The Bismarck High School Class of 1981 monthly update


Volume 16, April 2002

Hi everyone,

This month our newsletter includes an interview with Scott Brandt, who you may remember just, became a daddy to his second child in January. We also have a story and photos which highlight Kevin Nelson’s trip to Africa, job news from Megan, a life update from Randy Bailey, lots of birthdays, and a cute list of facts about small town America, many of them you will relate to!

A big thank you to Mike E., wasn’t it nice to read how the rest of his life is going? He promises to keep us posted of his job situation. Hopefully the next time we hear from him he will be announcing his new position!!

And as always, thank you to Wendy (Cleveland) Siegel and Dan, each and every month they make us look better and better!

Next month watch for Robert Fontenot, another person who is working in a field I wasn’t expecting! I love to hear that! Have a great month everyone! Lauri

In-depth and Personal with…Scott Brandt"

Name: Scott Brandt
Career/occupation: Adult Case Management Supervisor
Home: Cleveland, Tennessee
Family: wife-Lynne, son-Colby, daughter-Chandler
Greatest accomplishments: my son and daughter
People whom you admire and why: My family for the values that they have instilled in me.
What do you have in your pockets: two sets of keys and change
Fantasy (or reality) job: My job now, I get to help people who have difficulty helping themselves to improve their quality of life. I can't believe that I get paid to drive around town and visit with people.
Latest book you've read: CS Lewis-Chronicles of Narnia
Favorite music/musicians: 4HIM
Where haven’t you traveled? I have yet to visit the New England states
Favorite place to vacation? Any place you would recommend? St.Augustine, Florida, it is a really neat place with a lot of history. There are many things to see and wonderful places to eat.
Favorite foods: Mexican
What if any community service organizations are you involved with? Church, men's ministry and I teach a Sunday school class.
Pet peeves: People whose actions do not match their speech. It drives me nuts.
e-mail address: sbrandt@vbhcs.org



This came from Mary Fahlsing, it was an e-mail called "Welcome to Tuttle, ND". I thought that many of the small town references were very appropriate for all of us
who grew up in Bismarck. It also brought back a few memories! I hope it does
the same for all of you! Lauri

Those of us who grew up in a small town will laugh when we read this. Those of you who didn't will be in disbelief... but trust me everyone one of these is true.

You can name everyone you graduated with.

You know what 4-H is.

You went to parties at a pasture, a barn, or in the middle of a dirt road.
(Does Menoken ring any bells???? L.)

You used to lap "main".

You said the "F" word and your parents knew within the hour.

You scheduled parties around the schedule of different police officers,
since you know which ones would bust you and which ones wouldn't.

You could never buy cigarettes because all the store clerks knew how
old you were (and if you were old enough they'd tell your parents anyhow).

When you did find somebody old enough and brave enough to buy cigarettes, you
still had to go out into the country and drive on back roads to smoke them.

It was cool to date somebody from the neighboring town.

The whole school went to the same party after graduation.
(How true is this???? L.)

You don't give directions by street names or directions by references. Turn by Nelson's
house, go to 2 blocks east to Anderson's, and its four houses left of the track (field).

The golf course had only 9 holes.

You can't help but date a friend's ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.

Your car stays filthy because of the dirt roads and
you will never own a dark vehicle for this very reason.

The town next to you is considered "trashy" or "snooty", but is actually just like your town.

You refer anyone with a house newer then 1980 as the "rich people".

The people in the "big city" dress funny then you pick up the trend 2 years later.

Anyone you want can be found at the local gas station or the town pub.

You see at least one friend a week driving a tractor through town or
one of your friends drives a grain truck to school occasionally.

The gym teacher suggests you haul hay for the summer to get stronger.

Directions are given using THE stop light as a reference.

You decide to walk somewhere for exercise and 5 people pull
over and ask you if you want a ride somewhere.

Your teachers call you by your older sibling's names.

Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.

You can charge at all the local stores or write checks without any ID.

The closest McDonalds is 45 miles away (or more).

The closest mall is over an hour away.



