2016 Pound PTO Scholarship winners
Click the names below to read the winning essays.
2015 Pound PTO Scholarship winner
Tymber Long remembers Mr. Escamilla (Social Studies)
It is hard to picture my time at Pound Middle School without remembering Mr. Escamilla. Not having any particular interest in social studies prior to his class, it is easy to pinpoint Mr. Escamilla’s 8th Grade U.S. History Class as what sparked my passion for studying people and what they do.
To date, Mr. Escamilla is still the very best teacher I have ever had. That means in four years of eight classes a day, with schedule changes every semester, or even every quarter, Mr. Escamilla holds the title of “My Favorite Teacher” over 60 other educators who have followed.
I remember Mr. Escamilla as being selfless. Now that I am older and facing the size of my upcoming responsibilities and college career, I have gained perspective on some of what Mr. Escamilla was dealing with when I was an eighth grader. On top of being a busy teacher, he was a brand new parent with a life of his own, yet he always made time for us. He reached out to Lefler Middle School to help create a curriculum that would actually mean something to his students. He prepared us for creatively working with others. Though the project may not exist now, you cannot find a fellow Pound Middle School alumnus my age who doesn’t recall the intensity or effort required by the 8th Grade Civil War Reenactment Project, an even hosted by Pound. Mr. Escamilla also sponsored the trip to Washington D.C. and juggled all of the pieces that came with it, such as fundraising, roommate drama, parent meetings, and travel plans. For most of the students, that was our first big trip away from the rest of our family and Mr. Escamilla made sure that we had a quality learning experience while we also polished up on our self-discipline and the personal responsibility traits that went along with the trip.
Mr. Escamilla’s teaching style and personality evoked from his students a will to be better. He didn’t demand attention from us or plead for us to be respectful. We wanted to listen to what he had to say. We cared about what was going on in class and in our community around us. To get busy, energetic 8th graders who think they’ve got the world figured out to care, is a task Mr. Escamilla effortlessly accomplished. He made an impact…encouraged us to leave our mark on this world in a positive way…and for many of us, that’s stuck.
I feel truly privileged to have met a teacher as wonderful and engaging as Mr. Ryan Escamilla. The lessons I’ve learned in the areas of balancing responsibilities, fostering teamwork, and pursuing my goals, stem from my time with Mr. Escamilla. At this point, I hope to further my education in the areas of social studies and economics to better understand the social side of economics and the marketplace. This dream of mine would not have been realized had I not met the best teacher ever, Mr. Escamilla.
2014 Pound PTO Scholarship winners
Adam Fitzgibbon remembers Mrs. Fusco (Computer Application)
I found that during my three years at Pound Middle School, I was always welcomed by a strong faculty that pushed me to do my best. There were many teachers and experiences that influenced my subsequent education, but few stand out as much as my eighth grade computer teacher.
Although Ms. Fusco’s beginning computer class might have at first seemed to be something of a rudimentary experience, it actually was very influential in the the path I subsequently traveled through high school and on to college. I had always been interested in technology and completing tasks on computers (including a healthy dose of computer game play,) but this was the class that really pushed me into action. One of the units was a simple web design course; the assignments were just learning how to put text and images into a blank web page. For some reason this combination of technology and creativity really sparked an interest in me that I had never had before. From there I started down a path that will quite likely lead all the way to my future career.
Because of Ms. Fusco and her class, I have pursued academic success and achievement throughout high school and hope to continue to do so throughout my post-secondary education. Just as importantly, though, she set me on the direction that I will take towards my career. She showed me the beauty of computer science, and I hold that love of technology to the day.
As I graduate high school and move on to college, I will be a member of the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Business Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and will major in computer engineering with a minor in business. Whenever asked what brought me to pursue this path, I always give credit to Ms. Fusco and her class.
So in this way, Ms. Fusco— and indeed Pound Middle School— have greatly influenced both my education and my life as a whole. Those relationships and experiences gave me direction, and pushed me to achieve.
Peter Read remembers Mr. Maxwell (6th Science)
I entered 6th grade with a positive outlook on life. I was nervous, but ready to start the next stage of my school career at Pound Middle School. I went in blind, not knowing any teachers but it didn’t take long to figure out who was gonna be the best. My favorite teacher, and the one who inspired my learning the most while at Pound was Mr. Maxwell. He had a way of reaching his students in a way that was fun, but also very informative. His demonstrations were always exciting and I got more out of them than any other teachers I had had before. Mr. Maxwell no longer teaches at Pound Middle School but while I was there he fed my desire to learn and helped me see what the future had in store for me.
He would do headstands and give out candy when it was your birthday, and on Husker game days he would wear a pair of red shoes that he had acquired when he was in middle school. Despite the humor, he was excellent at inspiring us to learn, I remember a full class discussion on why we thought magnets worked and how strong they could become. During long discussions like these Mr. Max (as we called him) would give us more and more questions that helped us think about the topics in different ways. The way we discussed things in his class made me think about other classes from different viewpoints as well and it fed my ability to learn and comprehend new things.
When Mr. Max lectured us it was like he was our peer, but one we respected. We clung to the words he said as if we were young children listening to a bedtime story. The demonstration that I remember most vividly from Mr. Maxwell’s 6th grade science course was one where he was demonstrating different atmospheric pressures. There was a small hotplate stationed at the front of the classroom and another plate of cold water. Mr. Max poured a small amount of the water into the can and placed it on the hotplate, as the water boiled steam left the can, soon after that Mr. Max flipped the can over with a pair of safety tongs onto the plate of cold water. The can imploded! It looked like it had had a run in with a vice grip. My young mind could barely grasp what had happened but Mr. Maxwell knew how to explain things in a way that we could all understand.
