Carol Van Metre “Active in Making Lives Better”

Carol Van Metre contributed in a big way: She was involved in fundraising for more than $35 million in sports-related projects, most aimed at giving inner-city kids a stronger foothold on the field and in life. She was a champion of the children and families of the Omaha Public Schools and neighboring communities.

In honor of Carol’s contributions, a Scholarship Fund has been created in her honor. Donations can be made online through the Omaha Schools Foundation secure payment gateway. Please designate “The Carol Van Metre Scholarship” when donating.

Carol Van Metre Scholarship Fund

Purpose:          To provide financial assistance to a student seeking post-secondary education in the memory of Mrs. Carol Van Metre, a strong advocate for quality education and supporter of Omaha South High School.  Carol and her husband Dave have worked tirelessly over the years to level the playing field for OPS students with their suburban counterparts, ensuring the highest quality facilities and enrichment east of 72nd Street. Carol was a beloved teacher in the Denver Public Schools for many years and it was always an important part of her life to support education.

Eligible School:            Omaha South High School

Selection Criteria:

  1. Recipient must demonstrate financial need;
  2. Recipient must have shown good citizenship and participated in extra- curricular activities throughout high school;
  3. Preference will be given to students pursuing a career in Education;
  4. Recipient must intend to pursue a 4-year post-secondary education at an accredited institution; and
  5. Student should present two letters of recommendation from faculty (no relatives of the student will be accepted).

Selection Process:          

Selection will be made by the South High School Principal and the school’s scholarship committee, with input from the counseling department.  Amount will be payable to the college or university upon the Omaha Schools Foundation’s receipt of verification of enrollment from the institution chosen by the recipient.

Amount:          $2,000.00

Administered By: Omaha Public Schools Foundation

Crystal Simpson Memorial Scholarship

Crystal Simpson, principal at Dodge Elementary School in Omaha, cared deeply about children, those who knew her said. “Crystal was extremely passionate about serving students,” said Lisa Utterback, executive director who oversees principals at Omaha Public Schools.

Simpson became the principal at Dodge, near 97th and Maple Streets, in 2012 and had been employed by the district since 2000. She had previously been the assistant principal at Standing Bear Elementary.

Simpson especially enjoyed introducing students to math, science and engineering, K.T. Simpson said.

“She was always positive and full of life,” Utterback said. “Crystal loved rocking her fresh Nike tennis shoes with a sharp suit,” was known to work late nights and helped Dodge Elementary earn recognition as a Gold Award Winning School last year, Utterback said.

The Crystal Simpson Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established in Crystal’s name.


To provide financial assistance to a graduating Omaha Public Schools student in memory of Dodge Elementary School Principal Crystal Simpson who suddenly passed away in 2016. Mrs. Simpson was principal of Dodge Elementary from 2012-2016 and is fondly remember as a passionate and caring educator who loved all of her students. She created a positive climate where all who were around her knew they were valued and respected. Mrs. Simpson was a graduate of Omaha Burke High School and a proud OPS alum. Her legacy lives on!

Eligible Recipients:

All OPS High Schools

Selection Process:

  1. Student must have attended Dodge Elementary for a minimum of three years.
  2. Student must demonstrate leadership qualities, be a self-motivator, and show they have participated in community service activities by submitting a one-page essay on why they are applying for the scholarship and what they plan to study in college.
  3. Student must submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher or school administrator.
  4. Student must show commitment to post-secondary education.


$1,000.00 payable to the college or university upon the OPS Foundation’s receipt of verification of enrollment from the institution chosen by the recipient.

Final selection:

Recipient will be chosen by the family of Mrs. Simpson

Administered by:

Omaha Public Schools Foundation


Ian Jorden Price Scholarship

The Ian Jorden-Price Scholarship was founded after Ian had a severe asthma attack and his body was not able to recover. Ian lost his battle with asthma June 30, 2016. He would have graduated in the spring of 2017. We would like to offer this Scholarship in Memory of our son, brother, cousin, grandchild and friends. According to the American Lung Association, Ian was one of 7 million children who battle asthma, living day to day with the disease. Asthma is a chronic lung disease resulting from the exposure to allergens present in the environment. These irritants also known as “triggers” for asthmatics include pet dander, dust, chemicals, smoke, food related allergens, a simple cold, and the weather. There is little escape from a possible trigger when you are living with asthma depending on the severity of your illness.

Ian had a passion for Art and an even more exceptional gift to draw. Ian started drawing at a young age and over the years had developed confidence in his Artwork where his drawings became impeccable. We believe that Ian embraced his knack for Art knowing there was some physical and environmental limitations to his diagnosed severe asthma. Ian wanted to explore all types of art including painting, being a cartoonist or learning about graphic design (which was very evident in Ian’s love for video games)! Ian had planned on going to college to pursue an Art degree and with his skills – the sky was the limit to his abilities of blessing others with his gift.

