|Creighton Preparatory School|
7400 Western Avenue
|Type||Private high school|
|Motto||Latin: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam|
(For the Greater Glory of God)
|Religious affiliation(s)||Roman Catholic (Jesuit)|
|Oversight||Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha|
|NCES School ID||02161678|
|President||Fr. Tom Neitzke, SJ|
|Head of school||James L. Bopp|
|Teaching staff||78.1 (on a FTE basis)|
|Student to teacher ratio||13.1|
|Color(s)||Blue and White|
|Athletics conference||NSAA District A-1|
|Affiliation||Jesuit Schools Network|
Creighton Preparatory School (simply referred to as Creighton Prep or Prep) is a private, Jesuit high school for boys in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. It was established in 1878 and is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha. Creighton College was founded by John A. Creighton and named after Edward Creighton, developer of the transcontinental telegraph line. It was founded from a $100,000 grant and donated to the Catholic Church, leading to its inception as a Jesuit institution. Creighton College separated into Creighton University and Creighton Preparatory School in 1958. Over the 142 years since its founding, Creighton Prep has grown from an initial class of 120 students to a student body of 1021 individuals (2016).
Creighton Prep holds a rivalry with Westside High school in Omaha, NE and is the recipient of nearly 200 individual State Championship and All State Championship titles. Creighton Prep has received the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Excellence and has its education programs are grounded in Jesuit Philosophies. Creighton Prep offers 20 AP courses, 23 honors courses and 24 dual enrollment classes partnering with both University of Nebraska Omaha and Creighton University, and admittance is dependent on an annually held entrance exam. Creighton Prep has a 26.3 average ACT score, 5.4 points higher than the national average (2018), with approximately 98% of all students pursuing higher education. Creighton Prep was used as a site for the filming of Downsizing, a 2017 American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne.
Creighton School was founded in 1878, later separating into Creighton Preparatory School and Creighton University. The school was named after Edward Creighton, an Omaha businessman, developer of the transcontinental telegraph line, and founder of Omaha and Northwestern Railroad who originally proposed the school but died prior to completing its proposal. After his death in 1874, his wife, Mary Lucretia, then began finishing the proposal but died in 1876, leaving the unfinished plans to her brother-in-law, John A. Creighton. In the will of Mary Lucretia, it was stated that there would be a $100,000 memorial for her late husband “to purchase the site for a school in the city of Omaha and erect buildings thereon for a school of the class and grade of a college.” John Creighton purchased 6.2 acres of land at the address of 24th and California streets in Omaha, NE. Construction of the initial building was completed during the summer of 1878 and the completed site was transferred to the ownership Right Reverend James O'Connor, Bishop of Omaha in July of that year. O'Connor then contacted the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) to operate the college and the university was transferred to their ownership in August 1879. Classes began on September 2, 1878 with five Jesuit priests serving as the Board of Trustees, two lay teachers, and an initial enrollment of 120 students.
|Creighton Preparatory School|
7400 Western Ave
From 1878 to 1958 Creighton Prep functioned as a department of Creighton University. In 1953, both organizations determined their functionality would be best served if they were to separate into two independent institutions. The initial plot of land for Creighton Preparatory School was purchased in 1953, fundraising for the school began in 1956, and construction was completed prior to the start of the 1958 fall term. Both Fr. Henry Sullivan, S.J and Fr. Carl Reinert, S.J. spearheaded the effort, raising $1.7 million for the construction of a 105,000 sq/ft school at its current 7400 Western Avenue location. Once completed, the school was officially given to the Society of Jesus, known more commonly as the Jesuits.
In 1958, upon completion of the main building, construction on the Jesuit residence began. The Jesuit residence was completed in 1961, after 3 years of construction. This 50,000 sq/ft building was designed to house 30 Jesuit priests, Scholastics, and Brothers who had been living prior in then-empty classrooms and two houses southwest of the main school building. The same year, a chapel for the Jesuit priests was constructed, later renovated into a school wide chapel, named Skinner Chapel. Creighton Prep's Skinner Chapel, like all Catholic Churches, has housed a number of relics associated with saints. These relics were associated with St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), St. Frances Xavier (1506- 1552), St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), St. Jean de Brebeuf (1593-1649), St. Charles Garnier (1606-1649), St. Gabriel Lalemant (1610-1649), St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591), and St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457).
In 1967, led by Fr. Daniel Kenney, Creighton Prep founded a student led service organization called "Operation Others" (simply referred to as "OO"), as a food box give-away program. This program encompassed 8 Omaha-area Catholic High schools and grew to annually serve approximately 1500 families.
