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Planning begins for Nevis School District's 2012 centennial celebration

A postcard from the early 1900s showed the horse-drawn school buses ready to transport students from Nevis School. The school district will mark its century anniversary in 2012, with celebration planning underway.

The year was 1912.

The Titanic rammed into an iceberg, shattering the hull, sliding to the bottom of the Atlantic.

Robert Scott had reached the South Pole.

Arizona became the 48th state.

Mack Sennett released the first Keystone Cops movie.

And the Nevis School District formed, welcoming students at the Pleasant Avenue location in the fall of 1913.

Now planning is underway for a celebration of the district's centennial, which will be held in conjunction with Muskie Days, Friday through Sunday, July 20-22, 2012.

According to Jodi Sandmeyer, who's been conducting research on the school's inception, the first Nevis school was a one-room structure located a mile east of Nevis. Opening in 1900 with J.H. Nixon the instructor, nine boys comprised the student roster.

The Park Rapids Enterprise reported the Nevis School, welcoming students in grades 1-12, was built at a cost of $35,000. The addition of the gym and more classrooms was completed in 1922, Sandmeyer learned, this at a cost of $22,000.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Lutheran Church, now Bethany Lutheran, assumed ownership of the original school, moving it into town. The former school served as part of Bethany Lutheran's fellowship hall until the new church was built and it met its demise.

Volunteers are being sought for the school's 100th anniversary, an event designed to engage all age groups - kids to seniors.

The first formal organizational meeting for the centennial celebration was held this week, with current and former school staff and community members on board.

Tentative events on the drawing board for Friday of the celebration include school tours in the afternoon, a craft sale on the Heartland Trail, a children's musical, brats and beans on the football field and a beer garden and fish fry downtown.

An evening kiddie parade will be followed by the official welcome ceremony in Tiger Arena.

Alums will organize individual class get-togethers.

Saturday's proposed events will be similar to the classic Muskie Days' agenda, including a 5K run, kids' fishing tourney, youth musical, music, buffalo chip toss and grand parade, with classes invited to create floats.

Alums, hone your basketball skills, a tourney is on the docket Saturday night with the formation of an alumni pep band in the works.

Sunday, activities will be coordinated with the churches. A softball tournament is planned in the afternoon.

Bethany Lutheran Church will also be celebrating a century next summer.

The next planning meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 2 at the school.

School contacts include Jodi Sandmeyer, Steve Rassier, Brian DeWitt, Lyn Rittgers, Paul Schroeder and Lynne Gustafson at 652-3500.

Other committee member are Dick Magaard, 652-4001; Linda Nicklason, 652-2503, Nancy Lewis, 652-3115; Pauline Wambolt, 652-4330 and Pat Roehl, 652-3137.

Brian Skinness of Terrapin Station, 652-3091, is coordinating street dances Friday and Saturday night.

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