Bill Lund first set foot in the Iola-Scandinavia School District in August 1973.
A lot has changed since then; teachers have come and gone, so have administrators, and there is a new school.
Lund’s first students are now the parents to some his most current.
But one thing that has not changed over the years is his dedication to education and to the I-S School District.
Although the decision has not been an easy one, after 41 years, Lund will retire on Jan. 24.
“I had considered retiring earlier, but I promised Joe Price that the One-On-One Computer Project would be seen through to completion,” Lund said. “The One-On-One is well on its way and not to ever be turned around, so now I am free to pursue other adventures that have been waiting for us.”
“I love being around the kids,” he said. “They keep me current and keep me on my toes.”
“I also know, however, that after having had several student teachers train with me and observing the young lions that have signed on to teach at I-S in the past few years, the future of this place is in good hands,” Lund said.
“Everyone in the school is sad to see Mr. Lund leave; the staff and students,” said junior Sam Hayes.
“My gratitude and appreciation goes out to Mr. Lund,” said District Administrator David Dyb. “Not only for the personal time he spent with my family during an early visit to Iola, but also because of his uncanny ability to build rapport with any student. Although his day-to-day classroom interactions will be deeply missed, his presence and humble contributions to the community will continue to be a welcome site for all of us.”
“The school is losing one of the best teachers they have ever had,” said junior Emily Bonikowske. “He really cared about his students. He influenced me to try my hardest and to stay positive at all times.”
“Mr. Lund has provided 40.5 years of outstanding service to the Iola-Scandinavia School District,” said High School Principal Sara Anderson. “He has had a positive influence in the lives of countless students, including my own daughter and son. Mr. Lund not only taught the students biology and chemistry, he taught them how to be good citizens, how to think beyond themselves and that they could accomplish anything they wanted to if they applied themselves.”
Even the alumni shared their thoughts on Lund.
“Mr. Lund appreciated and accepted us as students, even the oddballs like me,” said Marisa Beauchaine, class of 2005. “I remember one class where I had completed my work early and had been doodling to look busy. He was walking through the desks and I didn’t notice him standing over me until he said, ‘What is that?’ I explained it was a cartoon guy that I made up.”
Beauchaine went on to say how Lund asked her for a copy and how she hesitantly gave him one the next day.
“I was entirely confused by his reaction until the next week when he nonchalantly gave me a shirt embroidered with my sketch,” she said. “Why would an adult of authority do something kind for a sassy teenage punk doodling in his class? Who knows what makes Mr. Lund tick, but I will never forget that.”
“He is the type of teacher who really cares,” said Lidia Frias, class of 2013. “Every time I had a doctor visit, he would ask me when I got back how my scans, blood work and trip went. It was kind of like a mutual understanding that even though he was my teacher he was also a fellow cancer survivor. It was nice having someone like that to lean on in the rough times.”
“I first met Bill when I was in eighth grade, as he was my science teacher,” said Scott Erickson, head football coach for Iola-Scandinavia. “Later I got to know him better as one of my football coaches. Bill always had and continues to have a positive outlook on life and what people can accomplish if they try.”
“He has kept that same attitude as I have worked with the past 21 years as his colleague,” Erickson said. “He has always supported everything I have ever done with the football program here at Iola-Scandinavia and I will always remember and appreciate that. Bill is and always will be part of Thunderbird Football Family!”
Finding his wife Toya, tops Lund’s list of his favorite memories.
His service in the United States Air Force is another.
The new high school, trips to state football and basketball and the people that he has had a chance to work with the past 40 year, also make the list of fond memories.
As an educator, “Getting hired here was my biggest accomplishment,” said Lund. “It gave me the opportunity to do some things that have been useful and worthwhile; things that would not have been possible in a bigger institution or in a bigger city.”
“We have a good thing here; an institution that is seen by most everyone in the area as the best place to put their kids. A place where quality education is a priority; it must continue that way,” Lund said.
“The community has to continue to stand behind the district and preserve the jewel that they have. We have good strong leadership from the district administrator, to the principal and staff,” he said. “Trust them, they know and truly work in the best interest of the kids.”
“Mr. Lund is as proud of our school as we are of him,” said Sam Hayes. “He always said he was going to keep teaching until he got sick of us; I don’t think he really got sick of us, but he did recently become a grandfather and I am sure spending more time with his family will be a big part of his retirement.”
Lund and his wife Toya have two sons, Brian and Bill. Bill lives in Holland, Mich., while Brian and his wife Megan live in Hudson, Wis.
Their first grandchild, Brandon, was born in July.
“I look forward to spending more time with him,” said Lund. “He is almost as cute as his grandfather.”
In addition to spending time with their grandson, his plans also include some traveling, continued involvement with EAA AirVenture, consulting projects with MiCTA Corp, building better remote control jets and of course a honey-do list.
The Lunds will continue to live in Iola.
“Teachers like Mr. Lund leave a mark on the world by inspiring students beyond the required curriculum,” said Beauchaine. “Who knows where it will expand from there!”
“We will be telling stories about him and his classes for years to come,” said Hayes.
“I know his work is never done,” Frias said. “He will continue to teach people and contribute in different ways because that is just the type of person he is.”
An open house will be held in honor of Bill Lund from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Glacier Woods Golf Course in Iola. Everyone is welcome to attend.