On behalf of Ian’s desire for Art, The Ian Jorden-Price scholarship was created for others like Ian with asthma (or other similar disabilities) and/or are pursuing an Art degree major in college.

  • The Ian Jorden-Price Scholarship is a one-time annual award of $500-$1,000 scholarship given to two applicants each year.
  • This scholarship is awarded to educationally ambitious and hard-working individuals who have a desire to pursue an Art degree in college.
  • The Ian Jorden-Price Scholarship is funded through Ian’s immediate family and generous individual donations.
  • All graduating art students (and asthmatics) are encouraged to apply annually.
  • The Committee, in making scholarships available, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, disability or national/ethnic origin.
  • The Student must demonstrate a financial need and also hold a grade point average of C or better.
  • Students must also provide a short essay (maximum of 3 paragraphs) on how their disability has shaped them and how they plan to use their degree.
  • Students must submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher or an administrator.
  • Students will be required to submit a transcript.

Administered by: Omaha Public Schools Foundation.

Toba Cohen-Dunning, Executive Director
Omaha Schools Foundation
3861 Farnam Street
Omaha, NE 68131.

Mick Messbarger Memorial Scholarship

The purpose of this memorial is to provide a scholarship for an OPS graduating senior from Central High School who has participated in the Central Legion Baseball Program. This scholarship is in memory of Mick Messbarger who was a dedicated coach for the Memorial Park Baseball Little League and someone who loved baseball stats, trivia and most of all the game of baseball.  (Particularly the Texas Rangers!)

Amount: $750.00

Selection Criteria:

  1. Student must have participated a minimum of three years in the Central Baseball Program.
  2. Demonstrate Character/Citizenship
  3. Minimum GPA 3.0/Self-motivated
  4. Submit Financial Aid Form
  5. Submit student’s transcript
  6. Submit a short essay (500 words) “How I plan to use my education to benefit society.”
  7. Submit a letter of recommendation from the baseball coach, teacher and/or administrator.


Process: Students will be nominated by the Central High Scholarship Committee.  Preference will be given to players who participated in the Memorial Park Little League Baseball Program. The recipient will be chosen by sponsors of the scholarship.  *Please note that the donors would like to see financial information as well as a letter of recommendation from the coach, counselor or a teacher.

Administered by: Omaha Schools Foundation

Essays Due by: March 20th

Send to:

The Milton “Milt” Lorenz Memorial Scholarship


To provide a scholarship for a graduating Benson High Magnet senior in memory of Milton Lorenz.  Mr. Lorenz was a teacher at Benson for 37 years and passed away on September 16, 2014.  He was a beloved math teacher for many years and at the point of his retirement was serving as the Director of Guidance for the School.  He loved being a teacher at Benson High and took great pride in his profession, the students and the school.


$1000.00 payable to an accredited 4-year college or university.   Verification of enrollment should be sent to the Omaha Public Schools Foundation, 3861 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE  68131 for the check to be disbursed to the institution.

Eligible Recipients:

One graduating senior from Benson High School who is pursuing a degree in Math and/or Science

Selection Criteria:

  1. Academic achievement
  2. Citizenship/character
  3. Commitment to post-secondary education in the fields of Math and/or Science with the intention of becoming an educator.
  4. Financial need

Selection Procedure:

Benson High Magnet should send a letter of recommendation to the Omaha Public Schools Foundation.

Administered by:

Omaha Public Schools Foundation

The Nina Hill Little PhD Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Little was on the faculty at Benson High School for 11 years; first as Library Media Specialist and then as Humanities Curriculum Specialist chairing the departments of English, Social Studies, Art and Music. At the time of Dr. Little’s retirement in 1999 she had served for 15 years as Omaha Public School District’s Supervisor of Library Media Services.


To provide annual scholarships to graduating seniors from any of the Omaha Public High Schools.


$1500 payable to the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  The  scholarships will be renewable for up to four years. Verification of enrollment should be sent to the Omaha Public Schools Foundation for payment directly to the University of  Nebraska at Omaha.

Eligible Recipients:

Graduating seniors must be enrolling in the University of  Nebraska at Omaha program leading to a teaching degree in School Library with the intention of working in a public school library setting. Renewable up to four years if a 3.0 GPA is maintained with a continued focus on School Library education.  Transcript must be sent to Omaha Public Schools Foundation annually for scholarship renewal.

Selection Criteria:

  1. Recipient must be academically capable of succeeding in college.
  2. Recipient must be of good character and citizenship.
  3. Recipient must have been involved in volunteer activities while in high school.
  4. Recipient must possess a commitment to post-secondary education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the field of School Library education.
  5. Recipient must submit a one-page essay on each of the following two topics: “What role have libraries played in your life?” and “Why are you considering school librarianship as a profession?”

Selection Process:

Dr. Nina Little will make the selection but upon her passing the Omaha Public Schools Foundation’s Executive Committee will make the selection.

 Administered by:

Omaha Public Schools Foundation