2013 OWH Year in Pictures – Rebecca S. Gratz

Once again, this has been an interesting year. I met some inspiring people and witnessed some great moments. For a showcase of my favorite images from this year, click here.

It’s always exciting at the end of a state tournament basketball game. But when the Omaha Central boys wrapped up their seventh title in eight years with Akoy Agau on the past four teams, it felt a little extra special.  In one of my favorite moments of the year, Akoy jumped into the arms of screaming student fans to celebrate.

Omaha Central senior Akoy Agau (0) leaps into the student section as they celebrate the Eagles' 69-44 victory over Papillion-La Vista in the Class A championship of the Nebraska state boys basketball tournament at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Omaha Central senior Akoy Agau leaps into the student section as they celebrate the Eagles’ 69-44 victory over Papillion-La Vista in the Class A championship of the Nebraska state boys basketball tournament at the Devaney Center in Lincoln on March 9, 2013.

 

The Bessmer family has 16 children.  I don’t know what I expected going into their home, but what I found was amazing.  The older children help the younger ones, and everyone has their own list of daily chores.  I would describe the scene as controlled chaos.  But everyone was so sweet and happy; it was a pleasure to get to know them. Read more about them here.

Mary Kate Bessmer, 13, helps her brother, Eli, 6, practice piano at the Bessmer home in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, May 16, 2013. The Bessmer children begin to play a stringed instrument at three years old and learn the piano at five years old.  Kathy and Joel Bessmer have sixteen children - thirteen biological and three adopted - ranging in age from 2 to 23.

Mary Kate Bessmer, 13, helps her brother Eli, 6, practice piano at the Bessmer home in Omaha on May 16, 2013. The Bessmer children begin to play a stringed instrument at 3 years old and learn the piano at 5. Kathy and Joel Bessmer have 16 children – 13 biological and three adopted – ranging in age from 2 to 23.

 

Jamus Hovseth, 3, suffers from food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), and his only source of nutrition comes from formula administered by a tube hooked up to his stomach. His allergic reactions to other formulas and food are severe and painful.  But when he feels good, Jamus looks like any other kid – playful and happy. Read more about Jamus here.

 Jamus Hovseth, 3, right, plays in fallen leaves with his brother, Logan, 5, in their backyard in Omaha, Neb., Monday afternoon, Nov. 4, 2013.  Jamus Hovseth, 3, suffers from food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), and his only source of nutrition comes from formula administered by a tube hooked up to his stomach.

Jamus Hovseth, 3, right, plays in fallen leaves with his brother, Logan, 5, in their backyard in Omaha, Neb., Monday afternoon, Nov. 4, 2013. Jamus Hovseth, 3, suffers from food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), and his only source of nutrition comes from formula administered by a tube hooked up to his stomach.

 

For the Thanksgiving Day edition of The World-Herald, we featured people we’re thankful for.  One person is SuZanne Rogers, who, with the help of her therapy dogs, visits special education students in schools and patients in hospitals. Together they offer the unique comfort that only a sweet dog can provide. I loved watching students light up with joy as they pet and read to Bo, a 135-pound Bernese mountain dog. Read more about Suzanne here.

SuZanne Rogers and her therapy dog Bo, a 4-year-old Bernese mountain dog, visit Kaden Becker, 12, in a special education class at Elkhorn Middle School in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013.

SuZanne Rogers and her therapy dog Bo, a 4-year-old Bernese mountain dog, visit Kaden Becker, 12, in a special education class at Elkhorn Middle School on Nov. 20, 2013.

 

Omaha hosted the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January, and I enjoyed photographing the action on and off the ice.  We don’t see much figure skating in Nebraska, so it was fun to photograph something different.  I loved the combination of athleticism and theatrics.

Senior pairs bronze medalists Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay perform during a Skating Spectacular following competition in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.

Senior pairs bronze medalists Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay perform during a Skating Spectacular following competition in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha on Jan. 27, 2013.

Rebecca Gratz

About Rebecca Gratz

Originally from Ohio and a graduate of Ball State University, I moved to Nebraska to join the World-Herald staff in 2004. As a photojournalist, I'm privileged to meet interesting people, learn new things and travel around the country. Whether I'm walking knee-deep in floodwater, kneeling on the sideline of a Husker football game or flying with the Nebraska Air Guard to Germany, my goal is always to tell the story with photos.
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