Jon Maxwell was by far my favorite teacher at Pound Middle School. He fueled my desire to learn about math and science. These subjects, after another 6 years of education, remain my most productive areas and the ones that I’ll pursue into my career at Drake University. Mr. Max also made learning about things fun. I’ve never heard of another teacher that could make 6th graders excited about long division in the way that Mr. Max did. If I hadn’t been put into Mr. Maxwell’s classroom at Pound I am not sure which direction my life would have taken, but because I did, I felt confident moving onto more advanced topics and have been set on a path that will lead to success.
2013 Pound PTO Scholarship winners
Megan Arens remembers Mrs. Patterson (8th Social Studies)
During my time at Pound, I was fortunate enough to have a plethora of amazing teachers who helped me grow into a mature and responsible student. The majority of this growth happened in Mrs. Patterson’s eight grade history class. I had always enjoyed history, but it wasn’t until that class that I realized and developed a passion for it. Looking back, I can still remember that class. The tables were set into groups of four, the cut out of Jack Sparrow in the back of the room, always watching, and the excitement and anxiousness of the last period of the day buzzed through the air. But for me, that was always the class I couldn’t wait to get to and the one I didn’t want to leave.
Before Mrs. Patterson, history had been a lot of dates and names that were interesting, but never really stuck. The way Mrs. Patterson approached history was a new concept for me; history was a story. I hadn’t really seen the connections before. One event led to another, which led to another, and all these seemingly unconnected occurrences were actually dependent on one another. History moves in a never-ending cycle and there are patterns you can see that predict what will happen in the future. It was because of this new way of thinking I discovered my favorite quote. George Santayana “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I found myself able to see those patterns and look at the past from different perspectives than I had before.
The highlight of my time in Mrs. Patterson’s was being challenged to create a National History Day project. Never before had I completed a project of this size. I remember going to the Nebraska State Historical Society archives and looking through microfilm (after learning what that even was) and going to UNL’s Love Library to find that one book that would make it all come together. It was that project that cemented my passion for history and made me realize that it is something I will continue to pursue.
This year, I completed another National History Day project and because of both, I have learned that history is more than learning the facts and stories of the past; it is seeing the connections between that past and the present, the causes and effects, the decisions and their consequences, and more importantly, learning from them. I have learned so much from history, and I want to share the lessons it has taught me with others. Because of Mrs. Patterson, my dream career is to work at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Not only learning about history, but having the opportunity to share it with others is one of the greatest feelings I know. Seeing all the details of the past come together into a beautifully woven and intricate story that not only teaches but inspires is what drives me to continue learning.
Michaela Swiatek remembers Mrs. Patterson (8th Social Studies)
There are people who come into our lives, who leave a lasting impression, that inspire us to learn, develop, and foster our talents into achieving success. One of those people has been Mrs. Patterson. I met her in 8th grade, when I was her student for Social Studies class, although I have come a long ways since then.
In the classroom, Mrs. Patterson took a much different approach to teaching than most teachers. She catered to each student’s leaning style, in order to achieve the most successful classroom experience. My favorite part of Mrs. Patterson’s class was her ability to make Social Studies so fun. She always thought of creative ways to help us learn. For example, we learned about Lewis and Clark by acting out scenes depicted in their diaries, in front of the class, while wearing period costumes. Mrs. Patterson made the classroom a fun environment, while still having very high expectations for her students.
For the first time in my academic life, Mrs. Patterson taught us how to properly take notes, research accurate information, and use primary sources. These skills, which seem unnecessary for a middle school student to learn, proved to be extremely beneficial for me in high school, especially in AP classes. Mrs. Patterson showed us how to find, analyze, and handle primary documents, which has been an invaluable resource when doing major research papers in my classes now.
At the beginning of the school year, Mrs. Patterson announced that our class would be participating in the National History Day competition. Everyone is the class complained, but I was excited for the challenge. And indeed it was a challenge. Mrs. Patterson’s dedication to her students was above and beyond any teacher I have ever had. She coached me through the District Competition, and State Competition, where I received First and Second Place. The process for editing, revising and completing more research was an arduous task, but I wasn’t alone. Mrs. Patterson was there with me along the way, giving me constructive criticism, conquering technological difficulties, contacting experts on the topic and even taking me to the archives on Saturday mornings to research. Finally, I had qualified for National Competition in Washington, D.C., and Mrs. Patterson helped me perfect my documentary, and raise funds to ensure I had the chance to compete at Nationals.
In conclusion, Mrs. Patterson has done so much for me. She is one of the kindest, patient, and most dedicated teachers I have had in my experience in school. Mrs. Patterson has provided me with invaluable academic skills, and taught me a lot about what makes me happy, by instilling a passion of history in me. Because of her inspiration, I’ve taken every differentiated and AP course in the Social Studies at Southeast, completed a semester-long internship with the Historical Preservation Department of Lincoln, and I plan to pursue a History major next year at Nebraska Wesleyan. I am so grateful for her lasting impression she has made on my life, and the lessons she has taught me, both in and out of the classroom.
2012 – There were no PTO Scholarships awarded in 2012
2011 Pound PTO Scholarship winners.
MacKenzie Steinauer Remembers Mr. Czarnick
Looking back at middle school, one might think of it as the awkward transitional time in their life but I usually think about all the amazing times I had. My sixth grade year I was a member of student council, played volleyball, ran track my seventh and eighth grade years, and was a member of the band sixth through eighth grades. I have a lot of memories of Pound Middle School and nearly all of them are awesome because of the teachers. In my three years there, I learned a lot because of the instructors, but one that really influenced my life was Mr. Czarnick.
