2015 Alumni Awards
Outstanding Graduate Award was given to Clarence Ahlstrand – Class of 1936
When I interviewed Clarence, he was two days short of his 97th birthday.
Clarence went to Cloverblossom School for the first eight grades. This is the school on the Almelund Threshing Grounds. For grades 9 and 10 he went to Chi-Hi and grades 11 and 12 he went to Taylors Falls, graduating in 1936.
He is the last survivor on his 1936 class and is the oldest living graduate of Taylors Falls School.
After graduation Clarence went to American College in the Twin Cities.
He was scheduled to start work with the DNR but one week before he was to start, he was drafted in the Army and headed for Camp McCoy.
He started training in the Airborne Division as a paratrooper but was
injured on his 3rd jump and that ended that.
He became part of an experimental unit where they flew cargo to the
troops. After 4 months in Ireland, he was sent to Omaha Beach as part of the Normandy Invasion. He was in the 2nd Infantry and in the 2nd wave. This meant that they were two miles off shore waiting to land the next day. Clarence was on the last boat to land on Normandy.
Clarence was with the 2nd Indianhead Division and he was in the invasion at Brest and the Battle of the Bulge as well as Normandy.
After the war he returned to Southern Minnesota where he worked on a farm until he had to return to his Century farm to farm and take care of his parents.
He remains on the home farm where he and his late wife, Cilia, raised
Cilia was also a cook at Taylors Falls School for many years.
Outstanding Staff/Faculty Award was given to Neva Noyd (1969-2011)
I was born the youngest girl of four. I think Dad gave up the idea of having a boy, no more, no more.
Between my older sister, Helen (a future teacher), and a teacher friend of the family, I started reading when I was only three. I loved books from day one. With my nose in a book, I had fun, fun, fun.
My family moved from Turtle Lake to a farm three miles north of Poskin. That is where my formal education was about to begin. It started in a one room, 1st through 8th grade, brick, country school. I walked a mile and a half round trip and thought it was cool.
I remember helping other students with their schoolwork, for me this was a big time perk. That had to be where the education bug first bit. I knew at that point that I wouldn’t quit.
One day our school was closed because my teacher became sick. My sister taught at the next school 3 ½ miles away-I walked-surprised her-pretty slick.
I graduated from 8th grade with three other kids and me. Four years later I graduated from Barron in a class of 103!
Next I worked at Prudential Insurance in Minneapolis for a year. This wasn’t the future job for me it became perfectly clear!
I married Luther, a graduate from Taylors Falls. We had two daughters, Kathy and Vicki. There were bumps, bruises and the normal close calls. I worked as a para for the nine month term. I needed to go to school this job definitely did affirm.
Next, I started summer school and night classes at River Falls and night classes through Hamline just to stir the mix. I drove to a two year county college in Frederic to complete the basics. This was not too smart. My logical order was off from the start. My timing sequences needed to improve. For someone who watched mileage and gas money, I was not in the groove. The county college had been in St. Croix Falls, only 5 miles away. The year before I started it was moved to Frederic, 25 miles farther east on the highway
I started teaching fifteen first graders in the history room. We didn’t have a lot of elbow room. This is one year I will remember always. We took turns breathing and walked on the chalk trays. The next year I taught 5th and 6th grade split. I was so happy to have taller kids that I wouldn’t step on in my classroom. They were great kids, I have to admit.
If we had a snow day, I would usually go to school. That was a normal unwritten Mrs. Noyd’s rule.
A Masters in Reading was my next goal. Four of us drove to River Falls to get our reading credits under control.
I wanted my kids to love reading. I knew if they did they would certainly be succeeding. My car would go on auto pilot to Barnes and Noble on a book run. The smiles on their faces were worth it. What fun! What fun!
One of my priorities was ordering from book clubs. In my room any one of the bookshelves was called a hub. My students thought I had more books in my room than the library.
My kids did many book activities to share the joys of reading. By hearing kids conversations, they were succeeding – making books for kindergarteners, reading to them every week, acting out scenes, dressing as their book character, partner reading, small group reading, guessing the ending, pretending to be a roommate or neighbor to a book character and many many more. We did activities galore! The kids would say, “Mrs. Noyd, I have one more.”
In April my students would get ready for a plant sale before Mothers Day. We raised, bought, and transplanted some, others were donated in early May. The sun porch was full of kids and plants – either to buy, sell, water, or help someone, No one wanted to miss the chance.
The profits helped pay for our end of year Duluth Day,
Leaving Middle School at 7:30 am and returning by 9:30 pm, It was a 14 hour full day of learning and play.
