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Hanska High School all school reunion is well attended

The Hanska High Class of 1965 holds a 50th reunion during the all school reunion. Those able to attend include, back row L-R, Ken Solberg, Larry Harbo, Karen (Brudelie) Boesh, Gary Brudelie, Janice (Frederickson) Leick, Gary Schmiesing, Emelyn (Frederickson) Lawson, Randy Hanson, Robyn Mosenden and Terry Larson. Front row L-R: Dianne (Frederickson) Osborne, Georgine (Asleson) Tepley, Stephanie (Schmiesing) Kolbe and Billie (Mosenden) Hanson.

The following was the welcome and short review of Hanska High’s history written by Kristine Paulson and read by Joel Botten at the recent Hanska High School All School Reunion held at the Hanska Community Center. 

“Welcome to the Hanska High School Graduates Reunion. Wise, charming and entertaining students walked those hallowed halls and, according to the latest information I hear, you haven’t changed a bit. Because of the abundance of stories and story tellers, we will let you entertain each other during social hour and dinner. Later, there will be karaoke so we can sing to one another upstairs, or simply enjoy each others company downstairs.”

A look back at the history of the high school

In 1901, community leaders bought three lots on Summit Avenue for $35 and a two level wooden building was built to provide local children, grades one through 11, with a proper education. In July of 1913, the school was struck by lightning and burned. It was replaced by a two story brick building. The lowest bid of $10,582 was accepted for the construction. Remember the old fire escape on the north side of the school house? That was built in 1932 at the request of the State Fire Marshall so students on the upper level had a means of evacuation during an emergency. Did we use that for fire drills?

In May of 1933, the school board voted to change the three year high school to a four year school. Pupils could now graduate from Hanska, where before that they spent their senior year at New Ulm or Sleepy Eye. This also allowed them to compete in music or sporting contests with other schools. The first graduating class of Hanska High School received their diplomas on June 1, 1934.

Hanska High had graduated 54 students by 1939 and an “Alumni of Hanska High School” was organized. Norma Erickson, Arlo Berentson and Irene Fladmo were the officers. It seems we are the loose-knit followers of that group. The class of 1940 was the first class to wear caps and gowns for their graduation and the class of 1941 was the largest class, with 25 graduates. That class also had the first annual titled “The Pine Knot,” said to have been named for the wooden fence around the school property. We were known as the Hanska Indians and the school newspaper was “The Smoke Signal.” In 1950, the annual was renamed “Wigwam Wisdom.” It was changed to “The Viking” in 1954 and remained that name for the duration. Maroon and gold were the school colors until 1954 when they were changed to green and white.

In 1949, the basketball cheerleaders were Wally Nundahl, Bonita Oren and Harlan Vee. I think we started a nationwide trend, for many colleges now have male and female cheerleaders. Oh, yes, Hanska High was ahead of the curve. Remember Alfred Sorbel who was the school bus driver for many years? Also, Ole Troldahl, who was school custodian for 30 years? The class of 1949 dedicated their annual to him.

In 1950, an addition was added to the school. A new auditorium/gymnasium and boiler. Before that the Union Hall served as the school gym. Remember the basketball court – we’re sitting on it – and, yes, the circles all overlapped. The class of 1951 was the first class to graduate in the new auditorium. I remember being told our gym floor was the best around, I also remember how it used to buckle.


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