See, math isn’t one of my strongest subjects, and at the time, seventh grade math seemed like it would be a never-ending uphill race. But Mr. Czarnick was one of those teachers that made math fun. Although I haven’t talked to or seen him in about five years and he probably doesn’t remember me, I remember him as a teacher that made math click. He always offered words of encouragement and was available for help anytime. He didn’t make anybody feel stupid for asking a question and made math enjoyable. After tough tests, he’d let us take a breather and play a card game as a class. Although I can’t remember how it’s played, I know I had a blast and it felt like a reward for all the hard work I put into that unit.
Mr. Czarnick influenced my life by teaching me that math doesn’t always have to be strictly numbers and equations – it can be fun and when applied to real life, kind of interesting., His constant encouragement and rewards for hard work taught me that there is always some kind of prize when you put in the time and effort. Even if the teacher doesn’t specifically reward you with a piece of candy or a game day, the feeling of accomplishment and dedication has helped me in my educational career. When I want to give up because a class get too hard, the homework is too intense, or I just don’t want to do it, I think about how good it felt after one of Mr. Czarnick’s tests, knowing I had done my best. Because of the class’s hard work and commitment, we’d get rewards, reinforcing the sense of a job well done, making school that much more bearable.
Pound Middle School taught me several things – how to run a race, how to serve overhand, how to play the flute, and more. But most of all, I learned how to be a hard worker. Before, I just saw studying as something I had to do because otherwise I’d fail; now I also do it because I want to have a feeling of accomplishment and a remembrance of those 7th grade math days where we got a “good job” for working our tails off and giving it our all.
Derek Vallis Remembers Mrs. Patterson
For me, Pound Middle School was a place full of wonderful opportunities and fun activities. Thanks to all the fantastic teachers I had, I was able to have many great experiences that have helped shape who I am. One experience in particular that helped influence my life was the 8th grade Civil War reenactment as part of Mrs. Patterson’s social studies class. The different aspects involved in this project of research, coordination, and creativity helped better prepare me for my future as a student.
The first stage of this project was research. My class was divided into different groups, each assigned with their own event to cover. This was one of the first times I had really been required to dig in and do some in-depth research, which I now find to be an excellent skill to have. We all needed to know our event inside and out, and we each needed to know enough about a key player in that event to take on their character and become them.
The coordination involved for the reenactment was pretty intense as well. Just within my group, the five members had to design their own monologues that fit together very well, and then create a skit to illustrate the outcome of the battle we were portraying. We were allocated lots of class time to get together and work out the details of our performance, as well as get the timing of our skit down perfectly. This was definitely one of the largest scale group projects I had to complete while at Pound, and it was excellent for improving my ability to work as part of a team on a project – an invaluable skill for my future.
My creativity was also greatly improved by this reenactment. Not only did I have to put myself in the mindset of a Confederate general in order to use the language and mindset that one would hold, but also I had to look like a Confederate general. I remember combing over Goodwill to find a grey coat that would represent the Confederate uniform and working with my grandfather in his woodshop to create a replica musket to use a prop. The process of changing my mindset and creating a costume that would aid me in getting my point across was a remarkable experience that has showed itself numerous times in my high school career.
All in all, the Civil War reenactment has proved to be a highly important experience to give me an advantage as a student because of the research, coordination, and creativity involved. I was better prepared for high school because of this experience, and in turn, I will be better off for college. I am truly thankful for being given the opportunity to have experiences like this at a great school, with extraordinary staff.
Danielle Swiatek Remembers Ms. Harding
When I was growing up, I always loved playing in my mom’s classroom and pretending to be a teacher. It was something I was very passionate about as a child. During my 6th grade year, a teacher ultimately influenced my choice to become a teacher like her. She inspired me to achieve my dreams and aspirations. Ms. Harding’s skills and lessons she taught our class that year impacted my life and her influence on it has truly been immeasurable.
On the first day of school, I knew Ms. Harding’s classroom was different than any other teacher I had at Pound Middle School. Her classroom had a uniqueness and spunk to it that made it exciting and comforting. She walked in with such a huge smile and a loud booming voice that made all of us nervous sixth graders feel at ease. She had the ability to make history come alive and was enthusiastic about the subject. She had a way of drawing us in and making us want to learn about the past. She didn’t just make us sit down and take notes every day out of the book. I respect teachers that come up with creative ways to have their classroom learn, which is exactly what Ms. Harding did as our history teacher. She had a variety of teaching techniques to make learning different every day, whether it was small groups, classroom discussions, having the students teach a section, or review notes. Within her review notes, I remember Ms. Harding and our class making rhymes and songs to remember certain vocabulary words and important facts. I intend to take creative demeanor with me when I become a teacher.
One event that impacted my career choice was when she announced that we, the students, were going to teach a section of a chapter with someone else to the class. Our small group had to teach the subject in a unique way because we all knew that in Ms. Harding’s class, teaching straight out of the book just wasn’t an option. She was a teacher that made herself different, but the difference in her impacted our class and all her other classes because she pushed us harder and believed in what we were doing. She didn’t just dwell on what we couldn’t do, but what we could do, and built on our strengths. Her teaching has influenced my decision to become a teacher. I’ll never forget when my group was teaching our section and I made a chart on the boards and filled it out along with the class. She looked at me, with a huge smile and laughter in her voice, and said, “Danielle, you have the personality and large nice handwriting…you’re going to be a teacher, aren’t you?” I plan to be the best teacher I can be, with Ms. Harding as my role model. I hope to fulfill her prediction of becoming a teacher with personality and, yes, nice handwriting!
