Fred Reineking '46

I was born and raised on a farm bordering the Lakeland campus in the shadow of Mission House Academy and College. I attended a two-room elementary school located, at that time, 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 and was probably known as the "fat kid" on campus.

After graduating from elementary school, I enrolled in Mission House in the fall of 1934. 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 which was taught by college professors, many of whom resented having to teach us H.S. age kids and, thus, never altered their teaching techniques to accommodate us. Our "no frills" curriculum included 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 at $.40/hour and helped in the first unit of the new library, which has since become the Esch Library. That fall I enrolled in Mission House College, majoring in Education while most of my friends were enrolled in pre-seminary classes. I and one of my friends were the "odd men out" so to speak, but we didn't have to take Hebrew or Greek! I went out for football (played on the undefeated 1941 Championship team), joined the Troubadours, was a charter member of the Zeta Chi Fraternity and enjoyed college life.

The fun was interrupted by World War II, which required all able men to register for the draft. Men were classified. I was classified as 2A and, as such, was told to go work on my father's large farm to raise food for the war effort. This meant a halt to my college education. 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. Nights without class were spent studying for the next classes until the war came to an end. By that time, I had completed all of my coursework except my student teaching, which I did at Howards Grove and Elkhart Lake High School prior to my graduation in May 1946.

While looking for a teaching job, I learned that Wisconsin Dells had a vacancy in my field. I applied, was interviewed and hired 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 the next five years. However, with an increase in enrollment, the school district was ready to hire a H.S. Principal (previously the Supt. of Schools filled the rolls of both High School and Elementary Principal). I was fortunate to be hired for the Principal's position and was the first (and only!) WI Dells High School principal until I retired in 1983 after 32 years of service. Upon my hiring, I had to attend summer school sessions at the University of Wisconsin for the next four summers and, in 1956, I received my Master's Degree in Education Administration. My interest in education found me active in various educational circles and in 1959 I was president of the Southern Wisconsin Education Association. After joining the Wisconsin Dells Kiwanis Club, I served as Club President (1961) and Lieut. Governor for Division #15 (1963). I was elected and served as the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan Governor in 1986. After a successful year as governor, Kiwanis International appointed me as the Chairman for Kiwanis International key clubs. (Key clubs are H.S. service clubs sponsored by local Kiwanis clubs). Locally, I was advisor to the H.S. Key Club for 18 years. After my 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 as well as awarding me the Hixon Award, which is the highest award given by Kiwanis International. All of my Kiwanis activities were done in addition to serving full-time as H.S. principal. To say that I was "one busy person" is a gross understatement, but I can truly say that I enjoyed every moment.

I am a 60-year member of the First Presbyterian Church in Wisconsin Dells and have served as an Elder in the church in addition to several other assignments. I am a Past Master of the Masonic Lodge in Wisconsin Dells and in 2002 was awarded my 50-year membership. In 1981, the local newspaper named me "Man of the Year". During my tenure, Mr. Fenske, the then Supt. of Schools and I planned and designed the H.S. Athletic Complex, which bears the name Reineking-Fenske Field. For ten summers I worked at the famous Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial which was held in a natural amphitheater. I served as the Asst. Director of the show for five years before becoming the show's director for the next ten. The Stand Rock show no longer exists due to the advent of the casino which now employs these former performers.

During my 37 years at the high school, I saw over 3,500 students graduate who were administered by 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. I was considered the "godfather" of WDHS and was elected and inducted into the Hall of Fame at the high school in 2008.

At age 89, I am probably one of a limited number of my age group to celebrate the 150th Anniversary, having graduated from both the Academy and the College when they were Mission House, now Lakeland. This school has served as an intricate part of my life.


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