OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Thursday NorthStar students, parents and staff members gathered to celebrate the completion of the program’s new expansion. The additional 17,000 square foot space includes a new cafeteria as well as the 'Leaders and Achievers High School Wing.'
“When we first opened, we never intended to serve students past 9th grade," explained NorthStar President Scott Hazelrigg. "And it was those students when they reached 9th grade that said to us, ‘Well you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to do with us, because we’re coming back.’”
The wing includes two classrooms, six study rooms, a recreational area and a donation closet - all with the mission of helping these young men focus on their education, be career-ready and socialize in a safe space.
“With COVID going on, it allows us to spread out and have that six feet of distance and still be able to be here and socialize and learn," said Andra Williams, a senior at Omaha North High School.
The wing serves not only those in the after school program but also OPS students who are currently using the location as a satellite school.
For parents like Shari Scott, the programs at NorthStar has been a blessing to her and her two sons.
“Just NorthStar itself means so much, because it is such a safe environment," Scott said. "The staff that’s here that’s willing to help and just taking some of that burden off that some of us parents that have so much going on.”
Hazelrigg says he hopes the building will not only serve as an educational center, but as a place where young men can find support.
“There are incredible young people in Omaha, Nebraska," said Hazelrigg. "And giving them the opportunity for their voices to be heard, so that we can meet them where they’re at on their journey.”