History of the Class of 1961



We, the graduating class of 1961, wish to dedicate our annual to Miss Roberta Robinson for devoting 38 years of teaching to our school.  We thank her for helping us on our upward climb.

1961 will be a year we will always remember, because no matter how you look at it, it will always be 1961, the year we graduated.  As we march up the aisle to receive our diplomas, we will begin to remember all the fun we have had the last four years.

As we entered our freshman year, we saw 32 timid freshmen.  They were Lois Armstrong, Darlene Bornholdt, Donna Buttenschon, Darrell Clayton, Kelly Dorscher, Billy Griffith, Mary Ellen Griffith, Wayne Holst, Judy Hansen, Mary Beth Kilstrom, Walt Knudtson, Carolyn Kuhr, Jon McAvoy, Jean Mertz, Beverly Namanny, Larry Neff, Haeven Pedersen, Bruce Peters, Bonnie Petersen, James Rasmussen, Gary Russmann, Mary Sampson, Larry Sievers, Iris Spangler, Kay Smyser, Jerry Stadt, Ron Terry, Gloria Thomas, Dennis Thomsen, Anne Weir, Gary Wendelin, and Sharon Wilson.

One of our first important duties was the election of class officers, who were Jerry Stadt, president; Wayne Holst, vice-president; Larry Sievers, secretary, and Bruce Peters, treasurer.  We also chose Miss Mary Lou Graves and Mrs. Alice Drake as our class sponsors.  We will always remember the welcoming party the seniors gave us by making us wear silly clothes, walk backwards, and carry two raw eggs which the seniors autographed, and we also had to give them gum.  We also received many wonderful surprises that evening.  We were the last class to be initiated!

“The Game is in the Bag” was the theme of our float which won fourth prize.  Our candidate for queen was Beverly Namanny.

We lost Larry Neff, Sharon Wilson, and Jerry Stadt during the first semester and gained Ron Hall to end the freshman year with a total of thirty, not so timid freshmen.

Twenty-nine members returned to enter our second year of high school.  Iris Spangler moved away during the summer.  We gained Rosie Longhry during the year, but she moved away again before the year was over.  Ron Terry moved to Underwood during the second semester.  To start our duties, we elected Gary Wendelin, president; Larry Sievers, vice-president; and Denny Thomsen, secretary-treasurer.  Our class sponsors for this year were Mr. Paul Nichols and Mr. Bill Roberts.

Our float “Expecting a Victory” won first prize.  It was a stork carrying the traditional load.  We were happy to have Anne Weir chosen as candidate for queen.  Six girls and six boys were chosen to wait on table at the Junior-Senior Banquet, “The Arabian Nights.”

When we entered our junior year, we also entered into fun, finance, and food.  During the summer, we lost Mary Beth Kilstrom, who moved to Missouri Valley, and Beverly Namanny; but we gained Ken Nielsen, who moved here from Avoca and Dorothy Park, who moved here from Council Bluffs.  As in the past two years, our first duty was to elect class officers, who were Ron Hall, president; Lois Armstrong, vice-president; Gary Russmann, secretary; and Bruce Peters, treasurer.  We had the fortune of having Mrs. Ruby Smith, Mrs. Elfrieda Devine, Miss Ann Stevenson, Mr. Paul Charter, and Mrs. Alice Drake for our class sponsors.  This was the first year we had a student council and we chose three juniors to represent us.  Next among our many activities, we received our class rings, “Starfire.”  To help us toward our Junior-Senior Prom, we sold food at the different games, had a car wash, a slave auction, and our class play, “Aunt Abby Answers an Ad,” under the direction of Mr. Smith.

Our float was “Knock ‘Em Cold,” with an igloo on it, which won fourth prize.  Judy Hansen and Lois Armstrong were picked to be our queen candidates.

To end an exciting year, we had a banquet in the school lunchroom and prom in the gym.  We picked an “Evening in Paris” as our theme and carried it out with an Eiffel Tower and sidewalk cafes.

At last we reached our goal as we entered our last year of high school.  We gained Barbara Stamp and Barbara Phillips from Lewis, because their school burned down and lost Bruce Peters, who moved to Harlan, Ken Nielsen, and Haeven Pedersen, making a total of twenty-six.  For our last and final year we elected Judy Hansen, president; Gary Wendelin, vice-president; Anne Weir, secretary; and Jon McAvoy, treasurer.  Our class sponsors were our superintendent, Mr. Smith, and our principal, Mr. Tom Adolph.

We were very happy that we received first prize for our float “Let’s Raise Elliott’s Hare” and that Gloria Thomas was chosen queen and Walter Knudtson king.

Our last activities included: parties, class play, skip day, Junior-Senior Prom, and, last but most important of all, was our Commencement Exercises.

In looking over the records we discovered that only nine members of the class had gone to Walnut school all twelve years.  They were Darlene Bornholdt, Donna Buttenschon, Billy Griffith, Mary Ellen Griffith, Jon McAvoy, Jean Mertz, Larry Sievers, Denny Thomsen, and Anne Weir.

As Commencement ends there are twenty-six members who receive their diplomas.  They are:  Lois Armstrong, Darlene Bornholdt, Donna Buttenschon, Kelly Dorscher, Bill Griffith, Mary Ellen Griffith, Ron Hall, Judy Hansen, Wayne Holst, Walter Knudtson, Carolyn Kuhr, Jon McAvoy, Jean Mertz, Dorothy Park, Bonnie Petersen, Barbara Phillips, James Rasmussen, Gary Russmann, Mary Sampson, Larry Sievers, Kay Smyser, Barbara Stamp, Gloria Thomas, Dennis Thomsen, Anne Weir, and Gary Wendelin.

As each member leaves school to fulfill his goals, he will always have a 1961 annual to bring back memories.