2017 SV Education Foundation Honoree Carter Turner (L) with Kevin Larson. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
2017 SV Education Foundation Honoree Carter Turner (L) with Kevin Larson. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

SPRING VALLEY, WI – The Spring Valley Education Foundation had a successful Gala on Sunday, February 20. Foundation Board Chair Kevin Larson noted that the flu bug seemed to take its toll on attendance, but he said that it was an average turnout considering the last-minute cancellations that morning. The only problem was what to do with the leftover food.

And, speaking of food, he said that a positive behind the scenes change this year was employing Ruth Hurtgen Catering for the delicious beef and chicken dinner with salads, roll, beverages and dessert. This was in lieu of the Foundation Board members doing the cooking as in the past.

Student musicians, Alex Bower, Emma Esenbock, Claire Gland, and Jarod Riley serenaded gala guests, while they bought raffle tickets and placed their bids on the many wonderful Silent Auction items.

Foundation Board member and Gala Chair Eric Johnson welcomed everyone and explained that he was filling in the emcee duties for Ken Lasure who had called in sick like so many others that day. Johnson thanked the student volunteers and musicians as well as the contributors and foundation members for all that they did for the 2017 Gala.

Kevin Larson then remarked about the goals of the SV Education Foundation to be able to provide grants to allow the teachers to focus on innovation and new techniques to put into action to benefit the Spring Valley student’s education. He listed a number of impressive items that they have accomplished in the past. Some of the examples mentioned included: Music Creation Studio, STEM Kits, Holocaust Speaker, Phy Ed Program Live Streaming and more. He, like Johnson, took some time to shout out some Thank-you’s. He praised the SV School Board for their leadership, support and partnership with the foundation. Larson also spoke highly of and thanked the administration: District Superintendent Dr. Don Haack, Accountant Sandy Lagner-Wood, Principals Cipriano and Lasure, as well as the donors and Foundation Board members including Beth Keehr who has fulfilled her full measure of time allowed on the Board.

After the meal, everyone enjoyed the interesting and informative speeches of this year’s four distinguished Honorees: Harriet Lansing, Carter Turner, Herman Schliep, and Dr. Gary Lukes.

All were introduced briefly by friends or family.

First, Susan (Davis) Hanson delighted in introducing her friend from eighth grade, Harriet Lansing. Lansing graduated from SVHS in 1963. She attended law school and received her Juris Doctor degree in 1970 and began her career in law that has taken her around the world. She served as a city attorney in St. Paul as well as a judge in Ramsey County and the Minnesota Court of Appeals that she has retired from. Lansing has also served various professional organizations, including as a member of the US Delegation to the United Nations, among many of her accomplishments. She spoke of growing up in a family of seven kids in rural Spring Valley on a family farm while her dad also held a full-time job at the sawmill that he walked the ten miles to daily. She spoke with admiration for many of her former SV teachers. Lansing spoke of the training opportunity for developing the skills and values she learned at SV schools including writing, speaking, the study of history and working on the school newspaper and yearbook and student government. It was very interesting to listen to retired Judge Lansing.

Next up was Carter Turner who was introduced by Kevin Larson. Turner thanked everyone who helped him in his life journey to where he is today as Ag teacher, a wrestling coach who has been inducted into the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, and a farmer who still loves being part of the Pierce County Fair and FFA. This even included a shout out to his dear wife Ann. He spoke about his former SV teachers and about his favorite class being recess. He touched on his opportunities and how much he enjoyed taking over the Ag Education duties at Spring Valley when Clark Anderson retired. And of course, he spoke about how fortunate he has been to coach the State Champion SV/E wrestling teams, which he is taking to State again this year.

Retired SV teacher Herman Schliep was the next Honoree who was introduced by his grandson Riley Kannel. Schliep phoned it in so to speak with a prerecorded nine-minute video presentation since he was in Arizona for the winter. He spoke of his past, his family, his teaching at SV and how delighted and surprised he was to be selected by the Foundation for this honor. He praised them for the great work they are doing with their grants.

Last but not least was the Principal’s kid. Dr. Gary “Doc” Lukes a leading 33-year resident of the SV community who was introduced by Eric Johnson. Johnson praised Lukes for all of his contributions including those things that have so positively influenced his children, from the long running work with the Spring Valley Stagehands, to the Boy Scouts of America and many more.

Doc spoke eloquently and with his usual delightful humor about growing up going to school where his dad was the principal. There he learned firsthand about discipline and saw the importance of the support for the teachers and the parents in the education of students. His was another good speech, as they all were.

The Spring Valley Education Foundation Board meeting was held last night on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 and the statistics from this year were reviewed and plans for next year’s Gala were begun. Per Chairman Larson, the 9th Annual Gala will most likely be held on the second Sunday of February again. You can pencil that on your calendar now for 2018 and confirm it in the future.

Congratulations to the 2017 Honorees and thank you all for sharing your fascinating stories!