Category Archives: JOURNALISM 1

Summer To-Do List

While getting out of school for the summer is an exciting time for most students, you may be at a loss as to what to do to fill all of your time. Here are some ideas of things to do unique to the Omaha area.  
The Omaha area has access to one of the top zoos in America, if not the world. The African Grassland exhibit is set to open this summer with the African Lodge, Elephant Family Quarters, and the Giraffe Herd Room open now. Other zoo attractions include the Red Barn Park, the Lied Jungle, the Desert Dome, the Kingdoms of the Night, and many more. There’s also a Skyfari and train for fun transportation.  The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and the admission price for one adult is $18.95.
Sokol Park in Bellevue is bringing drive-in movies back for the summer. The titles have a wide range including but not limited to: “Finding Nemo” (June 2), “Zootopia” (June 12), “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (June 16) and “Jurassic Park” (July 14). Prices range from $5 to $10 depending on the car and the movie. The movies start at dusk and the gates open at 7 p.m.
One perk of living in a smaller city is the seemingly endless number of local parades and carnivals. In La Vista, the Salute to Summer Festival will be May 26-29 with a parade, carnival, cookout, fireworks, concerts, a family pool party, and many other attractions. Papillion Days will be June 15-19, with the Papillion Days Parade at 2 p.m. that Saturday, June 18. Other celebrations include Elkhorn, Springfield, and Gretna Days and many others in the Omaha area.
One of the best things to do to cool off during summer is to jump in the water for a bit. Maybe you have a friend or relative with a pool or lake in their back yard, but if not, the Papillion-La Vista area has great options. There are multiple membership-based pools, but if you just want to go a few times, Papio Bay offers daily admission up to $5.50 for adults during day hours. The pool opens May 28 and closes Sept. 5 so you have plenty of time to go make a splash.
If you don’t want to spend money or don’t have transportation, there’s a good chance there is a public park somewhere near you. Right across from PLSHS is Walnut Creek Recreation Area, which has a 105-acre reservoir, picnic areas, a playground, equestrian and dog areas and a 3.5-mile walking trail. Another option is City Park, which has a playground with a merry-go-round, restrooms, and a spot for a band. Schwer Park has a unique attraction: a splash pad, or a water playground. Other parks include Hickory Estates, Hickory Hill Tara Hills, Overland Hills, Monarch Place, Veterans and Halleck parks, and many more.
Another idea for a free and easy thing to do is to go geocaching. If you’ve never heard of that, it’s an international exploring activity in which geocaches of different sizes are hidden in millions of different places. There are more than 4,000 near the Omaha area alone. The app, called Geocaching, is free at App Store and  gives the locations of most of the geocaches, so go start exploring.

The secret summer lives of teachers


Teachers, believe it or not, have lives outside of school. Most teachers have families, second jobs or hobbies that we, as students, are almost completely unaware of.

English teacher Mr. Troy Ackerman runs a lawn mowing business over the summers and has been involved in his business for 10 years. He uses the manual labor as a way to recharge from the school year, as well as a way to connect with other people.

Ackerman is one of the many teachers who would like to travel more over the summers. His most memorable summer was a summer spent in Cabo, down in Baja California, because it was a change of scenery and wasn’t here in Nebraska.

Ackerman isn’t the only teacher who wishes there were more time over the summer for things like travel.

Mr. JD Davis, a history teacher here at Papio South, said with the amount of time he spends during the summer with his grandson, and preparing for the upcoming school year, it leaves no time for travel.

Not only does Davis spend time with friends and family, he is the drummer for a local cover band called eNVy. He joined the band when he was approached by the current lead singer, a friend from church, and asked to accompany her.

“People liked it, so we kept going,” Davis said. The band, eNVy, performs throughout the summer. 

Even with this busy schedule, Davis still finds time to prepare for the upcoming school year, looking for new activities and ways to teach. “I love this place,” he said.

Driver’s Ed may be a ticket to freedom


For the average 16-year-old, driving may be considered a luxury, but not having a license would be a struggle. An easy way to prevent that could be trading in three summer days for a class that will pay off with the freedom to drive. Even though those days are almost equivalent to a school day, it will be worth it in the end.

A former participant in summer Driver’s Ed, Lacie Vacanti, said the class made the DMV process easier, as well. “You don’t have to take the written test,” she said. Another plus Vacanti mentioned was a drop in insurance costs. “Lots of teenagers crash and are not experienced enough,” she said. Insurance agencies reward those who successfully complete Driver’s Ed by reducing the rates they pay each month.

Rachel Ausenbaugh also took a drivers education class, but hers was from Cornhusker. “Nothing big was different,” she said, “just the teachers.”


Driver’s Ed offered at Papio South

  • Instructor: Stan Troxel
  • Dates: June 13-24
  • Driving: June 14-22
  • Times: 8-10 a.m. or 10 a.m. to noon
  • Cost: $350
  • For more information talk to Mrs. Morrow in Career Ed or at


  • Classes June 6- Aug. 3 still available
  • It’s in a span of three days and 20 hours, plus and additional 3-5 of driving
  • Where: Westside Community Conference Center
  • Cost: $375

Start building career skills in high school


Being in high school doesn’t mean you can’t get a headstart on your career. Several colleges and even companies provide opportunities such as internships, workshops, and career shadowing.

Renee Mead, a guidance counselor at Papillion-La Vista South High School in charge of academies and testing, explains that there are classes and activities at Metro Community College, UNO and UNL that progress careers. Most revolve around STEM and robotics.

Randy Stribley, teacher of manufacturing and robotics, explained, “During school, we have 24 students in the STEM Academy job shadows. This year over the summer that ranges for about 20 hours. Those are juniors, going-to-be seniors.”

UNL had much information on its website: “Students who have completed two or more years of their high school education and have an interest in architecture, landscape architecture or interior design are encouraged to apply.”

Most opportunities are for upperclassmen, but it makes for an early start to these careers.

What we’re reading now


“Lack of Net neutrality threatens the freedom that the Internet has always promoted.” –KYLEE HANCOCK AND HANNAH MECKNA, 10TH GRADE


“Too many good teams. Lots of sports fans, and first year of playoffs.” –ADAM GADSDEN, 11TH GRADE


“Eminem and Lana Del Ray are big in the music industry – especially in teens.”–SHELBY BRADBURY AND KAT PLATA, 9TH GRADE


“National Academy of Sciences says video games that are fast-paced sharpen your prediction skills.” –JAIDEN YOUNG, 9TH GRADE

“A lot of people like to play the action type games, and it’s an interesting discovery.” –AARON MILLER, 9TH GRADE

What we’re reading now


“The addiction to our phones makes us have compulsive behavior while driving. Many teens are starting to drive, and they should know not to get obsessed with their phone so they don’t risk their lives just to answer a text.” –FAITH HARTRANFT, 9TH GRADE

“You put an app on your phone and it stops texts. The reason why teens should get the app is because lots of people get in crashes that are caused by texting while driving.” –SHELBY BRADBURY, 9TH GRADE

“Texting and driving has become a problem in teens and [young adults] today. With the new technology, it makes it hard not to check your phone. They put an app on your phone when you drive.” –KAT PLATA, 9TH GRADE



“Minimum-wage boosts … $8 this coming January.” –JAYCI MCGILL, 12TH GRADE

“[Students] need to read it because a lot of teens have jobs that work for minimum wage.” –ADAM GADSDEN, 11TH GRADE

What we’re reading now