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Hall of Fame | Beatrice Educational Foundation

Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame recipients  are graduates of Beatrice High School and have excelled in their chosen career or in service to their community or country. The Friend of Education recipients are past teachers, administrators, BHS employees or citizens of the community who have made a major contribution to education.

Recipients of the Hall of Fame Award or Friend of Education Award


Dennis Byars

a man that has lived a life of service to his community as an elected official and as a volunteer

Dennis Byars, class of 1958, has lived a life of serving others. Even though he says he is formally retired he continues to serve on numerous boards that meet the needs of others. He is currently a member of the Gage County Board of Supervisors and chairs the Equalization Committee and Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Byars is also chairman of the Region V Governing Board (which provides services to persons with mental health needs); chairman of Region V Systems (which provides services to developmentally disabled persons); a board member of the Nebraska Inter-Governmental Risk Management Association and is a member of the Board of Counselors for the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Professionally he was the Regional Development Director and then the Director of Community Resources for Mosaic. He then served as the Executive Director for the Beatrice Community Hospital Foundation. Prior to this he worked in business as a real estate agent.

Other public service has included being the District #30 State Senator from December 1988 to 1995 and again from 1998 to 2006, past member of the Beatrice Board of Education, past chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures Standing Committee on Health, and past chairman of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities Public Policy Team. His involvement with helping others extends outside of his work. He has been a voting member from St. John Lutheran Church, Nebraska Synod Assembly since 2000. Byars received the Good Neighbor Award (Person of the Year Award) from the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce. He has also received a number of awards for his work with public health.

When not working to improve the lives of others he spends time with his wife, Janet and two sons and their families. “I enjoy spending time with my family, watching Husker football and volleyball games and when time permits, spending time in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Scott Coates

he believes in Pay it Back and Pay it Forward

Scott Coates, class of 1971, went from the halls of Beatrice High School to being CEO of a company he founded.  Coates Electrical and Instrumentation Inc. (CE&I) is a full service electrical contractor specializing in industrial electrical, communications, instrumentation, power, and control systems.

He started his company in 1994. Prior to 1994, leaving nothing to chance, Scott began learning business law and accounting principles.  He began training his first apprentices, Jason Coates and Shawn Lueders, who later became founding members of the corporation.  Scott, Jason & Shawn began wiring small residential remodels and service projects on nights and weekends.  This was the beginning of what would prove to be a powerful collaboration of their efforts.

During these first few small projects the three of them started wiring custom homes and learned their first valuable lessons, which have helped to form the efficient business model the corporation utilizes today.  In April of 1996, Scott started working for the business full time and two weeks later Jason and Shawn joined him.

Over the years they have tried to read the ever changing market and predict where the greatest opportunities would be.  This has led them from construction of industrial mining installations to wiring homes,  remodeling grocery stores, building new stores, automation, integration, chemical weapons destruction, robotic control, handling of hazardous & nuclear waste, building and remodeling of schools, churches, theaters, maintaining oil refineries, constructing hydrogen and industrial gas plants,  and many other applications of power, automation, integration and control.

As the company has grown many key individuals have been helpful to their success.  Coates is proud to have created a highly successful and skilled team to meet the needs of his customers.

In addition, he and his wife Leslee started Coates for Kids. In 2005 Coates Electrical donated new coats and gloves for 34 children. The program continued to grow and in 2015 the program was able to provide 2,500 children with new warm coats and mittens.

Robert Person

his influence continues to be felt by former students

Robert Person taught all levels of instrumental music during his 37 years at Beatrice Public Schools.  His  recollections speak to his professionalism.  “My two fondest memories of teaching in  Beatrice Public Schools are the great students whose lives (musical and otherwise) that I was privileged to be a part of, and the great staff of dedicated educators of which I was
honored to be a member.”

His high school marching bands consistently created high caliber routines and pep bands under his direction kept school spirit high.  The city auditorium was always packed for his concert band performances. During his first 23 years he was responsible for Senior High Concert, Marching, Pep, and Stage Bands, and Junior High Concert and Prep Bands. His last 14 years in Beatrice he was  responsible for Fifth Grade Band and Lessons, and Sixth Grade Band in the Middle School.  He also assisted with Seventh Grade Band and Eighth Grade Band in the Middle School  and Senior High Band during this time.

His nominator said, “Mr. P, as he was known to his students, instilled a love and respect for music in his students. He chose music that would both inspire and challenge us in order for us to do the best job possible. He was hard on us at times, but always showed his hope and desire for us to be better musicians as we went through band, starting in elementary school right through high school.”

Person was an active member of professional organizations. He was a member of the Beatrice Education Association serving as a Building Representative and on the negotiations committee.  He was chair of the negotiations committee twice. He also served on the Nebraska State Education Association Board of Directors.

In addition, he was Chairman of Band Affairs for the Nebraska Music Educators Association and the Class A Representative for the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association.

His nominator spoke for many of his student musicians. “I was honored to have him as a teacher, and he remains one of the most influential teachers that I have had. And there are hundreds, if not thousands of his former students that feel the same way.”

Beatrice Public Schools was lucky to have such a talented, dedicated educator