Recognizing distinguished alumni

June 1, 2018

The Schuyler Community Schools Foundation recently honored three Schuyler Central High School graduates who have made outstanding contributions to their communities, their states or the nation.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is not only a tribute to the individuals and their families, but it can also serve as an inspiration for Schuyler’s young people. Over the past five years the SCS Foundation has shared the stories of some extraordinary alumni.

The list of SCS Distinguished Alumni recipients includes a NASA engineer, the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, a United States District Judge, a Rhodes Scholar, an international jewelry designer, professional engineers, educators and a Nebraska State Legislator.

The 2018 SCS Distinguished Alumni are Dr. Heidi E. Hamilton, educator; Jeffrey W. Krecji, banker and NU football Hall of Famer; and David F. Reinecke, mayor and business owner.

Heidi E. Hamilton, class of 1973, received her B.A. from St. Olaf College and her M.S. in linguistics from Georgetown University. In 1989, she received her Ph.D. in linguistics from Georgetown University.

Her life’s work has focused on linguistics, most specifically, the interrelationship between language and the health care issues of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Heidi is former chairwoman of the Department of Linguistics and is currently a professor at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. She received the German Academic Exchange Service Visiting Professorship Award at Freie Universitat, Berlin, Germany and the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Linguistics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

Heidi has authored or coauthored several books and has numerous refereed journal articles and invited book chapters. She has consulted and lectured at linguistic, health and aging conferences worldwide. From 1973 to the present Heidi has taught German and carried out research at the Concordia Language Villages, Concordia College, Minnesota, a K-12 language and cultural immersion program, serving as mentor, research coordinator, assistant dean and program director. She and her husband, Dan, have two children. Heidi is the daughter of Claire and the late Gerald Ehernberger.

David F. Reinecke, class of 1972, graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.A. in business. Following graduation he joined his father and grandfather to operate the Schuyler family business, Reinecke Motor Company the oldest Ford dealership in Nebraska having been established in 1926.

Dave has been a member of the Nebraska New Car Dealers’ Association and other business groups. He is a member of the American Legion, the Schuyler Historical Society and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Since 2001, he has been a member of the CHI Schuyler Memorial Hospital Board serving in various offices including president.

Dave was a member of the Schuyler Economic Development Committee until he became the Mayor of Schuyler, an office he has held for twenty years. During that time he has represented Schuyler on national television news programs, National Public Radio and has communicated with leaders outside the community to improve infrastructure, honor diversity and foster economic viability.

Dave has embraced the success as well as the challenges of his community helping it to grow and thrive. Dave has raised two sons, Adam Nelson and Dan Reinecke. He is married to Sharan Stoltenberg. Dave is the son of Margaret and the late John Reinecke.

Jeffrey W. Krejci, Class of 1977, was a Class B All State quarterback while at SCHS and a player for the University of Nebraska, where he was selected as an all Big Eight safety. He held a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and coached football at UNL for two seasons.

With over three decades of experience in community banking, Jeff has served as president and member of the Board of Directors of Cornerstone Bank of York, Nebraska. Prior to that, he served on the board and president/CEO of the First State Bank of Hickman and Lincoln, Nebraska.

Jeff has also been active in the Nebraska Banker’s Association and the American Bankers Association. He has also served on the Federal Reserve Board, Omaha Branch. His commitment to community included being president of the Hickman Chamber of Commerce, a Hickman City Council member, a volunteer assistant football coach at Norris High School, and a member of the York Community Development Committee and the York Chamber of Commerce.

His other civic activities include Fellowship of Christian Athletes State Board of Directors, Nebraska Independent College Foundation Board of Directors and the Southeast Community College Foundation. He was recently inducted into the University of Nebraska football’s Hall of Fame.