Exeter-Milligan golf team from the left Trever Zelenka, Theron Odvody, Joel Klemm, Eli Johnson and James Becker
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Thursday, March 14, 2019
One of the big stories in Nebraska recently was about the North Bend fifth grade teacher, Rebecca Streff, who received the Milken Education Award. What some didn’t realize is that Rebecca Votipka Streff is an Exeter native and Exeter High School alumnus.
Streff was surprised with the award during a recent school assembly. The honor, which is given to educators, was presented to only 33 teachers nationwide this year and comes with a $25,000 prize. It was created in 1987 to “inspire educators and emphasize the importance of joining the teaching profession” according to the Milken Family Foundation website.
The Foundation identifies teachers who fit their criteria including those who have had success in the classroom that usually hasn’t been publically recognized, those who are molding their teaching practices to increase the success of their students, and also teachers who are motivating their colleagues, students and community members.
The 2000 graduate of Exeter High School recalls that she “always wanted to be a teacher. I remember teaching my dolls, my little brother, even all our farm animals. I loved every minute of it. I loved kids. Once I started babysitting I had a natural magnetic pull toward children.”
Once she started school at Exeter that desire grew. She mentioned elementary teachers like Mrs. Marla Weber and Mrs. Kathy Erdkamp, “They did hands-on learning. They made me feel like I could learn anything and be anything. They made learning fun. I loved coming to school, and right away, I knew at a very young age I wanted to become a teacher.”
Her high school teachers at Exeter also inspired her, “Mrs. Judy Votipka spent so much time before and after school working with us, Mrs. Deb Fette and her sentence diagrams and even Mr. Bob Mahoney influenced me. I still use some of those strengths today. . .they had a passion for education.”
“The teachers I had knew me better than I knew myself. They saw something in me and found that strength in me. I remember Mr. Lonnie Shaffer, my teacher and track coach, saw something in me and made me run long distance. I hated it but then I started to get good and I loved it.”
And while Streff certainly credits her experiences in the Exeter district as a big part of her foundation, she recognizes that education starts at home. “I remember Dad always reading to us and helping us with our school work, Mom helping us prepare our speeches for speech or helping us with our 4H projects.”
“But I also think I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without the support of my family. Mom. Dad. Grandparents. They were and are firm believers in education and always pushed us (my brother and me) to try our hardest and do our best and encouraged us to participate in everything we could. Even today they are supportive and an active role in my life and their grandkids. And for that I’ll be forever thankful and blessed.”
Her parents, Bob and Barb Votipka and grandmother LeeAnn Votipka live just outside of Exeter.
Streff has taught at North Bend for 11 years (she taught for three years in Lincoln). Her husband, Ken, teaches social studies at North Bend High School and also serves as a councilman for the city. They have four children, Philip, 9, Isabella, 7, Julia, 5, and Kevin, 2 months old and the three oldest along with her husband were present at the assembly when she received the recognition.
The assembly had been planned while she was on maternity leave and had to be postponed because of a snowstorm. After she was recognized as a candidate her administration was contacted and they provided letters of recommendation and answered questions about Streff. “I have no idea how they found me.”
“When they said my name I had been thinking of all the teachers that could have easily earned this award.”
She is looking forward to connecting with the network of educators who have been recognized with the same honor. “This is a wonderful opportunity. . .I love learning. I am still learning myself to find the best practices for my students. . .to educate them the best that I can.”
She hasn’t made firm plans for the money yet, but she has some ideas including college funds for her kids. She also mentioned taking a trip for herself and trying to set up a scholarship fund for North Bend graduates going into education.
Streff didn’t forget to give credit to her Exeter roots, “I don’t think I would be at the place I am today if I didn’t have the support from the small community and all the extra-curricular activities I participated in. I was able to do everything, band, speech, and track. This led me to be successful at UNL and continued down my journey through education. I’m thankful for my upbringing in Exeter.”
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
The Exeter Village board had a short meeting on Tuesday, March 5th.
After approving invoices, bills and minutes the board scheduled an assessment hearing for pavement on April 11th.
Next on their agenda was a zoning request to replat land on the east side of town where Kenny Harre will build a new building. The Exeter board approved the zoning request which had been approved by the county zoning board.
Exeter Rescue Captain Hope Strate approached the board to discuss the possibility of reimbursement for the seven volunteers who are taking the EMT course. The village board indicated that would pay the first payment to Southeast Community College which is $5,542.70 and the fire department will pay the second payment.
The board reviewed the current completed audit and approved a request from Denice Kovanda for a community scholarship contribution. The $250 scholarship was taken from keno funds.
The spring cleanup dumpster date was set for April 27 at 8 a.m.
Dominic Lombardo, the new police officer from Friend who will also serve in Exeter, was introduced to the board. He gave the Marshals report.
Lombardo informed the board that the department was able to arrange for a swap of the current automatic “machine gun” the village owned. “The necessity for that kind of hardware is something that we would never need. We have arranged a straight across trade for a Daniel Defense Mark 18.”
Lombardo was positive about the trade as “ . .It allows us to get a brand new fire arm. We have to fill out a Form 5 to make the trade which takes about four months.”
Lombardo asked for the boards level of interest in the department having a more involved relationship with the school. He noted that the department has maintained a presence at the Friend school and felt, “It helps because if something does go down it’s not that big of a deal. The students are used to seeing us.”
He noted that he would be interested in “Talking about drug safety program and careers. We would like to do that if at all possible.”
The board was positive about the opportunity and encouraged Lombardo to approach Exeter-Milligan Superintendent Paul Sheffield with his ideas.
Maintenance Supervisor John Mueller did not have any information for his report. The board thanked him for the excellent job cleaning snow during the many recent storms.
Clerk Becky Erdkamp reported that sales tax for December was $21,218.04 and January Keno was $638.11.
She reported that several electronic items at the office were damaged when the electricity flashed several times over the weekend. Mueller reported several similar issues at the wells. The board discussed the possibility of turning them over to insurance.
Clerk Erdkamp reported that she is having computer issues and cannot open some items from the State. The library computer also needs to be replaced. She mentioned that the computer used for check out would transition to become the public use computer.
Michl noted that the village internet service was going to have to be separated from the library, “We can’t put the internet service together. There is too much that can happen. It was drilled in our head last time we had a class on this and this time it was even more.”
Clerk Erdkamp reported that she was aware of two recent instances of cities being hacked and emails received in the office that were fraudulent and were purported to be from cities.
She also reported that she would be involved in an insurance audit this month. She noted that the new insurance premium for the village was $60,000.00 an increase of $2000 over last year.
The board set the next meeting for April 11.
Monday, March 11, 2019
Students in Mrs.Lisa Ricenbaw's Spanish 1 class at Exeter-Milligan worked together to create a restaurant skit. They created a menu and then demonstrated how to order from the menu. Georgia Meyer acted as the waitress and the other students, Brock Steuben, Casey Jindra, Daisy Kanode, and Jaiden Papik ordered beverages and entrees. They were required to correctly conjugate verbs, use good grammar, use vocabulary for food items, discuss the bill and the tip, and use object pronouns. Now they are ready to go to a real Mexican restaurant and eat!
Posted by Leesa Bartu at 1:50 PM