On March 11 the Bismarck Tribune reported that the Bismarck High
Cheerleaders took first place for the third year in a row at the State Cheerleaders
competition, which was held in Fargo on the previous weekend. The article
reported that the cheer squads from wrestling, basketball and hockey join forces to
form a winter team, which then competes for the State Class A title.



Randal & Susan Bailey bring us news from the East Coast. They returned from a 3-week trip to Malaysia on March 9. Randy shares the following: "Can you say jet-lag? I was asked to go in-country to provide training to Royal Malaysian Airforce personnel. Susan went along for moral support and spent most of her time on or near the beaches of Penang. (No, the Muslims were not a problem and yes, the food was great.) On the flight home we passed over Oahe reservoir near Fort Yates. We attempted to spot Bismarck to
the north but without success."

He also shared with us that daughter Jessica is attending Junior College in Manchester NH
and has been accepted to Keene State in NH. She is intent on being a teacher. Daughter Meredith is also attending Junior College in Manchester, NH and hopes to go to a "real" school in the fall. She is presently weighing a possible move to South Carolina and has been checking schools in the Charleston area. He also mentions that Jessica’s boyfriend, a Mr. Cody Kretschmer, has received an athletic scholarship to University of Connecticut for track. Cody is a very fast hurdler and if you’re into the track & field scene, you may see his name
again. Cody will graduate from PA in June.

Randy’s last bit of news relates to the attacks on 9/11. He states that his employer, BAE Systems dedicated a newly renovated wing of the Merrimack facility to the memory of Charles E. Jones. Charles died on 9/11/, American Airlines, Flight 11. Those of you who read the October newsletter may remember that Charles was an employee with the same company that Randy works for in Derry, NH.

Kevin Nelson just returned from a 17-day trip to Africa. He was on a church mission for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The mission was to consult with various people in the Central African Republic to set up schools and educational facilities. Below you will find observations from his trip and some wonderful photos.

Village Schools Project, Central African Republic

Kevin Nelson, March 2002

With literacy rates as low as 17% in rural Central African Republic areas, illiteracy is one of the major concerns being addressed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Central African Republic (E.L.C./C.A.R.). Fortunately, they do not have to tackle the problem alone. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is supporting the Village Schools Project of the ELC/CAR with missionaries and a recent visit of a consultation team.

This past fall, five schools opened in small rural villages in the Central African Republic (CAR), thanks to the Village Schools Project. Five more are planned each year for the next three years. The new schools have only first grade but will grow as the classes advance.

Five North Dakotans (3 from Fargo, one from Williston and me, from Bismarck) and an American missionary from Tanzania went to CAR on a consultation for the Village Schools Project (VSP). Our mission had three primary goals; establish solidarity between the ELCA and ELC/CAR, provide moral and intellectual support to the ELC/CAR education committee, and develop recommendations to make the project self-sustaining. Four individuals, an American missionary and three CAR natives, comprise the ELC/CAR education committee.

Education under this project consists of 42 to 94 students, ranging in age from six to ten years old, with one teacher, in one "room." Because financing is tight, students share textbooks. Each school has only fifteen books, presenting difficulty for even the smallest school in Barde with 42 students. At 94 students, Zoukombo has less then one book for six students.

Visual aids are non-existent. Whatever the teacher wants to depict has to be drawn on a blackboard. Math and counting are done with bamboo sticks, called batons. Rather than paper and pencils, students use slates and chalk.

The school buildings are open-air hangars, made of tree limbs and a grass thatch roof. At 25 feet by 40 feet, their school buildings are smaller than some Americans’ garages. "Desks" are merely split logs, used for the seats and the desks. The dirt floors present interesting challenges during the wet season, when 60 inches of rain can come in one month. Compound these challenges with leaky grass roofs and it makes one appreciate the comfortable buildings we have here, at home.

After 32 hours of flying, and time spent in airports, we arrived in CAR. Upon arriving, the first notable impression was three distinct aromas; two were familiar, one was not. The smells of smoke and humans were easily distinguishable. Smoke fills the air because "Africa is on fire." In order to clear land for deforestation, agriculture and construction, Africans burn all the vegetation off the site. Without the "luxuries" of safe, reliable running water, and deodorant, the pungent, musky smell of humans fills the air.

