Omaha Central High School

Omaha Central High School, originally known as Omaha High School, is a fully accredited public high school located in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, United States. It is one of many public high schools located in Omaha. As of the 2015-16 academic year, Omaha Central had an enrollment of 2,552 students.[2]

Omaha Central High School
, ,
United States
Coordinates41°15′38″N 95°56′37″W
TypePublic school
Enrollment2,612 [1] (2016-17)
Team nameEagles

The current building, located in Downtown Omaha, was designed by John Latenser, Sr. and was built between 1900 and 1912. It is the oldest active high school building in the city.[3]


On November 10, 1859, Omaha Central High School began as Omaha High School in the Nebraska Territory capitol building. In 1869, after the territorial government was removed from Omaha, the capitol building was donated to the City of Omaha by the Nebraska state government for educational use only. In 1870, it was demolished. In 1872, it was replaced by a four-story building that hosted kindergarten through twelfth grades. In 1900, a new building was begun that encircled the second school, which was dismantled by 1912. Kindergarten through eighth grade were moved to the neighboring Central Elementary School. A gym was added to Central in 1930, and this building is still in use today.[4]

Extracurricular activities


The Eagles compete in Class A, the largest classification in Nebraska according to the Nebraska School Activities Association. Throughout its history, Omaha Central has won numerous state championships in various sports. Many graduates have gone on to participate in collegiate athletics. The football and soccer teams compete at Seeman Stadium located on campus. The boys' and girls' basketball games and volleyball matches are played at the Central High gymnasium. The baseball and softball teams compete at Boyd Stadium, a renovated park three miles northeast of the campus.

In 2007, the Eagles became the only high school in Nebraska to have won championships in three main sports in the same calendar year. As a result, Central was ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the top 10 high-school athletic programs in the country.[5][6][7][8]

State championships

State championships[9]
SeasonSportNumber of championshipsYear
FallFootball31960, 1984, 2007
Cross country, boys'21965, 1972
Tennis, boys'41967, 1968, 1969, 1985
WinterWrestling121939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1954, 1955
Basketball, boys'101912, 1974, 1975, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Golf, boys'51929, 1930, 1936, 1951, 1956
Track and field, boys'211909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1922, 1924, 1945, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1982, 1983, 1989, 2007, 2010, 2011
Track and field, girls111974, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990
Soccer, boys'11992

Newspaper and media

The high school's newspaper is The Register. In 1986 Quill and Scroll officially declared The Register the oldest continuously published newspaper west of the Mississippi.[10]

After running a controversial story in 2001, the staff and the paper were rebuked by the administration. The story reported on a football player continuing to play, despite two assault charges. The charges, as stated in the school's handbook, should have led to a dismissal from the team. After running the story, the paper was threatened with being shut down. The school advisor received support from media outlets on the local and national level. This support stopped the paper from being shut down.[11]

The staff of Central's student newspaper, were awarded the Student Press Review's Edmund J. Sullivan Award in 2002 after they wrote a series of articles exposing several controversial topics throughout the school.[12] After the administration again threatened the paper with closure, the students won reprieve through the support of professional journalists across the country.[13]

Central has had youth-led media for some years. Starting in 1923, it had a high school radio station for five years. First, KFCZ operated during the 1923–1924 school year. In 1925 the call letters changed to KOCH, and the Central High School Radio Club presented shows throughout the school day and special events on the weekends. The station was ordered discontinued by the Federal Communications Commission in 1928, as they devalued the purpose of school-affiliated radio stations and rescinded their licenses across the United States.[14]

Central also had, starting in 1969, a student-run radio station, KIOS-FM (91.5 MHz), which operated during the 1969–1973 school years. In 1973 the radio station was moved to Benson High School, and later to the old Tech High location, where it is still in operation.

KIOS-FM (91.5 MHz) is a National Public Radio member station in Omaha, owned and operated by Omaha Public Schools.


The Military Science program at Omaha Central High School predates the JROTC program. It began in the 1892–1893 school year. It became the most popular activity at the school. At one point, all male students were required to participate.[15]

Notable alumni

Former principals

The list of principals of Omaha High School/Central dates from 1870 to present.[16]

  • John Kellom, 1870–1875
  • W. H. Merritt, 1875–1877
  • C. H. Crawford, 1877–1881
  • Charles Hine, 1881–1882
  • Homer Lewis, 1882–1896
  • Irwen Leviston, 1896–1899
  • A. H. Waterhouse, 1899–1908
  • E. U. Graff, 1908–1911
  • Kate McHugh, 1911–1914
  • Clayton Reed, 1914–1915
  • Joseph G. Masters, 1915–1939
  • Fred Hill, 1939–1944
  • J. Arthur Nelson, 1944–1968
  • Gaylord “Doc” Moller, 1968–1995
  • Gary L. Thompson, 1995–2002
  • Jerry F. Bexten, 2002–2006
  • Gregory Emmel, 2006–2010
  • Keith Bigsby, 2010-2013
  • Ed Bennett, 2013-

See also


  1. "Central High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  2. "Central High School". Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  3. Gerber, Kristine; Jeffrey S. Spencer (2003). Building for the Ages: Landmarks in Omaha. Landmarks, Inc. pp. 84–85. ISBN 0-9745410-1-X.
  4. "Central High School", Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  5. "Top 25 athletic programs for 2007-08" (English). Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  6. "Sports Illustrated Ranks Omaha Central No. 10 High School Program". Archived from the original (English) on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  7. "Generation "C"" (English). Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  8. "Omaha Central". Archived from the original (English) on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  9. "Nebraska School Activities Association" (English). Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  10. History Archived 2008-04-15 at the Wayback Machine
  11. (2003) Edmund J. Sullivan Award to two newspaper staffs Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine Student Press Review. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
  12. Wynn, C. (2002) Threat of censorship has chilling effect: High school journalists try to continue work after clash with administration. The Quill. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
  13. Frost, S., Frost, E. (1977) Education's Own Stations: The History of Broadcast Licenses Issued to Educational Institutions. National Advisory Council on Radio in Education Committee on Research. pp299-300.
  14. The Eagle Battalion
  15. (2006) Annual Report. Central High School Foundation. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
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