Saganing School holds class reunion
STANDISH — From the late 1800s until the 1960s, the Saganing School in Standish was where many local children got their education. On Saturday, former students got a chance to bring the Saganing School to life again with a school reunion.
Around 80 former students and their family members gathered for the reunion, which was held at the Saganing Tribal Center, not far from where the school used to run, and where the building still stands, on the corner of State Street and Worth Road.
The reunion would not have been possible if not for classmates LeEtta Hansen and Alice Hartman.
“We had a classmate suffering with an illness, and he always wanted to do this,” Hartman said. “We decided we would do it for him.”
Hansen said having a reunion was a great way to rekindle old friendships and start new ones.
“This was nice. Otherwise, we may have never known everyone,” Hansen said. “Now we can keep in touch with each other.”
Hartman said it was heartwarming to see so many people show up.
“This reunion has helped renew old friendships,” Hartman said.
Hansen said the Saganing School was a two-room building that housed kindergarten through sixth grade in one room and seventh through 10th grade in another.
“There was a coal furnace, outdoor johns and a well pump out front for water,” she said.
Both Hansen and Hartman shared stories about their time at the Saganing School.
“We use to sit and scrapbook photographs of old movie stars during lunch,” Hartman said.
Hansen said she use to collect scrap metal during her walks home to send toward the World War II war effort.
“We would walk in the ditch collecting scrap metal, pots, anything we could find to help with the war effort,” she said.
Hartman told of one memory she has of the school where she almost got in trouble.
“In the fall, the boys always made leaf-houses,” she said. “Well they didn’t like to share with the little kids.”
Hartman said she decided one day to stay after school so she could go into the house with some friends.
“It was dark, so someone lit a match,” she said. “Well, (the leaf-house) caught on fire, and we had to scramble out the front. The fire eventually went out, but I know we burned someone’s fence down.”
Another former student, Bennie Krupa, also shared a story about getting into trouble and learning a lesson.
He said when his family moved from Detroit he was still in the fourth grade.
“The fourth grade was all girls,” he said. “The fifth grade had 11 boys, and I did not want to be stuck with the girls, so I said I was in the fifth grade.”
Krupa said when his teacher found out he was lying she taught him a valuable lesson.
“She told me I could stay, but I had to write ‘I will not lie’ 1,000 times,” he said. “I wrote in the dark under a kerosene lamp.”
He said it was worth the punishment because he had a great time with his new friends.
“There was nothing we didn’t do,” Krupa said.
Hansen and Hartman both said it was because of the Saganing School that they became friends for life.
“It’s nice to have a friend you can keep with you through the years,” Hansen said.
“Our friendship continues day-to-day,” Hartman said. “It really is a friendship for a lifetime.”