Class Updates!

We received life updates from many of you, and our editing team has incorporated and synchronized them with the updates we collected ten years ago.  It makes for a fun read which you can find on the update page of this reunion website.

You will find a link there that brings you to the pdf document.  It is protected to keep out the internet bots, but you can access it with the password “Spartans”.

If you were planning to submit some info about yourself but didn’t get around to it, well, we are still accepting submissions.  We’ll collect them in a batch and incorporate them in a future release. 

Reunion Wrap-Up

The class follows his direction as Ross Kyllo describes his vision for the group photo.

The 50th year Orono HS-71 reunion has now entered the history books.  To those who attended, thank you! Especially to those who traveled interstate-scale distances in these challenging times, thank you!  Over a third of the class participated, a good showing for an event like this at any time.

The reunion website has been updated with photos and videos of the event.  We encourage you to share your photos as well–just send us an email, attach the images, and we’ll add them.  You can subscribe to the website and get notices, just in case the next reunion happens sooner rather than later.  Someone has proposed annual local get-togethers before the next big one.

We have also created a private Facebook group for our class titled “Orono HS Class of 71 Reunion.”  If you are on Facebook and would like to be part of this group simply search for it by name on Facebook and click on the “Join” button.  An admin will review and approve your request.

Classmate Updates are being compiled and we encourage everyone to submit whether you attended the reunion or not.  See what your classmates were doing in 2011  and add to your stories for the 2021 edition.  

Also, be sure to keep us informed if your address or email changes.  Otherwise you may end up on the “missing” list. Please help us if you have contact information for any of the missing.

It was a wonderful get-together.  Let’s keep in touch!

–The OHS-71 50th Reunion Committee

A Remarkable Day

(photo by Beth Jackson)

Well, the 50th reunion happened just as planned with the exception of the threatening weather. The reception ended nearly two hours early, but not before we had a wonderful day reconnecting and enjoying the remarkable program assembled by Terry Tollefson, with audience support.

We were reminded that space travel had never happened before the time of our school years, but we witnessed it! Many significant events have occurred and many inventions have appeared in the half century since we graduated. After some trivia questions, Terry managed to coax our cheerleaders onto the stage to lead a rendition of the Orono Fight Song! These were only a few of the many wonderful stories and items that he presented, nicely capturing our experience in high school.

A break in the rainy weather allowed us to take a class photo, and following that, our own class musician Jeff Dayton, with another Orono alumnus Mark Bendickson, provided music that we all recalled from those years.

All in all a nice gathering, but too short! Check out the photo album. There were many more people to talk to, and much more to say!

Which means that we will have to do this again, sometime soon.

TT to MC #50

Our first class reunion was in 1976, five years after high school.  Many of us were just launching our careers and there was much comparing of our 5-year paths. There was a master of ceremonies, who, sadly, is no longer with us:  Jon Vant Hull.  I remember this detail because he awarded me the “rubber pencil award”, perhaps a comment on my frequent changes of direction since high school.  Jon was also the MC at our twentieth reunion, and he was instrumental in planning the 40th, even acting as caterer, providing and cooking the food.

Jon’s enthusiasm and good nature was infectious, and lives on among the people he touched.  We are sure that he would heartily endorse our MC for the reunion this year:  Terry Tollefson.

Less than two weeks until the reunion.  If you haven’t signed up, it is not too late.  Just visit the links below.

Thor Olson  

Reunion website:

You never know what might happen…

In our senior year, someone suggested that I run for class president.  I asked, “well, what does the class president do?”  I was told that it was pretty much a figurehead position, with lots of status but not many duties.  Oh, and they would be the one to organize subsequent class reunions.  Well, I had no interest in that obligation and wanted to avoid it at all costs, so I declined the nomination.

So it is a bit odd that I ended up on the reunion committee.  Some might even think I organized it, but that would be incorrect.  That impression is only because I bought a Zoom license so we could have virtual meetings this last year that could run longer than 40 minutes.  That meant I had to send out the Zoom meeting links and be the meeting host.  It truly was a figurehead position.

Fortunately, the committee had people who knew what needed to be done and came up with the ideas and plans and did the work to pull it off.  I have enjoyed getting together with them, even just virtually, over the last two years.

My participation might not be all that unexpected, because my life changed after the previous reunion– the 40th.  At that reunion I re-connected with the person I now share my life with— Poldi Gerard.  My first date with her was in 1968;  my second date with her was a visit to the “1968” exhibit at the Minnesota History Center, a mere 43 years later.  

You never know what might happen at a reunion.  I have enjoyed my renewed friendships with the reunion committee, and I never expected to end up with the girl I so admired in 9th grade!

Time is short.  Registering on the reunion website helps us plan for food and drink, but if you are forgetful, like me, or decide at the last minute, you will still be welcome to join us.   

I hope to see you there. Poldi and I can tell you the full story!

Thor Olson

Who’s Coming?

Sometimes, before accepting a party invitation, you want to know “who else is coming”?.  Of course extroverts will go to just about any party, but the rest of us want some reassurance that there will be someone there that we will enjoy seeing.  