Led by Mike Wilmot, S.J., volunteers and students constructed the "Tin Gym" in 1970. This provisional building was to serve as a secondary gym along the north side of the school. This gym served the purpose of hosting dances, informal sports games, and other student activities. This building was later demolished in 2009 to make way for the construction of the Heider Center gymnasium, and the wood floor was placed into long-term storage until being sold to St. Joan of Arc School in 2015. Creighton Prep was significantly damaged by an F4 tornado during the 1975 Omaha Tornado Outbreak, resulting in approximately $500,000 in damage and early termination of the school year. Clean-up efforts involved over 1500 individuals and surveys of the damage showed significant damage to the building's second floor. Final exams for the school were held in the "Tim Gym", with many believing that the school may need to be permanently closed due to its extensive damage. The school was repaired prior to the beginning of the fall term.
In 1985, Mike Wilmot, S.J. oversaw students, parents, and volunteers in the construction of the Creighton Prep weight room.
The 35,000 sq/ft Henry L. Sullivan, S.J. Campus Center was the largest structural change made to Creighton Prep since its construction. Completed in 1992, the multipurpose space was designed to host Catholic Masses, eating and study areas, and serve as a location for social events. This addition also included the construction of two additional centers, expanding the campus ministry and counseling offices. Lastly, updated class spaces for the Fine Arts Department were constructed adjacent to the Sullivan Center, expanding the art, architecture, and band programs at Creighton Prep. 
In 1999, the 25,000 sq/ft Dr. James B. and Joan C. Peter Science Center completed construction. This addition included the construction of 5 classrooms/ laboratory rooms and renovation of 4 additional classrooms. Approximately 100,000 sq/ft of the east side of the school was renovated in addition to the construction. Large portions of the Jesuit residence were renovated and re-purposed to be used as classrooms and administration offices. Further renovations included the construction of the current main entrance, a 2000-person football stadium, and the addition of a wrestling room.
In celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the original completion of the campus, Creighton Prep began a $20 million construction project in 2008. This project was part of a $37 million capital campaign lasting from 2007 to 2013. This renovation project included the construction of a new gym (referred to as the Heider Center), baseball field, multipurpose artificial turf playing field, renovated classrooms, new auditorium (referred to as the Criss Auditorium), and new technology center. This construction project resulted in the demolition of the "Tin Gym", having been replaced by updated facilitates. Construction completed in 2009 and the gym was dedicated as the Heider Center on December 12, 2009. Additionally, 2009 marked the implementation of the house system named after influential Creighton Prep priests and each having their own mascot. The houses are as follows: Kanne (Terrapin), Neiman (Griffin), Hindelang (Labrador), Auer (Owl), and Laughlin (Razorback), named after: Fr. Charles Kanne SJ, Fr. Mark Neiman SJ, Fr. Michael Hindelang SJ, Fr. John Auer SJ, and Fr. Dan Laughlin SJ, respectively. Each house competes for the "House Cup" named after Fr. William O’Leary, SJ. These houses also served as a means to assign specific councilors to groups of students. This change was coupled with the addition of block scheduling and implementation of a "community period" in place of traditional study hall.
In 2014, Creighton Prep partnered with the City of Omaha Storm-Water Program to construct a bio retention garden near the front of the school. By partnering with student clubs: Creighton Prep Architecture Club, the Creighton Prep Junior Green Jays, and the Creighton Prep Science Club, the garden was constructed in 2014 with monitoring systems to determine the project's efficacy. This same year, construction of the Circo Memorial Plaza took place. This plaza dedicated Creighton Prep graduates that had died in World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, 9/11, and Afghanistan War. Additionally, previous presidents, principals, Jesuit priests, and long time faculty (serving 15 years or more) were dedicated. During the 2015–2016 school year, Creighton Prep implemented a one-on-one IPad program in which students would be required to provide an IPad to their classes. This policy was later updated in 2019, in which the school began providing the devices by including the IPad's price in the tuition cost.
In 2016, Creighton Prep renovated the Henry L. Sullivan, S.J. Campus Center, reorganizing the space in order to accommodate a new catering service. Creighton Prep had previously relied on restaurant vendors and volunteer work in order to feed the student body but starting in fall of 2016, Creighton Prep contracted FLIK Independent School Dining to serve as the primary food provider. This also included an expansion of the before and after school food service, now providing breakfast and after school meals. The transition to professional dining services came from concerns over lack of nutritional value and inadequate accommodation of food allergies and dietary restrictions. FLIK Independent School Dining services were specifically selected due to their association with the Catholic Schools Network and their successful implementation at both Rockhurst High School and Marquette University High School. The change in meal provider also resulted in a $450 increase in tuition cost with each lunch now costing $2.62. This project further encompassed renovations to the school's Skinner Chapel.
