The History of Neihardt Elementary
Who Was John G. Neihardt?
Reported by student, Spencer H. in 2006
• Our school is named after John G. Neihardt, who was a famous author and poet from Nebraska.
• Neihardt wrote about Native American tribes and what their life was like.
• One of his most famous books is Black Elk Speaks.
• John G. Neihardt's full name was John Gneisenau Neihardt.
• Neihardt was born on January 8, 1881, in Illinois.
• He moved to Wayne, Nebraska in 1891.
• He moved to Bancroft, Nebraska in 1900.
• The John G. Neihardt Center is located in Bancroft, Nebraska.
• Neihardt's study was the most important place where he wrote and is located at the John G. Neihardt Center.
• The Sacred Hoop Prayer Garden is located on the grounds west of the Neihardt Center.
• Neihardt lived to be 92 years old.
• He died on November 3, 1973, in Columbia, Missouri.
• He was a great man.
• You can read more about John G. Neihardt at the Nebraska History site.
Winds of Change: The Story of Neihardt School
Written in 2003 by Mr. Larry Seger (retired 5th grade teacher)
A lot of things can happen in 27 years. Cities often grow and the buildings in those areas can change. This is the case with our school. We all know what Neihardt is like today, but what was it like almost three decades ago? I'd like to tell you what our school was like way back then. I think you will find some of my facts to be amazing.
Even the land around our school was quite different back in 1977. Harrison Street was a gravel road, and much of the area south and west of our school was farmland. Not all of the classrooms were inside of Neihardt. There were four portable house trailer-like classrooms outside of what is now our recess doors. Students spent some uncomfortable days in there, because the furnace or air- conditioning did not always work so well. There were also two homes in the neighborhood that were owned by the school district and converted into classrooms. Those two classes had to come to Neihardt for gym and music each day and then return.
Lunch was different because there was no multipurpose room. That wasn't added until 1998, so students sat on the pull down tables in the gym. Neihardt had no kitchen so that meant that the food was cooked elsewhere and brought to school.
The media center was called the library and students used a card catalog file to locate their books, since there was not a single computer at school. Where our print shop and teachers lounge are now, used to be where the 'Forum' was. This was an open area where assemblies were often held or pictures taken. The library did have a large two level 'Castle' where students could sit or lay while enjoying a favorite book. The computer lab was remodeled in 2004 and a projector and display wall were added so that projects could be shown more easily. Kindergarten students only went to school either in the morning or afternoon. The new kindergarten classrooms were not built until the 1999-2000 school year. The new playground we have now was also added that year. Some people will recall the old wooden ship that students loved to climb on the old playground.
To allow for the growth in our area, six classrooms were added, along with a spacious sky lighted hallway, on the west side of our school in 1998. The older classrooms were made a little larger by getting rid of the 'window pits' that used to be in each pair of classrooms. Some students missed these, as they were another favorite place to read.
Security has been a big focus at school since the events in 2001. All doors are now keyless entry. Cameras and motion detectors have also been added to make the school more safe. None of these existed when Neihardt first opened. All of these changes have allowed Neihardt to keep up with the times. For a school built in 1977, it has a look and feel that a 21st century school should have.