I am a proud Papillion-La Vista Schools graduate, attending Kindergarten through 12th grade in the district.
My children are Gretna Dragons, a place and school district we plan to raise our family.
My husband is in the middle of his 13th season coaching the Millard North Mustangs Varsity Baseball team; he’s a Millard South graduate.
Everyday, I am grateful and excited to work for Westside Community Schools.
My past, present and future are deeply intertwined with Nebraska’s incredible schools, just one of many success stories about how our powerful system of public education teaches, empowers and shapes countless young people every day.
Chris Klein was in Millard West High School’s musical Westside Story before he was cast in American Pie by Academy Award winning director Alexander Payne, also from Omaha. Emmy Award winning actress Marg Helgenberger played in the band at North Bend Central High School. Merle Dandridge was the lead in countless plays at Papillion-La Vista High School, winning a State One Act Championship before scoring roles on shows like Sons of Anarchy, The Night Shift and Greenleaf.
They’re all Nebraska natives, and their talents were all nurtured in their time in Nebraska’s public schools. A terrific group of people with the organization Nebraska Loves Public Schools was created to share their stories and successes. And a Chadron, Nebraska teenager hopes to follow in their footsteps.
Shelby Blundell is a junior at Chadron High School and a passionate supporter of all things Arts.
“I love helping people achieve their goals and feel happy,” Shelby told me recently. “Performing arts are a way for individuals to learn who they are.” The 16-year old would know, as she’s matured and grown while participating in theater at her school and within her community.
She’s a girl who’s tried a little bit of everything – Shelby is also a hunter, a softball player, and the current Miss Western Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
That last role is what spurred Shelby to take action for the world of theater she loves so dearly, to make sure that others will have the same opportunities in the arts as she has.
“My platform is The Art Of It All: Supporting Performing Arts in Schools,” said Shelby. “Arts programs are struggling because their funding is pulled and further lessened. I am combatting this by doing several fundraisers for our deteriorating situation in our auditorium. We are currently in need of new spotlights and sound systems. I have raffles in motion and a fundraiser event on the calendar!”
Shelby also wants to do more; she’ll compete for the title of Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen in April, and if she wins, she already has a to-do list ready to go.
“My goals include three points. The first would be to increase the amount of funding to schools in Nebraska and hopefully beyond,” said Shelby. “Second is to raise funds for Community Health Charities of Nebraska. And lastly, fund new materials for the Post Playhouse at Fort Robinson.”
An ambitious plan, but one Shelby has confidence in, in part, thanks to the time she’s spent being a titleholder in the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen program.
“This program has been amazingly influential in my life,” said Shelby. “It has opened me up into the happy and outgoing person that I now am. My future has become more and more clear and feasible with each pageant. The experience has given me the edge on my competition in the job world and the rest of my life.”
Shelby hopes to one day be a set designer for musicals, combining her passion for the arts with her love of math. She wants to join the ranks of other proud Nebraska schools graduates, hoping to put Chadron High on the mark as the place where her journey began, and possibly, the school that produced Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
“As my mother says, ‘if you like your job, you won’t work a day in your life’,” said Shelby. “My favorite part of being a titleholder is the overwhelming feeling of having power to help your community. I’m glad to be able to represent western Nebraska!”
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SHELBY?
For more information about the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen program or to become a contestant, CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Facebook, or CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Twitter. You can also contact Director Heather Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or Director Kali Tripp at KaliNicoleTV@gmail.com.
The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Competition takes place April 28 in North Omaha, Nebraska.
COMING SOON.. Miss Harvest Moon Festival’s Outstanding Teen Jade Vak