Guest Commentary...School memories remain dearFrom Fall 1965 through the Spring 1974, I was a teacher at Cloquet Senior High School. During that period of time nearly 1,000 Cloquet students, from Susan Aalto (1966) through Rebecca Wise (1974), suffered through my typing and social studies classes.
By: Robert Lykins, Pine Journal
From Fall 1965 through the Spring 1974, I was a teacher at Cloquet Senior High School. During that period of time nearly 1,000 Cloquet students, from Susan Aalto (1966) through Rebecca Wise (1974), suffered through my typing and social studies classes. Unfortunately, I do not remember every student from those years. However, as each school year came to a close, I did mark with an “X” in the annuals those students I had in class.
Recently I sat down with the annuals from those years and what great memories they brought back. Those memories are far too numerous to mention here, but perhaps one or two deserve a comment.
Among the many courageous people I have met over the years, none shines any brighter than Roger (1966). Roger, in his senior year, decided to take extra-curricular speech. He felt this would help him with his speech impediment. Roger stuttered quite severely. I was his coach. Throughout that speech season Roger would repeatedly get up before a room full of speech judges, coaches, and students from other schools and valiantly struggle to speak his prepared remarks. Each time he would come back with less than satisfactory evaluation scores and each time we would go back to the practice room and work on his delivery. In the last speech tournament of the season, before districts, Roger was given a well-earned Superior rating. By this time everyone in the region knew of Roger and his efforts. When he went forward to accept his certificate the entire audience in a packed Denfeld High School auditorium, in an unprecedented move, gave Roger a standing ovation. I put my head in my hands to hide my tears.
The Class of ’68 was one of my favorites — even if they did leave Bret, who was wheelchair bound, sitting in the middle of the woods when the keg party got raided. As he was telling me this story, Officer Randalin cried. He couldn’t help himself as he was laughing so hard.
A group of students who came to have my greatest respect were the Native American kids who formed the first Native American Club at Cloquet High School in 1969. They were truly courageous trail blazers. Most of those original members have gone on to have careers in education and tribal affairs.
In 1974 I left Cloquet to teach overseas in the Department of Defense Dependents Schools system. In 2008 I retired as the director of above school level activities for the American schools in Europe.
Even though I have traveled and worked around the world experiencing the many wonders and adventures that it brings, Cloquet shall forever occupy a special place in my heart.
To the Cloquet High School Graduating Class of 2013, my congratulations. Best of luck. You have some mighty big shoes to fill.
Robert Lykins resides in Hutto, Texas.