Dora Olivares Receives CSC Distinguished Alumni Award

By Abigail Swanson – College Relations

CHADRON – Dora Olivares received the Chadron State College Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA) during Homecoming Oct. 1.

Mark Brohman also received the award while the Distinguished Young Alumni Award was presented to Dr Nisha Durand, Ryan Hieb, and Dr TJ Thomson (in absentia).

Family Tree Awards were conferred upon the Guzman and Brown families.

DAA recipients attended CSC for at least two years and have demonstrated exceptional service to the college or distinguished themselves in their career or community through volunteer efforts.

Olivares grew up in Lyman, Nebraska, as one of 11 children of Jesus and Olga Olivares, migrant farm workers from Texas.

Through a determination instilled by summers spent doing filed work, the help of local Vista worker Mary Lynch, and the support and encouragement of Dr. Marty Ramirez, also a CSC DAA, Olivares enrolled at UNL in 1978, the first in her family to go to college.

In 1990, as the mother of a five-year-old, Olivares graduated from UNL with a bachelor’s in Secondary Education with Spanish and Sociology endorsements. Olivares taught Spanish for 10 years, first in Lincoln, then in Gering, at both Jr High and Sr. High levels. 

While teaching in Gering, Olivares started a CSC distance learning program and earned a Master’s in Secondary Administration in 1999.

She was the Assistant Principal of Gering High School from 1999 to 2009.  She served as Principal of Gering Jr. High School for nine years before retiring in 2018. Through her time at Gering, Olivares arranged college visits for underrepresented students at little or no cost.

Olivares served as a Nebraska Sesquicentennial commission member from 2014 to 2018 and as a committee member for the National Association of Secondary School Principals from 2009 to 2013. She is also a member of the Scottsbluff/Gering Chamber of Commerce, Western Nebraska Community College Leadership Conference Committee, and the Regional West Medical Center Board of Directors.

Olivares lives in Gering and enjoys time with her husband, Curt Hanson, her children, and grandchildren.