In 2018, Creighton Prep announced plans to begin construction on a $16 million "learning commons" to provide academic and emotional resources to the student body. The center is named after Rev. Timothy R. Lannon, president of Creighton Prep (1988 to 1995) and president of Creighton University (2011 to 2015). The center was proposed in part to “help assist our young men as they navigate their emotional and academic needs.” (Rev. Tom Neitzke) and includes the addition of an on staff student psychologist. The Learning Commons also included the addition of a "learning differences" specialist, academic coach, director for student outreach and advocacy, and construction of a student services department. Prep also began construction of a 120 ft clock tower alongside the 52,000 sq/ft expansion. Funding for the project came from Scott Heider, managing principal of Charwell Capital, and his wife Cindy Heider who provided $8 million donation and led the capital campaign for the addition costs.
Cocurricular and extracurricular activities
Creighton Preparatory School's athletic teams are known as the Junior Jays. They compete in NSAA District A-1 for football, District A-4 for wrestling and cross country, and District A-2 for track & field. The Junior Jays have won over 160 state championships in various sports. The school offers ten sports throughout the school year, along with four club sports and a comprehensive intramural program. Since its construction in 1958, there has been a rivalry between Creighton Prep and Westside High School in athletics as they're both in the same school district.
There also exists a rivalry between Creighton Prep and Omaha Central due to their similar academic rigor. This rivalry is born partly out of the 1960 state title football championship where both teams were undefeated and ended the game with a scoreless tie. The title was split with both teams receiving the championship title. This game was viewed by approximately 15,000 people and was later published in the book Omaha Central, Creighton Prep, and Nebraska's Greatest High School Football Game. This game was later featured in the 2016 Journal of Sport History.
The 2013 Class A Boys Soccer State Championship, won by Omaha South High School against Creighton Prep (1-0) at Morrison Stadium, holds the current record as the highest attended soccer match in the State of Nebraska. The estimated attendance of this game was 8,200 people, beating the previous record of approximately 6,900 people held by the Creighton Men's Soccer team.
In September, 2020, Creighton Prep made a 26 point comeback against Millard West. Referred to as "Creighton Prep's Miracle Comeback", Creighton Prep came back from a 26-0 deficit, scoring 29 points in the last 9 minutes 40 seconds of the game's 4th quarter. This game broke the previous school record (Prep v. Burke, 2012, with Prep making a 25 point comeback) and is the 4th largest high school come back in Nebraska state history.
|Season||Sport||Number of championships||Year|
|Fall||Football||27||1932, 1933, 1934, 1939, 1940, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1999, 2004|
|Cross country||3||1973, 1974, 2014|
|Tennis||35||1927, 1928, 1932, 1934, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1984, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016|
|Winter||Swimming||25||1930, 1931, 1932, 1961, 1969, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020|
|Powerlifting||11||2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020|
|Basketball||13||1924, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1945, 1964, 1969, 1976, 1981, 1994, 2009, 2015, 2018|
|Spring||Golf||14||1932, 1941, 1951, 1952, 1973, 1991, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2021|
|Track and field||5||1977, 1987, 1992, 2015, 2017|
|Trap Shooting||6||2004, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015|
|Lacrosse||6||2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2018, 2021|
|Baseball||15||1927, 1928, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|Soccer||9||1988, 1989, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2011, 2012, 2017|
All Sports Championships
|All Sports Championship Titles|
|Sport||Number of championships||Year|
|All Sports Championships (NSAA)||10||2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019|
|All Sports Championships (Omaha World-Herald)||20||1957, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019|
Clubs and Extracurricular Activities
|Athletics and Sports
|Outreach and Diversity
||Gaming and Software
Competition Based Organizations
Creighton Prep was one of the first Omaha schools to establish a refugee sponsorship program led by student volunteers, with Prep students sponsoring approximately 3 families annually. This program is in place due to Nebraska's policies on accepting large numbers of refugees per capita annually, relative to other states. In 2016, Nebraska took in more refugees than any other state, numbering at 1441. This had led to the formation of a relocation aid and resettling service program headed by Creighton Prep, in conjunction with local schools and Lutheran Family Services. Additionally, Prep has integrated a Conflict and Refugee course into its International Studies program, headed by Katy Salznam who previously worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland. In line with Creighton Prep's service requirements for graduation, this program involves tutoring refugees in English and volunteering at Yates Community Center, a Bhutanese immigrant center.
