WAHOO - Patricia
Eliason Starr is on a journey of a lifetime, and
she started that journey in Wahoo. "Everything I
learned, I learned here in Wahoo and I won't
forget that," she said.
Starr is pedaling her way to Atlantic City,
where she will compete in the Ms. Senior America
Pageant. "Just because the number on the
driver's license says 71 doesn't mean you can't
pedal across America," the 1954 Wahoo High
School graduate said. "I want to inspire people
and the kids of today."
Starr began her 1,400-mile trip Friday morning
at the Wahoo Middle/High School.
It was a party
atmosphere at the school for the send off. In
the Little Theatre, the pep band played,
students sang the Star Spangled Banner, the Show
Choir entertained and Starr, a professional
musician, sat down at the piano to play to the
"This is an
absolutely fun morning," Starr told students,
staff and members of the public who had gathered
for the send off. "So, I am playing some fun
music or you. This is my boogie medley.
Starr and her husband, Gabriel, also told
the students to work hard. Starr said they
needed to take lessons from both school and
community. She is proud, Starr added, of her
roots and her hometown. She and husband have
homes in both California and Wahoo.
During Friday morning's
send off, Starr was presented a proclamation
signed by fellow Wahoo High School graduate and
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman. The governor
had proclaimed Sept. 19 as Patricia Eliason
Starr Day in Nebraska. Heineman was unable to
attend Friday morning's activities, but Irene
Heineman of Wahoo stood in for her son and made
the proclamation presentation.
Starr is the reigning Ms.
Senior Nebraska and, in 1996, was Ms. Senior
These are not her first
stints as queen. In 1954, the Swedeburg native
was the Wahoo High School Sports Queen. In 1957,
she was selected to be Miss Wahoo and
represented the town in the Miss America State
Now at 71-years of age, Starr believes in
pushing herself past the strength of human
endurance. Proclaiming herself "the Bicycle
Queen", Starr and traveling companion Aitken
should arrive in Atlantic City just in time for
the Oct. 19 through 25 pageant.
While staying healthy through such activities
as bicycling is important to Starr, there is
another important reason this trip was planned.
Equally important to her is music and music
After graduating from
Wahoo High School, Starr attended Luther Junior
College in Wahoo and the University of Nebraska
in Lincoln. She graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan
University and is credentialed to teach vocal
and instrumental music in both Nebraska and
She is a concert pianist
and trombonist and embraces music as her
life-long profession. Starr and her husband have
now established a music scholarship at Wahoo
High School and are using this trip as a kick
off to gather funds so that scholarship may go
They donated $1,000 on
Friday morning to get the scholarship fund off
to a good start. Those funds - $500 for vocal
and $500 for instrumental - will be available to
two students graduating in May 2009.
Starr said there would be
some basic guidelines for students wishing to
apply for the scholarships.
"You have to have good grades," she said.
"You have to have drive. You have to have
Based upon what she has seen during her
visit to the school, Starr added students at
Wahoo High School should have no problems
meeting those guidelines.
The goal for the scholarship fund is
$10,000. He said about $1,400 had already been
received prior to Friday morning. Many of those
dollars had come from friends of theirs in
California. He said that contributors from far
and near believe in the passion of the students
"It's all for you guys,"
he told the students. "Everybody is going to
know where Wahoo is."
Progress of Starr's trip can be found at
Those wishing to donate to
the scholarship fund may send a check or money
order in care of the Greater Wahoo Development
Foundation, 640 N. Broadway.