Well, we can’t publish the full list of attendees yet, but so far, a third of our class has registered!  This is more than expected (typically around 25% show up at the 50th).  Now maybe all of the people you’d like to see happen to be among the 2/3 that can’t make it, but unless you had only one friend in high school, well, mathematically that’s pretty unlikely!  

So go ahead, take your chances.  What’s the worst that can happen?  You waste your evening at an outdoor summer picnic with refreshments and music, attended mostly by extroverts?  (Wait, that’s not so bad— they’ll do all the talking)!

Registering on the reunion website helps us plan for food and drink, but don’t worry, if you forget, or decide at the last minute, you will still be welcome!

Reunion website:

Ten Years On

It has been ten years since the last reunion, so it is reasonable to be anxious for the upcoming 50th.  To help prepare, you may want to review the class updates from ten years back.

During the 40th reunion all of our classmates were invited to update us.  Their responses were collected into a booklet which you may access at  It is password protected to keep the bots out, but you can access it with our team name: “Spartans”.

Perhaps you would like to update the last update.  Even if you can’t make the reunion, send us your answers to: “What are you doing these days?” “What are your favorite memories of Orono High School?”We will collect them and publish them after the reunion. Send them to

Time is short.  Only five weeks remain!  And if you are COVID-nervous, we will be following Minnesota State Health Department guidelines for outdoor gatherings:  see the description on the invitation (updated:

Registering on the reunion website helps us plan for food and drink, but don’t worry, if you forget, or decide at the last minute, you will still be welcome!

Terry Tollefson prescribes solution to anxiety dreams

Ever dream that you can’t find your locker and class is starting? That you have a test but didn’t prepare?  Forgot your homework or locker combination?  Went to school in your pajamas?  That you can’t find your high school classroom and the bell is about to ring?

Apparently these are common dreams- and the result of being subjected to years of “schooling”. The solution to those restless nights?  Go back to your high school as a grown adult and realize that these things don’t actually matter!  Reconnect with your classmates and remember that they were all great people!  Remember that we actually got a pretty good education which set all of us off on various careers from which some of us have now retired.  

Our class was unique in many ways- we literally ushered in things like calculators and computing and the space program. We attended school in every building in the district, from Stubbs Bay, to Maple Plain and Long Lake Schools, Hill School, Orono (now Schumann) Elementary, and the original Junior/Senior high school.  And we were the first class to go through all 3 years at the “new” high school.  Women’s sports got a serious start while we were there (too late, though).  We finally won a basketball championship. 

And while we experienced many of the traditional trappings of “schooling,” we also were the first to have modular scheduling (hello chocolate milk in the cafeteria) and rotating class schedules.  We went through the stresses of change in the late 60’s/early 70’s- (think student lounge, The Aquarium newspaper, Hugh Shedd and student rights, Vietnam debates, and Mr. Goulding).  We met all the challenges with creativity (Mr. Leuchtenberg’s class where a real Elilzabethian stage was built!  Plays like Brave New World presented in a gymnasium). 

This August you have a unique opportunity to reconnect at our 50th reunion!  I’m definitely coming from the Boston area, and I hope that some of you who are also far away will decide to make the journey as well!  And if you are local, well, you may see some classmates etc. regularly, but take pity on those of us who don’t get to see you and plan to come!  We only get one 50th, and luckily we have skirted the pandemic and will be able to hold it!  So if you have signed up, great!  Encourage your classmates to do the same.  And if you haven’t, well, we would love to see you so we can all “Stand up and Cheer for good old Orono!”

– Terry Tollefson



Dave Aschenbeck shares his experience

Greetings classmates,

It seems that the reunion committee is playing spin the bottle, and this time it ended up pointing at me. Too bad it means I have to write an “essay”, rather than what used to follow!

Living in Ohio for most of my working career meant extra effort to come to any reunions. I think I made it to the 10th, 20th, and 40th. Though I was never a very social individual, I was always curious about how folks were now, as opposed to my (limited) perception of them in high school.

My favorite gathering so far was the 40th, because it allowed ample time for individual mixing, which I actually took advantage of and actually enjoyed. I was surprised by the depth and range of people’s life experiences… all from our humble class of ’71 !

This reunion will also have ample opportunities for mixing. Hope you’ll take advantage of it.

Register now and get it on your calendar!


Reunion website:

Jeff Dayton makes the case to come to the reunion

Hey friends,

I confess, I haven’t been in attendance at one single reunion since we all were abruptly launched into adult life in 1971, so maybe that’s one reason I’m passionate about asking you to be at our 50th Reunion coming up August 28th. 

I’ll be flying up to MN from Nashville and will play at the event with a couple of my buddies including OHS alum Mark Bendickson ’75. Good food, old friends, casual times and live music– we’re going to have a great gathering. But it would be even better if you could join us

I don’t know if we’ll have many reunions in the future, although Linda Coffin assures us she’ll be at #60, ten years from now. For the time being, as Kenny Loggins sang, “This is it”!

It’s easy – just follow this link to the reunion page and sign up! We’ll have all the food and fun ready for you.

Hope to see you and please let us know you’ll attend.