Ondossagon Centennial - September 2, 2017

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Update from Feb 19, 2009

A recent update on the Ondossagon website announces a Steering Committee meeting on Saturday, March 7th at 1:00 PM at Benoit school.

For more information, visit the Ondossagon Aggies website at www.ondossagonaggies.com

Are you on the Ondossagon database?

We are compiling a database of all students/staff that went to school or have been affiliated at OHS.

Please send that information to Nancy at e-mail address: n_pagac@yahoo.com

Be sure to include:
+ Your name
+ Graduating year
+ Your current address
+ Your contact phone number
+ Your email address (if available)

We would like to save on postage costs and will email notifications whenever possible. Your personal information will be kept private and will only be used for purposes related to the Ondossagon reunion.

Also please email this information on to anyone you know that should be included in this data base for Ondossagon and have them contact Nancy at the above email address.

(Click the little white envelope below to quickly email a link to this info.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Reunion to resurrect Ondossagon

Originally published in The County Journal
Published: Thursday, February 19, 2009 10:38 AM CST
Dan Satran Jr.

"The Last Hurrah," that's what the ceremony was called when Ondossagon School District closed in 1990. An all-class reunion, the second of its kind since the school was started in 1917, has been set for next year. It's being seen as a way to strengthen what has tied together alumni, faculty and even those who didn't get a chance to graduate when the district was broken into three pieces. These went to Ashland, Washburn and Drummond school districts.

Put simply, this will be a way to show love for a school district even though the main building is an eyesore, in almost complete disrepair.

The basics of this story are straight-forward.

An already hard-working steering committee has been formed, including: Jan Lumberg Kupczyk, Terry Torkko, Ann Bannister Green, Nikki Panusuk Gregoire, Linda Nelson Lindahl, Nancy Pagac, Paul Beeksma and Bill Radosavich. Interviewed for this, Kupczyk and Torkko said they are fortunate to have a committee with many individual talents, even one who is a lawyer and can help on legal matters. They are also taking advantage of the latest in electronics to reach those who should attend. There is a website on line, Ondossagonaggies.com; there is a facebook, Ondossagon Public School (already 178 are connected to this, 35 after one day being posted). And of course the internet is being used for e-mailing.

Classes are being used to form a network so the word can get out about the reunion. Already, 10 classes have located all of their members and reported in to the committee.

So vacations can be planned in 2010 around the reunion, the overall schedule has been decided: meeting at Benoit School Friday evening, Aug. 6 for dinner; then at Ashland's Bay Area Civic Center Saturday, Aug. 7 for a program and socializing (there will be special features at the center such as Huffs Store selling penny candy and souvenirs.

And for a school district known for the unusual, its Native American name meaning across the lake (probably a reference to its location along Chequamegon Bay, with a view of Ashland) or a signature sandwich, the "Bean Burger," this reunion is no small thing. Organizers believe there is the potential to have an attendance of just under 2,000.

Now the effort is to reach out beyond the steering committee and get others involved. A meeting for this will be at Benoit School (now called a community center, serves as the successor to the school district where a museum of sorts is maintained) on Saturday, March 7 at 1 p.m.

There have been gatherings for Ondossagon grads since it closed its doors for good. Individual classes have met such as a reunion for those who graduated in 1968, hosted at Benoit's Avalon Bar. But this event, is patterned after Washburn's Homecoming, an all-class reunion staged every five years (by coincidence, the next will also be in 2010). "It's something we've wanted to do for some time," Kupczyk said.

"This will be a celebration," she explained, "because it will be a way to call attention to how former Ondossagon students have excelled while they kept bonds that ran strong and true to the heritage of their school." Put simply again, she said it will be a way to "celebrate our culture." She said one of the purposes of the gathering will be to "highlight where we have come from, where we have gone."

Getting in touch with so many has already been a learning experience for the committee, Kupczyk said. "For example, I didn't know a thing about Facebook."

