Outstanding Graduates 1987-1993

Corrections from the previous columns: Sometimes research notes get lost or delayed so I apologize for incorrect information. Melissa Jacobson Gale (recipient in 1972) wandered farther from home than most when she went to China with her husband to teach, but current information lists her closer to home than Kansas. Melissa’s husband is now employed by the NDSU Research Center at Carrington where they are currently living. Bonnie Spenst’s married name is Mask (1980), and she does live in Texas, but her husband is Todd, not Glen. When I reached Julie Blair Danielson (1981), she was in her husband’s Twin Cities hospital room, so our visit was brief. After graduating from LHS she went on to UND, graduated with a BA in accounting in 1985, and went on to get her CPA. She then moved to the Minneapolis area of Minnesota where she did accounting for 21 years with Frandsen Financial, a banking firm with outlets in both North Dakota and Minnesota. Danette Lewis Pengilly (1984) went on to get her Nurse Practitioner credentials and works for and with a heart specialist at the Heart and Lung Clinic in Bismarck.

1987 - Donovan Twaddle and Suzanne Johnson. Donovan Twaddle, son of Jim and Corrine Twaddle, grew up in Langdon where his father, an alumnus of LHS, came to teach math and physical education in 1970. While I knew Donovan had received some scholarships for college, his family moved to Minnesota after their children graduated from LHS so finding relatives to ask was difficult. However, his name is not common in small towns so typing it into an internet search brought up several websites, his blog, and information on his many activities all located in or near the Twin Cities area. A sideline for his father was art work, which can be found in a number of Langdon homes today, so it was no surprise to find Donovan describing himself as a graphic artist. Suzanne Johnson, who was the Outstanding Girl choice in 1987, is the daughter of John and Kathleen Johnson which means she grew up surrounded by music since her father taught band at LHS and directed choirs while her mother has been a long-time organist at United Lutheran and has taught hundreds of children to play the piano. When Suzanne was a freshman, she joined a new sport for girls at Langdon High School, coached by Supt. Delmar Lewis. That sport was volleyball- still very popular today. Suzanne went on to NDSU where she earned an accounting degree with a minor in music and later her CPA, working in accounting until choosing to become a full-time mom and enjoy the activities of her three children. Suzanne Hanson and her family live in Maple Grove, MN.

1988 – Curt Kram and Tami Ring. Curt Kram, son of Jake and Judy Kram who farmed near Wales, is another who grew up in a farming and musical family. After high school he went to NDSU majoring in music and teaching. Curt began his 28 years of directing bands and choirs at Pembina with the last 25 years spent at Langdon directing concert, pop, jazz and beginner’s band while sometimes also directing choirs plus participating in many community musical events. He is even part of a popular group called The Frozen Four who cheer up friends and neighbors at Christmas. Besides farming with family, Curt also has his Master’s in Education from NDSU and is currently the elementary principal at Munich. Tami Ring is the daughter of Lynn and Sharon Ring so grew up on the family farm near Dresden. In high school Tami was part of many sports events including basketball and track. She was a member of both the 1985 and 1986 Langdon track teams who won at state. She went on to NDSU and received her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree in 1996 as part of one of the earliest groups to receive that title. Dr. Tami Lies and her family now make their home in Fargo where she is a pharmacist.

1989 – Jason Kram and Lynell Rude. Jason Kram, son of Mike and Kathy Kram, was one of two boys with the same first and last names in school at the same time so the research involved both families and classmates who described him as “really smart”. Out for many activities, Jason was all-region in football, outstanding sophomore athlete, a honor student, and made the Who’s Who in American High School Students for three consecutive years. This Jason earned both his first degree and his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from NDSU. He was part of a consulting group in Kansas for several years and now makes his home in Houston, Texas, where he is vice president of a consulting group in that state. Lynell Rude is the second daughter of Elroy and Marilyn Rude to be awarded the Outstanding Girl trophy. Like her sister, she was also in many activities including speech, band, FBLA, and a honor student. Following high school, she went on to UND and earned her CPA. Now married to Todd Ussatis, they make their home in Mandan where she works at Haga-Kommer Accounting.

