Left to right: Omaha Central Social Studies teacher Gary Groff with students Maddie Badura and Micah Martin
In the fall of 2015, several students approached Gary Groff, chair of the social studies department at Omaha Central High School, concerned about the deteriorated condition of the two historical markers on the school’s campus. One marker commemorating “Capitol Hill,” the location of Nebraska’s territorial capitol building, was dedicated in 1964. The other marker telling the history of Central High School was dedicated in 1979. Time had taken its toll and the paint had faded. Nebraska State Historical Society staff provided the specifications for repainting the markers. During the winter months, students in the International Baccalaureate Program along with students in the National Honor Society (Beta Chapter) were contacted about their interest in the project. Many responded and were up to the task. “History plays an important role at our school, and I’m glad I was a part of helping people know more about it,” said Maddie Badura, one of the students who helped with the project. “You can’t know what you can’t read.” Eight students gathered to begin the painting of the markers: Maddie Badura, Morgan Bennett, Erin Burbach, Maddie Hayko, Micah Martin, Anna Overbeck, Sihley Pawaskar and Sydney Wurdeman. The markers were primed, followed by the application of the blue background. Three of the girls, Maddie Badura, Micah and Sihley, returned to finish the job and detailed the letters and state seal. The markers were completed this spring and are now surrounded by a new landscaping of purple flowers to match the school colors.
Capitol Hill marker, before restoration.
Central High School marker (after restoration).
Detail of Central High School marker seal, after restoration.