for all humanity. "No matter what the race or religion, we respected each other greatly," she said.

The campaign, which was chaired by Matt ‘74 and Sheri Aden, provides a 21st Century learning environment for all students at CHS. Moving CHS into the 21st Century was a $1 million dollar project – from building the infrastructure to providing access to wireless devices for every student. The project included wireless Internet infrastructure, the broadband to support it, classroom equipment, and teacher training.

“The campaign focused on raising funds to create a technological infrastructure to support learning at Central High School for the next 20 years,” said Chair Matt Aden ’74. “The overwhelming support of our alumni, community, and supporters has been evident throughout the capital campaign, and we sincerely appreciate their investment in the future of Central High School.”

“The reality was that our alumni and community answered the bell and supported Omaha’s downtown high school,” said Dr. Keith Bigsby, Principal of CHS. “Their love of Central High School and their depth of loyalty are just incredible.”

CHS, established in 1859, is the oldest, largest, and one of the most diverse and competitive high schools in Omaha. Its mission is to continue a tradition of excellence emphasizing academic achievement, responsible global citizenship, pride in diversity, and enduring scholarship.

Central High School Foundation Partners and Central High School Adopt-A-School Partners include Coca-Cola, First National Bank of Omaha, Midland University and Nebraska Methodist College - The Josie Harper Campus.

For more information, interviews, or photos, please contact Michele Roberts at michele@chsfomaha.org or 402-556-1996.

pdf Read More > >

Central High School Golf Outing Sets Record with $40,000 Raised
The CHS Foundation’s most successful fundraiser of the year took place June 6 on the grounds of Field Club of Omaha. Over 200 alumni, parents, friends, and others dusted off their putters for a good cause and raised over $40,000 for Central’s wireless campaign.

The Central High School Golf Outing got off to a great start in its first year under the organization of the CHS Foundation, attracting participants from all different skill levels to help bring Central education into the 21st century. The event was co-chaired by Jono Bradford ’95 and Wiff Farrell ’91.

A banquet and dinner following the outing featured a silent auction and prizes for flight winners and 18 different “hole spotlight” winners, such as longest putt or closest tee shot. This year’s banquet also honored former teacher, coach, and athletic director Paul Pennington, who founded the Central High Golf Outing and contributed over 34 years of service to CHS.

“We had great help from our corporate and individual sponsors, and the ‘C-pass’ was a big hit too,” said event co-chair Jono Bradford ’95. “For an extra $25 golfers received a 10-minute swing analysis from Golf Tech Pro and Central Grad Jamie Stogdhill ’96, two mulligans, entry in the Mega Putt contest, and use of the purple tees, which made those long tee shots a little easier.”

“Although my name was written as co-chair, the efforts of the collective group are the reason for our success,” added co-chair Wiff Farrell ’91. “The excitement and forward momentum that we were all a part of has really become contagious, which is what we all wanted to see happen. I look forward to being involved with the golf outing and the alumni organization for many years to come.”

In case you sat this year’s outing out, there’s plenty of time to work on your short game in time for next year’s Golf Outing, June 4, 2012, at Field Club of Omaha.

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Central High Eagles "Pennies Count"
On March 29 Omaha Central High School students presented a $2,112 check to Methodist Hospital Foundation for its Charitable Care Program. For hundreds of Methodist Hospital patients in genuine need each year, coping with serious illness and mounting medical bills at the same time can be overwhelming. The charitable care program at Methodist Hospital Foundation helps relieve the burden with funding for medical services, therapy, and prescriptions.

“Methodist is a Central Adopt-a-School partner and is helping our school go wireless,” said CHS Senior Mikaela Kelly. “As a student body we wanted to give something back as a way to show our appreciation. We wanted to do something that all students could participate in, so we decided on a penny drive.” National Honor Society students took milk jugs donated by Roberts Dairy to homerooms for a week and asked students to toss in their spare change. “As you can see, when we all come together as a group, we can make a big difference,” said Kelly.

Central High School, established in 1859, is the oldest, largest and one of the most diverse and competitive high schools in Omaha. Its mission is to continue a tradition of excellence by emphasizing academic achievement, responsible citizenship, and pride in diversity within a safe and respectful environment.

