Alumni, partners beautify school entrance

Alainah Schroeder, Editor

The Alumni Association, Tim Holland, and Joe Smejkal have developed a beautification project for the front lawn of Omaha South High. 

The Alumni Association is a non-profit organization that raises funds for scholarships and teacher project requests. The association is also involved with upgrades for the sports complexes, like Collin Field, in South Omaha. 

The Association has been active for over 27 years. Alumni is the term used for a group of people who graduates from a school. The association has 17,000 members with 20 board members. 

The Alumni Association has a mission to organize, develop and build a strong alumni group. The group also wants to support South and their student and faculty, through events, projects, and scholarships. 

“We hope to remain a viable, working association for many, many years to come,” Alumni Administrative Coordinator Carole Safley said.  

Safley has been part of the Alumni Association for eight years and loves serving on the alumni board. She has been looking for a volunteer group to give back to Omaha South High and to the community. 

This Association asks for seniors to send in their personal email so they can be added to the existing alumni in the association. More members help keep the association active. 

This beautification project will honor Carol and Dave Van Metre. The Van Metres have been very active with fundraising and demonstrating their love and support for South and the South Omaha community. 

Students are likely familiar with the dirt path that everyone uses to cross the north side of the main entrance. Originally slated for Spring 2020, that dirt path was to be transformed into a cement walkway with new trees and plants. The Alumni Association will also be introducing a bronze bull statue that will be positioned in the area. 

Plans were put on hold as COVID-19 led to the shutdown of South High and many businesses. Now, months later, the project will continue under a new time frame as artist John Lajba finalizes the statue. 

Lajba is the artist who created the baseball sculpture at TD Ameritrade Park among other sculptures around the world. 

The funding for this entire project has been covered by the South High School Alumni Association, private donors, and several area foundations. 

The Alumni Association would like to thank their partners, Tim Holland, and Joe Smejkal. 

The Alumni association is also planning to upgrade or update the Hall of Fame and the Packer Greats. 

“There are always constantly changing and are always works in progress,” Safley said. 

While the Alumni Association is Currently working on multiple projects to enhance various aspects of South, these are their only goals for the immediate future. 

“We will always support any future endeavors to improve South High School and the South Omaha Community,” Safley said.