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12/7/2005 – News

Volume 122, Number 44             Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

Santa Day at Memorial Home
Santa Day was held December 3 at the Maddock Memorial Home. Dimo Christianson, the birthday girl, sits in Santa’s lap. Standing, left to right, are Margaret Jacobson, Eileen Gustafson, Lillian Moran, Veloy Vallier, Joyce Vallier, Bennie Marquart, Ruth Nelson, Mike Fritel and Leo Marquart. Some of the wishes this Christmas from residents were: good health, a hummer, a 4-wheeler, a blanket, a Gameboy, candy, good weather, a red combine, a blue tractor with a loader, a Care Bear doll and car seat, a green combine, a special alarm clock, fun socks, a guitar, drum set, CD player and country CD’s, Cinderella Barbie, Dora the Explorer stuff, a chair with Snow White, Cinderella and others on it, a Cinderella doll that twinkles, clothes, a basketball, scrapbooking stuff, a television set, baby dolls, a terrain twister, a pool table, a football, everything, a Cinderella dress, a trap set, a bow and arrow, false teeth and one resident even wanted barbecue sauce.

Students raise funds
The Maddock High School Student Council raised $435.12 for the Maddock Caring Sharing Tree charity, sponsored by the Active Women of Maddock. Each class had a bucket located in their second period classroom. During the past week, students brought in loose change and put it in their class bucket. The coins were counted by their teachers November 23. As long as the teacher had coins to count, the students didn’t have class time. The eighth grade class postponed their math class an entire period by raising $97.36 in change. Left to right are student council president Thane Solberg, Joann Bergrud, Danae Kenner and Paula Duren.

Wonder of Santa
Talissa Aabrekke looked into the face of Santa with trust and delight when he visited Minnewaukan December 3. She is the daughter of Tracy and Shelley Aabrekke of Minnewaukan.

Oberon readers
Oberon students who completed the required reading assignments for November are pictured. Twenty-seven students participated.

Santa visits
The youngest person to sit on Santa’s lap on Santa Day at the Maddock Memorial Home December 3 was McKenzie Melaas, daughter of Crystal and James Melaas of Maddock.

Gary Wald of Maddock (left) visited longtime Maddock educator Cliff Simek on November 11, two days before he died at the age of 89. It was Veterans Day and one thing Cliff regretted was that he couldn’t have a beer to celebrate Veterans Day. As one veteran to another, Wald wanted to get one for him, but it was not to be. Simek was a highly-respected teacher at Maddock for 36 years.

Remembering teacher Cliff Simek
Maddock Pawprints
As I walked into the Maddock Ag Mechanics Shop Monday, November 14, there was a sense of loss. Even though John C. (Cliff) Simek had retired in 1983 and had not been teaching in the Maddock School for the past twenty-two years, I could still envision Cliff in the shop in his blue shop coat "barking" out instructions and reprimands to his ag mechanic students.
Cliff was in the Maddock School for thirty-six years from 1947 until his retirement in 1983. I had the privilege of teaching with Cliff for the last six of those years. At the State FFA Convention in June 1983, Cliff and I were on stage for the State Star Farmer presentation and the state officers presented Cliff with a birthday cake, and all the FFA members, parents, and guests sang happy 67th birthday to him. Cliff leaned over to me and stated, "This might be the way to go out." He had not told anyone that he was retiring, but he came back to Maddock after that convention, turned in his keys, and headed his car south to Fullerton, where his family resided. At a Maddock High School Alumni Banquet held in April of 1983 to honor Cliff for thirty-five years of dedication to the Maddock High School, over 600 people showed up. Maddock only has a population of around 500, so they came out in force.
Cliff was never one to seek honors or praise. When Cliff and Curt Jensen were being honored at the All Service Conference for thirty-five years of service, they both went to the Ice Follies being held in Bismarck instead and told me to pick up the plaque if they gave one. Many of his students were either state winners in the ag mechanics contests or received high gold awards. He did not necessarily praise these students or put their projects on display. In fact, what were paced on Cliff’s bulletin boards were drawings by the grade school kids who gave Cliff pictures. Cliff was an educator and ag mechanics teacher, and he expected all of his students to be able to excel in a mechanics contest. There were students of Cliff’s who were not valedictorian of their class because they did not get an "A"
from Cliff. I remember one year I was registering students for the FFA contests at state and trying to select our advanced ag mechanic student, as our top senior had gone south combining. I mentioned to Cliff that I would put one of the juniors in the contest and he stated to me. "What for? I gave him a D- last semester." Well, this junior ended up second in the state and was 12th highest individual in the nation.
This past year I have had this unerring feeling to get down to Fullerton and see Cliff. After hearing from his niece this fall that Cliff was in the nursing home in Oakes and not doing very well, I knew that I had to make it a priority to visit him. On November 11 (Veterans Day) Becky and I drove to Oakes to visit Cliff. He was not feeling well and was in a lot of pain, but after he was put to bed, I knelt beside the bed and we talked and reminisced about former students and teachers in Maddock. Cliff could remember a story about every one. Two days later I received a phone call that Cliff had passed away.
With thirty-six years of teaching, hundred of students passed under Cliff’s instruction. The enjoyment is to be with a group of former students from different classes. The stories can go on for hours. Nine student teachers passed through the Maddock Ag Ed Program those last six years of Cliff’s reign. Every one of them stated to me that they learned more in that short period from Cliff as far as teaching high school ag mechanics than they had at the university during their three or four years.
When I look at the local mechanic shops here in Maddock, I can see Cliff’s influence, as many of the mechanics are former students of his. A former student and local farmer told me recently, "Not a day goes by when I am in the farm shop working on a project that a mechanic skill taught by JC Simek is not used."
Cliff is gone, but he will not be forgotten and wherever former students or teaching comrades meet, there will be many stories and laughter for years to come.

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