The More Things Change...

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MTT News Desk's picture
By: 
John Stampen
Pictured on the day of this year’s graduation ceremony are Middleton High School alumni Jake Stampen (class of 2013), John Stampen (class of 1985), Karen Knoche Stampen (Class of 1958) and Emily Zarndt Knoche (Class of 1938).

Seventy-five years ago, Emily (Zarndt) Knoche (Class of ’38) walked across the stage, shook the principal’s hand, and graduated from Middleton High School with 28 of her fellow classmates. The country and Middleton had been mired in the great depression, but on that day the mood was nonetheless optimistic.

Fifty-five years ago, Karen (Knoche) Stampen (MHS Class of 1958) walked across the stage, shook the principal’s hand, and graduated from Middleton High School with 91 of her fellow classmates. The post-war baby boom was in full swing, Rock and Roll music was gaining traction and the mood in the country was optimistic.  

Twenty-eight years ago, John Stampen (MHS Class of 1985), the author of this article, walked across the stage, shook the principal’s hand, and graduated from Middleton High School with 290 of his fellow classmates. Many big changes were underway in the economy, geopolitical climate and technology yet the overall mood on that day was optimistic.  

Earlier this month, Jake Stampen (MHS Class of 2013) walked across the stage, shook the principal’s hand and graduated from Middleton High School with 450 of his fellow classmates. The country and Middleton are slowly emerging from the toughest recession since the Great Depression, but the speeches and mood on graduation day remained optimistic. 

Middleton High School has greatly changed but in other ways has remains largely the same through the four living generations of this family who graduated from this institution.  The student and faculty populations are over 16 times larger today than they were 75 years ago and the facilities have grown exponentially as well.  All that is left of the original building Emily Zarndt Knoche attended is the entrance façade that has been moved twice.  

But looking through high school yearbooks from each generation, you see a rich and vibrant student life that included sports, music, drama, academics, and celebrations.  Each of the graduation ceremonies praised the accomplishments of the talented graduates and talked with enthusiasm about the future opportunities before them.  

Regardless of what else changes at Middleton High School, that’s the way it’s likely going to remain for the next 75 years.

 

 

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