Sunday, April 21, 2024

Exeter-Milligan Update: Middle School Language Arts

 Literary Journeys

By Sara Pella, Exeter-Milligan Middle School Language Arts Instructor


In the world of middle school English, students across 6th, 7th, and 8th grades have been diving deep into a diverse array of literary journeys. Sixth graders recently wrapped up their exploration of "Esperanza Rising," the compelling tale of a young Mexican girl's resilience in the face of adversity. They completed the unit with a character analysis; identifying pivotal moments that shaped their development, whether it's overcoming personal challenges, showcasing resiliency, or grappling with internal conflicts. By dissecting these elements, the 6th graders gained a deeper understanding of the character's journey and the themes of the story. 

Meanwhile, seventh graders have traversed the pages of "Maniac Magee" and are currently honing their narrative skills through the art of storytelling, crafting their own fictional tales. Eighth graders have tried to hold back their tears as they immersed themselves into the gritty world of "The Outsiders" and a unit on the Holocaust.  They completed this unit by drafting their own poem, 8th graders stepped into the harrowing shoes of Holocaust victims, weaving verses that echo the plea of "never forget," ensuring that the memory of those who endured such atrocities endures through the power of their words.  


Pictured are the 8th-grade “I Can Not Forget” poems


Friday, April 19, 2024

Exeter-Milligan Update: Underwater Art Adventure

 Family Art Night: Underwater Art Adventure

By: Lisa Kanode Date:

Many families in our communities come out yearly and enjoy a night of creating art with family. This event is an activity that HS art students organize every March in recognition of Youth Arts Month. Family Art Night is quickly becoming a beloved tradition in our community, offering a space where parents and children alike can unleash their creativity and forge lasting memories.


Held on Tuesday, March 19 from 6:30-8:00 in the EM High School gym, Family Art Night transforms the traditional sports gymnasium into a vibrant hub of activity. Upon entering, families are greeted with a kaleidoscope of colors and a medley of artistic supplies. The atmosphere is charged with excitement as the kids eagerly explore the possibilities before them.


The activities offered at Family Art Night are suggested by art students in my 6th-12th grades and then organized into a well-rounded event. We start with a theme to go off of so every year has been different. The students help get their activities ready for the night and offer directions for the families as they arrive while fostering a supportive environment where creativity can flourish.


This year's theme was "Underwater Art Adventure" So naturally we wanted the kids to have an ocean-like experience. One of my classes decided they would build a paper mache shark which led to 6th and 8th graders building 3D sea creatures that could also hang with the shark. A wire was stretched between the basketball hoops and volleyball standard to hang these creatures. The families then could navigate through the stations while being "underwater".


Among the most popular stations included face painting, aquariums made with rock, sand, and pipe cleaners, suncatcher jellyfish and marbleized seashells. The photo booth area had a submarine, shark cut out and Ariel and Flounder along with a coral reef that featured the 1st grade coral sculptures that were made from wire and nylon and painted in bright colors. The kids also had projects on display, which included snorkeling self portraits by the 2nd grade and flip a clip animations by the 3rd grade. These are just some of the wonderful things that the families experienced at this years E-M Family Art Night, "Underwater Art Adventures".


Indeed, the impact of Family Art Night extends well beyond the confines of the gymnasium walls. Research has shown that engaging in artistic activities as a family can strengthen bonds, boost self-esteem, and improve communication skills. Moreover, the benefits of creative expression extend to mental health, providing a therapeutic outlet for stress and anxiety.


After all, as Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."


 Kaylynn Harding helping Laura Kroll and her granddaughter Anna with a project.


Cora Foutch and Charlie Vejraska pose as Flounder and Ariel

 Kyler Oldehoeft and Bowen Brandt “fishing” at Family Art Night

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Breckan Schluter signs with Hastings College

 When you are the top running back in the state you are bound to get offers to play in college, but for Breckan Schluter the decision to sign at Hastings College wasn’t too difficult.

Schluter clocked 3155 yards this year with a career total of 7408.  He ended as the fifth highest career rushing yards in state history.

He is taking those records to Hastings where he will join the Broncos as a running back.  He did a game day visit in October and went on a lot of football visits this fall leaving his options open.

When he went back for an official visit he claims he just had a “gut feeling” it was a good fit for him.

Head Coach Matt Franzen also coached Schluter’s older brother Kyle Jensen (an Exeter-Milligan graduate) when Franzen was head coach at Doane so Schluter was familiar with him.  Franzen got a call from the Sandy Creek coaching staff the day after they played EMF and was told “you have to do everything you can to get this guy. That put the EMF team on the top of our radar.”

