Class of ’72 donates bench to Outdoor Learning Center

The 129 surviving alumni contributed to a legacy gift at their 50th reunion in memory of their 32 classmates who have passed away.

Members of the Park Rapids Area High School Class of 1972 presented a bench to the school as a legacy gift in honor of their 50th class reunion. Celebrating its arrival with a parade and party on Oct. 19, 2022 are, seated from left, classmates Vicki (Bishop) Walters, Violet (James) Richards, Kathy (Skoe) Tande; standing from left, Arla Wright, William Wright, Connie (Knobloch) Ball, Carey Yliniemi, Beth Yliniemi and Jim Tande.
Contributed / Vicki Walters
We are part of The Trust Project.

The Park Rapids Area High School Class of 1972 revisited its 50th class reunion last week with the delivery of their legacy gift to their old school.

According to a release from classmate Vicki Walters, 70 classmates attended the four-day reunion last August. Among other festivities, classmates had an opportunity to help purchase a legacy gift for the high school.

Principal Jeff Johnson supported the idea, Walters said. “He requested a low-maintenance bench of neutral color. This 280-pound bench will be utilized in an Outdoor Learning Center at the high school.”

One classmate who could not attend the reunion, Randy Giese, reportedly said, “Of course I’ll donate to the legacy gift bench for our school. They gave so much to us.”

The 36-inch wide, 96” long, 45” high bench was custom-manufactured by John’s Welding of Tomah, Wis. Cut out of the bench’s backrest are the words “Park Rapids Panthers Class of 1972.”


The bench was delivered Wednesday, Oct. 19, with classmates gathering on Main Ave. to celebrate its arrival with a parade following the traditional route of the 1970s where, according to Walters, “endless cars would ‘drag main,’ with windows rolled down, to wave at and see who’s in town that night.”

After various stops along the way to shoot pictures, the group finally arrived near the football field concession stand to dedicate the bench prior to the home football game against Thief River Falls.

“The bench is given to the school by the 129 living classmates of the Class of ’72, in honor and remembrance of the 32 classmates who have passed on to glory,” Walters said, adding that the class hopes to inspire future reunions to coordinate with the school to donate a legacy gift from their class.

To see more photos from the Class of ’72 reunion, visit the Facebook group “Park Rapids Area High School - Class of ’72” or

The royal couple was crowned during a school assembly on Jan. 30, followed by more spirit week festivities.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
What To Read Next
The Honor Flight will take about 90 veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars to Washington, D. C.
Paul Bunyan Communications' GigaZone Gaming Championship and TechXpo with special guest Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is set for Saturday, April 22, at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.