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School Board Considers Honoring Former Librarian/Teacher

By Staff | Apr 1, 2008

Exactly how to honor a former employee of the Emmetsburg school district was discussed by the Board of Education during their Mar. 17, meeting at the high school library.

Superintendent John Joynt related that former teacher Bob Nolan has spearheaded a campaign to place a plaque honoring Miss Florence Underwood in the high school library. Nolan also asked that the board consider naming the library after Underwood. Letters of support were offered by several members of the Emmetsburg High School Class of 1947, as well as others.

Miss Underwood worked for the district for 38 years, teaching Latin, English, and algebra at the high school level and serving as Girls Advisor and as school librarian. Underwood was named Emmetsburg Citizen of the Year in 1965–the first woman so honored. She passed away in 1971.

“I see no problem with the plaque, but I’d like to see it before it goes up,” said Dave VanOosbree.

“Do we want to set a size limit on the plaque?” asked Don Hagen. “I don’t think we just approve something without knowing what it’s going to be.”

“I can call Bob [Nolan] and let him know that we’re in favor of the plaque, and that we need to approve the final product,” Joynt offered.

Board President Karla Anderson wondered how the other board members felt about naming the library in Miss Underwood’s honor.

“I like the idea,” said Linda Tienter.

“I just don’t know about where the bar or the standard is,” said Hagen.

Scott Dettmann agreed, “We don’t want to suddenly have people wanting to name all of the classrooms or the new buildings after someone. I’m not saying she’s not deserving of it, but before you know it, we’ll be approving something like this at every other board meeting. We need some sort of guidelines or standards.”

Hagen stated that, in his opinion, a plaque to honor Underwood was fine, yet he had reservations about naming school rooms.

“At a public school level, I like ‘Room 102,’ ‘Room 104,’ ‘Room 106.’ But if everyone feels differently, I’ll go along with it,” Hagen stated.

“But this is the library,” Tienter asserted. “It’s a central location.”

VanOosbree noted that the football field had been named after Coach Duane Twait.

“In a way, the precedent has already been set by naming the football field,” Tienter stated.

VanOosbree asked that the issue of naming the library be tabled until the April meeting of the board. VanOosbree then made a motion to approve a plaque honoring Miss Underwood, pending review by the board. The motion passed.