Rembrandt Consolidated School

Rembrandt, Iowa

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Alumni Reflections


These excerpts are from the two books mentioned on the Welcome Page.  They are in no particular order.

1940-Dr. Clement Kevane-No doubt, Scott Center School operated below some educational poverty level. But we did not know that and just did what was expected of us: to work hard and learn. Actually, we were eager to learn. Like a blade of grass pushing up through a crack in concrete, we learned in spite of limited educational facilities provided by the school.... It is noteworthy that at least three children who attended Scott Center in that time period (and then went on to Rembrandt High from that one-room school) later earned doctorates in higher education. That the three I know of were from the same family reinforces my belief that family influence is of paramount importance for success in school.

1959-Bernie Cremers-Neither of my parents was able to attend high school, having grown up in Nebraska during the Depression. However, all eight of their children recognized the value of education, and all have college degrees.

1960-Betty Foval Hoskins-My teachers were first rate…because they instilled in me, at least, a sense of discovery, a love of learning, and good study habits. They simply didn't tolerate second-rate work if you could do first-rate work. I learned to read and to write – and I became a college English teacher. My teachers were tough, smart, and loved their subjects.

1972-Barb McKibben Binder-There were no gray areas when I was growing up. Right was right, and wrong was wrong. Based on that theory, teachers were always right and parents were always right…you simply did not question authority

1960-Eloise Mosbo Obman-My class of 22 was packed with talented, motivated learners who were reaching for the best they could be.  Growing up in Rembrandt was…knowing that almost everyone you knew, or knew of, attended a worship service every week.

1959-Cordy Peterson-Good lives were enhanced by a rural farming culture which embraced religious activities.

1954-1961-Myron Teague-Band Director (after directing the Alumni Band at the Centennial): Only people experiencing what I did could possibly know how I feel. If you could go back in time 40 or 50 years and relive your finest hour and the happiest time of your life with the same people you experienced these things with, then you would know.

1978-Dr. Steve Mickelson-We had 48 students out of the 52 high schoolers in choir.

1962-Ed Nielsen-They won’t let you move to Rembrandt unless you're a good baseball player, but if you were born there and you're no good, they make you move away. (Later he realized Rembrandt's great baseball teams were because of the coach). George Engebretson was the E. F. Hutton of Iowa baseball: when George talked, people listened.

1956-Dr. Ken Green-A new gym at Rembrandt had just been completed. In the Buena Vista County Jr. High School Basketball Tournament held there, we beat Sulphur Springs 89-8 and went on to win the tournament.

1942-Gerald Holm-Four players and a coach from the “Rembrandt vs. Everly basketball game” were later killed in World War II (Loren Cain and Vernon Olson–see pictures of 1940 and 1941 basketball teams).

1939-Wes Wallace-How could a class of 15 produce two B-29 airplane commanders during World War II?…Marv Erichsen and I were the two pilots…Apparently the foundation had been laid in a small school in Rembrandt, Iowa. 

1946-Ralph Haroldson-Korean War: Before I knew it I was flying first pilot in a B-29 across the Pacific to Japan. Boy, that's a lot of water when you have a brand new navigator. (There were 11 in Ralph's class).

1952-Bill McGrew-Rembrandt School provided an education second to none. Our high school scholastic standing was always among the highest in the state and in the country at the time, and looking back, was much better than that of most schools today.

1945-Orv Mosbo-It was a simple life in many ways, but satisfying.

1973-Mary Ness Ward-That box of cookies, shared with my brothers and sisters, was one of the best Christmas presents I have ever had; but that simple act of kindness shown by a neighbor was the very best of all.

1938-Dr. Lloyd Pressel-The Depression: No person went unrecognized or unappreciated. Rembrandt lived in a one-class society of enough to get by on.

1953-Velta Beimanis-(Refugee from Latvia and DP camp in Germany in 1949)-As far as I am concerned, Rembrandt should be the Center of the Universe.  People from the world over could learn the compassion and sweetness of the community who took us in and provided for us in many ways.

1963-Jerry McKibben-Growing up on a farm, you just expected to work hard and do whatever it took to get the work done. We didn't think anything about putting in long hours because that’s what everybody else did too.  We didn't resent working so hard either…we didn't know any different.

1960-Eldona Pingel Hahm-All of this begs the question: if growing up in Rembrandt was so memorable, why have so many scattered to cities and suburbs?  It was a place and a time that no longer exists anywhere…Thus, perhaps Rembrandt and other small towns of the 1950s in America were a victim of their own success – producing successful adults who enjoy the stimulation of cities and suburbs to enrich their lives.