A few things stood out to Schluter at Hastings.  First, he saw underclassmen playing and second the Broncos are “on the upward trajectory. I believe in Coach Franzen and I felt like it was the right time to jump on that ship.”

Schluter also noted that their starting running back was graduating and felt like he could “fit into a role there and win the next four years.”

This season Schluter felt like their team was overlooked by everyone outside of the EMF communities. He had a great time through the playoffs and the feeling after winning the games and “doing it all with my best friends.  The memories with those guys will be there forever.”

For Schluter the key moment that stands out to him was “when Tyler (Due) took a knee at Crofton. The feeling was indescribable. . .having a goal and it being so far fetched.  We knew we could do it.”

Coach Kory Kahlandt sees Schluter “having a really good career at Hastings. Usually they are limited in playing time as freshman but I hope he can use those moments to show what he can do.”

The coaching staff at EMF depended on the senior for leadership in games and at practice.  “He led by example through and through. The effort that he put in and his ‘want to’ elevated the team.  He just elevated the whole team by showing what he could do and how he practiced.”

Schluter made some of their coaching easier.  “We would call a play and have a whole offensive series planned and Breckan would break six tackles and score a touchdown. We took that for granted, he was a special player to coach and a great kid.”

Kahlandt talked about how driven Schluter was and how he was so focused on the next game that they had to remind him to celebrate sometimes.  “I had to stop and make him realize how special this season was.”

EMF Co-Head Coach Jim Pfeiffer echoed Kahlandt’s thoughts on both Schluter and teammate Draven Payne, “They were leaders in our program and through their hardwork they were able to raise the level of play for our entire team.  Their ability to be willing to meet every challenge head on, the not being afraid to work hard to reach a goal, and their coachability prepares them well for the next level.”

“I enjoyed the heck out of their never give up, mental and physical toughness, as well as their ability to have fun with the game.  Hastings College with Coach Franzen leading the Broncos is a program on the rise and Breckan and Draven are two kids who can become leaders like they were for us at EMF.”

Schluter plans to pursue a degree in Business at Hastings.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Draven Payne signs with Hastings College

Draven Payne signs to play football at Hastings College seated with his mom, Tara Due.  Behind are Payne's siblings from the left Grady, Finley and Maddox.  In the back row from the left are his dad, Anthony Due, EMF Assistant Coach Jordan Pella and Hastings College Head Coach Matt Franzen.

Draven Payne inked his name on the dotted line to play football at Hastings College next year in a ceremony on Thursday, March 21 in the Exeter-Milligan commons.

The EMF senior return team member had a big season for the Bobcats in the safety position but also playing end Payne has been a versatile player for the Bobcats as he spent part of his junior year in the fullback position.  

Payne is well known for his speed on the field and hopes to convert some of that speed as a safety at Hastings College.

He really liked the campus and the coaches at Hastings and looks forward to playing with EMF teammate Breckan Schluter.

His senior season was one of highlights for the Bobcats and for Payne.  Their underdog trip to the state championship formed “bonds that will last forever,” according to Payne.

One of the highlights for Payne in that game was his interception at the State Championship game in Memorial Stadium.

He had 454 total return yards this season and with 17 kickoff returns for 323 yards and 12 punt returns for 131 yards.  Payne notched three interceptions for the season including the highlight reel worthy snatch against Stanton.

The biggest challenge that Payne noted was the transition from eight man football to 11 man.  He also realizes that college players are a lot bigger than high school and plans to spend a lot of time in the weight room this summer.

EMF Co Head Coach Kory Kahlandt has full confidence that Payne will make the transition to college football without too much trouble. “I think Draven is a very coachable kid.  All the teachers and his past coaches will tell you the same thing. You tell him to do something and he will go do it.”

He saw a lot of growth in Payne this year especially in leadership.  “He would come off and try to get the guys fired up.  Knowing he is a quiet kid normally. . . He would come off the field and be amped up.  He would just get his teammates fired up.”

EMF Co-Head Coach Jim Pfeiffer echoed Kahlandt’s thoughts on both Schluter and teammate Draven Payne, “They were leaders in our program and through their hardwork they were able to raise the level of play for our entire team.  Their ability to be willing to meet every challenge head on, the not being afraid to work hard to reach a goal, and their coachability prepares them well for the next level.”

