The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

The North Star

The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

The North Star

The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

The North Star

For the love of North

Four generations of O’Neills, have or are attending North High School. Baker O’Neill, Connor O’Neill, and Garrett Potts are currently students and Todd O’Neill is a football coach at North.

Gay O’Neill is one of four generations to bleed blue and yellow, starting with her parents and continuing with her grandkids. 

O’Neill grew up in the North area as a kid and then graduated from North in 1970. The halls of North have changed much since O’Neill attended North.  

She remembers the hallways being crowded with almost 2,500 students roaming the halls. At that time North was much smaller due to the absence of the Haddix Center and Multi-Purpose Center (MPC).  

While at North O’Neill took a lot of art classes and was also a cheerleader. 

“Back in the 60’s there were no girls athletics,” O’Neill said. “If you want to be involved in athletics you have got to be a cheerleader. 

O’Neill was also a part of the swim club. They had multiple practices and approximately three meets.  

“They made us call them play days because it was not lady like to keep score,” O’Neill said. 

O’Neill officially came back to North as a parent in the early 1990’s when her kids started attending. 

“Me and my friends made concessions for the football and basketball games,” O’Neill said.  

Since this was during a time when North played their home games at McMillian Middle School, O’Neill recalls setting up a table in the hallway and every time she plugged in a coffee pot, she would blow a fuse. 

O’Neill then became an art teacher at North in 1994 and a business manager on the swim team. Her niece was the coach, and her daughter was on the team as well.  

During that year they had seven state champions and 35 state qualifiers. 

“This was a huge moment, and one of my favorite moments here at North,” O’Neill said. “We were an inner-city school with no swimming pool, that beat westside.” 

Then in 2020 the whole swim team was taken into the Omaha Public Schools Hall of fame instead of just singular people. Being the first time, this has ever happened.  

O’Neill comes from a family that has and will always be loyal to North, but she has noticed over the years that a lot of others are becoming less loyal. 

“You cannot change where we are geographically, so you have to work a little harder to keep kids going here,” O’Neill said.  

One thing that upset O’Neill recently about the changes made to North is the name change. The OPS district decided to remove the “Omaha” from the front of the school’s name. 

“We are Omaha North Magnet High school, we were the first,” O’Neill said. “As long as there are other districts that have north you have to say which one we are, Omaha North.” 

When the magnet program first started at North it was simply math and technology and then soon after engineering was added to it as well. But since they have added engineering to the other schools in the district, rather than attracting students, North is losing them and teachers as well. 

“Many of our teachers have left,” O’Neill said. “I know for a fact they do not have to let them go and they did.” 

Since O’Neill is not teaching anymore, she stays involved at North by coming back as a substitute teacher and never missing a football game.  

“I love watching football, I have watched the coaches grow up,” O’Neill said.  

At the beginning of the 2023 school year O’Neill broke her ankle and had to miss the last few football games of the season. 

“When it happened the first thing I thought of was, oh no, I am not going to get to go to football game,” O’Neill said. 

O’Neill has three grandkids attending North so, she can stay involved with the school through them. 

O’Neill is also on the Viking of Distinction committee at North. The committee nominates four to five outstanding alumni, or community members. Then students and staff can come to watch them be inducted in the auditorium. 

“We used to do them in the MPC and the whole school would come, but since COVID it has gotten smaller,” O’Neill said. 

O’Neill has been changed as a person by being a part of North by not only getting older but becoming more accepting.  

“I have seen a lot of ups and downs at North, but we (the O’Neill’s) stick around,” O’Neill said. 


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Angie Twombly
Angie Twombly, Editor-in-Chief
My name is Angie Twombly, and I am a senior this year. What I am most excited about in Newspaper is creating a solid foundation for future writers of the North Star. A fun fact about me is that a story I produced was published on national news. 

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