Raymond Central Newsletter

May 2018

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E-Cigarette Information

Staying on top of new trends your kids are exposed to, harmful or not, is hard! The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Tobacco Prevention Team has made it easy for you to learn the increasing trend of youth vaping here in Lancaster County. Click here to learn how e-cigs affect health, how to identify the #1 youth vaping product, and how youth are vaping at schools and events.

Learn more in the video below and at the website: http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/are-your-kids-juuling-at-school-7-on-your-side-investigates


From the Desk of Dr. Joel...

Dear Raymond Central Family and Friends-

We do not have to look very far to see why Raymond Central Public Schools continues to be a great place to work and learn. I want to thank everyone for their patience, collaboration, and support during my first year as superintendent. My primary goals during this first year were to listen and learn, build trusting relationships, and communicate effectively.

This has been a year of learning for myself and I could not be more happy with the commitment to excellence from our students, staff, parents, and community members. This does not mean, however, that our work to be an exceptional school district is complete. I am already looking forward to next year implementing what we have learned this year and making the appropriate changes to enhance our PK-12 student experience even more.

I could not be more proud of our students and their academic accomplishments. They have worked hard in their classes to challenge themselves. Student pride in being a Mustang continues to grow. Our school, academics, athletic programs, and extra-curricular programs provide students with opportunities to go out into the community and demonstrate that pride.

It is hard to believe that we are winding down another school year. These next 3-4 weeks will be busy with end of the year events and activities including graduation and graduation celebrations. I hope you join us for the Raymond Central graduation ceremony on May 12th starting at 2:00 PM. This is a great event that celebrates the culmination of 13 years of education. I will try and keep my words of encouragement and life advice to under 2 hours…

In the coming weeks, we will have two staff members retire. I want to personally thank Ms. Georgia Johnson and Mr. Dave Schnell for all of their contributions in making Raymond Central a great place to learn and the support they have provided our students over their tenure. Only knowing them for one year, I can tell you RC is losing two outstanding teachers!

To those two retiring staff members and to everyone else, THANK YOU! We have a lot to be proud about at Raymond Central and I look forward to our work in making it an even better place for our students, staff, parents and community members. Have a great summer break and I will be excited to see everyone back in August.

Have a Fantastic May,

Dr. Joel

Important Activity Dates

Wed May 2nd - Fine arts award program 2:30pm - commons

Thurs May 3rd - HS Track Invite 2pm

Friday May 4th - Tuesday May 8th, Baseball districts TBD

Wed May 9th - Football parent meeting 6:30pm - commons

Thur May 10th - District Track @ Fairbury

Saturday May 12th - Graduation 2pm - Main gym

Saturday May 12th - Thursday May 17th, State Baseball TBD

Mon May 14th - 3rd-5th grade spring concert - main gym

Tues May 15th - Winter/Spring Sports Banquet - 6pm - commons

Friday May 18th - Saturday May 19th - State Track @ Burke TBD

Tuesday May 29th, Wednesday May 30th, Thursday May 31st - Youth Wrestling Camp

Wednesday May 30th and Thursday May 31st - Youth Basketball Camp

Elementary Music Concert

The Elementary Music Concert will be held at the High School on Monday, May 14 at 6:30 PM. This concert includes singing from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade as well as 5th grade band. Music Boosters will be selling desserts that evening as well.

Last Day for Seniors

Seniors are looking forward to their last day of high school on Tuesday, May 8th. They will celebrate by signing their intent to continue on to their designated college and take on the staff in a basketball game!


Raymond Central FBLA had a very successful State Conference. Members earning awards were: Connor Nichols - 1st - Coding and Programing, 1st - Intro to FBLA, and 1st - Intro to Information Technology; Kelbie Schnieder - 4th - Sales Presentation; Kelbie and Tucker Randall - 4th - American Enterprise Project; Ellen Dexter - 6h - Future Business Leader; Hailey Hula and Cicely Pickel - 6th - Community Service Project; Logan Parde and Madison Parde - 7th - Website Design; Rachel Potter - 7th - Middle Level Career Exploration; and Madison Stover - 8th - Future Business Leader. Madison Stover and Ellen Dexter were Job Interview semi-finalists. Other Honorable Mention winners were Amanda Gyhra - Accounting I; Kelbie Schnieder - Advertising; Sydnie Blanchard, Lexi Dubas, and Megan Lange - Intro to Business Presentation; and Lauren Prososki - Intro to Information Technology. Hailey Hula received a $500 FBLA Scholarship. Madison Stover was recognized as Who's Who in FBLA; Amanda Gyhra, Cicely Pickel, Kelbie Schnieder, and Madison Stover received All State Quality Member pins; and Nicholas Ohle, Kelbie Schnieder, and Peyton Taylor received Business Achievement Award Leader pins. Thc Chapter received the Gold Seal Award and the Sweepstakes Award.