Attending the signing was Hastings College head coach Matt Franzen. He emphasized the change in direction that Hastings has taken in the past three years since he took the helm, “We want to recruit well close to home, to have a presence in your own backyard.”

For recruiting he is trying to “bring a balanced class every year.” 

He is meeting his goals of a balanced class of recruits with the two Bobcats he has signed.  He hopes to use Breckan Schluter for offense and for Payne is “to play on defense, a perimeter position, possibly outside linebacker or safety.”

So while they have been teammates for the last six years, often playing side by side, next year they will be playing on opposite sides of the ball.

Pfeiffer added,”I enjoyed the heck out of their never give up, mental and physical toughness, as well as their ability to have fun with the game.  Hastings College with Coach Franzen leading the Broncos is a program on the rise and Breckan and Draven are two kids who can become leaders like they were for us at EMF.”


Kahlandt summed up his thoughts on Payne, “It didn’t matter what position he played he just made the team better.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Exeter-Milligan School Board approves consolidation with Friend


It’s been 24 years since the last consolidation vote in the Exeter-Milligan school district and Monday evening in Milligan the school board took another historic vote.

In a 15 minute meeting, just minutes after the Friend school board approved the consolidation 6-0 the Exeter-Milligan board gave it’s stamp of approval.

Nearly 30 individuals attended the meeting but no one chose to comment on the vote or anything else.

The board opened with the consensus agenda before Superintendent Paul Sheffield gave a brief review of the petition to consolidate that would be submitted to the state committee. 

There were no discussion items so the board moved right into action items.  Board president Adam Erdkamp read the motion and asked if board members had any comments.  When no one spoke up Erdkamp did, “I appreciate all the work the board has done.  It’s been a long process.”

The board voted 6-0 for the petition to consolidate.

The board tabled the agreement on the Milligan site purchase and the contract with DLR for the elementary remodel citing a need for the building and grounds committee to meet.

The board approved non-certified contracts, and a contract for a fifth grade teacher, Jarod Belden, a York University student who will graduate this spring.

The board set the next meeting for May 15.




Monday, April 8, 2024

Exeter-Milligan Hosts Prom in Milligan

Exeter-Milligan held their prom on Saturday, April 6 in Milligan in the historic Auditorium.  Their theme was Ballroom on the Back Nine and the junior class created a 9 hole mini golf course using decorations from past proms including an Eiffel Tower along with a Viva Las Vegas sign.  Most of the boys in the junior class are members of the EMF golf team.

After the students cruised main street in Milligan during the windy and rainy evening, they exited their vehicles (some needed umbrellas) and entered the Auditorium for pictures and social time with family and friends.
Exeter-Milligan Superintendent Paul Sheffield introduced the couples as they walked across Milligan's main street before entering Charlie's for their evening meal.
Later the students danced and golfed the night away before enjoying a post prom which included entertainer Gayle Becwar and ping pong and corn hole tournaments.


Sunday, April 7, 2024

EMF Golf Tri with Centennial and BDS

Despite some extremely windy conditions the EMF golfers have had some success on the golf course already this year.  They finished in second at their invite.


Thursday, April 4, 2024

ThrowbackThursday 3/30/2014


The Exeter G.F.W.C. Woman’s Club Arbor Day event will be held April 25, 2014 at the Exeter UCC Church fellowship hall, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The event will begin with a welcome, and, as part of the celebration, the Exeter-Milligan second graders will present a program.

 The Exeter Woman’s Club is providing trees and other special gifts to be presented to the babies and their mothers. Seedling trees will be also available to the Exeter-Milligan second-graders, for their contributions to event. In addition, guest speakers will help commemorate the day.


A Funeral Mass for Frances Pracheil washeld on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. at the the St. Stephen Catholic Church in Exeter. Father Tom Kuffel officiated the Mass.


Exeter-Milligan students were honored by being chosen to represent Class D-2 on the Omaha World-Herald all state teams:
 Nolan White
 James Sluka
 Derek Luzum
 Kyle Jensen
 Garrett Pribyl
 Amber Pribyl
 Logan Zeleny

Several Exeter-Milligan Students were honored on the York News Times All-Area Team
Co-Captain - Nolan White
James Sluka
Derek Luzum
Honorable Mention:  Kyle Jensen and Garrett Pribyl
Logan Zeleny
Amber Pribyl
Honorable Mention: Marissa Howard, Sydney Hall


Exeter-Milligan Students Awarded Academic All State by NCPA

Boys Basketball
Trystan Brandt
Brody Kresak
Girls Basketball
Madison Horne
Amber Pribyl
Meredith Emshoff
Amber Pribyl

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Four compete in regional free throw contest

Congratulations to four Exeter-Milligan students who competed at the Knights of Columbus regional free throw contest in York. Gavin Mueller won the 13 year old division and will compete at the State compettion at Grand Island Central Catholic high school on April 6.  They were sponsored by the Exeter-Friend-Milligan Council #11822 Knights of Columbus.

