LPS to Pay Repairs for Damaged Trophies Tossed Out at Northeast High School

LINCOLN–(KFOR June 14)–About 100 trophies and awards for athletics, even debate and other activities, were recovered last weekend from a trash bin at Lincoln Northeast High School and when photos surfaced online, it sparked alumni to take action.

One graduate retrieved almost all the trophies before they were hauled off.  About 40 of those trophies were still in tact.  They were originally put in storage during a 2007 renovation of what is now the cafeteria and commons area outside of the Ed Johnson Gym on the north side of the building.

The directive for discarding the trophies and awards came from Lincoln Public Schools district administrators, not those at Northeast.

LPS Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman on Monday said the awards were in storage under the pool but were discarded to make room for pool renovation.

“Every person and organization has to decide from time to time what to do with old memorabilia,” Gausman said. “At some point, space runs out, and something must be done with those items.”

None of the trophies thrown out reportedly were any state championships.  They either were conference championship or invitational trophies, some were district runner-up trophies in sports or other activities, including debate.   Jeff Buss is a 1980 Northeast graduate and runs the school’s alumni page on Facebook and told KFOR News the trophies were turned over to Lincoln Public Schools on Thursday to repair as many as possible.

“Many of the trophies were in bad disrepair, so I’m not sure that all of them will be able to be repaired,” Buss said.  “There were enough parts and so forth that, I think, they’ll be able to fit a lot of them back together.”

Dr. Gausman acknowledged during Tuesday night’s LPS Board meeting the district will pay for the costs to fix most of those awards that were damaged.  Buss did tell KFOR News he doesn’t believe every single trophy can be “feasibly” displayed.

“People think that you can, but you can’t. There’s just too many,” Buss added.

Numerous ideas on how those awards will be displayed have been tossed around, according to Buss, but nothing definitive. He added one idea he heard was using a kiosk, similar to one used at the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

No time line on when those trophies will be repaired has been established.

Buss noted while Northeast hasn’t won a lot of state championships in recent years, he said there’s a deep tradition of school pride with Rocket graduates when Northeast won state titles in various sports and activities dating back to 1941.  He did thank Dr. Gausman and his staff at LPS for stepping up during this time and “showing some true leadership in what was obviously a very bad mistake.”

Northeast this school year won the NSAA State Unified Bowling championship and the last team title before then was the girls basketball team winning the 2005 Class A stat title.  The school has been known for its rich tradition in boys basketball, winning state titles 12 times between 1949 and 1998, and volleyball (with state titles in 1981, 1984, 1991 and 1998).

Northeast’s music department also had won numerous championships at marching band competitions in the 1980s and 1990s.