Business/Technology Class Opportunities


Raymond Central Junior and Senior High School is offering a computer science class this fall that will unlock an entirely new future for students. In our modern world, it’s no longer enough to learn how to use technology; it’s foundational to learn what goes into building technology. No matter what career a student wants to pursue, a background in computer science will be relevant. In our new class, students will begin to create programs, games, and apps that can help their communities today! Whether they build a game for a younger sibling, create an app that keeps track of a family schedule, or make a webpage to organize a community event, your child will learn the basics of the technology that’s changing the world. And we hope they'll be inspired to be major players in that change.

Raymond Central Junior and Senior High School is offering this class through regional partnerships with Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to giving every K-12 student in the US the opportunity to learn computer science. This fall, we will offer Computer Science Principles for students—no computer science experience necessary. Encourage your child(ren) to sign up. This is an opportunity that will open up collaboration, creativity, and passion as students learn and build together.

What’s this all about? Click here to watch an inspiring video.


Have you ever thought, “I wish there was an app for that…”? What if you got to use class time to build that app? You’re in luck. Next fall, Raymond Central Junior and Senior High School is offering a new class unlike any you’ve taken before. You’ll learn how to go beyond just using computers—you’ll begin to create the games, apps, and programs you see a need for today. Raymond Central Junior and Senior High School is excited to offer you a class where you can make a game, create an app, or build a webpage that your friends, family, and school can use! The best part is that you don’t need any experience to make awesome things in this class.

What else can you do with computer science? Click here to watch an inspiring video.

No matter what you want to do one day—whether it’s art, medicine, or history—computer science will help you make your ideas come to life. Sign up for Computer Science Principals today.


Transitioning from High School to College

Spring is finally here and graduation is right around the corner. This is a very exciting time for youth as they achieve this major milestone. Many are looking forward to going on to college and starting a new chapter of their lives. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2015, 69.2% of high school graduates enrolled in college immediately following high school. Though this is an exciting time, transitioning to college can be challenging and overwhelming. From 2009-2015, only 59% of students completed a bachelor’s degree at the same college where they started in a 6-year period. Parents are more important than ever to prepare youth for college and provide support throughout the transition.

College often marks the beginning of the transition from childhood to adulthood. Going to college may mean moving away from home for the first time. Whether students choose to live on campus or off campus, students are faced with new responsibilities and opportunities. It is now up to the student to make sure their basic needs are met. They will also have opportunities to meet new people, join new clubs or participate in new activities. The opportunities can be exhilarating and also daunting for some. There are also significant pressures related to social situations and academics. As their new social life grows so does the likelihood they will be exposed to alcohol, drugs and sex. Students will likely be faced with many choices that will challenge their values and beliefs throughout their college experience that can shape who they become in adulthood. Furthermore, there is pressure to succeed academically and choose a career path. The increase in responsibilities and abundant pressures can cause significant stress and increase risk of mental health disorders.

A survey by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found that 70% of directors reported an increase in psychological problems on campus over the past year (2012). Their top concerns are anxiety (41.6%), depression (36.4%) and relationships (35.8%). This makes sense considering 75% of individuals with an anxiety disorders experience symptoms before 22 years of age (National Institute of Mental Health). Additionally, suicide is still the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-34 (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).

There are numerous resources available for students on and off campus to help students manage stress and develop strategies to cope with a mental health disorder. There are preventative strategies that can be used as well. The first step is helping youth identify when they are struggling and encourage them to seek help. Second, youth need to be educated on what resources are available. Parents also need to be aware of the warning signs and resources available.

Know the warning signs:




Tips for parents to help prepare youth for college:

  • Help youth develop life skills, like how to eat well, set a sleep schedule or use a laundry machine

  • Provide strategies on how to cope with stress

  • Educate yourself and your child on the resources available on campus (i.e., health clinic, student services)

  • If your child already has a mental health diagnosis or health condition, help make arrangements for the services they need

  • Discuss values and beliefs to help them prepare for social pressures they may face

  • Encourage youth to join a club or organization on campus

  • Provide listening ear to discuss any fears or concerns they may have

  • Determine times to talk on the phone or visit in person throughout first semester

  • Be understanding of mistakes and give them space to find solutions to problems





Looking Towards the Positive: The Role of Protective Factors in Youth Prevention

At the forefront of SCIP are efforts to engage in prevention initiatives that promote positive youth development. Research tells us that the healthy development of youth does not occur in isolation. Specifically, when we consider a student’s emotional and behavioral health, we must explore individual traits, the role of family and the influence of school, peers and the community. It is easy to get hung up on risk factors that may adversely affect youth development and wellbeing. While we can’t ignore the role of risk factors, a growing number of studies suggest that greater health impact might be achieved by enhancing protective factors that help children and adolescents avoid multiple behaviors that place them at risk for adverse outcomes (CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). An important goal of prevention is to change the balance between risk and protective factors so that protective factors outweigh risk factors.

