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RHS Class of 1954 Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

The alumni of the Rolfe High School class of 1954 gathered in Rolfe on July 10, 2004, for their class reunion. The committee of Marilyn Erickson Nelson, Jenalea Hansen Hilton, LaVonne Page Howland, Roger Simonsen, Jerry Freeman, Dennis Shimon, and Jim Block coordinated the reunion activities with the Greater Rolfe Days celebration held that same weekend. In addition, a best ball golf game was held in the afternoon and a catered dinner and social time were held in the evening at the Rolfe Golf Course.

Time was taken to honor the deceased classmates. They included Kenneth Hughes, Arlen Hansen, Curt Kerns and Sally Phillips. Jenalea had prepared a wonderful booklet of letters, photos, and memorabilia was given to each class member.

Photo taken by Lois Shimon and submitted by Joy Wilcox Hartsock.
Click on photo for a larger version and list of classmates' names.

Rolfe School Building at Risk
February 26, 2004

based on a report by Charles A. Gunderson
a Rolfe attorney and farm manager
RHS Class of 1962

Within the last two weeks, about a third of the bricks have fallen from the west half of the south end of the oldest section of the Rolfe school building. It was built in 1917. The facility has been part of the Pocahontas Area Community School District since the fall of 1990 and has housed the PAC middle school. During the 2002–2003 academic year, the middle school had an enrollment of 216 students. In the fall of 2003, that figure dropped to 198 students.

Apparently, school officials are concerned that bricks will also fall from the south part of the west side of the building. The problem has resulted from years of freezing and thawing of snow in the roof area. The snow accumulation was much greater this year. On Monday and Tuesday, the school did not use the south quarter of the building.

The state fire marshal visited the building on Wednesday and determined that the loss of bricks has weakened the building’s structure and that there is some "swaging" in the floors. The fire marshal also ordered that the entire old section of the building evacuated at 12:15 pm. A crucial reason was that without access to the north part of the building, the school had only one major fire escape route. Students were told to get all of their belongings out of the old building. The rest of the day, school was held in the gymnasium, and on Thursday and Friday, school was cancelled at the Rolfe center. Friday was to be a day off anyway.

Today there are cars and trucks at the Rolfe school. Apparently workers are loading and taking things to the Pocahontas school building, where space will be reorganized to accommodate all of the district’s students.

The decision about the long term fate of the Rolfe school building has yet to be made. During the last two years, there was an average of only 24 students in the PAC district Kindergarten roundup. The number includes students in the Pocahontas Catholic school, which has classes through sixth grade. The Rolfe school site would have been used potentially for only another seven years — more or less — depending on budget constraints, even if no major repairs had to be done to the building. The PAC administration doesn’t yet know what the repair costs will be. There is some talk around local coffee tables and on the streets of Rolfe that the range may be $100,000 – $4,000,000.

The Pocahontas Area Community School District and the Laurens-Marathon district have been sharing a superintendent this year. When some of the Rolfe locals conjectured that there could be a possible price tag of $4,000,000 for repairs to the Rolfe building, at least a few speculated that there were ulterior motives and the high figure was merely a scare tactic to close the Rolfe building and bring the PAC and L-M districts together.

Former superintendent of the Pocahontas schools, Dennis Pierce, retired at the end of the 2002-2003 school year after about 30 years as head of the PAC district. Laurens-Marathon superintendent, Michael Wright, held that position for several years before taking the job this year as superintendent for both districts.

Over the last three or four decades, repair to the exterior wall of the Rolfe building had been done on an "as needed" basis. Bricks that fell were replaced. Now, however, the problem needs substantial repair. The report by the state fire marshal and the evacuation of the building is sobering and may cause locals to realize the price of repairing the facility would indeed be a high one. Of course, it is too early to tell whether the PAC district will repair or discontinue using the Rolfe site.

Click here for a Feburary 26 article in the Fort Dodge Messenger about the Rolfe school building.

(Note: We hope to provide additional reports and some photos of the building.)

Jeanette Winkleblack graduates from University of Iowa

Jeanette Winkleblack of Rolfe graduated with high distinction from the University of Iowa on Saturday, May 17, 2003. She received here Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in a ceremony held in the Hancher Auditorium on campus. this auditorium was named after Virgil Hancher, a Rhodes Scholar, and a 1914 graduate of Rolfe High School.

Jeanette graduated in 1976 from Rolfe High School, and received her Associate Degree in nursing from Emmetsburg Community College in 1980.

Those who attended her graduation were her husband, Bill, and their three daughters, Jenny, Krista, and Ashley. Also attending were her parents, Virgil and Donna Behrendsen, Gilmore City.

From the Pocahontas Record-Democrat, May 28, 2003, page 4B.

Former Rolfe Teacher and Coach Retires

Dick Barrett retired in 2003 after 16 years as a guidance counselor and coach at the Lincoln Central Middle School in Estherville.

According to an April 22, 2003, article in the Estherville Daily News, “Barrett began his teaching career 34 years ago in Rolfe, where he taught middle school and high school social studies, physical education and one year as a guidance counselor. He also coached football, basketball, baseball, track and cross country while he was there.

“In 1987, he accepted a job with ELC, where he currently is a guidance counselor and coaches high school track and eighth grade football. ‘I am originally from Armstrong, so it was nice to be able to return to the area,’ he said.”

Clara Gunderson Hoover (Class of 1960) Receives Award

The University of Nebraska-Omaha held its 2003 student honors convocation on Sunday afternoon, April 6, conveying some 17 major awards. Clara Gunderson Hoover, a 1960 graduate of Rolfe High School, was awarded the Helen Hansen outstanding graduate scholarship. Clara is a student in the UNO College of Education and will finish a doctorate in educational administration in May.

Click here for our complete report on Clara.

Archives of Bulletin Board Essays and Photographs


Bulletin board page from 2005.

Bulletin board page from 2004.

Gazette editor Helen Gunderson writes essay about war and peace.

Chris Simonson becomes obit editor
Alum honored for law practices
Class of 1977 reunion
Class of 1962 reunion
Interesting commentary
Rolfe alumna carries Olympic torch

Winter Weather and Twins
Romance and Friendship (we've lost the file)
March Madness
No Man is an Island —  Reflections on PACS Commencement
Class of 1951 and DMT Reunions plus a lot more about DMT
Thoughts about Patriotism
Food for Thought about Simplifying the Holidays

RHS Book of Essays Available for Purchase

We've published a book of the essays from this website. It includes editorial material not available online as well as photographs and some artwork by Darlene Brinkman. Order yours now or purchase one at the Rolfe State Bank or Mary's Bookshelf at the Pocahontas Pharmacy.  The deadline for submitting essays to be included in the book was September 30, 2001; however,  new essays for the web site are always welcome. 

click here for information about the book
click here for a book order form
click here
for essay guidelines
click here to read current essays on-line

Submitting Information

If you have information you would like posted on this page, please contact us the who, what, when, and when of the announcement or story. Submitted items should be consistent with the terms of service of this website. We also encourage you to send ideas for our monthly theme as well as feedback about this site.

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