In academic studies, Creighton Prep's overarching model for education is based around the Jesuit values of faith, scholarship, leadership and service. Priorities include "cura personalis" or "care for the whole person," Magis, Men and Women for Others, Leadership, and Diversity. This is further expanded upon by Prep's "Graduate at Graduation" (Grad at Grad) outline, which describes the qualities a student at Creighton Prep is expected to develop. The "Grad at Grad" is universally subscribed to by all Jesuit High schools. The "Grad at Grad" profile outlines five character qualities Jesuit high schools aim to instill in their students by the time of the graduation: Open to Growth, Religious, Loving, Intellectually Competent, and Committed to Doing Justice. Creighton Prep has won the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Excellence twice (1986-1987).
Creighton Prep's academic departments include English, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Physical Education, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Theology, and students must earn a minimum number of credits from each department in order to graduate. Classes are structured into block scheduling with specific classes taking place on respectively assigned days. These include A, B, and C day schedules with their own designated classes. Creighton Prep does not employ a traditional study hall, rather it uses a municipal class period, referred to as "Community Period", for study hall, masses, and other school activities. Creighton Prep offers 20 AP courses, 23 honors courses and 24 dual enrollment classes partnering with both University of Nebraska Omaha and Creighton University. Admittance to Creighton Prep is determined by an annual entrance exam held in January.
Creighton Prep has been accredited as a college preparatory school by:
- The National Catholic Education Association
- The North Central Education Association
Creighton Prep is a member of:
- The Jesuit Schools Network
- The National Catholic Education Association
- Jesuit Secondary Education Association
As of 2017, Creighton Prep has a 26.1 average ACT score, 5.1 points higher than the national average, and an alumni network of over 11,000 individual in 24 different countries. On average, 98% of each graduating class will go on to higher education, resulting in an aggregate of $25.9 million in college scholarships per graduating class, as of 2017.
As of 2019, approximately 16% of the Creighton Prep student body is made up of people of color, with 84% of the student body being white. Of the minority students reported, 5% of students are African American, 3% are Asian, 3% are Latino, and 3% identify as mixed race. 12% of students come from non-Catholic religious beliefs and 88% of student identify as Catholic. 22% of students attended public elementary and middle school, and 78% of students attended private Catholic school, prior to admittance to Prep. Approximately, 45-52% of students receive financial aid. In efforts to increase income and racial diversity in the student body, Creighton Prep began scholarship programs in the mid 2010s, citing that their student body should better reflect the racial and financial demographics of Omaha.
Creighton Prep employs a demerit system as a means to discipline students and enforce school policies. This demerit system is mediated by a "demerit card" that all students must have on them during school hours. Each semester, students are issued a demerit card with spaces for 40 demerits. At 5 demerit intervals, a student will receive a detention, referred to as a "Jug" (standing for Justice Under God). This is not without exception as some major offenses will circumvent this demerit system and instead impose the Jug as punishment. These Jugs are mandatory as they must be served the following morning prior to school, or postponed to a later date depending on circumstances. Students may choose to opt-out of this punishment once per semester if they choose to instead take a "work Jug", which entails providing an adequate service alternative by aiding staff and teachers. Repeat or serious offenses will result in a "Saturday Jug", a 4-hour detention during the weekend issue by the Dean of Students. On average, students receive approximately 5 demerits, or one Jug, per semester. In the event of a student missing a morning Jug or not completing their homework prior to the class, the student is the assigned to attend "Laughlin Hour" (formally referred to as "Ninth Hour"). Similar to Jugs, these events are mandatory and serve as a space to finish late assignments and make up for missed Jugs.
As Creighton Prep is a private institution, it is not required to follow the No Child Left Behind Act. This means that poor academic performance is grounds for expulsion from Creighton Prep if the student's performance does not meet a minimum threshold. This threshold is defined by a student failing two or more classes at a given time. Therefore, the program Peer Tutoring is designed to serve an intervention role in improving grades prior to considering expulsion or further disciplinary action. Freshmen and Sophomores who do not meet the requirements must attend six-hour-long, after-school sessions during a period of three weeks where they receive academic help from student volunteers. After the initial three weeks have ended, the student's grades will be reviewed, if the student is still failing two or more classes then they will be assigned an additional three weeks. Failure to attend this program will result in a Saturday Jug. If a student does not meet this satisfactory standard by the end of the semester, they will be placed into academic probation for the following semester or could be potentially dismissed depending on the severity of their performance. If placed on academic probation, the Academic Principle will set minimum acceptable standards for the student, and if these standards are not met, the student will be dismissed from the school.