Protective factors are seen as characteristics or conditions that buffer or reduce the negative effect of adversity on child outcomes. Research supports the idea that the more protective factors a youth has, the greater likelihood they will avoid at risk behaviors such as substance use, delinquency and violence. Thus, research-based prevention programs focus on intervening early in a child’s development to strengthen protective factors before problem behaviors develop).

Protective factors are typically organized into 5 categories:

  • Individual (biological and psychological dispositions, attitudes, values, knowledge, skills)

  • Family (family function, management, parenting practices, parental engagement, bonding, etc.)

  • Peer (norms, activities, ability to make friends, healthy relationships, etc.)

  • School (school climate and culture, policy, school connections, partnering between school/family, academic performance, etc.)

  • Community (resources, awareness, connections, community mentoring programs, positive social norms, etc.)

Protective factors not only exist in multiple domains, but they have the potential to produce positive effects in multiple areas. For example, positive parenting practices has been found to mediate the effects of poverty, divorce, parental bereavement and parental mental illness. Likewise, young people who feel connected to their school (school connectedness) are less likely to have emotional distress, consider suicide, engage in substance use, violence and gang involvement and are more likely to have higher grades and better school attendance (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: SAMHSA).

Promoting protective factors not only serve in the prevention of adverse behaviors and outcomes, but examining protective factors that reduce risk factors can also be useful in identifying interventions that are more likely to work when problem behaviors are seen. Both prevention and early intervention are powerful tools in enhancing the overall health and wellbeing of our youth.

Below are some tips from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on how to incorporate the use of protective factors specifically into drug and alcohol prevention initiatives:

  • Parents: use protective factor information to help develop positive preventative actions before problems occur. Parental involvement and parental monitoring are two important protective factors. Talking about family rules, setting family policies and having clear expectations for behavior and values can help guide parents.

  • Schools/Educators: strengthen relationships with both parents and students to increase school connectedness and parental engagement in school. Schools can also be an important connecting point for mentoring programs and the involvement in positive extracurricular activities (two important youth protective factors).

  • Community Level: provide opportunities for youth prosocial involvement in the community (giving back to the community, volunteering, etc.), recognizing and rewarding youth for prosocial community involvement, enhancing neighborhood safety and investing in building strong, socially cohesive neighborhoods. Communities that show youth they are invested in their wellbeing can help contribute to protective factors.

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Summer Activities

Summer is just around the corner! Kids look forward to summer as it’s a welcome break from school, homework and tests.

Yet, it doesn’t take long before kids start to feel bored. Finding ideas for activities that are affordable and engaging for kids and their family can be difficult, that’s why we’ve compiled a list of fun and free or inexpensive summer activities that families and neighbors can enjoy together.

  • Read: Most towns/cities have summer reading programs. These programs help encourage kids to keep reading during the summer by offering rewards. Explore your local library online to find

out about a summer program.

  • Travel Back in Time: Research and find free museums in your area! City museums and parks often have free days or donation entry fees, making it affordable to learn about history in your area as well as other areas in Nebraska. There are literally hundreds of museums throughout Nebraska!

  • Discover the “Wilderness”: Camp outside in your backyard or make a tent inside! Inside or out camping can be a fun and you can learn about nature and develop some “mad” outdoor camping skills, such as setting up a tent, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, as well as, how to use a compass, recognize and identify what plants are safe and what plants are poisonous etc.

  • Make a Splash: Hook up a sprinkler, get out the hose and/or fill up a plastic pool and “let the water games begin” for a fun day in the sun. Rinse and repeat for next week!

  • Plan, Pack and Get Your Picnic on: Make a day out of eating outside at a local park, neighborhood grassy area or even your backyard. Instead of eating lunch inside, take to the outdoors to a picnic table or just throw a blanket down and ENJOY!

  • Get Creative: Have an arts & crafts day once a week. Let your kids pick an “artsy” activity to do each week. Don’t forget to showcase the artwork. Remember art is in the eye of the beholder! Behold and be proud!

  • Exercise: Hold a swimming competition, have a neighborhood pick-up game, ride bikes, jump rope, go for a walk, play catch etc. Staying fit and active with family and friends can help you bond together.

  • “Board it up”: Find board games you have around the house and hold a family game night. You can let the winner pick the next game. Feel free to expand and hold a neighborhood board game night.

  • The Next Greatest Chef? Let your kids try their hand at cooking dinner or baking dessert, with your supervision of course. Make it a real challenge by giving them a budget and taking them shopping for the needed items.

