James Kent was born to Lt. James and Ethel Kent in Grand Forks North
Dakota on September 13, 1944. Because his dad was in the military, they
traveled the first several years of his life following his dadís military
assignments. At the end of WWII they moved to Grand Forks, ND where dad was an
elementary school principal. After several years they moved to the family farm
near Hatton, North Dakota.
Jim attended Union Township #54, a one room rural school from grades one through eight. Following grade school he attended Hatton High School graduating in 1962. Jim was president of the student council at Hatton High. They held their first homecoming dance while he was president.
Following high school he received a Myra Foundation music scholarship in voice to attend the University of North Dakota. He sang with the Varsity Bards, the University Choir, in several opera productions, soloed with the Choral Union and the Grand Forks Symphony. He also knew that he always wanted to be a teacher, and in 1966 graduated with a double Bachelorís degree in music and elementary education.
Jimís first teaching position was for the Grand Forks public schools teaching a
fifth grade classroom and music at Twining Elementary School on the Grand Forks
Air Force Base. During that year a friend who was teaching music in Crookston
resigned her position and asked Jim if he would be interested. He interviewed
and accepted the position teaching music in 6 elementary schools as well as band
and choir in each school, a position he held for three years. During this time
he decided wanted a new experience, so after doing some research found that Ball
State University in Muncie, Indiana offered summer music education workshops.
After attending one summer he realized he could apply those credits toward an
advanced degree, so after three summers was awarded a Masterís of Music in voice
and music education from Ball State University. He also knew he wanted to do
some traveling, so resigned from the Crookston schools and took a job with the
Department Of Defense, Overseas Dependentís Schools. He was assigned to the
island of Okinawa teaching students of American soldiers stationed there.
Jim was going to return to Okinawa after that year, however the teaching position he had resigned from in Crookston re-opened. Ray Dusek called and asked if he would be interested in returning. Jim returned to Crookston in the fall of 1970 teaching K-5 music and junior high choir at the new Highland Middle School. He was always interested in advancing his education, so in 1977 did a one-year sabbatical from Crookston to attend the University of North Dakota where he was a graduate teaching assistant in the music department. He sang in the Varsity Bards, singing for the national choral directorís convention, taught voice and a music education course while taking graduate classes.
Shortly after his return to the Crookston Public Schools, Jim was asked to take
the high school choir following the retirement of Garfield Reichert, a position
he held for one year. He then returned to Highland School sharing the music
responsibilities with Belinda Fjeld. Jim, along with Ardell Knudsvig, was asked
in 1986 to teach the Elements of Learning program to the Crookston teaching
staff. He and Ardell taught half time in their respective classrooms and spent
the other half time working with teachers. They conducted workshops for
teachers, and visited every classroom in the district individually. Gary
Stegman later took over Ardellís role. They worked together during the
inception of the Profiles of Learning and the advent of the testing programs in
the state, administering the first 8th grade Basic Standards tests in
1996. This began Jimís role in Curriculum, Staff Development and Assessment in
the district. During his tenure district textbook adoptions were made in math,
science, reading and language arts, and social studies.
In 1987 Jim was selected the Crookston Teacher of the Year by his teaching peers, and in 2002 was awarded the first ever Outstanding Community Supporter for Arts and Academics by the Crookston Kiwanis club.
In 2000 a group of interested folks explored the possibility of organizing a group that would support the arts programs (band, orchestra, choir, art, theater, elementary music) in the Crookston Public Schools. The Pirate Fine Arts Boosters was formed with Jim as president. Nearly $200,000 has been awarded in support of arts programs. The Pirate Fine Arts Boosters has provided scholarships for students interested in arts camps, has written many arts program grants and funded major purchases such as the sound shells that stand on the auditorium stage. The community of Crookston has shown wonderful support for this organization and the arts in the public schools.
Jim was married to Sandi Trautman in 1973 and they have two children: son Matthew and his wife Tiffany who live in Loveland, CO, and daughter Kristen and Sean Huntley in Minneapolis. He is a member of Wesley United Methodist Church, a Rotary club member, past president of the Crookston Civic Music League, the Valley Crossing Arts Council and was a board member of the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts state committee. He is a lifetime member of the National Education Association, the Minnesota Education Association and the Music Educators National Conference.
Following his ďofficialĒ retirement in 2001, Jim taught a music course at the University of Minnesota Crookston for 6 years, and continues to assist with the assessment program in the public schools. He enjoys travel, spending time with his family, winters in Arizona, plays some golf and enjoys Canadian fishing trips. His passion is singing and he continues to share that. He has been honored to be a part of many important church, community and family functions as a soloist. In the fall of 2013 with the help of the Community Menís Chorus he performed a public solo program, something he had on his bucket list.
