- Evening, Weekend & Online Programs
- ALUMNI RELATIONS
- GIVING TO LAKELAND
- ABOUT LAKELAND
Frederick Reineking is a proud alumnus of the college that his great-grandfather was instrumental in founding, and his own connections to the college came at an early age. Born in 1921 and raised on a farm bordering the Lakeland campus, Reineking's earliest memories are when he was a schoolboy in the 1920s: "I attended a two-room elementary school located a half-mile west of the Immanuel Church. I cut the walking distance by taking a shortcut through the fields, which took me through the campus. I always managed to stop and watch the college football and basketball practices."
It was Reineking's great-grandfather, also named Friedrich Reineking), who led a small group of German immigrants to this part of Wisconsin in the 1850s, purchased farmland in the area and then ultimately gave the land on which Mission House was built.
In 1934, Fred Reineking enrolled in Mission House academy. "There were only five students in the class, two girls and three guys. We had no choice in selecting classes and automatically took the college prep course, taught by college professors, many of whom weren't that excited having to teach us high school students."
The course of study was rigorous and included four years of English, math, science, history, German, Latin and religion. The high schoolers attended classes in Old Main along with the college students.
After graduating in 1939, Reineking took a summer job in construction at 40 cents per hour and helped build the first unit of the new library, which has since become the Esch Library. That fall he enrolled in Mission House College, majoring in education. Reineking enjoyed college life, playing football (he was a member of the undefeated 1941 championship team), singing with the Troubadours and signing on as a charter member of the Zeta Chi Fraternity.
Reineking's traditional college education was interrupted by World War II. Classified as a 2A, he had to leave school to work on his family's farm to raise food for the war effort. However, in what might be viewed as a precursor to the student-centered Lakeland mindset (with today's options of evening and online classes), Reineking was encouraged to continue his education by taking classes taught in professors' homes at night. Eventually, he was able to complete all his coursework and then do his student teaching at Howards Grove and Elkhart Lake High School prior to his graduation in May of 1946.
He landed his first teaching job in Wisconsin Dells where he was hired to teach history, social studies, Latin and physical education. He also served as an assistant coach for football and basketball. Five years later, he was hired as the first principal of Wisconsin Dells High School, a position he held until retirement in 1983 after 37 total years of service.
Looking back at his long tenure as a principal, Reineking comments, "During my 37 years at the high school, I saw over 3,500 students graduate who benefited from my three 'F' system: Firm, Friendly and Fair. Most former students still call me Mr. Reineking, and I appreciate the respect that they show me to this day."
Reineking earned a master's degree in education administration in 1956 and he served on many boards and committees throughout his long career. He was the president of the Southern Wisconsin Education Association (1959), the Wisconsin Dells Kiwanis Club (1961) and Lieutenant Governor for Division #15 (1963). He was elected and served as the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan Governor in 1986. After a successful year as governor, Kiwanis International appointed him to be the chairman for Kiwanis International Key Clubs. (Key clubs are high school service clubs sponsored by local Kiwanis clubs). Eventually, he was appointed to the chairmanship for the Kiwanis Youth Services Committee. In 1996, his local Kiwanis Club named him a life membership and awarded him the Hixon Award, the highest award given by Kiwanis International. "All of my Kiwanis activities were done in addition to serving full time as high school principal. To say that I was one busy person is a gross understatement, but I can truly say that I enjoyed every moment."
Reineking has been a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Wisconsin Dells for 60 years, and served as an elder along with other assignments. He was a past master of the Masonic Lodge in Wisconsin Dells and in 2002 was awarded his 50-year membership. In 1981, the local newspaper named him "Man of the Year." During his tenure at Wisconsin Dells High School, Reineking worked with the superintendent of schools to plan and design the athletic complex, which bears the name, Reineking-Fenske Field. He was known to students as the 'godfather' of WDHS, and was elected and inducted into the Hall of Fame at the high school in 2008.
As if all that was not enough, for 10 summers Reineking worked as show director at the famous Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial, which was held in a natural amphitheater.
At age 89, he has the unique perspective of celebrating Lakeland's 150th anniversary as a graduate of both the academy and the college. "This school has served as an intricate part of my life." He does not have email but he would love to receive letters from friends at 701 Bauer Street, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965.