The Pound PTO Scholarship was not awarded in 2010.
2009 Pound Middle School Scholarship Winners
Ashley Janssen Remembers Mrs. Wingrove
School had always come easy for me, but English was a subject I did not enjoy. I never liked or excelled in grammar, spelling, creativity, writing, or critical analysis skills. Walking into eighth grade English I expected my attitude toward English to remain unaltered. To my surprise, my teacher Mrs. Wingrove was able to change my outlook on the subject of English.
Mrs. Wingrove had a loving and friendly personality that put a smile on my face each day I walked into her classroom. She helped me tackle the many problems I faced with the subject of English. I remember sitting in her class and individually going over each part of a sentence, explaining what each word part was as well as its use in the sentence. Mrs. Wingrove took the time to teach us the things about a sentence that we were already supposed to know. If Mrs. Wingrove had never taken the time to teach me the fundamentals of a sentence, I believe I would be so lost in the AP Literature and Composition class I now attend as a senior. I still constantly find myself referring to the little tools she used and the ways in which she taught sentence structure.
Another major area I struggled with in English was reading comprehension. I always loved reading when I was little, but reading in school and trying to understand the deeper meaning of a story was not my thing. Mrs. Wingrove had us read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and also To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. She made linear worksheets for us to complete, defining the underlying meaning of the story. I do not believe I have ever understood a book better than To Kill a Mocking Bird. To this day I can recite the hidden meanings and symbols in what is now one of my favorite novels.
Finally, Mrs. Wingrove forced me out of my shell. She made each student participate in classroom discussion. Although I did not enjoy it at the time, I am no longer afraid to speak in class even when I am afraid my interpretation is wrong. Mrs. Wingrove encouraged me to be outgoing in the classroom and I applaud her for that because I am sure it was not an easy task.
Mrs. Wingrove expanded my horizons into a world of interpretation and creativity, and made me comfortable in a place I had never felt at ease before. Although English is still not my favorite subject, I now consider reading my favorite hobby. I believe that without Mrs. Wingrove as my eighth grade English teacher I would not excel in all areas of school as I do today. She deserves the biggest thank you, that hopefully someday I will be able to give her.
Jenna Krieger Remembers Dr. Deibler
Back in the 4th grade, I remember coming across the word ‘principal’ on my spelling test. The trick to spelling principal correct was remembering that your principal was your pal, which was ironic because most kids in the 4th grade did not see their principal as their pal≠ but as their worst enemy.
I don’t remember my first day at Pound Middle School. I don’t remember my lunch number or what locker I had, but what I do remember is that during the years I spent at Pound Middle School, my principal did become my pal. In fact, its been four years since I left and I still consider Dr. Deibler my pal.
A pal is someone who can not only remember your face, but your name too. When I walked into the doors of Pound Middle School last fall, my pal greeted me with a hug and a big smile on his face. I can’t say that this has ever happened at any of my other schools. He made me feel welcome, just as he had four years earlier. Middle School is always a hard time in an adolescent’s life. What they need is someone to advocate for them, to be their friend, to be their pal.
Dr. Deibler became that pal for many of his students, including me. Instead of hiding in his office all day, he put forth an effort to ask me how my day was and what was going on in my life. I never realized it at the time, but when I look back now I realize that he genuinely cared about making every single student’s day just a little bit better, whether it was with a smile, a joke, or even a hug. Instead of being the person to run from, Dr. Deibler became everybody’s pal.
This year, my high school, the Entrepreneurship Focus Program, decided to put on an 8th grade black light dance I quickly became the leader of the project and I knew just who I could call. Dr. Deibler jumped on board with the project and he was a big help when it came to generate excitement about our dance. I went to Pound every day for a week to sell tickets, and I realized that things hadn’t changed. Dr. Deibler was still everyone’s go-to guy. I saw students run up to him, beaming with excitement to tell him what had happened in their class that day. I saw him ask students how their days were and as they left school for the day, he would be sure to tell them to have a good weekend.
As I looked at these students, I wondered if they knew how lucky they were. Maybe Dr. Deibler didn’t know, but he was really making a difference in their lives. Not many schools are blessed with a principal like Dr. Deibler. He was and still is an advocate for all of the students that go to Pound. Today as I write this essay, I am only one student speaking for many about the impact Dr. Deibler has made on all our lives.
Lauren Barbee Remembers Mr. Schulz
When I think back to my years at Pound, Mr. Schulz definitely influenced me the most during those three years. I had played the violin since kindergarten so I knew the ropes when it came to playing the violin; at least I thought I did. Mr. Schulz pushed me to go beyond average and sometimes it was intimidating; he definitely would not settle for just mediocre. In previous orchestras I could just play through the music and not be challenged but when Mr. Schulz brought out the scales, he had me worried. I never had to practice my violin at home for orchestra but after he introduced the scales, I was practicing almost every night. At first I was frustrated because I knew how to play the violin, but scales were a whole different story. I couldn’t be more thankful though because it turned me into a better musician. He also made me realize that there is always a need for improvement.