Amy Ellingson was born and raised in Humboldt, MN and graduated from
High School in 1963. That fall she enrolled in
what was then called
Moorhead State College and graduated from there
in the spring of 1967 with a Bachelor's
degree in English and recognition in Who's Who in American
Jobs were plentiful that summer up and down Highway 75 and Amy was pleased to be offered a job at Crookston Central High School to teach senior high English. Her tentative plan at that time was to teach for a few years and then either pursue another degree or teach in another state. This plan was changed for several reasons -- her love of teaching at CHS as well as her love of Norman, Margaret, and Michael Ellingson. Norman and Amy were married in June of 1971 at the Humboldt Methodist Church in front of a congregation of family and CHS faculty.
The classrooms of Crookston Central and eventually Crookston High School were therefore the sites of Amy's 32 year teaching career. During that time Amy taught various classes in writing, mythology, humanities, and literature to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. She taught Survey of American Literature to juniors her first year so the class of 1969 was her first graduating class. They have continued to include her in their reunions as well as their recent 60th birthday celebration. Highlights of her years teaching humanities were the student bus trips she and colleague and friend Alvern Wentzel organized to the Twin Cities to attend a production at the Guthrie Theatre. This involved a departure time in the wee hours of the morning, an arrival home shortly before midnight, and attendance at school the following morning.
In addition to classroom instruction, Amy was able to work at athletic events, chaperone student activities, coach speech students, and serve as a class advisor and prom advisor. She and colleague Kathy Kling also organized and coached the Treasurettes, a dance line that is still active at CHS. She was also honored to give the graduation address to the class of 1983 which she titled "Take Care . . . But Take A Chance."
Professionally Amy held many positions in the local teacher's association serving as president in 1973-1974. Her colleagues recognized her as Teacher of the Year in the spring of 1999. Amy is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church where she sings with the Praise Singers. She also
enjoys her participation in Mathein Study Club, Book Club, OES, PEO, and serving as a board member of the RiverView Health Foundation.
Norman and Amy's family grew in 1973 with the birth of their son Erik and again in 1977 with the sponsorship of a young man, Hussein Hammoud, from Lebanon. Since that time they have been blessed with two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, four granddaughters, four grandsons, and one great grandson. Their children, Margaret, Michael, Erik, and Hussein, are all graduates of Crookston Central High School. As such, CHS truly became their "home away from home" as their professional and family life centered around youth in the classroom and in all their school and community activities.
Upon retiring it was an easy decision for Norman and Amy to remain in the community of Crookston where they daily get the opportunity to interact with former students and their families. Amy was given the opportunity to chair the Crookston United Way Board the same year Norman chaired the annual campaign. Both are members of the Pirate Fine Arts Boosters with Amy serving on its board since its inception. The Crookston Friends of the Library is very important to them as is the Thursday Brown Bag Bible Study which they attend. They also appreciated their recognition by the city Crookston as Experienced Americans and Outstanding Community Builders.
Norman Ellingson, was born and raised in Breckenridge, MN and graduated
high school there in 1952. His father and his
minister selected his
college and he headed off to Concordia in
Moorhead that fall. It was his love of
music, playing first chair clarinet in the Concordia Concert Band,
that he credits with his completion of four
years of college graduating in 1956 with
a Bachelor's degree in history.
Norman met his first wife, Donna, at Concordia and they were married in June of 1956. Their first teaching jobs took them to the town of Colstrip, MT where Norman describes his teaching assignment as "7th and 8th grade everything plus senior high social." Their daughter Margaret was born in MT. and their son Michael was born after their move to Crookston.
The fall of 1958 found Norman teaching 9th grade Civics at Crookston Central. Again, in addition to his love of classroom teaching, he was employed to assist with the music program by giving lessons to students who played woodwinds in the CHS band -- especially to clarinet players. The band director at that time was T.W. Thorson, known throughout the RRV as Mr. Music. T.W. also soon had Norman playing in the Crookston City Band as well as the Ninth District Legion Band which Norman has now been a member of for over fifty years.
The first class of ninth graders that Norman had the privilege of teaching graduated in 1962 and this class has continued to stay in touch with him. He had the pleasure of being recognized at their 50th high school reunion in 2012.
After a few years of teaching at CHS, Norman was approached by Superintendent C.P. Mickelson who asked him if he would be interested in pursuing a career in school counseling. With Mr. Mickelson's encouragement and support, as well as that of his family and other colleagues, Norman went on to get his education in Counseling and Guidance. In 1966 he became the full time senior high counselor at CHS, a position he retained until his retirement in 1992.
During Norman's 34 years at CHS he was advisor of the National Honor Society for 24 of those years, the Student Council advisor for many years, as well as a class advisor and a prom advisor. A thank you from the class of 1979 reads "In appreciation of your most dedicated time as our prom advisor. Thank you Mr. Ellingson. With gratitude, Class of '79."
