Unforgettable Pelican educators have enumerable admirers

We received a note from beloved Pelican Rapids teacher, Hazel Hovde. Hazel was one of two retired Pelican school educators profiled in the recent “Back to School” special edition, along with Van Holmgren. The article, written by Press special correspondent Kim Pederson, herself a Pelican Rapids High School graduate, prompted dozens of comments, including a flurry on the Press “Facebook” social media page. 

By all accounts, Hazel was an “old school” history and political science teacher. Translated, that means “excellent-old-school-teacher.” I was not a Pelican graduate, but based on my contacts with Hazel, she is clearly scholarly, wise, well-read; with a sharp, intuitive mind. Plus —she’s a fellow North Dakotan, which, of course, forged an immediate bond. Heck, there’s under a million of us N. Dakotans around at any given time in history—so it’s an exclusive fraternity. She may not care to go public, but Hazel is on the verge of turning 95.

As for Van, I know him as “volunteer extraordinaire.” Every town needs a Van Holmgren. If we had a dozen Vans, we could change the world. An interesting reader comment about Van, whom we won’t name here: “He is the one teacher in elementary that stopped someone from picking on me for being Native American.”

Hazel Hovde
Van Holmgren

Just a sampling of the comments:

Shirley Satter-Hill: Miss Hovde was a wonderful teacher. She always looked so classy the way she dressed. I remember the slim skirts, blouses, and tweed jackets.

Dietmar Bethge: Ms. Hovde was the best teacher I ever had!! I was lucky to be in her classroom!

Barbara Buck Bougie: Ms. Hovde was the lady who taught me how to speak to a crowd of people with confidence!

Doris Ripley: Miss Hovde….one of my very favorite teachers and is still an amazing woman!

Linda Weiss: Miss Hovde was a class act. Late 60s…Ironed poplin blouse, slim or full skirt with a belt. She wrote all the notes on the blackboard. When it was announced that JFK had been assassinated, she excused herself from the classroom.

Jennifer Paulson-Aamold Gilbertson: I only had Ms. Hovde as a teacher. She was my favorite as well! She made history more interesting than other history teachers I’ve had.

Susan Haugrud Zeller: Both such fixtures in our lives. Oh how blessed we were to grow up here.

Barbara Leger: Hazel Hovde……great lady!! Van is an amazing, helpful, generous person!

Carol Osten: Two incredibly phenomenal human beings!!! Blessed to have these two in my life!

Staples in this community!!!

Jennifer Grothe Jenness: Those are a couple of amazing educators! So glad I got to learn from both of them.

We’ll give Hazel the final word. 

Here’s a slightly edited version of her note to the Pelican Press:

“Thank you so much for the kind comments following the article in the Pelican Rapids Press. 

Since I’m still in the last century, I can’t communicate in “Facebook” language, but I wish you all God’s blessings in your life! 

I enjoyed my years with you!

Your friend & mentor,
  Hazel (or Miss Hovde)

P.S. A special “thank you” to Kim (Pederson) who conducted my interview. Wow! What a Writer!”