As of fall 2014, Creighton Prep has become the first high school in Omaha to implement a mandatory drug testing policy for the entire student body, with approximately 80-90% of all students being tested annually. The policy change was born out a decade of participation in the Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor Student Survey done by the state to assess the drug usage of the cumulative student body and as an initiative to begin expanding Prep's health and wellness program. The company contracted is Psychemedics, who have also successfully implemented a similar policy at Rockhurst High School. The process involves randomly selecting students to take part in the drug test where hair samples are taken to assess if a student has performed binge drinking, marijuana, PCPs, amphetamines, cocaine and opiates (approx. 90% of all mainstay drugs) during the previous 90 days. For the first offense, the student and their parents or guardian will meet with the student's councilor and discuss interventions. There is no disciplinary punishment enacted by the school but the student must undergo a follow-up test in 90 days which will cost $60. For the second offense, the student will meet with the Dean of Student and must complete a chemical dependency screening, follow recommendations made by the administrators, and undergo a second follow-up test in 90 days. If the student receives a third offense, they will then be dismissed from the school.
Retreats and service
Creighton Prep requires the student to participate in a retreat program annually in order to meet graduation requirements. The retreats are centered around the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and personal reflection. Along with this, students are required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of community service as an additional graduation requirement. These service requirements are designed to aid "materially poor or marginalized in our society." and therefore must be approved by the school prior to commencement. Each grade has its own individual service requirements and retreat options.
- Freshman year: Creighton Prep founded the model of student-led freshman retreats in 1970, a program founded by Fr. Jim Michalski, SJ. Freshmen are required to attend a two and one-half day retreat organized by Creighton Prep's Campus Ministry, upper-class students, and adult volunteers. This retreat is designed to welcome new students into the prep community and serve as an introduction to Ignatian spirituality. Freshmen are paired with a "Big Brother" during their freshman year, an upper-class student who serves as a guide to the new student. During the fall semester, each Freshman student must complete 3 hours of community service alongside their Big Brother.
- Sophomore Year: Sophomores are required to complete a one-day retreat led by a member of Prep's faculty. Each retreat involves ten students who will perform 7 hours of service at Heart Ministry Center food pantry. This retreat referred to as the "Faces of Christ Retreat" is designed to serve the marginalized and homeless population of Omaha, NE. There exists an additional, optional overnight retreat which is a 24-hour peer-led retreat at Camp Fontanelle in Nickerson, NE which focuses on Ignatian Spirituality and reflection.
- Junior Year: Juniors are required to complete one of two retreats. The first, called the Junior Encounter Retreat is a two and one-half day retreat focusing on "Christian Community and sacraments". The retreat focuses heavily on group discussion and reflection on Christian themes. The retreat takes place at Creighton University Retreat Center in Griswold, IA with five possible dates being offered to students. The second option is the Junior Ignatian Service Retreat which is centered around service to the community. Students will provide service to and aid in serving meals at the Francis House in Omaha, NE. Service requirements for Juniors involve the student to take either the class Catholic Social Teaching (CST) or Catholic Social Teaching Plus (CST+). The former requiring 20 hours of service out of class and the latter requiring 40 hours of service which is fulfilled during class time.
- Senior Year: Seniors are offered an optional retreat in March which is designed to reflect upon their previous years as a student. By graduation, the Senior is expected to have fulfilled 50 hours of community service, whether it be through a class or on their personal time. Options available to seniors are the 30-hour service class Arrupe Experience, named after Jesuit priest Pedro Arrupe. Other means of filling this requirement include: service clubs, volunteering with the Loyola Scholars Summer Institute, work with the Service Coordinator, or continuing the service work done in CST and CST+ classes from the previous year.
Full yearly tuition at Creighton Prep is estimated to cost approximately $17,000 with a portion of this cost being subsidized by donations, bringing the average tuition price at Creighton Prep to approximately $11,155. This makes Creighton Prep the third lowest of the 60 secondary schools in the Jesuit Schools Network the United States. There exist approximately $300 in additional costs of registration fees and textbooks, and an annual student lunch fee of $450.
