History of Bryan

  • William Jennings Bryan High School's story is one that reflects the ever growing and ever evolving community it has proudly served for more 50 years. 

    Under the leadership of veteran OPS educator, Dr. John McQuinn, a faculty and staff of 40 young educators and approximately 600 students, set out to create the values and traditions that we honor today at Bryan High. While our mascot and colors have endured through the years, the appearance of both has evolved over time. Just as Bryan High has matured as a school, so have the images that represent it. Long gone is the bright green and sunny yellow hues worn by a cuddly baby bear in the 1960s. It has been replaced by the older, much more ferocious bear that dons rich forest green and Vegas gold colors.  

    Designed to house the junior high and senior high students of the burgeoning southwest community of Omaha, Bryan High first schools year welcomed only seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth graders. It wasn't until the 1967-1968 school year, that Bryan Junior-Senior High had all six grades represented.  Even then, as the first graduating class of 1968 crossed the auditorium stage, it was becoming clear that the small building wouldn't be able hold all the students that wanted to join Bear Country. Construction began, down the hill on 48th and Giles, on a new, larger facility and in 1972, Dr. McQuinn, along with his 10th, 11th, and 12th graders moved westward, six blocks to the building we know today as Bryan Senior High School 

    Since its dedication in 1972, Bryan Senior High has been seen the graduation of more than 15,000 students, the transition of five principals, the construction of several building renovations and expansions, and the addition of two award winning of academies. And we are just getting started! Overtime, the main entrance has moved, the population has evolved, and our scheduling model has changed, but the heart of Bryan High can still be found in the strong sense of community that is felt in the pit every morning before the bell rings. It is a spirit of inclusivity, compassion, resilience, and pride that is shared throughout the generations and will always remain strong in the Bryan's Bear Country