The class was a challenge but it was also very rewarding. I remember during eighth grade year Jenna Krieger’s brother was getting married and was in need of music for the wedding. Mr. Schulz quickly jumped on the idea that he would provide a string octet to play at the wedding. Most teachers, at least in my opinion, would be hesitant to do this with middle school string players but he had faith in our abilities. He was determined to turn us into the best musicians we could so the eight of us would have after school rehearsal a couple times a week. He even went the extra mile to record the pieces we were going to play at the wedding and put them on a c.d. You have to realize that Mr. Schulz is a talented musician and could be using this time for many other things, but he put his time in helping his students.
Yes, some times he was intimidating and asked a lot out of us, but never too much. He was always interested in what I was going to do after middle school and he turned into a great friend. I’ll occasionally see him at orchestral events including All-State Orchestra and he always has time to check up on me. He can always get my friend Kara and I to laugh about anything. I’m always excited to see him because I know he is sincerely interested in how I am doing and will always encourage me to stick with music because he wants me to succeed in the thing 1 love doing. He was only my teacher for three years but he will always be a friend.
2008 Pound Middle School Scholarship Winners
Megan Voichoski Remembers Mrs. Herlitzke
When I walked into Ms. Naprstek’s, now Mrs. Herlitzke’s, English classroom on the first day of 8th grade, I immediately knew that it would be a great class. She was originally Coach Naprstek to me when I played volleyball in 7th grade. I had struggled with my overhand serve, but she never lost her patience with me and worked with me one-on-one after practice, refusing to let my frustration become an excuse to give up.
After being familiar with Coach Naprstek from the volleyball court, I wasn’t sure how I would identify with Ms. Naprstek, the teacher. As it turns out, my 8th grade year brought us even closer together and her English class ended every day perfectly. We read literary classics such as Night by Elie Wiesel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I appreciated some of those novels more than others, but regardless of my personal opinions, Ms. Naprstek stretched by mind to interpret the valuable lessons each had to offer.
Ms. Naprstek’s teaching style was not very different from her coaching style. She only changed the medium she used to reach out to me from volleyballs to words, and we frequently talked after class about school and our lives. Ms. Naprstek was more than happy to spend time with me, even when she had appointments for the house she was building and her upcoming wedding. Eighth grade was a rough year for me, and when I was struggling with friendships she taught me how to let out my negative feelings during our poetry unit. One of my poems was published in Southeast High School’s literary magazine the next year and I still use poetry to help me get through hard times.
The end of my career at Pound was not the end of my relationship with Ms. Naprstek. We returned to our roles as coach – she was Herlitzke by now – and player for the next two years in the Southeast volleyball program. My overhand serves were finally consistent this time around, but Coach Herlitzke continued to push me to the limit. She and I had a close, trusting relationship and she often relied on me to tell her about team dynamics and conflicts of which she was unaware.
At the end of our reserve season, Coach Herlitzke gave each of her players framed team photographs with personalized notes on the back. Part of her note to me says, “You are such an inspiring person” and “I feel truly blessed to be around you this much.” I find it amazing that I could be an inspiration to such an incredible role model that I was blessed to be around so often. No matter how you name this dynamic woman, Coach Naprstek, Ms. Naprstek, or Coach Herlitzke, she will always be my personal inspiration to be as positive an influence on others as she was on me.
Alicia Walz Remembers Dr. Deibler
It was a lunchtime ritual. Everyday, I would sit down at my lunch table at Pound Middle School, open my sack lunch, and pull out two cookies. Then, I would signal for our principal, Dr. Deibler, and give one to him. I’m not really sure how it all started, but, everyday, my mom would pack my lunch with an extra cookie for Dr. Deibler.
When I look back on my years in middle school at Pound, I have many fond memories. My two years there were full of influential teachers, great learning experiences, and fun times with friends. But, whenever I begin to reminisce on my days at Pound, I discover that my principal, Dr. Deibler, is the person that most frequently comes to mind. Perhaps it was the everyday cookie exchange, but I think it was a lot more than that. Dr. Deibler’s determination, caring spirit, and support of his students was evident in everything that he did and it was also very contagious.
While I was a student at Pound, Dr. Deibler had to have heart surgery and he was out of the building for quite some time. I remember thinking that he wouldn’t ever come back. But, Dr. Deibler is a trooper. He was determined to make the best of things. Despite the hard times rolling his way, he always had a smile on his face and he was always optimistic. Most importantly, he never complained. Dr. Deibler’s drive and ambition was infectious, too. As I look back, Dr. Deibler definitely taught me not only the power of optimism but also the importance of never giving up when times seem hard, classes seem impassable, or homework seems endless.
The other thing I remember when I think of Dr. Deibler is how much he genuinely cares for those he works with and his students. Dr. Deibler modeled for me everyday exactly how to treat my teachers and peers with the respect they deserved. Just last year, I saw Dr. Deibler at a restaurant. Out of all the students that have passed in and out of the doors at Pound, he remembered my name and he began to ask about how I was doing, and what I was planning to do in the future. It was shocking to see that he still remembered me after all these years, and, to see how much he still cared.
By far, Dr. Deibler was the most influential person I knew at Pound Middle School. There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Deibler loves his job and that many other teenagers have been just as inspired by his ambition, spirit, and devotion as I have. It’s amazing what I got for a cookie.
Jordan Reinwald Remembers Dr. Deibler
Dr. Deibler was the principal at Pound when I was a student there. He was different from other principals because he always took the time to sit down at lunch with us and have a little talk. He treated us like real people.
Dr. Deibler must already have known what an awkward time middle school is in one’s life. Perhaps he understood that transition of children caught between expecting to be treated as mature adults but proving otherwise with their actions. Dr. Deibler found a perfect combination for trusting us. He listened to what we had to say, but he still maintained a position of authority without being overbearing. He was not only a friend but a role model as well.