Central High School, Central High School Foundation, and Omaha Public Schools have recently undertaken a two year, $1.4 million campaign to help bring CHS education into the 21st Century with wireless Internet and technology resources to guarantee its impact on every CHS student.

Central High School Foundation partners and Central High School Adopt-A-School Partners include First National Bank of Omaha, Midland University and Nebraska Methodist College - The Josie Harper Campus.

For more information, interviews or photos, please contact Michele at micheler@chsfomaha.org

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Central High Eagles "Rocked the Nest" On March 26 to Help the School Go Wireless
The Central High School Foundation held its annual “Rock the Nest” event on Saturday, March 26 to have fun and raise money to help Central High School to go wireless!

Hundreds of Central High School (CHS) parents, faculty, alumni, students and friends gathered on Saturday night at the Scoular Ballroom in Omaha to celebrate “Eagle nation” and support past, present and future CHS students and staff. Guests enjoyed food and drink, a silent auction and – new this year – a friendly Trivia competition. The event raised $18,000 to help provide wireless Internet for CHS students.

“The continuing support for Central High School and the Foundation is inspiring,” said Foundation board member and CHS alumna Susan Strauss Lebens ‘70. “Rock the Nest is a wonderful time for people to come together and catch-up with their fellow eagles. We had a great night playing trivia and are already anticipating next year’s celebration.”

Central High School, established in 1859, is the oldest, largest and one of the most diverse and competitive high schools in Omaha with a mission to continue a tradition of excellence by emphasizing academic achievement, responsible citizenship, and pride in diversity within a safe and respectful environment.

The Central High School Foundation was established to provide support for past, present and future CHS students. Contributions of time, energy and resources are essential to preserve and enhance the timeless values of a Central High School education.

Central High School, the Foundation and Omaha Public Schools have recently undertaken a two year, $1.4 million campaign to help bring CHS education into the 21st Century with wireless Internet and the resources to guarantee its impact on every CHS student. Rock the Nest was the public launch of the campaign, which is already well under way.

Trivia was one of the evening’s activities that brought everyone together. Teams of eight (or nine, if among the 10 highest bidders to have one of CHS’ retired teachers/subject-specific “pros” join their table) played six rounds of 10 questions each to compete for prize packages from Omaha Steaks (first place), Nothing Bundt Cakes (second place) and Walmart (third place). Former teachers who were up for auction included: Jerry Doctor, Dan Daly, Bev Fellman, Doc Moller, Jack Blanke, John Waterman, Robert McCeen, Pegi Georgeson, Carolyn Orr and Paul Pennington.

After rounds including “Games People Play,” “Cornhusker Craniums” and “You Heard It Here,” the following teams were recognized:

  • In first place with 49 out of 60 possible points, Team #11: James Buckley & Linda Johnson, Lisa Giambattista, Jenny Wilson, Mike & Cheryl Goodwillie and Steve & Carol Kuzelka.
  • In second place with 48 out of 60 possible points, Team #1: Jen Stastny & Liam Chleborad, Vicki Deniston-Reed & James Reed, Gary & Paula Groff, Tim Shipman and Scott Wilson.
  • And in third place with 45 out of 60 possible points, Team #21: Stephen & Lyn Bouma, Scott & Julie Cobb, Holly Herman & Jim Nolan and Anne McCormick-Reed & Chuck Reed.

Photos from the evening can be found at http://www.johnsbestshots.com. Central High School Foundation partners and Rock the Nest sponsors include First National Bank of Omaha, Midland University and Nebraska Methodist College: The Josie Harper Campus. Special thanks to Omaha Steaks, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Walmart.

For more information, interviews or photos, please contact Michele at micheler@chsfomaha.org or Ally at agumbiner@vgagroup.com.

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Concert & Conversation with Peter Buffett To Help Central High School Go Wireless
Peter Buffett will present “Life Is What You Make It: Concert & Conversation with Peter Buffett” to benefit Omaha Central High School on Thursday, April 28, prior to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder’s Meeting. The concert will be held in the historic Central High School auditorium, located at 124 North 20th Street, at 7 p.m.

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