The most offensive of the smells was one we had never encountered previously. It is the smell of their staple food as it ferments and dries. This staple food is a tuber called manioc. It is the root of the cassava plant, which originated in South America. Cassava is drought and blight resistant. Once planted, it requires very little attention and grows with minimal moisture. However, manioc has no nutritional value. It has no vitamins and no minerals. It is only a filler to alleviate hunger pangs.

Homes are small, humble, three-room structures made of either bricks or grass. Roofs of "rich" people are corrugated metal. Everyone else has grass roofs. Their kitchens are in located their back yards. This is design by function. By building the kitchens apart from the home, cooking does not heat up the house or fill it with smoke.

Occasionally privacy fences enclose their yards. These fences are mostly grass thatch but occasionally are corrugated sheet metal. Usually, however, backyards are not enclosed but are shared by neighbors. Yards are small, with no grass but usually have mango, papaya or banana trees. Running in the yards are children, chickens and goats.

Transportation is an interesting adventure. We traveled to the villages in two Land Rovers. Rarely did we encounter other vehicles on the road. When we did see other vehicles, they were usually timber trucks or bulk fuel trucks. Walking is the primary mode of travel. Travel is limited to daylight hours because elephants use walk along the roads between sunset and sunrise.

Without adequate funding for day-to-day living necessities, repairing roads is very low on the priority list. Roads are dirt roads – not gravel, but dirt. "Pot holes" large enough to lose one of the Land Rovers in give cause to pay close attention to the road. Traveling 60 miles takes nearly five hours.

A popular question being asked is "Why send North Dakotans?" To promote its world outreach efforts, ELCA established the Companion Synod Program, where an ELCA synod is partnered with a Lutheran synod in a foreign country. Each ELCA synod supports its companion synod with manpower, financial power, and most importantly with prayer. ELCA has two synods in North Dakota – the Western North Dakota Synod and the Eastern North Dakota Synod. Each of these synods has the ELC/CAR as its companion synod.

In addition, CAR is not so different from North Dakota; just lagging in development by about half-a-century. CAR is a predominantly rural country. Its landmass is approximately the same size as the state of Texas. It is a land-locked country. Current estimates put the population around 3.5 million people, of which almost half live in the capital city, Bangui. Outside the capital city, the vast majority of the people are subsistent and nearly sub-existent farmers. A beautiful, loving people with strong family values, their faith is humbling yet energizing. They are thankful for everything they have, even as little as that may be. They thank
and praise God in spiritually uplifting ways.

Three objectives of the church are to increase literacy, improve health care, and eliminate problems associated with water. Water problems include water supply (too much during rainy season, not enough during dry season) and water quality (waterborne diseases, pathogens and poisons). Knowing that the last two take trained and educated people, the church has decided to address education first. The church has a vested interest in educating the rural areas. Illiteracy is a concern of the church because without literacy, people are not able to read and learn the word of God. Teaching people to read strengthens faith-life. Therefore, the Village Schools Project is an evangelic outreach to our brothers and sisters in the Central Africa Republic.

Being a civil engineer, I had many "requests" to stay in CAR to help them with their transportation, water, and waste handling problems. They are in dire need of our help. For now, the most effective way we can help is to pray for their continued growth and improved living conditions, and for the success of the Village Schools Project. As a condition of being selected for this trip, I have to deliver presentations to at least 25 ELCA congregations in western North Dakota. For those of you reading this who are members of a Western North Dakota Synod congregation of the ELCA, contact your church to encourage them to set up a date and time with me to visit your church. I have dozens of digital pictures to share and a more in-depth discussion about the country, the people, the church and the project.

My trip to Africa was enlightening, spiritually uplifting, educational and at the same time very, very humbling. I strongly encourage anyone with an inkling to participate in a project like this to actively pursue it. I am sure you will come away from it with a new perspective on life.




