Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Friends and Neighbors: Laurie Janicek


Courtesy Photo

Laurie Janicek, left, receives the the Mary Lynn Reiser Economic Educator of the Year award from Jennifer Davidson, President of the Nebraska Council on Economic Educators, while in Lincoln for the Stock Market awards banquet.

Laurie Janicek, Mary Lynch Elementary School Instructor, recently received an award created to recognize educators who have made a major impact over the years in the fields of economics and personal finance.

Janicek was recognized in Lincoln while with her current fifth grade class at the Nebraska Stock Market awards banquet. This is the sixth year Janicek's class has competed in the contest and to date Kimball students have won a total of 21 trophies.

"Each year I have such great memories," Janicek said. "I have taken six different groups of fifth-graders to Lincoln for the Stock Market awards banquet - this year winning the top three in the Fall and Spring competition. Having the Investwrite Winner in the state of Nebraska is definitely one of my most favorite memories. To top off the great trip to Lincoln was the surprise of being awarded the Mary Lynn Reiser Economic Educator of the Year!"

Janicek was born was born in Worland, Wyo., graduated high school in Bayard in 1979, and attended Chadron State College where she majored in Elementary Education.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1983 and moved to Kimball in August of 1983. In 1988, Janicek received her masters in Elementary Education.

It was after moving to Kimball that the accomplished educator met her husband of 28 years, Larry, who was born and raised in Kimball, and graduated high school here in 1975. The two were married in a ceremony in Bayard in December of 1987, and have called Kimball "home" since that time.

The couple have three grown children, Loni, Lanelle and Lyle, two grandchildren Lexi and Cavan McWilliams, and a grandchild due at the end of this month from daughter Lanelle and her husband, Tyler Stumf.

Loni and her family reside in Cheyenne, Wyo., Lanelle and family are in North Platte, and Lyle is living in Riverside, Cali.

Both daughters followed in their mom's footsteps by going into the art of molding children's future through education. Loni is a para-educator in Cheyenne Schools and Lanelle teaches fifth grade at Buffalo Elementary in North Platte.

Lyle is a Landscape Architect and just designed the Memorial for the San Bernardino victims, twith construction on that project scheduled to begin in June.

Janicek said she enjoys being an educator and has taught in the Kimball Public Schools for the past thirty-three years.

"I have taught fourth and fifth grade, coached High School and Jr. High Volleyball, Jr. High Basketball, Jr. High Track, and I've assisted High School Cross Country," she said. "I told my Kindergarten teacher that I was going to be a teacher when I grow up and I never wanted to be anything else. My father, Lonny Wickard, was the biggest influence on becoming a teacher since he was a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent."

While her children participated in many activities, Janicek coached their many softball and basketball teams.

Something you may not know about "Mrs. J" is that at one time she wanted to compete in the Olympics in the shot put or discus.

Courtesy Photo

The Janicek family, from front left, Cavan McWilliams and Lexi McWilliams. Back row from left are Lanelle Stumf, Larry Janicek, Lyle Janicek, Laurie Janicek and Loni McWilliams.

"I was a two-time state champion in discus and set the Class C discus record at state in 1979 and won the overall gold medal that year. I also placed second in the shot put at state in 1978 and 1979. I still hold the Bayard High School discus record with a throw of 139' 8. In college at Chadron State I was the first female athlete to become an all-american in any sport by placing fourth in the shot put at Nationals," she said. "At one time I held the shot put, discus, javelin, and heptathlon records at CSC. I was hoping to try out for the Olympics, but didn't make the qualifying distance."

In addition to teaching local youth, Janicek offered that she plays a part in other aspects of the community. She has served on the board for the Kimball County Manor for the past two and a half years, and she has been on the Keep Kimball Beautiful board for three years.

"My most favorite story is that all of my students are like my own children. Everyday is a wonderful adventure in 5th grade," she said.


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