There was a time when I was at Pound that explosives were found in a locker. My memories of the event are almost comical, even though it was a solemn experience. I remember joking about it with my friends, laughing at whoever had brought “fireworks” to school. But then Dr. Deibler called an all-school assembly. While sitting in the crammed, hot auditorium between two other squirming middle-schoolers, I learned how serious the issue really was. The explosives could easily have ignited and hurt, or even killed people. At a time that should have been full of alarm and confusion, Dr. Deibler smoothly held everyone≠s attention and controlled the situation flawlessly. It took real poise and bravery to bear so much responsibility. I remember walking out of the auditorium thankfully knowing that Dr. Deibler had tackled the problem for the safety of everyone in the school.
As I visualize my years at Pound, I can remember so many things. I remember exactly which seat I was sitting in when I learned how to find “x” in an algebra equation. I also remember the reaction of an entire class of 12-year-olds when one of the “lost his lunch” all over his desk. I recall “Dr. D.” singing the National Anthem for the whole school, and the various announcements he would bellow over the intercom. And I remember when he had his heart attack . . . everyone in the school missed him while he was recovering because Pound just wasn’t the same place without Dr. Deibler.
Now, as a senior in high school, I haven’t been back there for quite a while. I would occasionally go pick up my younger brother from school and wave at “Dr. D.” from my driver’s side window as he faithfully directed traffic.
What makes him so great and special is that he isn’t just a principal. He’s a leader and a friend. He’s a teacher and a lunch date. He’s a traffic patrolman and a secretary, a newscaster and a singer. Dr. Deibler is a modern-day hero to anyone who meets him. He was always all of these things to me. And I’m sure he’ll continue to be so much more to everyone who has the privilege of going through his school in the future.
2007 Pound Middle School Scholarship Winners
Kara Mieth Remembers Mr. Young
Pound Middle School had a great impact on my life and helped develop me into the person that I am today. While at Pound, my academic interests changed quite a bit. I had never enjoyed science until the day I walked into Mr. Young’s science room. Sure, Mr. Young had the reputation of being strict, but what I experienced with Mr. Young was his desire to help individual students excel.
As the year started, I was in the regular science class. Right away, Mr. Young saw that I was a bit different from a majority of the kids in my class and noticed that I might appreciate being placed into the Diff Science class, there I could push myself to my fullest potential. He talked to my parents at parent teacher conferences about this and I was surprised to hear that he had noticed so much about me in so little of a time period. I was soon placed into the Diff Science class and Mr. Young made a point to make me feel welcomed.
One of the most important things Mr. Young taught me was the importance of good study habits. Never before had I been asked to memorize so many facts and numbers except for when we memorized our states and capitols in fifth grade. Almost weekly we had a test in science over things such as the periodic table and elements and it was imperative that I had studied before them. Mr. Young made sure we realized the importance of studying before these tests and helped us think of ways to study to learn faster and memorize more efficiently.
Besides his teaching, Mr. Young also made an effort to make class enjoyable for everyone with his daily humor. I remember walking into class and sitting down. If someone had a boyfriend or girlfriend in the hallway, he would wait for the bell to ring and start singing a love song about them. Today as seniors in high school that might not be so funny, but when we were in eighth grade it was absolutely hilarious and embarrassing.
With the knowledge and skills I had gained in Mr. Young’s eighth grade science class, I have been able to be very successful in my high school career. The skills of studying have helped me do well in not only my science classes, which I still enjoy, but in all of my classes. I am glad that I can look back at my experience at Pound and have so many happy memories that have helped me get to where I am today.
Jacob Leuenberger Remembers Mary Ann Tomlinson
Mrs. Tomlinson influenced my life in my eighth grade year when I was in her Creative Writing class. It was in her class that I began to really enjoy writing fiction, and it was due to her encouragement of my writing. I strove to make my writing the best it could be in that class, and looked for different styles that I enjoyed. She helped the class explore many different ways to write a story, and the one that stuck with me the most was when she had us each write a sentence and pass the story on. Now, in high school, my friends and I have started a similar idea, only we each write a page before passing it on. Our story is turning out to be quite complex and interesting, and we are going to try to see if anyone would be interested in publishing it once we finish, and it is thanks to Mrs. Tomlinson that we got the idea in the first place. I also explored a more serious side of fiction writing during that class, and I have begun writing a novel. Mrs. Tomlinson was always kind and supportive of her students’ writing, and would often have us read our stories to each other so that we could appreciate each others’ work, as well as learn more about different writing styles and receive constructive criticism.
Mrs. Tomlinson was also supportive in her main role as a counselor. While she was not my grade’s counselor, she was always available to talk to and would give students advice if they were struggling. She was a good listener, and loved to listen to students about either their lives or their stories that they were writing. I enjoyed having her as a teacher because of the supportive role that she played.
Mikaela Kleeb Remembers Jim Schulz
The Scales I had heard stories about the man. Everyone said he was mean, hard, and intimidating. I even knew what I was getting myself into when I signed up for band. What other teacher was there? None other but Mr. Schultz (sic), and I was terrified of him. Most of the rumors were right. Mr. Schultz was one of the most intimidating people I had ever met. He always looked at you with an unwavering eye, spoke in a clear, loud, confident voice, and expected a lot out of you. He was whole-heartedly pleased with your successes, and also whole-heartedly disappointed with lack of ambition. Mr. Schultz loved the scales…oh, those scales. From the chromatic scales to the blues scales to the dreaded fishbowl scales, I played that clarinet until I knew them like the back of my hand. My most vivid memory from Pound Middle School was walking into Mr. Schultz’s scary little office and picking out two random scales from the fishbowl to play right there in front him. I swear I was trembling from head to toe, but I was bound and determined not to let him see my nervousness. At one point, I was even privileged enough to be first chair clarinet in Mr. Schultz’s band. Oh boy, was I proud of myself for that one. To gain the respect and acceptance as a good clarinet player was no easy task, and it seemed I had accomplished it. This didn’t mean I was any less terrified of Mr. Schultz, I just felt more confident.
