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Hermantown all-class reunion brings everyone home

For Sandy Reinke, the Hermantown all-class reunion is more than just "coming home," it's about preserving the past. "We are in such an evolving state in Hermantown, so we're really trying to hold on to our school history," said Reinke, who for mo...

For Sandy Reinke, the Hermantown all-class reunion is more than just "coming home," it's about preserving the past.
"We are in such an evolving state in Hermantown, so we're really trying to hold on to our school history," said Reinke, who for more than two years has been at the forefront of planning the reunion.
Close to 2,000 Hermantown alumni will revisit their school years the weekend of July 20-24. Reinke said a large number of alumni have remained in the area, but those who moved to other states, or countries, may be surprised at how much their hometown has changed.
Reinke said Hermantown has changed from a school community to primarily a business community concentrated along the Miller Trunk Highway. The days are gone when there used to be a small grocery store on every corner, and the A&W (now North Shore Bank) was a favorite hangout for high school kids. But the reunion has provided an opportunity to hold onto Hermantown's memories.
"This is going to be the impetus for sparking people's interest in preserving history," Reinke said. "Connecting with the past is really important for everyone."
On Friday, July 21, guided tours of the elementary, middle and high schools will be offered to alumni.
"We're offering the tour just to let them see how much has changed. Who would have thought Hermantown would have an industrial park," said Delaine Carlson, who is on the reunion's executive board with Reinke.
During the reunion's main event at the DECC on Saturday, a Hall of Memories with pictures and memorabilia will be on display. A video about Hermantown's early days will be shown, and signs of old businesses will be featured to evoke alumni's memories.
Stations, or designated areas, will be posted in the DECC arena for those who grew up in the Fredenberg community, for the hockey team of 1947 and former school cooks and clerical staff, for example.
Reinke and Carlson are most proud of the "Memory Book." "It's going to be a real keepsake for the history of Hermantown," Reinke said.
The book has 50 pages that include school songs, teams that went to state championships and community and global events that occurred throughout the decades. Faculty are featured in the book, as well as alumni who are deceased.
"A lot of alumni wanted people who passed on to be remembered throughout the weekend and be a part of the weekend," Reinke said.
During the Saturday event at the DECC, a visual production will honor those alumni who have died. Their names will be scrolled on an overhead the entire time.
On Sunday, a memorial service will be held on the Public Safety Building's patio at 10:30 a.m. An alumni choir will sing, and alumni clergy and missionaries will read the names of classmates who passed away.
Approximately 57 memorial plants have been bought by alumni, which will be placed on tables during Saturday's reunion for centerpieces. There are tentative plans to plant them at the Public Safety Building.
Overall, the reunion is expected to be a grand event, from the activities to the decorations.
"It's going to be amazing, nothing like we've ever seen before," Reinke said. The reunion is planned to be mostly interactive, allowing classmates plenty of time to mingle with each other.
Approximately 130 volunteers have helped plan the reunion. An executive board and steering committee was formed and sometimes met three times a week. Approximately $10,000 has been collected from private and business donations, and T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more with Hermantown Hawks logos have generated money for the reunion.
When it's all over, however, Reinke's focus will remain on her original intent. She will continue to recapture lost or forgotten memorabilia, establish archives and find a place to keep Hermantown's history intact.
"My goal was always to connect the past and the present, to provide a link," Reinke said.
For more information about the reunion, call 729-7231 or visit the Web site http://www.geocities.com/
hermantownhs/

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