June 2019 News & Notes


From Pool to School:
WPSD #1 Comes Up With a Unique Solution 

After multiple failed attempts to pass a bond referendum that would build schools for Williston Public School District #1, the school board went back to the proverbial drawing board.  And the solution? Well, it’s more like a diving board.

The District recently announced its intentions to spring into action, with a goal of raising $5 million to turn the old indoor pool, the E. J. Hagan Aquatics Center, into a 2-story “Innovation Academy” that would take 400 students out of the existing Bakken Elementary and WMS, alleviating the over-crowding in 2 of the district’s buildings, and paving the way for a pilot program of the district’s intentions of providing personalized learning to all its students.

The construction proposal, which would have a total price-tag of $13.8 million, will also convert unused “shop” facility in the Bakken/Middle School campus into classroom space, further helping the two schools with seating capacity. With the help of monies from their existing building fund, the school board is hopeful that the mixture of industry and community members can come together to cover the difference and make this project a reality.

With hopes of breaking ground yet this fall for a 2020 opening of the “innovation academy,” the district is ready for a sprint when it comes to fundraising. Their goal is to have at least $3 million in pledges or donations by August to be able to confidently authorize the project to be put out for bids and begun before winter.

The Williston Coyote Foundation has been a long-time supporter of WPSD #1, through our scholarship program for both teachers and students, through grants for teachers, and through funding for the schools.  Our mission is “to promote and support Williston Public Schools…” and we strongly believe that this proposal is worthy of our support.

All donations for this project will be directed to us, at the Coyote Foundation, so donors can have the benefit of charitable deductions (as allowed by law) to a registered 501©3 non-profit.

If you want to help in the efforts for this capital campaign, either monetarily or otherwise, please email me at codi.austreim@willistonschools.org.

Personally, I’ve never known of a community better than ours at coming together in a time of need.  If any town can make this proposal happen, it’s Williston.  Together, we can make a big splash and provide a viable solution to a real problem facing our hometown.



In Loving Memory:

Gifts to the Foundation:

  • Linda Hotchkiss, for the WHS Class of 1968 Memorial Scholarship, in memory of Don Urbatsch
  • Linda Davis, for the WHS Class of 1968 Memorial Scholarship, in memory of Don Urbatsch
  • Renee Smedsrud, for the WHS Class of 1968 Memorial Scholarship, in memory of Don Urbatsch
  • Boy Scout Troop 368, for the Lanny Holgerson Memorial Scholarship
  • Lisa Mack, for the Anderson Family Scholarship in memory of Jennifer Anderson (from Lisa, Shelly, Charlie, Shelby, Nicole, Karin, Sheri, Angie, Kathy, and Hannah)
  • Gayle and Arlan Arnson, in memory of  Dennis Olson and Cheryl Wang Nelson
  • The Perioperative Services Department at CHI St. Alexius, for the Anderson Family Scholarship in memory of Jennifer Anderson
  • Candy and Jamie TeSoro, for the WHS Class of 1968 Memorial Scholarship, in memory of Don Urbatsch
  • Linda Corner, for the WHS Class of 1968 Memorial Scholarship, in memory of Don Urbatsch
  • Terri Otley, for the Anderson Family Scholarship, in memory of Jennifer Anderson
  • Boone and Susan Herring, in memory of Harold Tvedt
  • Karen and Larry Skaare, in memory of Harold Tvedt
  • Alan and Debra Fedorenko, in memory of Jackie Buschta and Don Urbatsch

  2019 Reunion Updates

Reunion season is in full swing, so here's your latest updates!

WHS Class of 1969:  the date is set for Homecoming this fall!  See the picture below for contact information, schedule of events, and more information.

WHS Class of 1979: the dates are July 12-13.
Schedule is as follows: July 11 (Street Dance 5:00-9:00 downtown - wear your Class of ‘79 T-shirt (for those coming early) Friday July 12 Mixer and class pictures. Saturday morning school tours (by bus) Saturday night casual meal and video presentation.
We need the number attending each event (excluding street dance) Cost $50 which can be paid by mailing in, Venmo or at event. Contact is Deann Long or Jill Kleven

WHS Class of 1989: the dates are July 25th and 26th and they have a Facebook page called Williston High School Class of 1989  or you can contact Shawna Kirby Kleven.

WHS Class of 1999: the dates are set for August 2nd-4th. Here's the link for info:
Or you can contact Theresa Hegge.

Class of 2009:  The date has been set for Homecoming -- September 27th and 28th.  Haley Njos Flaten is the contact person. 

Heritage Committee Members Sought

Reprint from last month -- still searching for committee members!!!

As previously announced, an effort by several Williston High School Alumni from the 50’s and 60’s to name the football field at the new high school “Legends Field” and to display a plaque at WHS with names of individuals who have made an exceptional difference in the lives of students who attend(ed) Williston High School. Their intentions were to honor the proud heritage of Williston High School and recognize a legend from their time as Coyotes.

In October of 2018, the naming of the football field went through and was unanimously approved by the School Board. Then in February of 2019, the criteria of how a person could be nominated went through unanimously as well. With this approval, the first name was selected for the Legends Field plaque; that person is H.L. Pedersen, WHS staff member from 1951-1963.

In an effort to honor H.L. Pedersen and future Legends selected to receive the honor, the Coyote Foundation and the WPSD #1 School Board is asking for volunteers to start a "Heritage Committee." The committee will assist with the name selections for the Legends Field Plaque, plan events in conjunction with the honoring of individuals selected to be on the plaque, and assist with all aspects of the Legends Field project including the metal works and signage that needs to be added to the football field.

If you are interested in assisting with the creation of the WPSD #1 Heritage Committee for Williston High School, please email us at codi.austreim@willistonschools.org.  We appreciate your willingness to help us honor and preserve our strong heritage at WHS.

Did You Know?

We do so much more than scholarships at the Williston Coyote Foundation. We also look for ways to help the schools through unrestricted funds donated to our Foundation, grants written on behalf of the schools, and donor-specific gifts.

We are thrilled to announce that we have set up two qualified charitable endowments through the Williston Coyote Foundation:  The Nadine Sukut Bloomquist Memorial Endowment and the John and Cathy Schmitz Endowment for the Betterment of Williston Schools.  The State of North Dakota offers a tax credit for donations of $5000 or more to a qualified endowment, and we would be happy to discuss how your donation can be utilized in the best possible way for both you and the schools, students, and teachers at WPSD #1! 

​If you or your company would like to know more about ways you can help Williston Public Schools, please feel free to contact us at the Williston Coyote Foundation. We would love to visit with you about how your donation can be used for the benefit of the schools, students, and staff of WPSD #1.

As always, your donations are tax-deductible and very much appreciated. You can donate conveniently online or can mail any donations to our address listed below. We could not continue our mission of promoting and supporting Williston Public School District #1 without the help of our generous donors! ​