I’ll never forget Mr. Schlutz’s reaction when he found out I was not planning on continuing with clarinet in high school. I had decided that between school, sports, and music I would just not have enough time. Mr. Schultz did all he could to convince me otherwise, but I would not budge. In the end, I felt that I had failed him. I’ve seen him here and there since then, and he is always genuinely interested in me and my life and, of course, adds in that he’s disappointed in my choice not to continue clarinet. I’ll admit, at times I have regretted not playing clarinet in high school. I hear about band competitions that Southeast has won, or listen to them play beautiful music, and wonder what it would be like to be a part of that. Then I remember that it’s not Mr. Schultz up there to conduct us. It’s not Mr. Schultz in the confident way he carries himself and continuous support of our young dreams. It’s not Mr. Schultz and his extreme passion for music. And I know, deep in my heart, that no matter how scared I was going to band everyday, and despite all the stories I heard, I’m so glad I took middle school band and was taught discipline, hard work, and confidence from none other than Mr. Schultz.
2006 Pound Middle School Scholarship Winners
Pound Winner Andrew Ganz Remembers Mrs. Gould
Over the course of my three years at Pound, I encountered many teachers who made an impact on my life. It was difficult to decide which teacher was the most influential, but the person that stands out the most in my mind is my 9th grade geometry teacher, Mrs. Karen Gould.
As much as she taught me in geometry, it was our shared passion of world affairs that allowed us to form a bond. Although I always did well in her class, Mrs. Gould could tell that math was not where my true interest lay. One day after class, she inquired as to what topics piqued my curiosity. I told her that from a young age I had always had an interest in the events that shape our world, especially those taking place in the Middle East. Coincidentally, Mrs. Gould was reading a book detailing the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Over the course of the rest of the year, Mrs. Gould and I recommended many books to each other and had many exciting discussions on current events, which were particularly intriguing in the post-September 11th world. Even after she moved to Kansas, Mrs. Gould and I stayed in touch, and she sent me multiple articles about issues in the Middle East.
After 9th grade, I continued to pursue my interest in world issues. As this interest grew and expanded, it became clear to me that I wanted to find a college with a program that would suit my interests. Thanks, in part, to the encouragement of Mrs. Gould, I will be attending George Washington University≠s Elliott School of International Affairs in the fall, where I can pursue my interests to their fullest potential.
Pound Winner Meagan Smedjir Remembers Mr. Bougger
As a freshman who was supposed to be in high school, I was stuck attending Pound Middle School. When I was in ninth grade, I looked at this as being the worst situation because many of my other friends were in high school, and I was stuck in middle school. As I look back on that year now, I am very grateful that I went to Pound for my ninth grade year, and waited until my sophomore year to attend Southeast High School. One of the reasons that I am most grateful to have attended Pound during my freshman year is because of my Civics teacher, Mr. Bougger. While I may not have been thinking about college at that time, Mr. Bougger taught me many things about our government, as well as many valuable lessons that were not included in the official curriculum for ninth grade Civics.
Today, as a senior at Lincoln Southeast High School, I am on the path to college, and faced with the huge decision of deciding my future. The things that Mr. Bougger taught me in ninth grade are still influencing me today.
The first thing that Mr. Bougger taught me was to have faith in our government. The faith that he helped to instill in me when I was only fourteen years old has driven me to actively pursue my knowledge of various political candidates in an effort to be an informed voter. In order to be an informed voter, one, of course, must be a registered voter, and due to the influence of Mr. Bougger, I now feel confident expressing my beliefs and faith in this country.
The second was to appreciate the fact that we get to live in this country, under a representative democracy, and to appreciate the basic freedoms that we receive simply by living in the United States. In light of many of the current situations and conflicts in the world today, I am especially grateful for the fact that I live in the United States, which is partly due to the passion that Mr. Bougger had and willingly displayed during his class.
The third, and possibly most important, thing that Mr. Bougger did for me was to capture my interest in our government and history in general. Since Mr. Bougger≠s class, I have gone on to take many more advanced history classes and participate in the We the People State Competition. I have also decided to study history when I go to college at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
The lessons that Mr. Bougger taught me have influenced me way past getting a grade in his class, and I am proud to say that because of Mr. Bougger and his ninth grade Civics class, I had an amazing start to my high school career.
Pound Winner Kara Maize Remembers Senora Swanson
My first experiences with the Spanish language occurred at Pound Middle School in the eighth grade. Most students take Spanish to fulfill the two year high school graduation requirement in the LPS system, and I, myself, may have signed up for the course for the same purpose that year. However, once immersed, I fell in love with the language and it was apparent that there was ≥mucho más español≈ in store for me.
My emerging passion for the language was no doubt influenced by my teacher, Senora Swanson. And, equally significant, my interest in the culture of the Spanish people was instigated by Senora Swanson. I was impressed with her worldly nature; I was amazed by the many stories she told of her traveling experiences abroad. She shared a strong sense of respect for other nationalities and the traditions and languages that embodied their ways of life. In the class, I learned much more than how to conjugate verbs or use Spanish vocabulary to tell people my name. I learned about the diversity of humankind. I was introduced to the pleasure one could have while studying the unique lifestyles and languages of societies worldwide.