As reported for the 2018–2019 school year Creighton Preparatory School Tuition:
|Grade||Cost (U.S. Dollars)|
Scholarships and financial aid
Creighton Prep ranks in the top 20 percent of Jesuit high schools in providing scholarships and financial aid to its students. This constitutes in approximately $2 million in financial assistance provided to 52 percent of the student body annually. Financial Aid programs are offered based upon individual need and scholarships are offered based upon performance on the entrance exam in January. Creighton Prep offers scholarships to the most students and provides the largest scholarships compared to that of any other school in Omaha.
|Presidential Scholarship||Full Tuition||Renewable for all four years, provided the student maintains a 90% GPA|
|Labaj Scholarship||$5,000||Renewable for all four years, provided the student maintains a 90% GPA|
|Loyola Scholarship||$1,000||Only awarded for freshman year|
|Merit Scholarship||$500||Only awarded for freshman year|
Annually, Creighton Prep will host a dinner auction in April referred to as BASH (Building a Scholastic Heritage) as a means to provide financial aid to the student body. This includes live and silent auctions, a student-driven raffle, and dinner predominately staffed by student volunteers. The student-led raffle ticket event alone has constituted in nearly $210,000, providing 21 students with full tuition financial aid. BASH annuals has approximately 650-750 attendees and relies on both donors and advertisers as the means of income. Historically, BASH was first held in 1971 and led by J. Don Ashford and Mrs. John Cleary alongside 20 volunteers. This event earned approximately $25,000 which was then employed to fund the financial aid program at the time. In 2016, it was reported that the net proceeds from BASH resulted in over $800,000, constituting a large percentage of the $1.9 million offer in financial aid to the student body.
In April 2016, filming for the movie Downsizing took place at Creighton Prep. Downsizing is a 2017 American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne, written by Payne and Jim Taylor and starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, and Kristen Wiig. This film was the first movie to have been shot in Omaha since 2002's "About Schmidt" and the first film to ever feature Creighton Prep. The film features Matt Damon playing the role of a Creighton Prep alum who, in part of the film, returns to his alma mater during a high school reunion. The choice to film at Creighton Prep was determined by and scheduled 2 weeks prior to shooting by director Alexander Payne, who graduated from Creighton Prep in 1979. Set up began at 3:15 p.m. on April 13, 2016 where scenes were filmed along the west entrance to the school. This included conversion of the interior of the school into crew space and decoration of the exterior of the school at Payne's request to feature a large banner with the Creighton Prep seal. The film project involved work in conjunction with Creighton Prep's Fine Arts Department, whose film department was given opportunity to share projects and ideas with Payne. Furthermore, Damon and Payne both autographed a golf flag that would eventually be auctioned off at Prep's annual BASH fundraiser on April 23. Coincidentally, Prep students had already begun a campaign to raising money for Damon's charity, Water.org, prior to being informed that the film would be taking place. Due to the dynamic that developed better the student body and Matt Damon, Rev. Tom Neitzke, president of Creighton Prep, jokingly declared Matt Damon an honorary alum of Creighton Prep.
Omaha Film Festival
In 2016, students Brendan Doyle and Hunter Parry co-directed the short film "T for Tyranny". This 7-minute film was designed to be a take on a dystopian future America, containing criticism of modern United States politics. This project was made through the Advanced Art and Storytelling program at Creighton Prep, headed by artist Jeremy Caniglia. The short film was later reviewed and work shopped by Jason Levering and Marc Longbrake, staff involved with the Omaha Film Festival, who ultimately added it to the roster of Nebraska Short Films. "T for Tyranny" premiered at the Omaha Film Festival on March 11, 2016.
Head Coach Assault Allegation
On November 15, 2014, head football coach Chris Nizzi resigned after receiving a misdemeanor assault citation for allegedly assaulting a 17-year-old girl. Allegedly, Nizzi stuck the girl with a closed fist after a confrontation about her relationship with his son and for breaking curfew. Police data confirmed minor swelling on the left side of the victim's face, and Nizzi admitted to striking her with an open back of the hand. Nizzi was furthermore cited for potential charges of child abuse due to the alleged assault of his son, but these charges were ultimately dropped. The alleged assault took place shortly after Creighton Prep had won a semifinal game in the state football tournament, requiring an interim coach to take his place during the championship game on November 24. Nizzi was offered a plea deal and required to complete a diversion program as an alternative to criminal charges. An assault-and-battery charge against Nizzi was dropped following his completion of a diversion program. Nizzi, in accordance with the diversion program, worked in an administrative section of Boys Town High School and after charges were dropped, was offered to work full-time as a football coach.
