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I was born and raised on a farm bordering the Lakeland College campus. I attended a two-room elementary school located a half-mile west of Immanuel Church. On my way to school, I would take a shortcut through campus, always stopping to watch the college football and basketball practices.
After graduating from elementary school, I enrolled in Mission House Academy in the fall of 1934. There were only five students in the class, and the curriculum consisted of four years of English, math, science, history, German, Latin and religion. We attended classes in Old Main along with the college students.
Upon graduation in 1939, I took a summer job in construction and helped build the building that now is known as Esch Library. That fall I enrolled in Mission House College, majoring in education. I played on the undefeated 1941 championship football team, joined the Troubadours and was a charter member of the Zeta Chi Fraternity.
The fun was interrupted by World War II, which required all able men to register for the draft. I was classified as 2A and worked on my father's large farm to raise food for the war effort.
However, through the generosity of some of my professors, I was encouraged to continue my education by attending night classes, which were taught in the professors' homes. When the war ended, I had completed all of my coursework except student teaching, which I did at Howards Grove and Elkhart Lake High School prior to my graduation in May 1946.
I was hired at Wisconsin Dells to teach history, social studies, Latin and physical education. I also served as an assistant coach for football and basketball. I continued in that assignment for five years. As a result of increasing enrollment, the school district created a high school principal position and I was fortunate to be hired. I was the school's only principal until I retired in 1983 after 32 years of service. Along the way, I received my master's degree in education administration from UW-Madison.
My interest in service led me to be active in educational and community endeavors. In 1959 I was president of the Southern Wisconsin Education Association, and after holding several local and regional posts in the Kiwanis Club, Kiwanis International appointed me as the chairman for Kiwanis International key clubs. After two terms as Key Club Chairman for Kiwanis International, I was appointed to the chairmanship for the Kiwanis Youth Services Committee. In 1996, my local Kiwanis Club extended me a life membership in Kiwanis and awarded me the Hixon Award, the highest award given by Kiwanis International.
In 1981, the local newspaper named me "Man of the Year."
During my tenure, Mr. Fenske, the district superintendent, and I planned and designed the high school athletic complex, which today bears the name Reineking-Fenske Field.
During my 37 years at the high school, I saw over 3,500 students graduate who were under my three F system: firm, friendly, fair. Most former students still call me Mr. Reineking, and I appreciate the respect that they show me to this day. I was considered the "godfather" of Wisconsin Dells High School and was inducted into the high school's Hall of Fame in 2008.
At age 89, I am probably one of a limited number of people to celebrate the 150th Anniversary, having graduated from both Mission House Academy and College. This school has been an intricate part of my life.