Returning home though home is gone

Posted: November 14, 2017

How Minnehaha alumni have reacted to the explosion on August 2

“I was in disbelief and shock. I was home in Highland with the TV on. My family and I were all home and at first it just wasn’t processing what was on the news. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing,” said Julie Johnson (‘96). And for most people, this is the way they reacted when they heard the knows about the terrible explosion. There were many people at Minnehaha that were affected by the explosion in one way or another. Whether they were at home, at the field playing soccer or even inside the building, everyone in the Minnehaha community heard and felt the awful explosion.

“My immediate thought was just trying to figure out where everybody was.” said Don Dubois (‘82). “We were still in the building making sure everyone was found. That’s probably the only thing I thought about for the whole day.” Dubois is the maintenance supervisor at Minnehaha Academy and was in the building when the explosion occurred.

For Johnson and Dubois and others that have graduated in the past, that was their school building and it will never be the same. For most of the students, it has been a rough change but we have stuck it out. For graduates, that building is all they had as a reminder and now it is destroyed.
The explosion was an awful event that has put a dent on Minnehaha Academy that will never be forgotten. But, other things that won’t be forgotten are the memories that alumni made during their time in north campus.

“I just really loved the opportunity of Minnehaha of being involved in so many things,” said Johnson. “I was in athletics, I was in volleyball and I was a cheerleader in the winter and I played softball in the spring. I was in all the musicals, all the plays, singers and madrigals. I couldn’t have done all that if I went to the public school by my house. I grew up in Bloomington by Jefferson and I wouldn’t have been able to do all that because I wasn’t the best at all of those but I just really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in so many things.” And not only memories came out of Minnehaha. Long lasting friendships were created in north campus that have stayed strong even until today.    

“Having graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1981 and served there for 22 years, MA still holds a significant place in my life,” said Ron Monson (‘81). “I met my wife Carla there in 1978 and our two daughters are also proud graduates. I am a proud alum of MA. Minnehaha Academy has been a pivotal part of our lives. I heard that John Carlson and Ruth Berg were missing. John supported an orderly classroom where I taught Biology and Ruth was the friendly co-worker whose daughter was entrusted to my classroom.” Monson is an alum of Minnehaha and former Biology teacher at the north campus.

These graduates of Minnehaha have all made wonderful memories at the north campus building, but the building itself was never the focus of any of them. Minnehaha was never about the building that we have school in, it’s always been about the people around us that make the difference.
These alumni of Minnehaha Academy will no doubt miss the building they spent years exploring and learning in. But, the real memories don’t come from the place where they put their backpack or sat in biology. The real memories come from the experiences that were had during their time at Minnehaha. It was never about the building, it was always about the people that filled it.

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