Priest Sexual Assault Allegations
In 2018, the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus released documentation disclosing sexual assault allegations surrounding key members of Creighton Prep's clergy. This has included Rev. Willard Dressel (employed at Prep from 1959 to 2003), Rev. J. Roger Lucey (President of Creighton Prep, 1977 to 1982), Rev. J Michael Cannon (employed from 1979 to 1987), Fr. Thomas R. Haller (employed from 1955 to 1980), Rev. Jim Sinnerud (employment terminated in 2018) and Rev. Daniel Kenney (employed from 1965 to 1989). While the former four are deceased, Rev. Kenney was permanently removed from the ministry as of 2003 following eight individual accusations. These documents and the current status of Rev. Kenny's priesthood become public in 2018. It was later revealed by Creighton Prep staff that Rev. Kenney had his previous tenure at Creighton Prep prematurely ended in 1989 for similar accusations involving sexually explicit behavior with students but no official record was kept from the alleged events. Rev. Jim Sinnerud also has received allegations of sexual assault of a minor. This has resulted in his tenure at Creighton Prep in 2018 being terminated and him being barred from participating in ministerial services. This latter accusation came independent of the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus' release earlier in the year, instead citing an incident that occurred prior to his employment at Creighton Prep. In 2019, "Book of Mormon" star Andrew Rannells released his memoir Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood, in which, he described sexual encounters that occurred between him and a priest, referred to as "Father Dominic" while attending Creighton Prep.
Creighton Prep Birdcage
The Creighton Prep student section at athletic events, often referred to as "The Birdcage", has received criticism for inappropriate behavior and alleged violations of sportsmanlike conduct. This includes criticism from Omaha South High School, citing the school's chants as racially motivated. The chant by Creighton Prep in question referenced the Trump Wall and spokespersons for Omaha South believe this statement was aimed at the majority Latino population of the school. This also included Pro-Trump signs and the phrase "Build. That. Wall".
Furthermore, there have been allegations of chants designed to single out opposing players or harassing teams and individuals. This issue has been criticized by Creighton Prep staff but spokespersons for the school stated each chant must be judged on a case by case policy, as there is no administrative standard to judge these chants. This issue was stated to be a result of the bylaws of the Nebraska School Activities Association, which state "member schools are charged with maintaining proper crowd control and enforcing principles of good sportsmanship and ethics at all interscholastic contests". Therefore, individual schools have are responsible for maintaining these standards but "what's appropriate is up to the schools" (Jim Tenopir).
Additionally, the Creighton Prep Birdcage is historically all male, as a result, female students from Prep's sister schools, Marian High School, Mercy High School, and Duchesne Academy, are disallowed to enter. This has purportedly created an environment in which female individuals are "prohibited and harshly disrespected" when attempting to attend an event in the Birdcage. In 2019, Creighton Prep made attempts to allow the Birdcage to be co-ed but a student led Change.org petition was created to oppose this, garnering over 200 signatures.
LB 586 and Stance On LGBTQ+ Individuals
In 2001, Robert Hotz, S.J., president of Creighton Prep at the time, invited alumnus William Glenn (1962), a gay man, to address his experiences of homosexuality in high school and how to better assist gay students. Glenn described Prep as "no place for sissies", stating that Prep culture created a hostile place supporting anathema against those of a gay identity. This included accounts of physical violence against him due to his sexuality, and affirming that the culture against those who are gay is still present. This further included descriptions of how Creighton Prep's dominant culture surrounding gay identities is that it was viewed as "sick, sinful and unacceptable in the eyes of the world." This ended with Glenn describing that Prep needed a paradigm shift in their culture as the status quo has conveyed the message of gay students being seen as "damaged goods"
In 2003, President of Creighton Prep, Reverend Robert Hotz resigned following an incident where he invited an openly gay alumnus to speak on his experiences pertaining to religion, service, and homosexuality. The speaker, Don Fraynd, was an alumnus of the school (class of 1990) and had taught at Creighton Prep for 6 years. Rev. Hotz's resignation occurred days after the presentation, and was followed by the Creighton Prep School board's statement, describing the situation as an "incident in what we felt was a lack of correct judgment." (Jim O'Brien, chairman of Prep's School board). Additionally, this incident was described as a "flash-point" and the school board alluded to addition incidents which "questioned his 'judgment and leadership'".
