Wahpeton Public Schools’ third annual hall of fame recipients will be honored in less than two months.
Four alumni, including one woman who is both an alumna and a retired faculty member, will be recognized during an 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 luncheon at Wahpeton High School. Tickets can be purchased for $25 each at the school district’s office, located in the high school.
“We’re hoping for today, that the more we recognize the successes of the past, the more we sow seeds for the future,” Wahpeton High School Principal Ned Clooten said at 2020’s induction ceremony.
This year’s hall of fame recipients are Cindy Borchert, who taught in Wahpeton for 40 years; the late Dennis Eastman, 1979’s North Dakota High School Athlete of the Year; the late U.S. Marine officer and author David Myhra, Ph.D; and Dorothy Formaneck Henke, known as the “Dot” in Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels.
“She was a calm, rational, compassionate (educator),” Linda Johnson wrote. “She had the respect of the students but also shared a good rapport with them. That rapport extended to the staff as well, where a camaraderie between all staff members definitely took place.”
A member of Wahpeton’s class of 1969, Borchert was nominated by former Wahpeton Park Board Commissioner Wayne Gripentrog and current Richland County Commissioner Perry Miller. The men, both former students of Borchert’s, cited her work in the classroom, with civic organizations and as a member of Bethel Lutheran Church. Borchert lives in Wahpeton with her husband, Keath.
“During high school, Dennis participated in football, basketball, track and baseball. He played football and basketball at North Dakota State College of Science and Minnesota State University Moorhead. He was the league’s MVP in 1982 and in 1993, he was inducted into both schools’ athletic halls of fame,” Janet Gagelin wrote.
Eastman, who died in April 2017, was a member of Wahpeton’s class of 1979. He was nominated for the district hall of fame by Gagelin, who recognized Eastman’s life in sports as an athlete, a coach, a teacher and a man who “worked to instill values that would help his students and athletes be successful later in life.”
“David was a U.S. Marine officer during the Vietnam War,” wrote former Wahpeton Mayor James Sturdevant. “Serving with a small task force supported by the CIA, he sought to recover the remains of U.S. pilots shot down over the demilitarized zone, Cambodia and Laos.”
A 1957 graduate from Wahpeton, Myhra went on to receive a Ph.D in urban planning from Princeton University. The author of more than 130 books and dozens of e-books and articles on aviation history, Myhra pioneered writing about vertical takeoff and landing test aircraft. He was nominated by Sturdevant, who recognized Myhra’s work with numerous History Channel documentaries. Myhra died in December 2020.
Dorothy Formaneck Henke
“I cook and bake a lot because of being on the farm. Or, at least, I do, anyway,” Formaneck Henke wrote to Gagelin, who nominated her. “I helped my mom at family gatherings. And if you didn’t like something, you added a little of this and a little of that.”
A resident of Sawyer, North Dakota, Formaneck Henke graduated from Wahpeton High School in 1973. “This adventure,” which has resulted in Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels becoming the third largest pretzel company in the United States, is something she never anticipated. The company has been nourished by the principles of quality, employee safety, teamwork and communication, all of which are upheld daily.
Wahpeton Public Schools has honored 10 hall of fame members to date. They have included political and cultural leaders, athletes, educators and above all, people this district holds in esteem.
The 2019 inductees included businessman and philanthropist Robert Hughes, retired Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers player Art “Tony” Anderson, national motivational speaker Dr. Paul Radde, Ph.D, former high school principal and North Dakota District 25 representative Clark Williams and Wahpeton Park Board Commissioner Roger Jensen.
The 2020 inductees included Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louise Erdrich, dentist Dr. Jack Pfister, educators Dr. Roger Worner and Karen Kehrwald and alumna Sue Hesch Swenson.