Nashville, South Padre Island, the west coast, I have driven family trips north, south and west. Each trip has always been the best. Someday I would like to travel east. I may wait until high gas prices have ceased.
This story came to an end in 2011 when my friends and fellow co-workers gave a fun, beautiful, huge retirement party for the Taylors Falls retiring two. What a lovely time for us to bid everyone a fond, warm adieu.
Thank you to the Alumni Committee for honoring me. I am in awesome company. Look on the wall and you will see.
Outstanding Citizen Award was given to Mary Ann Swenson Rivard – Class of 1968
Mary Ann graduated from Taylor Falls High School in 1968. At TF she was active in many organizations that included Student Council, Cheerleading, Speech, and Annual Staff, just to name a few.
After high school she attended Nursing School, where she graduated, and began a successful career at the St. Croix Regional Medical Center.
During that time she married Todd Rivard and raised three children (and at the present time they have seven grandchildren.) Mary Ann has always had a creative flair. She began with primitive folk work, and expanded into acrylics, jewelry and knitting. About 15 years ago she took up oil painting. Many of her works can be viewed at galleries located in both Lindstrom and Osceola. She regularly donates paintings to charities and fund raisers throughout the area. In addition to these activities she creates Whimsical Note Cards and teaches classes on Doodling.
Extra Curricular Award for the Years 1915-1952 was given to Sumner Johnson – Class of 1947
I grew up on a farm in Franconia Township and attended Shafer School for 8 grades and entered High School at Taylors Falls, graduating in 1947. I belonged to 4-H and Boy Scouts, which created the foundation for both my son and his son, my grandson, to
become Eagle Scouts. In high school I played on the basketball team and softball team. Senior year we got baseball and I was on that team, as well as football.
I was the oldest of 4 brothers and with my father very ill, upon my graduation, I was put in charge of running the farm. I also worked at the creamery in Shafer. In 1950 I married Joan Nordeen, class of 1947. Korean War time and I was drafted, dispite being blind in one eye from a birth accident. I’ve had glasses since I was 9 days old. We were
blessed with 4 children born to our family from 1952 to 1964.
While in service I participated in the Atomic Bomb blast in Yucca Flats, Nevada. A history making event that I will never forget! My service schooling was in Georgia and California. I teaching Radio Repair in a school in California at the time I was to be discharged. I was offered a job to stay on as a civilian teacher, however, I chose to
discharge and go home. That was in 1953.
I began work at Honeywell in 1953 and soon decided to take advantage of the GI Bill and enter the University of Minnesota. I continued work at Honeywell and the U of M Solis Dept. during college. I graduated 1958 and began my 34 year career with Federal Land Bank in Blooming Prairie. Four years later I was promoted to President of the office in Forest Lake, which happily brought us back to the area we called home. Soon Mora, Barron and River Falls were added to the Forest Lake office. I served on a number of committees at Federal Land Bank in St. Paul. I retired in 1992. At that time, a project
was initiated by the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, under the direction of Rep. James Oberstar, to send representatives to a bank in Russia instructing them on writing agricultural farm loans. I was chosen, with two others to spend a month in Russia on that program.
I served several years on the church council of Chisago Lake Lutheran Church, 5 of those as a Chairman. I also had the privilege of serving on the Board of Trustees for Hazelden Foundation for 17 years.
One thing I am most proud of in my career, is the part I played in the
establishment of the Chisago Lakes Achievement Center. In 1964 our 4th child was born severely handicapped and later diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. We had become friends with the Grimm’s, who had a son, also handicapped. There were absolutely no services
locally to help our children and we found ourselves driving to Minneapolis for care. I and Gordy Grimm set out to secure local services for those with disabilities. The challenges were many, to say the least, but determination finally produced the Chisago Lakes
Achievement Center. The center survives today with 45 employees including support staffs, Director and Board of Directors and enriches the lives of 96 clients, one of whom is our daughter. The center has been a model for other facilities. I am so proud of the Achievement Center!
Extra Curricular Award for the Years 1953-1992 was given to Jim Grandstrand – Class of 1964
Jim Grandstrand grew up loving sports and excelled in all offered at
Taylors Falls High School, which included Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Track. He was co-captain in Football and Basketball and all conference and all District in Basketball. In Track he set the conference and district record in the half mile. He also participated in chorus, octet, play, yearbook, and was Homecoming King.
After high school He attended Bethany Lutheran College and Mankato
State until he joined the US Air Force. Jim coached youth baseball for
many years in Taylors Falls, he was also the Boys Junior Varsity Basketball Coach and the Boys assistant Varsity Basketball.
He continues to follow local, college and professional sports.