In 2015, the Nebraska State Legislature proposed the bill LB 586, making it illegal to discriminate against sexual orientation and gender identity. Creighton Prep, alongside the Nebraska Catholic Conference publicly opposed the implementation of this bill, citing the lack of exemption for religious entities. Creighton Prep follows the policies adopted by the Catholic Church, affirming stances on "traditional marriage". Pertaining to LB 586, Creighton Prep stated, "action is needed to stop a bill in our state legislature that would jeopardize the mission of Catholic schools". Creighton Prep cited the law would furthermore, "require employers, including Catholic schools, to engage in employment practices that would affirm sexual behavior contrary to Church teaching". Further statements involved discussions around the bill's deceptive nature and a lobbying campaign to end the bill before it was voted on. Prep and its associated Catholic Institutions stated they would oppose the bill regardless of amendments. As of August 2016, the bill has been indefinitely suspended.
LGBTQ advocate, Lynne Bacon, married to transgender activist W. Meredith Bacon, was previously employed in Creighton Prep's language department and maintained close ties with the school until her death in 2018. Additionally, Creighton Prep was one of the first Jesuit Catholic schools in the United States to implement a Gay-Straight Alliance and Creighton Prep has an anti-discrimination program known as "Prep Accepts", which includes supporting LGBTQ individuals. Furthermore, Creighton Prep's official handbook states that Creighton Prep does not tolerate discrimination based upon sexuality or gender identity.
Protests and Pickets
In 2005, President George W. Bush visited the CHI Health Center (formally known as the Qwest Center and Century Link Center) to speak on his plans for reforming social security. Many high school students, including students from Prep attended to protest the rally. In total, several thousands attended the protests occurring both at the Qwest Center and in downtown Omaha. Protests predominately criticized Bush's proposed social security changes, with Prep students leading many of the protests. Other issues presented included: oil drilling, gay rights, environmental issues, the war in Afghanistan, and the genocide in Darfur.
In 2010 and 2014, picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church, stationed in Topeka, Kansas, protested in front of Creighton Prep and Creighton University. The Westboro Baptist Church conducted these protests at a number of Catholic institutions, stating, "the protests will mark cases against priests who sexually abused children." Additionally, church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper also cited a 2007 case involving the charges of flag-desecration in Bellevue, Nebraska. In both instances, a small number of protesters arrived at the school and protested during school hours. Creighton Prep announced they would make no comment about the protest and urged students to do the same.
In 2013, The "Courage Rock" outside of Westside High School was vandalized with blue and white paint during a football game against longtime rival Creighton Prep. This event was allegedly committed by Prep students, evidenced by the two schools' long standing rivalry and vandals painting the rock in Creighton Prep's school colors. Additionally, the words "Prep" were later found tagged on the rock. The stone commemorated a now deceased Westside board member named Liz Karnes, who passed from cancer in 2003. Student leaders at Creighton Prep, in response to this vandalism collected a $500 donation to "Liz's Legacy", a cancer research fund formed posthumously in honor of Karnes. Additionally, a window was found broken on a door connected to Westside's Blue Gym the same night as the vandalism. In 2019, Westside staff cited the Courage Rock vandalism and Westside's defacing of a Prep bus as significant blows to what should be a positive, competitive atmosphere between the two schools.
On March 14, 2018, there was a nation wide walkout protesting gun violence, occurring exactly 1 month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. At Creighton Prep, approximately 50 students participated. Creighton Prep officials, in response to the walkout, stated "...any student who chooses to leave class...will need to be prepared for the academic and disciplinary consequences...". The walkout included signs stating "#Enough" and holding a 17-minute vigil for each of the 17 victims. In a student-wide email, all students were expected to notify their teachers and give their demerit cards when leaving, resulting in a JUG (detention) for "unexcused absence". This stood in contrast with Millard West High School and Council Bluffs schools that stated they would not pursue disciplinary actions.
In 2020, 70 Creighton Prep alumni signed a petition to have Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, Creighton Prep class of 1970, removed from the Creighton Prep board of trustees. This petition was formed during the George Floyd Protests, in response to Kleine's determination to not pursuing felony charges against Omaha business owner Jake Gardner in the shooting of James Scurlock. Singer and Prep alum Conor Oberst began the petition due to Creighton Prep's lack of statement following the deaths of George Floyd and James Scurlock. The Creighton Prep Board of Trustees voted unanimously to keep Kleine on the board a week later and the case of Jake Gardner was appealed to a grand jury.
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