The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

Black River Falls High School employees come home

What do teachers, Eli Youngthunder and Tina Gilbertson, and aide, Danielle O’Brien have in common?

Still wondering?

They are all BRFHS graduates.

“Mr. Wrobel, Mr. Boerger, and Mr. Rykken were here, so some good things don’t change. Everything is similar in that manner,” said Eli Youngthunder, who graduated in 1997.

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In 1997 they had many of the same clubs and sports that are offered today, but school differed in other ways, too.

“It seems, at least compared to when I was in school, that kids are more accepting of other kids. Students now are more open to saying hello to somebody or lending an open-hand if needed, no matter how little or minor it may seem,” said Danielle O’Brien, who graduated in 1992.

To come back to work at a school where they once went to themselves was a hard transition.

“I have a really hard time calling Mr. Wrobel, Mr. Boerger, and Mr. Rykken by their first names. So every morning when they say ‘Good morning Eli’, I say, ‘Good morning …. Mr. Rykken, Good morning, Too… Mr. Boerger, Good morning, Krr… Mr. Wrobel.’ Old habits like that are kind of hard to get past,” said Youngthunder.

Coming back to work in the same school they grew up in was not something they ever thought would happen.

“I never planned on coming back to Black River Falls. I think most in high school think they are never going to come back to the place that they grew up in. After I graduated, I worked in Sparta for a while and a job opening popped up here and it worked out really well because I like the community. I like what it has to offer. Especially if you are going to have a family, and I actually think that once a tiger always a tiger,” said Tina Gilbertson, who graduated in 1995.

Growing up in a community as tight-knit as Black River can have its laughs.

“Sometimes it’s really funny having students of people I used to hang out with. There have been a couple of students who cracked me up. Once I was sitting in here and this young lady came up and started telling me that she had a picture of me on her fridge. She then went on to say that her mom is dating a high school friend and he’s got a picture of me on the fridge from our high school day, ponytail and all,” said Youngthunder.

Having those students in class can have a different effect.

“This is my 16th year, so I’m getting old enough where if my first students had a baby when I was their teacher I would actually be their student’s teacher. Which makes me have gray hair. That’s a little scary,” said Gilbertson.

All in all, whether they planned to come back or not, they have each made a difference.

“This has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. I think feeling like you went home at the end of the day and made a little bit of a difference in someone’s life, whether it just be that hour of that day for one student is a really rewarding feeling,” said O’Brien.

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The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School
Black River Falls High School employees come home