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An effort to preserve memories of the HL high school

November 19, 2007

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

The days are numbered for the current Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School building to be known as the high school.

High school staff and students will have a new home after the big move to the new school takes place sometime in February.

High schools remain a big part of people’s identities even after they graduate. “People always ask, ‘Where did you go to school?’ when you first meet them,” said long-time HLWW High School teacher Charlie Bush.

“We can’t just let this move take place as if this building never existed as a high school,” Bush said of the planned February move.

Bush, who has been a teacher at HLWW for the last 37 years, still feels like a rookie when he talks about the history of the building.

For example, the glass cases in the commons area once hosted monkeys from Kirby Klingelhofer’s biology class, Bush reminisced.

“We used to say the kids could watch their relatives as they studied,” Bush laughed.

Klingelhofer was a popular biology teacher, Bush said, and at one time white rats from his class somehow ended up roaming the halls of the school before they were rounded up.

Bush walked the halls and pointed to changes that have taken place since he’s been there.

He looked in one classroom and said, “There were windows on that far wall before we put the auditorium in.”

He pointed to the large senior picture displays down the one hall and said he hopes they stay in the building even after the move. Bush also knew who, in those classes, have since passed away and the stories behind the deaths.

“As I walk down the halls, I think of the long-time teachers who once taught in these classrooms,” Bush said.

He walked through the resource center and described how it once was the gym, and how in 1976 that gym caught fire while gym mats were being resurfaced.

“That fire caused a lot of damage. School was only open every other day that fall,” Bush explained. When the gym floor was put in, “I think it was the largest continuous wood floor in the state at that time,” he added. “That’s back when we were a big basketball school.”

The volumes of student transcripts the school keeps intrigue Bush, as well.

“We never throw those away,” Bush said. He’s even found transcripts dating back to 1913.

“The new school is great, but it will create its own new history. This is still home to a lot of these kids, and the stories make the history even richer,” Bush said.

Bush would like to get the perspective of students who graduated as far back as the 1930s and ‘40s, and any year between then and now.

He would like to organize a meeting to get as many people from as many time frames in history who graduated from the high school together to discuss creating a “tribute” to the school.

Neil Sideen of Howard Lake is said to have some interest in the project as well. Bush and Sideen have discussed the possibility of filming past students as they tour the school and detail their memories.

Those interested in sharing memories and/or being part of the discussion group may contact Bush at (320) 543-3471 or e-mail cbush@hlww.k12.mn.us.