Former students of the “old” Haug school and the “new” Haug-Leo school gathered at the Community center in Greenbush on July 4th for their first time ever Haug-Leo class reunion.
It was a day of renewing acquaintances, sharing memories of the “good old days”, and great food.
The history of rural schools dates back to the late 1800’s. Within a township one section of public land was set apart by the U.S. Government for the maintenance of public schools.
The “old” Haug school (Dist. 16) was organized January 1,1989. In 1910-11, districts 58, 15, U19, and part of 7 and 13 became a part of District 16. At this time a new school was built with a “grand porch and four wooden columns”. The building suffered damage from a cyclone in 1913. By 1917 there were as many as 90 children transported to the school by horse-drawn “busses”.
The late Lenora (Ryan) Haug had written in a letter, “I came to Dist. 16 in 1918. I was young and it was my first big assignment.
Two other teachers and I were given the key to the cottage (where they lived). One night we heard a noise and investigating found two wolves trying to raid our meat box (no refrigerator).
Norwegian was spoken freely but (I) learned little besides Norwegian basketball. I insisted on only English being used and nearly lost my job!
Mrs. Haug taught for six years, all grades at different times.
In later years, around 1935, high school students were bussed to Greenbush for high school classes.
The structure received much damage done by water in 1946-47. Board member Ben Christianson and County Superintendent of Schools Charles Christianson were instrumental in securing $9,000 from the State Board of Education which was needed and applied on a new building at Haug-Leo. Construction began in 1950 and by February 1, 1961, was in full use. Shortly after, Dist No. 32 was added as well as the Juneberry district.
Those at the reunion were privileged to have two past school teachers present … Arlaine (Pederson) Duray of Greenbush and Clara (Kompelien) Johnson, Roseau, Minn.
Thanks to Arlaine for sharing some of her teaching memories …
The old Haug School was large for a country school. It had three classrooms. I believe I and one other are the only teachers still alive from there.
There was no electricity. We used kerosene lamps at night. We carried water from a pump outside to fill the drinking fountains. There was a big coal burning stove in the corner of each classroom. We carried the coal in pails from a room in the building. We rose early in the morning and got the fire going so it would be nice and warm when the children came.
We had outdoor toilets. We received $15.00 a month for doing our own janitor work.
It was an old building so we had mice, so after school when we sat in our rooms preparing our next day lessons, it was quiet and the mice came out of hiding to find any scraps the kids might have dropped from their lunch pails.
One of the teachers was afraid of mice, so often we’d hear a squeal from her room and knew a mouse got close to her desk. One time the noise was louder than normal so the other teacher and I ran in to see what happened. She was sitting on top of her desk and there was a weasel on the floor close by. We calmed her down and told her weasels kill mice so we like them.
There was a small house in the yard we called the teacher’s cottage, very handy for us to live close to the school.
The children were wonderful. I taught 1st and 2nd grade and enjoyed it so much. They were so eager to learn and so well behaved. I loved them all and have many fond memories of our time together.
They were lucky because soon after our time together they got a brand new school building with all the modern conveniences, but I bet they have fond memories of the old place too.
Arlaine Duray taught for two years at the Haug school. Clara Johnson did her teachers training there and then went on to teach at the “new” Haug-Leo Consolidated School District 679. The school was in operation until 1970-71 when of all rural schools came to an end.
A heap of thanks goes out to Bernie Wilebski, and Bernard and Mary Beth Gonshorowski for cooking and serving the food, and to all of the others who contributed to the potluck. A special thanks to Lawrence Gonshorowski and Colette Mooney for spearheading the awesome event!
To see the complete story, read the July 10 issue of The Tribune in print or online.