Norman also enjoyed helping with the school athletic programs. For a number of years he was the time keeper and announcer at CHS football games as well as the score keeper and announcer at CHS basketball games and CHS hockey games. He also organized and ran the track meets which were held for years in the RRV Winter Shows Building. He was honored to be recognized for 30 years dedication to the Crookston Central Pirates Girls and Boys Cross-Country program for which he was the timer.
Professionally Norman was very active in the local teacher's association serving as president and also serving as president of the Western Division of MEA representing teachers of this area at the state level. His "campaign manager" when he ran for that position was the late Alpha Morck Syverson, a colleague, teacher of Latin, mentor, and a great friend to Norman and education. Active in the Northwestern Minnesota Counselor's Association, Norman served as its president from 1972 to 1974 and was recognized as the Counselor of the Year in 1973.
Over the years Norman has been involved in a number of community activities. He is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church where he was the choir director for eight years following his retirement from CHS. He is a member of the Elks and served as Exalted Ruler in 1976 - 1977. Upon retirement Norman represented Polk County for nine years on the Lake Agassiz Regional Library Board. Another highlight of his retirement was the opportunity to chair a Crookston United Way campaign.
Larry Anderson was born and raised in
Fergus Falls MN. Larry graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1974. He
attended Fergus Falls Community College where he received an AA degree in 1976;
he attended the University of Minnesota, Morris where he earned a BA degree in
Elementary Education, Phy Ed and Coaching in 1978.
Larryís first teaching position was in Page, ND where he taught sixth grade, 10th grade health and was assistant football and basketball coach and Head Track Coach. It was in Page that he met his wife, Kathy. They have been married for 33 years and have one son, Luke.
The next year, Larry accepted a fifth grade teaching position at Highland Middle School where he has taught for 33 years. For most of his years of teaching he taught sixth grade Math, Science and Reading. He enjoyed introducing sixth graders to the outdoors and environmental education.
He was instrumental in continuing the Itasca program, Highland Greenhouse and activities in the Highland Nature Center. The Itasca Program has held extra significance for Larry over the years. Showing kids the beauty and historical importance of this magnificent area has been a real joy to his life and career. Walking across the Mississippi Headwaters and the Night Hikes are wonderful memories for him and his students. He introduced countless students to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking; sharing his love of the outdoors.
Larry has also been very involved with Crookston Athletics over the years. He has coached eighth grade football for 19 years, seventh and eighth grade basketball for four years, JV boys hockey for one year and he coached track and field for 30+ years. However, Larryís passion has always been Athletic Training. Because of this in 1982-1983 Larry attended the Sports Medicine program at UND completing all coursework. He became the Athletic Trainer for Crookston Athletics in 1984 and has held that position since. Most of his time has been spent at the rink or gridiron attending to the collision sports of football and hockey. He has been a fixture at home games on the sideline or bench of countless games over a 30-year period. He has enjoyed working with the athletes, parents, coaches and local doctors; helping the student athletes get back to their level of sports as soon as possible.
Larry has just recently retired from teaching, he plans to continue working as the athletic trainer for all Crookston High School sports and volunteering with the boys and girls track teams.
Debbie (Kreibich) Hasbrouk
was born in USAH Camp Rucker , Alabama on January 24, 1952. Her family
returned to Crookton in 1953 where she attended Cathedral elementary school and
graduated from the Mount St. Benedict in 1970. Debbie attended Moorhead
State University and received an Associate of Arts Degree in 1972.
On March 4, 1972, Debbie married Jerry Hasbrouck. Debbie and Jerry have two children who graduated from Crookston High School, Tiffany and Justin. Tiffany is married to Eric Schmidt and they have a daughter Kennedy (2 years old) and son Truman (3 months old). Tiffany is a CPA and works for the city of Carbondale, Illinois as the revenue manager. Eric is a defensive coach and special teams coordinator for the Southern Illinois University Football team. Justin is also a CPA and works for PricewaterhouseCoopers, an international accounting firm, at their Minneapolis office.
Debbie was hired by Crookston Public Schools in October of 1972 where she continued to work for 40 years until her retirement in December 2012. She truly loved her job and was very dedicated to everything she did. During those 40 years she worked with nine principals, ten superintendents, six athletic directors, nine adminstrative assistants and many, many teachers. In 2010 Debbie was recognized as the Office Professional of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Prinicpals (MASSP). The MASSP Office Professional of the Year award was developed to honor and recognize an often un-recognized, but key position within the educational community, the office professional. Debbie was the first ever recipient of the award, and it continues to be one of her proudest accomplishments. Over the years she has been referred to as being the master of multi-tasking, the glue who held the office together and committed to her job, the school and the Pirate family. In addition to the MASSP award, some of Debbie's other most rewarding moments came through simply being involved with the school atmosphere. Whether it was athletics, tournaments, plays, concerts, senior day, or any of the other various events going on involving the school, there were many lasting memories made throughout the years. It was the little things, such as a student thanking her for what she had done for them, or finding out that a student had voted her as being on their top ten heroes list in Sr. English, that made her job so special.