It's already been decided that the reunion will be a fundraiser to help with maintaining the Benoit community center where the Ondossagon museum is located. This display at the center, maintained by Peter Lulich and Vern Gillis, is so important that they have goals with money raised, to "keep the building going." Everything from helping to heat it, to better insulate the building, to putting on a new roof, to even installing an elevator have been discussed (as far as the heritage of this area, there was a standing room only crowd when a huge mural about it was recently unveiled at the center).

Kupczyk said she helped on the Last Hurrah, helping to organize a presentation by cheerleaders from the 1950s, 70s and the ones at the time it closed. Never fielding a football team, school spirit was generated especially by basketball teams, Torkko said. He noted that the usual bus routes would run after a game so that any student could attend. There were other sports, too, such as baseball and track.

Getting back to the purposes for the event, Kupczyk said it will be a chance, put tritely, for people to reconnect. "For example, the last time I had seen Terry (before they both volunteered to be on the steering committee) was in 1966 even though we had once been nearby neighbors." She said, "We know there will be a lot of reminiscing."

Attending Ondossagon, the two agreed, was like being part of a family. Even though the district had to close for financial reasons, class sizes had been as large as just under 75. And there was the tradition that goes with a tightly knit agriculture based area (thus the nickname, The Aggies). Torkko said of his family: "There had been a Torkko in the school from when it started up until when I graduated in 1967." He said one of the memories at the reunion, likely to come up, will be the horse drawn school busses of its past.

With well over a year to go before the event, reservations are not yet being taken. But the two members of the steering committee said that the help of hundreds are needed for different parts of the event. "The beauty of the electronic age is that a person does not even have to be in the area to help," they said.

So while many of the windows in the old high school may be broken, the building may no longer be heated and the gym may be used as a stadium for horses (the facility is used for animal care), there is still a lot of Aggie pride. It will come to the surface in 2010 thanks to some hard-working volunteers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Steering Committee meeting date and agenda

Dear Aggies:

Progress is being made. The Steering Committee has set a meeting for Saturday, March 7th at 1:00 PM at Benoit school. We hope, by scheduling this meeting on Saturday, it will give those folks that live out of town, the opportunity to attend.

We need lots of help in many, many areas such as: chairpersons for all events, telephone contact people to call classes, callers to get the names and addresses of teachers, school bus drivers, cooks, staff etc. Those with expertise in fund raising, expertise & coordination for the All School Yearbook, coordinators of OHS recipes for a cook book , food organization people, persons to take care of registration- name tags, etc, organization people for porta potties, transportation, etc, etc, etc.

You just may want to come to see what is happening and ask questions. Great! ..........but don't be surprised if you are brought into the fold to help.

Don't forget to look at www.Facebook.comhttp://www.facebook.com/..........the Ondossagon fan site now has 178 members and going strong. I agree with many of you, Facebook is not easy, but once you "get it" it has quite the reach to be in contact with alumni and friends.

We received another donation, this came from Tomlinson's Auto of $100.00. Thank you! Thank you! Because this event will be large, there are many extras we will need, to just take care of multitudes - such as tents, porta potties, stamps for mailings, etc. Donations are appreciated. Contact Ann Green doublemint [at] centurytel.net

We now have a web site. It's under construction, but will soon be up and running. Thank you Mike Janes!

The site is www.ondossagonaggies.com It should be more user friendly than Facebook. It will have all the current information of what is happening for the reunion, and have links to classes, etc.

Some classes have all their info in already. Those we have heard from are: 1942, '44, '47, '53, '57, '62 thru 72, '78 thru '80. Thank you so much! The sooner we have those names/addresses/emails the better!

The committee is a wonderful group, and we are committed to make this event the best it can be.........We are proud of our school and proud to be working on this exciting event. We'll see you soon!

We are loyal to you Ondossagon!


OHS all school reunion steering committee: Jan Lumberg Kupczyk Terry Torkko, Ann Banister Green, Nikki Panasuk Gregoire, Linda Nelson Lindahl, Nancy Pagac, Paul Beeksma, Bill Radosavich

Monday, February 9, 2009

Meeting coming up Saturday March 7 at Benoit School

Dear Aggies:
The All School Reunion Steering Committe has set a date for the next reunion meeting for Saturday March 7, at the Benoit school at 1:00 PM.