1990 – John Luhmann and Dawn Throndset. This year’s outstanding boy and girl were once again “in everything” while in high school and went on to continue community activity in their adult lives. John, son of Dennis and Barbara Luhmann, chose band, choir, football, basketball, golf, honor society, science club, and even something called the slide of death team. Planning to enter the ministry, he chose Wheaton College in Illinois for Biblical Theological Studies and went on to nearby Trinity Evangelical Seminary for his Master’s of Divinity. This was followed by 19 years in the ministry mostly in Montana and then he began his own company, Craftsman Woodwork, doing construction. Currently they live near Missoula, MT, have two children in college, three teenage boys on high school teams, and two younger children making for a busy family. Dawn Throndset, daughter of Dennis and Carol Throndset, is the first but not the last daughter of a previous Outstanding recipient to be chosen for this award. Her father, Dennis, was chosen in 1967. Dawn was an officer in many of her high school activities, student council, choir, and mentioned Science Olympiad, relatively new to the school at that time. She went to Moorhead State for her teaching degree and enjoyed the opportunity to do her student teaching in Switzerland. She taught for seven years, then was county librarian for seven years, and in 2010, she joined the staff at Brooks Funeral Home where she is still employed. Married to Stoney Kruk, Dawn is a current member of the Langdon School Board and has served on the LASD Foundation as well.

1991 – Tyrone Spenst and Jennifer Johnston. Tyrone Spenst, son of Art and Pauline Spenst, is another graduate from a musical home. Mom played the piano, and everyone from grandma and grandpa on down sang. Tyrone had a deep voice and loved to sing so he is pictured in the annual in several musical groups. Following high school, he attended Northwestern College in St. Paul and received a degree in pastoral studies. His wife, Pauline, studied Christian Education, and they have served churches in Illinois and Minnesota. Jennifer Johnston, daughter of Roger and Carol Johnston from Nekoma, was chosen Outstanding Girl for 1991. The 1991 yearbook has many unlabeled pictures, but an earlier book lists Jennifer active in many of the school activities. She went on to UND to train as a physical therapist and has worked in that department of Altru Hospital ever since. Jennifer married Jerry Hoffarth from Grand Forks (he had Langdon grandparents). They make their home in Grand Forks.

1992 – Clayton Fetsch and Kristi Ullyott. 1992 was a photogenic class with names under their pictures. The two outstanding award recipients were also Homecoming King and Queen besides active in almost everything. Clayton Fetsch, son of Colin and Mary Beth, had four good years of school sports, class offices, band, and Legion baseball. After high school he enrolled in the medical school at UND and received his medical degree in 2001. That work included his residency in surgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita. Clay and his family now make their home in McPherson, KS. Kristi Ullyott, the daughter of Bob and Gaylene Ullyott, also worked at a local restaurant so became known at that time as the “perky girl” for her cheerful personality. Cheerleading, speech, and many of the clubs kept her so busy the annual sometimes included her picture two or three times on the same page! Kristi went on to earn her teaching credentials at UND and taught at Munich before marrying high school classmate Rod Gellner. Rod has a few trophies of his own playing football in high school and later at Jamestown College. They have four children and make their home in West Fargo where Kristi home-schooled her children for several years.

1993 – Jim Crockett and Andrea Larson. Jim Crockett, son of Rick and Carolyn Crockett, was chosen Outstanding boy in 1993. He began his college years at Wahpeton and then went on to NDSU where I believe he majored in ag systems management (my notes are not always legible) to prepare for farming. In addition to farming with his brother, he is Northwest Regional Branch Manager for CHS. Andrea Larson, daughter of Larry and Diane Larson who farmed near Calvin, came to Langdon for high school and attended UND for her English teaching degree. In 2000 she married Christopher Endicott. At that time, they lived in St. Paul and both were teaching in the Mora School System in Minnesota.

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