Megan (Gerboth) Affa is enjoying her new role as a "MOM". She is also enjoying her new stay-at-home job! She sent us this update! "I have a new job working as a medical editor;
I just get on my computer and basically proofread medical documents every day.
It's for a company based out of Austin, Texas, which has a 5000-doctor clientele.
I really love it! I just bought a new Dell computer and am getting high speed
Internet, so I will be in computer heaven! Plus, I'm still working in the ER once
or twice a week, at a hospital in Wheat Ridge, CO."


If you can't be a good example, then
you'll just have to be a horrible warning.

-Catherine Aird-


Happy Birthday to the following people,
all but one of them is celebrating their 39th birthday this month,
take note Myra is celebrating her 40th! HAPPY DAY MYRA!

Myra (Kordonowy) LeCaptain
Lori (Grishkowsky) Pettis
Kathy (Nies) Tschosik
Mikel Feist
Kristi (Backstrand) Learn
Megan (Gerboth) Affa

We hope you have a wonderful day!

For all of you celebrating a birthday this month, I suggest you try this link! Chuck Glaser sent it to me and it is kinda cool. It gives you a time line, which tells you what significant things have happened during your last 39 years. It also compares your age to others, like I am 2 years, 7 months older than Cindy Crawford! It is pretty interesting!


Tammy (Schlinger) and Wally Siems – 14 years
Wendy (Rios) and Tony Bosch –15 years
Tom and Kim Gerhardt – 17 years
Barb (Morlock) and Kirby Steinke – 18 years
Leroy and Brenda (Jundt) Gross – 19 years

Our sincerest congratulations to all of you!



Our sincerest sympathies to Pearl Thorndal and her family,
her father, Herbert Thorndal Jr. passed away in early March.


Remember when…… (submitted by Megan (Gerboth) Affa)

Does anyone remember the parties I used to have when my parents went out of town--I remember one time Brad Wolfer drove his little white car through the gate in my back yard, drove up the hill and parked right behind the house, and then hooked up his car stereo inside the house somehow. I think he was the one who convinced me to have that party, including possibly Steve Pflipsen and Stace Gendreau? That was a long time ago; can't remember for sure! Anyway, my parents never found out about the parties, which was surprising since the cops usually showed up!

New Phone, New E-Mail Addresses, and

New Postal Addresses

We have received new e-mail addresses for the following people: Doug Rian, Lisa Ilse, Robin (Middaugh) Jossart, Sue (Wheeler) Trim, Jeff Seifert, Steve Durow, Phil Case, Lisa (Stratton) Lewis, Gretchen Larson, Larry Brooks, Kenny and Shelly (Bernhardt) Kleinsasser, Alan Bain, Shelly (Gabel) Kostelcky, David Brown, Megan (Gerboth) Affa, Penny (Berquist) Barrick, and Duane Jahner.

We also have new postal addresses on Elaine (Morgan) Fredrickson, Roxann (Almer) Giles and Phil Case.

If you would like any of the new info., contact me!

(For privacy reasons, I will not post that type of info. on this web page.)

We now have e-mail addresses for over 230 classmates,

if you would like to find someone let me know!


Does anyone know how to reach these people? We will take any information that
you may know about any of them, siblings’ names, parents, old work places, etc.!
I would love to "refind" these people!


Troy Bailey
Tim Mattis
Margaret (Dockter) Chee
Sara (Jensen) Fritz-she is teaching in Detroit Lakes
LeAnn (Leben) Holkan
Sandra Schumacher
Patricia Schreiner
Rita Ziegler
Scott Jacobson
David Gelvin
Kathy Berg,
Karen (Oswald) James-she is still is Bismarck, can someone help?
Mary (Sweeney) Crompton

If you guys are reading this could you please get in touch with me! Your addresses have changed, your phone numbers are disconnected or your e-mail boxes are full! I would love to keep in touch with everyone! Thanks very much! Lauri


I am having great fun doing this for all of you every month! Feel free to let me know your thoughts and impressions on where you would like this newsletter to go or what you would like to know more about! Also, if you are willing to be interviewed, contact me, we would love to hear from you! See you next month! Lauri keckmann@packersrock.com