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Cokato Museum’s exhibit ‘One Era Ends, Another Era Begins’ opens Wednesday
July 5, 2010

Exhibit features high school memorabilia from the late Cokato Cardinals and early Dassel-Cokato Chargers

By Kristen Miller

COKATO, MN – As a way to represent the transition that took place in 1972 when Dassel and Cokato high schools merged and the Cokato Cardinals became the Dassel-Cokato Chargers, the Cokato Museum is displaying a number of items representing this time in its new exhibit open Wednesday, July 7.

The exhibit, “One Era Ends, Another Era Begins: The Final Years of Cokato High School & the Early Years of the Dassel-Cokato High School,” is set up like backward bookends, described Mike Worcester, Cokato Museum director.

The items on display show the end of the Cokato Cardinals and the beginning of the Dassel-Cokato Chargers.

“When you lose one identity, you gain another,” Worcester said, referring to the two school districts combining.

Upon entering the exhibit, one can see memorabilia from the last Cardinals graduating class (1972) and the first graduating class of the Chargers (1973). Such items include tassels, yearbooks, class rings, and diplomas.

Band uniforms are another example that shows the former Cardinals and the new Chargers.

The museum had a similar exhibit in 1997, but was specific to Cokato High School, Worcester said.

Since then, the museum has acquired more and more artifacts from both the early days of the Dassel-Cokato High School and later days of Cokato High School.

Worcester noted that this year’s sophomore class will be the 40th graduating class from Dassel-Cokato High School.

In the exhibit, some of the items are from the museum’s collection, while others are on loan, according to Worcester.

“High school memorabilia tends to be intensely personal to people, therefore people tend to hang on to those items much longer,” he said.

Also in the display, is a story of how the school got its name on the basis of a coin toss.

Trophies from 1929 to 1972 from Cokato High School are also on display in their original display case.

Once consolidated, the display case was moved from Cokato High School and used for storage in a science room at Dassel-Cokato High School. It was later donated to the museum by the DC School District.

The display even has wills from the graduating classes of 1970 and 1974, when seniors willed something to an underclassman, Worcester explained.

In 1970, for example, Terry VanDeSteeg willed his nature ability to Gary Forsman “in hopes that he discovers as much as Terry has.”

One of the wills from 1974 reads, “Ron Beckman wills his late night hours to Doug Abramson.”

Other items on display include photographs and a variety of memorabilia and artifacts from both schools.

The exhibit is open from Wednesday, July 7 through Sunday, Oct. 31.

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