If you are interested in "stepping up to the plate to help" we sure could use you, or wish to ask questions, or just see what is happening........please attend. We'll see you there!

The Reunion Committee!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ondossagon All-School Reunion meeting - Feb. 5, 2009

Ondossagon All-School Reunion

February 5, 2009

Presiding: Jan Kupczyk

Those In Attendance: Ann Bannister Green, Paul Beeksma, Nikki Panasuk Gregoire, Nancy Pagac, Bill Radosevich, and Terry Torkko.

Ann Bannister nominated Janice Kupczyk as Chairperson, Nikki seconded, she was unanimously approved.

It was suggested there be a co-chairperson. Terrry Torkko was nominated by Ann Green. Motion was seconded by Nikki Gregoire. A vote was taken and was unanimously agreed upon. Terry accepted the position.

Still need a name for the event. Some ideas were given, but none selected.

We set up a meeting for Saturday, March 7, 2009, at 1 p.m. at the Benoit Community Center. Hope to get a large group of people to be there. Perhaps people from out of town will come since it is on a Saturday.

Jan will put a notice in the County Journal and the Evergreen Shopper. Daily Press????

Will need many committees created:

  • Fundraising
  • Yearbook
  • Lodging
  • Benoit Community Center
  • Food Program
  • Souvenirs
  • Civic Center
  • Decorations
  • Transportation
  • Website

Fundraising: Benoit School is in need of improvements. Should we do a fundraiser to help? Vern Gilles said the building needs insulation, a heating system, roof repairs, windows, and he would like to expand the display area. Perhaps could get some corporate sponsors. Matching funds. Have different levels for sponsors. List them in the yearbook and on the website. Perhaps have a raffle.

Yearbook: Reprinting of the 1990 yearbook was discussed. The editor has nothing. The publishing company is not around. Nikki felt it best to start a new one. Didn’t feel it was feasible to take the old book apart to make copies of.

Perhaps include in the book a “Did You Know” section with trivia or stories.

Lodging: Nikki questioned about reserving rooms at area motels for that weekend. She was in contact with AmericInn. They would be willing to reserve a block of rooms, even the entire motel. Perhaps talk to Mary McPhetridge from the Chamber. Let the area motels know what might be expected for that weekend.

Food: Someone has a cookbook from OHS. Perhaps have Breakwater cater. Or have Sharon Margetta cater. Will need headcount for caterers. Perhaps different booths such as on Bay Days. How do we charge for food? One price for Friday and one price for Saturday?

Discussion of beer license brought up. Both the Benoit Center and the Civic Center have one. Perhaps have Mason Ambulance have a beer stand.

Website: Mike Janes has a site out there: ondossagonaggies.com. Check it out. It is under construction. Could list sponsors here. Have people register here. PayPal charges 3% but feel it will be worth it. Have people purchase merchandise through here. Have trivia or stories told here.

Souvenirs/Decorations: T-shirts discussed. Need people to set up the Civic Center and Benoit Community Center. Huff’s Store replica. Individual sign-in stations for the years. Name tags. For souvenirs, we could have a link on the website.

Transportation: How will we bus people to Benoit? Buses? BART? Perhaps have parking at Dauby Church or at Lulich’s. Maybe have a horse and hay wagon ride to Community Center from there. Put a sign on Highway 63.

Other ideas discussed:

  • Use of a non-profit organization. Vern Gilles or Robyn Lulich would be contacts for 4-H.

  • Friday night music could be Bob Olson and other area musicians.

  • Saturday night music will be Paul Beeksma.

  • Paul thought he could arrange for us to get a tent.

Many good ideas and suggestions were brought up. We are hoping to get a good turnout on March 7 so this can be a reality.

Ondossagon Photos

Do you have photos to share?

Please attach them to an email and send them ondossagon@gmail.com and make sure your email subject line includes the word "photo."


Contact us

This blog was set up and is currently managed by Pam (Noble) Hawk OHS '85. If you have questions or comments, or would like to see anything in particular here, please contact Pam via email at pioppam [at] gmail.com