  • Outside Movie Night. Many communities now have outdoor summer movie nights. You can check your local area to see if your community will be hosting one. Or with a little online research and effort you can create and hold your own outdoor viewing party right in your own backyard! So, breakout those lawn chairs and blankets, grab some popcorn and drinks and sit back and enjoy the show!

  • Got talent? Hold a family or neighborhood talent show to find out some of the “crazy skills” right in your own family or neighborhood!

  • Scavenger/Treasure Hunt. Plan and have a scavenger/treasure hunt. Make lists of items to locate or make a map and have a treasure hunt. And if you are feeling super inspired, you can hold the ultimate scavenger/treasure hunt with your own version of the “Amazing Race” with your neighbors and “Goonie” it up!

  • Volunteer. There are so many organizations that could use the help. Find out what is available in your area and let kids volunteer doing something that interests them. Kids who volunteer not only feel a sense of accomplishment and importance, they also tend to pick up some good skills and work ethic along the way.

The important thing to recognize and remember is that these kinds of activities can do more than keep kids active and entertained during the summer…they often create memories that last a lifetime!

Have a Happy, Safe Summer!

Tickets on Sale Now for Hop, SCIP, Jump and Run Event

Registration is now open for School Community Intervention & Prevention’s (SCIP) annual fundraiser, “Hop, SCIP, Jump and RUN,” brought to you by Nebraska Mental Health Centers. The event, set to take place on May 12, 2018 at Lincoln Southwest High School, will feature a 1-mile Fun Run and a 5K Race. The event is open to adults and children, runners and walkers. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit booths to become eligible for prizes, which include restaurant gift cards, Zoo Admission Tickets and more!

The 5K Race is $25.00 per person and the 1-mile Fun Run is $15.00 per person. Tickets purchased by April 28th include an event t-shirt. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. Children under the age of 9 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets for the event can be purchased at https://www.raceregister.net/event?action=view&id=353

High School Music

This year, the Raymond Central Music Department had an excellent showing at their District Music Contest on April 19th and 20th in Milford. For the first time during the tenure of Mr. Strouf and Mr. Luke, the high school choir, jazz band, and concert band all received a superior rating! Vocal soloist Cristina Becher received a superior rating for her performance, as well as an "Honorable Mention" award. Matthew Jackson, Brandon Unverferth, and Brigit Shultz received superior ratings for their instrumental solos, with Brigit earning an "Outstanding Performance" award. Great job Raymond Central music students!

High School Art

The Fort Calhoun High School Art Department hosted a conference art show on April 18, 2018. Art students

representing six schools were in attendance for the day’s activities, including: displaying art, judging art work,

and collaborating on their own piece when given the medium, subject and style. Raymond Central had 32

ribbon winners:

1st Place

Cicely Pickel, 12 th , Outstanding Art Student Award, Nervous Graphite Portrait, Confused People Painting,

Melting Face and Hands Oil Paintings

Raine Rittscher, 12 th , Night-Time Fears Gouache Painting

Thori Nelson, 11 th , Desert Dusk Batik, Play Your Cards Photographs

Felicity Ramsey, 11 th , Self Portrait Color Pencil Drawing, CRAchemist Batik

Claire Wilson, 10 th , Self Portrait Graphite Drawing

Megan Lange, 9 th Portrait Graphite Drawing

2nd Place

Ellen Dexter, 12, Dex 2 Acrylic Painting

Raine Rittscher, 12, Sunkmanito Tanka Acrylic Painting

Thori Nelson, 11, Montage of Sunflowers

Felicity Ramsey, 11, Celebracion! Of the Dead Color Drawing

Alexis Jeffres, 10, An Older Time Photograph

Claire Wilson, 10, Reflection Color Pencil Drawing, Ocean View Batik

Megan Lange, 9, Venice Perspective Graphite Drawing

Grace Mueller, 9, Futuristic Perspective Graphite Drawing

Jaron Polivka, 9, Portrait in Graphite

3rd Place

Makenzi Isaac, 12, Dirt Road Photograph, Simple Contrast Photograph, Stitched Together Photograph

Raine Rittscher, 12, Life From Death Color Pencil Drawing

Felicity Ramsey, 11, Never Broken Watercolor, Day of the Dead Acrylic Painting

Alexis Jeffres, 10, Self Portrait Color Pencil Drawing, A Time To Remember Photograph

Chandler Buch, 9, Portrait in Graphite

Megan Lange, 9, Still Life on Black, Symmetrical Perspective Drawing

Unified Track Meet in Ashland 4/26/18

Two 6th graders participated in this event. They had a lot of fun, and it was a really great experience for both of them!

6th-8th Grade Survey Results

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Thank You to the Sponsors Below for Supporting Our Journalism Program and its Yearbook!

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