Feeling nifty at 50
B-H school district celebrates longtime consolidation

Posted July 14, 2010 at 6:23 pm


During a board of education meeting on Nov. 22, 1958, consolidation was the main issue on the table for the Boyden school district.

Would Boyden combine with Sheldon? Or what about Hull?

In the end, Boyden overwhelmingly approved joining with Hull to form what is today the Boyden-Hull school district.

The first day of classes together took place on Aug. 31, 1959, with 758 students served from kindergarten through 12th grade. The current enrollment of the B-H district is 626.

The history of the Boyden-Hull school district was feted during a 50th anniversary celebration that served as a de facto all-class reunion, which finished with a two-hour program in the high school auditorium on Saturday, July 3.

In all, more than 250 classmates were present at the gathering.

“I remember the merger,” said Becky (Vander Schaaf) Woodward, who was part of B-H’s first graduating class of 1960. “We grew to 25 kids in the class because we had 13 new kids from Boyden.”

Woodward fondly recalled Boyden-Hull’s 63-60 victory over in-town rival Western Christian during the sectional boys basketball playoffs that year.

Becky kept a copy of the student handbook in her scrapbook. She also talked about taking commercial classes at B-H, which today would be part of the business curriculum.

Woodward was one of 11 speakers during the program, which doesn’t include master of ceremonies and former Boyden-Hull history instructor Denny Wright.

“We were lucky to have enjoyed each other’s company,” said Dr. Ron Grooters, another class of 1960 representative who’s now a heart surgeon in Des Moines.

Alan R. Hesla’s daughter Joan Stevens flew all the way from Seattle to attend the function. She was another one of the guest speakers.

“I remember cruising all six blocks of Hull in a 1957 Chevrolet with the fuzzy dice on the rear-view mirror,” Stevens remarked. “And I remember it was a big adjustment for all the students, teachers, cooks, drivers and custodians when the districts merged.”

The polycom unit Joan recalled taking trips with her father early in the morning during snowstorms to determine whether or not to call off school She recalled the creaky wooden floors and the time she was caught for chewing gum on school grounds.

To honor A.R. Hesla, the football field here in Hull bears his name.

The alumni choir, under the direction of current vocal teacher Colin Conner, sang the school song and other ‘Irish-inspired’ numbers.

Former elementary school principal Vince Huls and former superintendent Craig Anderson — with his customary banjo in tow — talked about the early years of the district.

Huls championed the teaching innovations that came along, including individualized reading. Anderson discussed being superintendent when the current facilities were built during the early-1980s.

“I feel like I am a better person after having the chance to be superintendent here for 24 years,” said Anderson, who now lives up by Lake Okoboji. “I want to thank you all. It was a great place.”

Doug Beukelman spoke on the formation of the Boyden-Hull Educational Foundation in the 1990s, which included the Challenge 2000 initiative. Beukelman graduated from B-H in 1973.

The foundation helps fund scholarships and sponsors programs like the recent summer theater production of “The Story of The Velveteen Rabbit.”

“Welcome back to your school,” said former B-H principal Marj Wagner. “We’ve been able to keep this thing going. About eight hundred students came through during my time here. I’ve worked with some wonderful people.”

Wagner discussed a long laundry-like list of accomplishments the school achieved under her watch, including the establishment of the B-H quiz bowl team, the state jazz honors and 2009 trip to play in the state football championship versus Solon.

Gabe Van’t Land from the Class of 2010, current school board president Mark Warntjes and superintendent Steve Grond all provided remarks at the close of the program.

The day’s events also included a brunch for former and current staff and board members in Boyden, tours of both facilities and a pizza-and-chicken buffet dinner in the high school commons.

B-H media instructor Carla Hibma took individual class photos and attendees received a T-shirt.


Former Boyden-Hull school district superintendent Craig Anderson shows off a plaque with him playing his customary banjo during the 50th Anniversary all-class reunion in the B-H theatre on Saturday, July 3. — Photo by Eric Viccaro, Sioux County Index-Reporter

Feeling nifty at 50
B-H school district celebrates longtime consolidation