Back in my day…

Three Yutan alumni-turned-teachers share their high school experiences

At Yutan High School, there have been a lot of changes throughout the years. Several staff members are in a unique position to witness these changes because they have seen the student’s side along with the teacher’s side. Among these alumni-turned-teachers are Alyssa Hansen, Trent Jacobs and Cari Bedlan.

Alyssa (Wagner) Hansen performs in the school musical in high school (left) and discusses a novel with her junior English class this year (right). Hansen graduated from Yutan in 2007 and joined the teaching staff in 2018.

“People like to raise their kids here,” English teacher and class of 2007 graduate Alyssa Hansen said. “It’s a good community where you want [to give them] that same experience that you had.”

Since these teachers have been in school, there are a lot of big changes that have happened in the school. 

“Technology has changed the most since I have been in school,”  third-grade teacher Cari Bedlan, who was a class of 1993 graduate, said. “Communication with technology is immediate. We used to write and pass notes in the hallway. Now everyone is always in constant communication.”

Not only has technology changed communication, but it’s also changed the way students work in class. 

“The greatest thing I had as a student would be a calculator, electric pencil sharpener or a Trapper Keeper…Email and the Internet didn’t become really prevalent in schools until the middle/late 90’s,” sixth-grade teacher Trent Jacobs, who was a class of 1988 graduate, said. “Now every school has wireless access with students using devices like iPads or Chromebooks for most subjects.”

Today it’s common for students to gather to eat or go into town, while Bedlan remembers different hangout spots.

“When I was in high school, we hung out at the post office or downtown,” Bedlan said. 

Trent Jacobs throws the shot put in high school (left) and explains a project to his 6th grade class this year (right). Jacobs graduated from Yutan in 1988 and joined the teaching staff in 1993.

Instead of hangout spots, Hansen recalls their favorite pastime: driving around.

“We used to drive around a lot,” Hansen said. “A lot of country roads. We would drive to Leshara, take the back roads to Mead.”

Jacobs remembers more of the fun times in high school.

“We would go to Jeris’s Cafe (now BBQ Man) to eat and played video games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong,” Jacobs said. “As I got older, lots of high school kids would drive to Omaha and cruise up and down Dodge Street mostly from 90th-72nd.”

While generations have their differences, though, some things never change. “Kids are kids, however,” Jacobs said. “We made good and bad choices back then and kids now do the same.”