1967-Rolf Mosbo-The young people had been educated to leave – to fit into the larger economy and society in non-agricultural ways, with those opportunities not existing close to home.

1960-Keith Stroup-I was able to attend college because of an unsecured loan that Haraldsons gave me…to him it was not about the banking business, but about helping a young boy get started in college and willing to take the risk.

1973-Betty McKibben Branhagen-I cannot give the gift of my childhood experiences to my children. I cannot expect my metropolitan community to provide assistance, safety, and comfort and always demand the best from my children…I can only try to reflect the caring, respect, responsibility and desire for excellence that my family and community demanded from and gave to me.

1946-1952-Dr. Howard Knutson-Supt.-The Board of Education always wanted and were willing to work for the very best for the school and community. To me the ultimate compliment Rembrandt can be given is this: It truly values education. (He became Dean of the College of Education and Director of Teacher Education at the University of Northern Iowa).

1963-1970-Wayne "Ole" Johnson-Teacher and softball coach-There was only one class – only 8 teams in the state went to the state tournament. We felt we had accomplished quite a bit, since we were the next to the smallest school in the state of Iowa (2nd twice and 4th once).


1963-Helene Ducas Viall-from Rembrandt Remembers: This is a collection of stories of ordinary people living ordinary lives.  It is a snapshot of time, of place, and of values, that is not so common anymore…We experienced a true "community" back then, even though we probably didn't realize or appreciate it at the time.  Many who left found that the rest of the world wasn't as trusting, encouraging, or safe as our home town…Many have since also discovered that the high expectations were not universal.

1957-Dr. Derwyn Anderson-RHS allowed me to have a history of winning, and that has stayed with me.  (See picture and comments about the 1953 Midgets baseball team).

1959-Cordy Peterson-In a small town with a small school enrollment, we didn't realize that something really good was happening to us.  And weren't we lucky.  The never-to-be-duplicated setting of which we all were a part is priceless.

1961-Linda Stratton Renshaw-Excellence was expected, and we excelled.  Call it Protestant work ethic, or whatever – we were instilled with a desire to go and do and be.  So we went and did and were.

1967-Paul Ducas-There was, for the most part, a consensus of, or a set of morals/values that was consistent throughout the community.  We basically got the same messages wherever we went, whether it was church, school, baseball practice, or friends’ houses.

1976-Kim Combes-Our class received a 99% ranking in both the state and the nation on ITED tests all four years of high school.

1963-Pat Teague-Rembrandt was a people town.  Small and user-friendly, it accommodated human needs on a human scale.

1967-Rolf Mosbo-from A Portrait of Rembrandt: A local school board rule at that time (in the 1930s) required that female teachers couldn't yet be married, and this would create a social symbiosis in Rembrandt:  young, single, educated ladies being introduced into a community with an ample supply of hard-working young farm boys.

The results were predictable – a good number of these young women met their life-mates here and settled down on farms to raise their families. In the process, they created a new dynamic in Rembrandt's social fabric. Beyond the number of children that would be brought into this world by this phenomenon, which certainly impacted Rembrandt in the years ahead, it was also the attitudes of the parents toward their community and school system which would have lasting effects. It was like an injection of civility, and over the next several decades, the expectations and standards of behavior for young folks here were elevated in ways not universally seen in other parts of rural America.


Roberta Rath-Jr. High teacher in the 1960s and 70s: I ordered IQ tests for an average rural community – the results showed I had a room full of geniuses. I called the area agency and was told, "…many of the farmers in the Rembrandt area had a college background and many had married teachers who came to teach in Rembrandt.  Therefore, the quality of reading material in the homes was varied and plentiful…."


1960-Betty Foval Hoskins-from Rembrandt Remembers: What I have learned is that Rembrandt was settled by like-minded people who took hard work for granted, that they often went off to college and returned to farm, that they were civic-minded, that they were not worried about class, race, or financial distinctions because essentially there were none. I learned from alumni and teachers alike that Rembrandt was a wonderful place to be educated. The Rembrandt we knew represents something all of us have lost to a greater or lesser degree – security in our everyday lives, a strong sense of community, and shared values and beliefs.

Our education included not only what we learned in the classroom but also what we learned through extracurricular activities, particularly sports and music. We learned to be a part of a team, to recognize the worth of all the participants, and to work hard and well together. Many stayed on the family farm preserving the very values we still hold dear, but far more left to become teachers, lawyers, professors, engineers, and professionals in a wide variety of fields.


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