Photo above: Landri Johnson (left) and Gracelyn Becker won the local Knights of Columbus free throw contest and moved on to the regional contest in York.

Photo below: From the left: Gavin Mueller, Doug Anderson (Knights of Columbus representative) and Beau Becker at the Knights of Columbus regional contest in York.


Monday, April 1, 2024

Exeter-Milligan Update: EMF Speech Season


Front: Kiley Oldehoeft, Kmila Benitez, Kyler Sladek, Halona Wooton, Babe Weber

Back: Jase Luzum, Neal Scott, Logan Krupicka, Troy Kallhoff, Tucker Svec

The Exeter-Milligan/Friend (EMF) had a very successful inaugural season in 2024. The season began in January, with Troy Kallhoff earning a fourth-place medal in extemporaneous speaking at the meet at Adams Central. At the Thayer Central meet, Kallhoff was third in the same event while teaming up with Kmila Benitez to finish fourth in duet acting. To finish the month, EMF traveled to Humboldt for the MUDECAS Conference Meet. As a team, EMF finished fifth. Leading the team at the meet was Tucker Svec, who won humorous impromptu and was second in humorous prose. Svec earned another silver medal with teammates Benitez, Logan Krupicka, and Jase Luzum in OID. Krupicka added a fifth-place medal in humorous prose, while Benitez came home with sixth in POI. Benitez and Kallhoff were fifth in duet. Additionally, Kallhoff medaled third in extemporaneous and fourth in entertainment. Fifth-place medals were added for the EMF team by Halona Wooton in entertainment and Babe Weber in informative. 


February was a full schedule again for the EMF speech team beginning with a Saturday trip to Shelby. The meet was highlighted by Tucker Svec and Kiley Oldehoeft winning duet impromptu. Svec also was fourth in humorous prose. Troy Kallhoff finished third and fifth in extemporaneous and entertainment, respectively. Troy and Kmila Benitez were sixth in duet acting. A sixth-place medal in persuasive was earned by Neal Scott. The OID of Logan Krupicka, Svec, Oldehoeft, and Benitez finished third at the meet. A long weekday trip to Falls City for the Pioneer Conference Meet turned out to be successful for EMF. The team finished fifth in the overall sweepstakes standings. Kallhoff won extemporaneous and was second in entertainment, and Kmila and Troy were fifth in duet acting. Tucker finished with a bronze medal in humorous prose. The OID of Kiley, Kmila, Logan, and Tucker was fifth. 


Still in February, EMF participated in the Meridian Meet. First-place medals were awarded to:  Kiley Oldehoeft and Babe Weber in duet, Troy Kallhoff in entertainment, and Kmila Benitez in POI. Second-place medals went to Kmila and Troy in duet, Troy in extemporaneous, and the OID. In humorous prose, Tucker Svec was third. Halona Wooton was fifth in entertainment and humorous impromptu. Neal Scott was fifth in persuasive. Svec finished sixth in humorous prose, while Wooton, along with Kyler Sladek were sixth in duet acting. There was tough competition at Sutton. Kallhoff and Benitez earned third-place medals in duet. While Troy added a third in entertainment and a sixth in extemporaneous. At the Dunsmoor Classic in McCool, Tucker won humorous impromptu and was fifth in humorous prose. Troy finished second in extemporaneous and fourth in entertainment. The OID of Kmila, Kiley, Logan, and Tucker was sixth. 

Troy performing in extemporaneous speaking at the Class C2 State Speech Competition. 

March included the rescheduled High Plains Meet, District Meet in Genoa, and the State Meet in Kearney. At High Plains, Kallhoff finished third in extemporaneous. In a tough C-2 District, Troy Kallhoff earned a trip to the State Meet, with a third-place finish in extemporaneous speaking. The OID of Benitez, Oldehoeft, Svec, and Krupicka placed sixth in the final round. At the State competition, Troy performed well in extemporaneous, winning his third preliminary round. He was tied in total rank, but was two points shy of the last qualifying spot for the final round. Troy Kallhoff had a very successful senior season, as did the entire EMF speech team in their first season.