My experience in Spanish class at Pound made a huge impact upon my life. As I began high school at Lincoln Southwest, I continued to take Spanish courses and was presented with an unforgettable opportunity during my sophomore year. I heard about and eagerly signed up for the LPS immersion trip abroad to Spain, a trip that Senora Swanson would be chaperoning. While in Spain, I stayed with a local host-family and participated in all their daily activities. I had an amazing time applying my language skills that had been founded in Senora Swanson≠s Spanish class at Pound Middle School. I was able to experience first-hand the cultural diversity she had taught us about. I was able to begin creating for myself a more worldly attitude like the one my admired teacher possessed.
The influence of my Pound Spanish experience has extended even beyond high school experiences. I have recently decided that I would like to pursue a major in Spanish during college, in addition to the one in elementary education that I had been planning on. Additionally, I am looking forward to studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country during my college career. Back in middle school, I never would have expected that language would become such an integral part of my studies and future. And, had it not been for Senora Swanson and the positive introduction she gave me to the language, it is quite possible that I would have only fulfilled the two year graduation requirement and missed out on an unforgettable ≥experiencia española≈!
2005 Pound Middle School Scholarship Winners
Pound Winner Nicole Pepperl Remembers Madame Beller
I first met Mary Beller when Cathy Christiansen, the gifted facilitator and an English teacher at Pound Middle School, told me that she had found the perfect mentor. She was right. Mary Beller was my French mentor at Pound Middle school for two years. A vivacious woman, she loved to learn and to teach, but most especially to teach a love of learning. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, she moved to Brazil to escape Nazi activity, and finally made her home here in Lincoln, Nebraska. She had shared many lively anecdotes from her adventuresome life with me, unfortunately my knowledge of French was not always up to the challenge of translation.
Madame Beller, as I called her, taught not only French grammar and vocabulary, but also a desire to learn languages and marvel at their intricate beauty. She herself spoke English, French, Greek, Portuguese, Turkish and Romanian. She taught that language was not just linguistics and semantics, but also culture. Her favorite classroom activity was to read French folk tales aloud, which provided an opportunity to teach a moral lesson and correct my pronunciation at the same time. Eagerly, she came to class each day; my 88 year old mentor refused to be restricted by her age, going so far as refusing to admit she even had a birthday.
The word most often used to describe Madame Beller was sweet. She won the hearts of everyone she met. Our classroom was in the media center and before class she would always chat with the media specialists. She enjoyed teaching and she radiated that joy wherever she went. She sought to share knowledge instead of merely teaching by rote. There is a certain amount of repetition necessary to learn any, language, nevertheless Madame Beller deftly interspersed the dull, but necessary activities with new and interesting ones.
I continued to take lessons from Madame Beller for another year after graduating from Pound. On June 11, 2003, she died. As a testament to her teaching and kind generosity she founded a scholarship for French students. Her living legacy was the students she left behind, those who had shared in her gift, who had learned her love of language and learning.
Before I met Madame Beller I had never quite understood the lure of languages. I could comprehend the practical uses for translation and business, but had never wanted to learn one for fun. I discovered that learning a new language not only grants material benefits, it also helps one to better understand the world and one≠s own language. By learning another language one learns new patterns of thought.
I am disappointed that Madame Beller is no longer here to continue to teach, but she gave me a solid foundation to build upon and a desire to make it a glorious building. Driven by her love of scholarship, she spread that love to everyone she met. As her life had been a source of learning, her death was a time for solemn remembrance and reflection. I am just now beginning to appreciate what Madame Beller taught me about French, about learning, and perhaps, about life.
Pound Winner Nicole Rathbun Remembers Mrs. Kuszak’s Assignment and Her Grandfather
While attending Pound Middle School, I had many experiences that I will never forget. I was involved in many activities, and had a number of teachers that really stood out in my mind. I feel that I really took advantage of my three short years, and enjoyed my time spent there. Looking back on my young adolescent years, one particular even really stands out in my mind.
In my seventh grade English class, Mrs. Kuszak gave us an interesting assignment. We were told to interview a grandparent, or older individual in our life. We were to find out what their life was like growing up, and how times are different now. The assignment couldn≠t have come at a better time. My grandfather had been recently put in a Lincoln Hospital where he was battling cancer, and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to spend some stress free time with him.
I went to the hospital everyday after school, and we would visit until they brought him his dinner. I learned so many things about him, and never laughed so hard. It was a good break from reality for everyone. After two weeks, my grandfather≠s health started deteriorating, and the laughs became fewer and fewer. One afternoon, I approached my grandpa≠s bed, and he immediately asked me if my paper was done. I told him I would bring it the next day, and he told me it was very important that I did. I walked in with my paper, and he asked me to read it out loud. It was very hard to hold back the tears, as I proudly read my dying grandfather≠s accomplishments to him. After I was finished, he told me he loved it, and was proud of everything I do. I gave him a kiss, and left the hospital. That night, we received a call that he had passed.
I honestly believe without that one assignment, I wouldn≠t have known everything what my grandpa did. I became closer with him in those last few weeks. I feel there was a reason he stayed strong that one last day, and I feel closure with his death. This one experience at Pound has changed not only the way I look at my grandpa, but the way I look at life as well. I will never forget the time I spent with him, and I have Mrs. Kuszak and an English assignment to thank for it.