Northeast, Mickle build on bond that spans more than 60 years

High schools and their feeder middle schools within Lincoln Public Schools strive to build strong connections. It can ease the transition to high school, build school spirit and help establish a shared culture.

There’s no better example of this than Lincoln Northeast High School and Mickle Middle School, located only a half-mile apart on either side of North Cotner Boulevard. Their strong connection spans all the way back to when Mickle opened in 1960 and was named for longtime Northeast Principal Robin S. Mickle.

Mickle first-year Principal Jason Shanahan noticed the connection immediately.

“One of the first things that has become apparent to me is the strong connection and pride both schools share for the northeast Lincoln community. I very much like the feeling of serving a community within the community, and that is exactly what we have here,” Shanahan said, adding that many Mickle teachers attended both Mickle and Northeast and jumped at the chance to work at their middle school alma mater.

Keri Applebee is in her fourth year as principal at Northeast. She’s noticed an “important and special bond” between the two schools.

“I believe it is essential for high schools and middle schools to foster and build these important connections with one another because ultimately it is what is best for kids,” she said.  “Partnerships allow for early opportunities to build positive relationships with incoming high school students. And as we all know, positive relationships are absolutely critical in helping students have successful transitions to their high school.”

Shanahan added, “By establishing a strong bond with a high school, we afford ourselves a longer runway to work with kids. We essentially go from having them for three short years, to establishing a partnership and culture that students can flourish in for seven years of their academic career.”

Applebee and Shanahan met this summer to discuss how they could establish intentional opportunities for Mickle and Northeast to further strengthen their schools’ historic connection. One idea came to fruition Aug. 20 when the Northeast marching band’s drumline welcomed Mickle students as they arrived in the morning. They heard the rat-a-tat-tat of drums as it filled the air.

And for most of them, they heard their future calling.

Published: August 27, 2021, Updated: August 27, 2021