The Northeast School District will be celebrating its 50th anniversary and a special reunion is being planned.
Northeast Superintendent Jim Cox said in a telephone interview that it is great when any school district can look back on where it has been and celebrate its successes.
The formation of the Northeast Community School District was approved Jan. 16, 1961, by 83 percent of voters in Elvira, Goose Lake, Charlotte and several other rural districts.
An election was held on Feb. 20, 1961 to name the new district’s board of directors. The board was composed of President Jay Rickertsen, William Fey, William Dohrn, Clyde Madsen and Lafayette Kruse.
Classes began on Aug. 28, 1961 with high schools in Goose Lake and Elvira and elementary classes in all three towns. The school’s nickname, the “Rebels,” and the school colors of Columbian blue and white were chosen by the student body in the fall of 1962. Don Ketelsen from the class of 1964 wrote the words for the school song. Today the district encompasses an area of 178 square miles and includes a rural population of approximately 3,000 people.
A committee of Northeast graduates has been planning a 50-year celebration set for Aug. 20. Committee member Jana Behr, from the class of 1993, said they are excited the district is celebrating 50 years. She said she and the other committee members have been thinking about planning something for the past couple years. Everyone who attended Northeast and any current or former staff are encouraged to attend. Committee member Paula Ketelsen wanted people to be aware that local invitations will not be sent out, but everyone is still invited. Ketelsen graduated in 1967 and then taught in the district for 28 years.
The celebration will begin with self-guided tours of the schools in Goose Lake from 2 to 4 p.m. Maps and staff will be available to answer questions. Behr said she feels this part of the celebration will probably be the most interesting for those who no longer live in the area. She said Northeast has physically changed a lot since it began. From 1962 to 1967 the entire school was in Elvira. A new high school was built in 1967 and the class of 1968 was the first class to graduate from the new building. In 1997, the elementary school was built. Currently work is being done on an auditorium, safe room and some classrooms. Cox said the community has always had a vision for improving the district and achieving education. He said the graduates and former staff can be proud when they come back and see where the district is today.
“Hopefully they'll be proud of what the district has been able to accomplish. And I'm sure they will,” said Cox.
The Aug. 20 celebration will also have a social hour at 4 p.m. at the Millennium in Goose Lake, with a buffet dinner to follow from 5 to 7 p.m. A short program and music and dancing will be from 7 to 11 p.m. A slide show of old pictures will be presented during this program. Behr asked people to get any pictures or articles to her at 3822 120th St., Bryant, IA 52727. The cost of the buffet and dance is $15 each or $5 for the dance only. Reservations and money need to be received by Behr at the above address by July 31. Excess money will be donated to the school to furnish the new auditorium.
Cox commended the work done by Behr, Ketelsen, Jean Rickertsen and Gloria Heiar on the committee. He said they seem to have done a lot of work so far on the celebration.
“I've not been part of it, but from what I understand, they've done a tremendous job of getting the word out to former graduates. And I think we're all looking forward to seeing people from all over the country who have gone to school here, received an education, gone on with life, whatever their life may provide for them,” said Cox.
Cox said hopefully there will be a large group that will attend and see the progress the district has made. He said he is looking forward to having a good time seeing all of the people.